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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

Gate Keepers 1985 - The Gap between the Two Times


DISCLAIMER/READ ME FIRST: I spent months translating this, so please just read a few words I have to say here, and it will also enhance your reading experience. Important things first, the book isn't available in English, and the Japanese version is out of print, so hopefully there are no legal issues, but I'll say it anyway. This translation is provided to fans for free and is not to be used for commercial purposes. Anyway, this is a double translation, so there may be some parts which might not be translated that well, there are even parts which I don't even understand myself, so I've left translation notes to do some explaining. This is especially true for sounds and onomatopoeia; I'm assuming the reader would be an anime watcher, so you should more or less understand. Honestly, to defend myself, Ive written better English even in secondary school, but I did most of the translation while watching TV, so it might be sloppy at parts. Ah well. Finally, please don't be a prick and take credit for this, it was hard work translating this. So just enjoy and send this to people who would also enjoy it! Prologue: May 1970 "Vacuum Miiiiiissile!" Unleashing numerous vacuum missiles, each heading towards the target as if conscious. Focus on one point, like a dagger, only to make a hole, focus on one point of the separation wall! But "Still not working huh?" Ukiya muttered, with beads of sweat rolling down his forehead.

The separation wall was far too robust. The grey paint on the surface was flaking off, but only a small dent was made on the wall. After trying several times, only many of these dents were being made. Dammit!

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

At the end of the day, the true power of the vacuum missiles could only be used when fighting against Invaders. The power released from the 'Gate' was only a weapon for annihilating Invaders, not for destroying such strong structures. No, if it were just some steel or concrete wall, a huge hole would have been made by now. "Original purpose was to prevent enemies from invading, now it ends up being a hindrance against rescue." Ukiya muttered to himself, as he wiped the sweat off his forehead. To defend against even nuclear weapons, precious materials such as "Titanium" and "Magnesium" together with the most state-of-the-art alloy technology had been used. This could be said to be the most robust wall ever, and it is even 2 metres thick. (TN: Magnesium is a precious metal?) Wanting to use vacuum missiles made of compressed air to penetrate this wall, it is impossible! It is like trying to use a very sharp katana blade to slice through a huge tree, sharpness is not what we are after, it is thickness. ---It's too hot! Sweat kept on rolling down Ukiya Shun's forehead. All the buttons on his uniform were undone, with his sleeves rolled up. This was not due to the humid air, it was due to the stagnant air. Ukiya Shun was starting to feel impatient. Yesterday, this was our strong secret base, now we only have this wall preventing us from getting inside! The firmly closed wall, it was just like its name. 'Separation Wall', separating the inside from the outside. AEGIS Far East Headquarters. It was the secret base situated deep under Tategami High School, the Far East defense fortress! Up until yesterday, all the members of this earth defense organisation AEGIS were working hard to complete their respective tasks. But now... look at the situation

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

"Ukiya" Coming from the spacious corner, there was a familiar voice, the deep voice was getting closer. The one approaching was it was Banba Choutarou (Bancho)! Ukiya: "What's what's this?!" Bancho looked like he had just fought a very intense battle. The ragged clothes were evident, wet blood was still rolling down his face. Ukiya: "Sorry, as you can see, this path Bancho you opened for me with your own body by holding back the Invaders As long is this wall is here, it's all futile." Bancho: "This is not the time to talk about this." As Bancho said this loudly, he put his hand on Ukiya's shoulder and gave him a shake. Bancho: "What I want to know is, the situation here! At the Far East branch."

Ukiya started to cry, tears poured down from his two eyes like waterfalls. (TN: Haha, what imagery) "Naturally, you can see it yourself! The terrible situation!" Bancho: "When I just got inside, walking down the dark path All there was were corpses!" In the AEGIS uniform, countless team members' corpses laid there, like abandoned mannequins. No physical wounds could be found on their bodies. On the ground and ceiling, not a drop of blood. There was not even the slightest sign of resistance. Just like mannequins that were placed there. Bancho: "They how did they end up like this?! Although they're just normal workers, they've all undergone combat training right?! And compared to the time in February when this place was taken over by Kageyama, I thought even stronger members were assigned here." Every time he spoke aloud, Bancho fiddled with his old, worn out cap.

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

Ukiya: "That's his power, Bancho." Ukiya turned to face the separation wall, answering Bancho with his back to him. Bancho: "That person?!" Ukiya: "Uh huh, the Invader cadre, Shinigami Shinshi!" (TN: Literally 'Gentleman Death God'. Referred to as Shinigami from this point forward) Bancho: "That's?" Ukiya: "Just as his name says, that guy, your life power gets drained away when he looks at you." Bancho: "No way!" Bancho held his breath, looking at the countless corpses lying on the ground. Just here alone, there were about 20 to 30 of them. Extrapolating, the number of victims on the many other levels of the Far East branch Bancho's huge body was shaking: "So many lives just taken away in an instant?!" Ukiya: "Just like me, when Ruriko told me, I was in disbelief. Even if this is what's written in the documents on the Invaders." Bancho: "Invader documents?" Ukiya: "Yes, collaborated by AEGIS, wasn't too long ago." Ukiya continued to speak to Bancho with his back to him. Ukiya: "Searching for the origins of Invaders, from many countries, studying and analysing information dating back to the Middle Ages, from this we can interpret, the prevalent Black Death of the Middle Age Europe, the rat plague. Or the true mastermind behind poisonous gas weapons of the First World War. Behind these, Invader-like beings have been confirmed..." Bancho: "This can't be true."

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

Ukiya: "The mysterious man, after being seen by his eyes, every life form will become weak. Silently killed by this fearsome existence. From the many witness accounts and cross examination from many perspectives Original Invader, that is, the probability of him being an Invader cadre is very high." Bancho: "So you get killed just by having him look at you?" Ukiya: "Not just that." Bancho: "For example?" Ukiya: "That branch, let me think Ah yes, the Parisian branch. After that branch had just started to operate, the communication network was invaded by suspicious signals, coming with a video clip. Although it had not been broadcasted in public, all the AEGIS monitors had it displayed. At that moment, all the people who had been watching had died without any signs of injury." Bancho: "Just by an image?!" Ukiya: "One of them recorded a message just before he died. The message consisted of the signal there, and the recorded sound. Contents: Congratulations on the new branch, I will use my Death God's Eye as a gift to you humans." Ukiya's voice had no hint of any emotions. Calmly, he stated all he knew as he knew it. Ukiya: "After that, AEGIS called this gentleman-like unconfirmed Invader cadre, Shinigami Shinshi." Bancho: "How could it" Bancho's voice was shaking. Bancho: "This is not the time to talk about the past, Ukiya" Bancho ran up to Ukiya, hitting the narrating Ukiya on the shoulder. At this moment He finally saw Bancho. (Had his back to him previously) Their eyes met, Ukiya's tears

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

Bancho: "Ukiya you" Ukiya: "All that, I understand. Bancho, I understand. I can see it all with my own eyes here. Yesterday, we were still fighting together, the same people are now here in this tragic situation. Even Specs couldn't get away. Although Kaoru (Konoe Kaoru) took him to the hospital, I don't know what happened after that. And now, commander, his secretary, Ruriko... they must be in the abyss of despair." Yes, Ukiya and Bancho came to this point via the same path. There was no way they did not see the sight of the countless mannequin-like corpses. "Shinigami Shinshi, his ability is just as rumoured. Evidently, as Specs had said, the New York headquarters, and all the other branches over the world may have already been eliminated. Just by sending signals, a display on the monitor, the people who see the image will die. The same applies to this Far East branch, it doesn't matter which branch, they all have numerous monitors, be it for surveillance or communication purposes. Simply put, this is a piece of cake for that guy." Just as he was screaming, Ukiya started swinging his fist against the wall. Bancho: "Hey, Ukiya?" Ukiya: "Because of this, because of this, Bancho, we must get to them ASAP. Once we get through this wall, we can get straight to the control room. Ruriko, commander, his secretary, they're all waiting there. We've gotta hurry." Ukiya kept on punching the wall. A very deep and low sound That was the sound of his bones, the wall refused to give way. Ukiya: "My Gate of Gales, there's no way it can get through this wall." Bancho: "Calm down, Ukiya!" He puts his hand on Ukiya's shoulder again, this time it was different, this time his hand was full of kindness. Bancho: "Who do you think I am? Have you forgotten? Seriously, I haven't used my Gate yet."

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

Smiling, Bancho gave Ukiya a thumbs up, and signaled him to move away. Bancho: "Move back and watch!" He separated his legs, roaring like a beast "UWAHHHHHHHHH!" Circles of light appeared in Bancho's eyes. (TN: You know, the circles when they open a gate)

Bancho: "Here I come! GATE OOOOOOOOPEN!" Loud like the sound of a shotgun. In front of Bancho, orange circles of light appeared. The light lit up the surroundings, in this dark underground tunnel, it was as bright as the sun, like the light of hope. Obtaining power from a different dimension, the unknown 'Gate'. 'Gate' Ones which can open 'Gates', the respected 'Gate Keepers'. Bancho: "Ooooliiiaaaa Bancho Choutarou, the strongest and most beautiful special attack! The two stage crush!" (TN: I directly 'translated' the sound by phonetics, I have no idea how it's supposed to sound) The separation wall shook, although it was metres thick, designed to even withstand nuclear attacks, in front of Bancho, it shook like a drum at a festival. Bancho: "Disintegrate...!" As he screamed, Bancho's right fist struck the wall. Starting from his fist as the centre point, the wall crumbled as if made of sand. Disintegrating all matter from the molecular level, that is the power of Bancho's 'Gate of Disintegration'. (TN: I've seen it translated as Gate of Solid Crush on Wikipedia, but what I see here is slightly different) Bancho: "So.!?" Completely crushed. Like a sandcastle struck by a wave, under the attack of the 'Gate of Disintegration', the wall was destroyed in an instant.

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

Exactly like this, Ukiya's Vacuum Missiles were like katana blades on a huge tree. Regardless of the sharpness of the blade, the lack of thickness was crucial. Bancho's 'Gate', now THAT is a thick blade! Ukiya: "You did it, Bancho!" A smile appeared on Ukiya's face. The 'sand' from the wall floated in the air like specks of dust. All areas within close proximity have been covered by a layer of dust. Bancho: "So Ukiya. As long as the 'Gate' can still be opened, I will not give up." Ukiya: "Bancho?!" Bancho: "Now you can go to save princess Ruriko" All of a sudden, in the mist, Bancho's legs became powerless, his breathing became heavy, he seemed to be struggling. Ukiya: "Hang in there, Bancho." Bancho: "I'm alright I just overtaxed myself a bit" Ukiya: "You're too reckless. After using so much energy on the over ground battle, you'd just awoken your gate less than 2 months ago, your body hasn't fully adapted yet. Just like when I'd just awoken mine." Bancho: "Just two months? Don't kid, Ukiya, ever since I met you at Himeji (the place where they first met), I've been a real Gate Keeper already." Although his tone was rough, he was smiling. Ukiya had no choice but to return a smile. Ukiya: "Yes that's right, from that time on, you've been the greatest Gate Keeper."

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

Bancho: "Ukiya go! I'll rest here for a bit, you go to where Ruriko is first!" Ukiya: "Roger, I'll.." Shinigami: "There's no need to proceed, gentlemen in front of the door." Sounded like someone was speaking. Ukiya turned his head back by reflex. In the sand mist (TN: For lack of a better term), that is, from the direction of the area that had been inaccessible until now, that was where the voice was from. Ukiya knew instantly who was speaking, although it was the first time they had met, he detested the voice, because Ukiya: "You are?" The sand mist finally started to fade away, vaguely, the silhouette of the speaker could be seen. Slim, and very tall. Slender arms and legs, two hands resting lightly on his shoulders. The sand mist faded away further, what could now be seen was, a man wearing what resembled a suit from a prestigious university, a long face. He was actually a very handsome man! Behind his glasses, were cold, sensible eyes. Shinigami: "You too, see them? My Eyes of Genocide." Invader cadre, Shinigami, spoke with a contemptuous voice. That voice, it was like he was mocking them. Ukiya: "So, you ARE Shinigami Shinshi!" Shinigami: "So that's the case you know of me. In Paris, I was just having some fun. Really, being famous can be troublesome. From that day onwards, the General and the Count have been nagging me everyday, so I had to hide my existence." Ukiya: "You"

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

Ukiya started to stand up slowly. From his uniform, he took out his specially made wooden blade. He swung his blade, it extended like a fishing rod, reflecting the alarm flashlight, it was very lustrous. Ukiya: "So you came here especially to be defeated by me huh." Shinigami: "Defeat me? Who? Who can?" Shinigami laughed, then used his finger to lightly lift up his glasses. Ukiya: "So let me defeat you, the unconfirmed Invader cadre, Shinigami Shinshi!" Shinigami: "Eh? Haha hahahahahaha!" From the initial quiet laughter, it became a mocking laughter. Ukiya: "What's so funny?!" He pointed the tip of his blade towards Shinigami. Shinigami: "Isn't it obvious? I heard that you're the one who defeated the General and the Count, although I'm looking forward to see you in action, your intelligence seems a bit low, or you're not elegant enough." Ukiya: "What did you say?" Shinigami: "Mah, just a bunch of oriental yellow monkeys anyway (derogatory term for Asians), I didn't expect you to say anything elegant. Having said that, this is too disappointing." Ukiya: "Is that all you want to say?" Shinigami: "No, although I didn't see anyone gentleman-like here, there is just about one lady." Ukiya: "Lady?" Shinigami: "What a pity, unfortunately my gem-like eyes interfere with my love life. I just saw her for a moment through the surveillance camera." Ukiya: "What, you?!" The tip of the blade in his hand was shaking. Shinigami continued speaking.

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

Shinigami: "If I remember correctly, the lady's name is something like Ikusawa Ruriko. I was just there to say hi, trying to communicate with the control room. Unfortunately, the commander was trying to save the few survivors, and instead, the lady received my message. Although it was love at first sight, I'm afraid I've killed her!" Ukiya: "You!" After hearing that, Ukiya charged towards Shinigami like a demon. Shinigami: "Direct attack from the front, that's not gonna work Ukiya!" Ukiya did not hear Bancho's cry to stop him, at that time, Ukiya had completely become an infuriated demon! Ukiya: "Groaaaaaaaar!" The blue 'Gate' opened in front of him. Ukiya's gate, the Gate of Gales! (TN: Another direct phonetic translation, they have battle cries I fail to comprehend) The maelstrom surrounded the specially made wooden blade. Compressed, vibrating air, Ukiya's angry expression. Faster than the speed of sound, controlling the air to flow unilaterally, the wind itself is as sharp as a blade, giving the opponent a hard blow! That is, that is the... Ukiya: "Ultra. Whirlwind slash!" Shinigami: "Ah, that's your legendary strongest attack." Ukiya: "Die!" The wind surrounded his body, Ukiya charged with a roar, directly towards Shinigami.

Was this full power attack effective, could Ukiya defeat this enemy in front of him? To explain this, let us move a bit forward in time. The past, the present, the future. Moving between the different times, the story will become all connected in the end. Hence, let us start talking about the future now. The 'present' to them, will be described here. End of Prologue

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

Chapter 1: Mid-October 1985 1. The Recurring Dream What was his own name, he had forgotten since a long time ago. The slanted body, yes, just like an old man wearing a suit and a worn and soft hat, the two words kept repeating in his head. -- Exterminate -- Procreate Even though it was involuntary, the words kept echoing in his brain, at least, that was what he thought. Invader: "So, kill them." Almost a grunt, without a sound, like squeezing out bitter vomit from the depths of the throat. Invader: "Yes, so I" Wanting to stop it, but cannot! As if he did not own his own thoughts, the man constantly thought of it. A dream, that's right, this is a dream. Or else it can not be explained. After hearing the sharp screech, like when clawing on glass, he watched his arms and legs become something else. He violently ripped apart his colleagues in front of him. Rip. That word, is not an analogy, nor an exaggeration. Invader: "Yes, so I killed them all." Suddenly shifting his glance. There, the parts of people who once 'lived', scattered on the floor. There is one appropriate word for describing them.

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

That is, corpses. In front of the man, laid several corpses, dismembered, organs removed, brains splattered. A mountain of corpses. The fresh blood formed a dark red pond on the asphalt road. Invader: "Yes, so I killed them all. But this, just this, is not enough." In his foggy mind, came a new idea. Out of the 2 words which kept repeating in his mind, one had already come true, there was one left to go. Invader: "Procreate. Yes, yes. Keep procreating. Me, my body, having the same form as me. Now." In the city full of skyscrapers, finding an exit from the small alley to the main road. The night arrived. At that moment, the man came to realisation about putting on the sunglasses. (TN: The sunglasses the Invaders wear, if you watch the anime) Up until now, why have I been wearing this pair of sunglasses which I never had to begin with? His questions vanished in a blink. The cry of his awoken instincts rejected all thought. Invader: "Procreate. Procreate. Procreate. Procreate. Procreate. Procreate. Procreate. Procreate. Procreate. Procreate. Procreate. Procreate. Procreate." Finally, he found an exit. Being misled by a drunk colleague, telling him "this is a shortcut", he walked into the alley. Leaving from here, he found the way back to the main road.

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

Once he leaves here, there will be a lot of people. He could kill as many as he wanted, and procreate as much as he wanted. The man had this firm belief, he walked with his staggering footsteps. So bright, the bright lights on the main road even lit the alleys. Invader: "?" But The man stopped. A long, long shadow. Under the bright lights, the dark shadow was cast on the asphalt. (TN: It might make more sense from this point onwards if it were 'silhouette' instead of 'shadow', but there is no way of telling which one it is from the original script) Who is it? Standing on the junction to the main road. Invader: "Who is it?" Just as he was about to ask, instead, a soft sound like a wild dog, low and unclear, came out. Shadow: "You invaders" The long shadow said.

A small voice (TN: No idea what a small voice is), unbelievably cheerful, emitted a resonant sound. Shadow: "I am the judge, and I will give you judgment!" The long shadow's speech continued. Of course, a shadow does not talk. The one speaking was the owner of the shadow, standing legs apart. But the man, for some reason, thought the speech came from the shadow. Shadow: "Giving up your identity as a human, becoming such an ugly being. Yes, in other words, what is known as scum. But unfortunately, I, who am giving you judgment, am always"

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

The owner of the shadow, was seen as a shadow again. Under the bright light, the man saw a silhouette. The eyes glared like a wild beast. Shadow: " death penalty." Invader: "?!" In the man's head, different from "kill" and "procreate", emerged a new word. -- Terrifying The man's impression of the owner of the shadow can be described using that word. This terrifying feeling, almost paralysing. An instinct engraved in the man's mind made him move, suddenly, he ripped open the coat he was wearing. Invader: "Ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah!" Protruding from the man's chest was a seemingly infinite number of shiny gun barrels. Different diameters, different lengths. Impossible, there was no way this could come from a human body. Yes, the man was no longer human. He no longer had his own conscience. On the contrary, the owner of the shadow seemed to have been waiting for this moment for a long time, he raised his left hand at a blazingly fast speed. Shadow: "It's futile." Buah. (TN: Some sound, I have no idea, translating sounds is weird.) A black ring appeared in mid air. Invader: "Kill you! Kill you! Kill you!"

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

The man who was no longer human, concentrated all his power in his chest and abdomen. Within the heavy, low sounds, came discontinuous light beams. The man was shooting out highly destructive light bullets. Pieces of pure energy. However The owner of the shadow was right. (with reference to 'it's futile') The shadow owner caused the light bullets, which were all supposed to be aimed at him, to disappear in the canyons between the skyscrapers, high above his head. In the darkness of the night with the overcast, the light bullets seemed to be devoured, vanishing without a trace. It really was 'futile'. Shadow: "Death penalty, execution complete." What was originally thought to be only nonsense from the shadow owner. Suddenly, the man was cut in half at his abdomen. At this moment, the top and bottom half, as if superimposed, collapsed. Invader: "?!" What was going on, the man could not figure it out. The shadow owner raised his left hand, the black rings hovered in mid air. The invader looked at the ring, once again, he shot out numerous light bullets from his chest. My body has been cut apart?! How did this happen? What has happened? The man screamed: "Oooh, Oh, Oh Oh Oh, Oh Oh Oh?!" The sound that came from his throat, was just a meaningless noise! His vision darkened, he started to have seizures. (TN: It says something along the lines of spasticated, but that doesn't seem like a good word). Very cold. Like having ice cold water poured onto his head. The monstrous strength which tore his colleagues apart, the light bullets that came from his chest and abdomen, were all useless.

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

Shadow: "Rest in peace" The shadow owner approached the invader slowly. No longer under the light, the silhouette showed his face, about 30 odd years old, not too young, not too old either. Fairly handsome, he gave this impression. Shadow: "You will disappear now. You will not even remember your own name." Name? Deep within his conscience, the man asked himself. My name, surname. My name is, the name I inherited is. Can't remember. Exterminate. Procreate. Only these 2 words. In this night, in this alley, the man became a different existence, and right after this transformation, he had been annihilated by this shadow owner in front of him. After not long, the man gradually disintegrated into bubbles of light, disappearing, literally. After this, only a crystal emitting green light remained. -- Ah! I haven't Within the corners of this consciousness, another consciousness was moaning. Yes, the dream he kept dreaming. Especially, on the night of execution. Something he could never forget, the day 15 years ago. 26th February 1970

Very close to the National Conference Hall, very close to the only multi-storey building in Japan,

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

behind the Japanese Foreign Ministry Building.

Kageyama: "I, have not lost Understand? In the end, the one who'll kick your asses Yes, like this Using my own hands, you scums" Breath getting weaker, panting, walking. Seemed like the bones were broken. Dragging his disobedient right foot, drip, drip, his forehead dripping blood non stop. The dark purple suit, was like a red and black piece of cloth. Kageyama: "I, have not lost" It was this strong will which had been supporting his body. But the sudden blurriness stole his vision. It was then, the body collapsed onto the cold concrete. Am I just going to die like this? As if smirking at himself, a weak smile appeared on his face, at this moment Megumi Kurogane: "Face reality, you lost." He heard a familiar voice, the voice of a young girl. The sound, became my life saver after hearing it. I cannot fall. He used his left leg to support his body, he raised his head. Afterwards, the origin of the voice appeared in front of his eyes. Megumi: "Hold on tight."

The round glasses and the lonely expression supported me, the unadorned face looking at me. The girl in a dark blue sailor's suit (TN: Japanese school uniform) extended her tender, white hands to me. Kageyama: "Megumi?" Involuntarily, he whispered the girl's name. Then, a question blurted out Kageyama: "Why?"

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

Megumi: "A man like you, without any followers, cannot do anything, right?" The girl called Megumi, her voice was not comforting at all, or perhaps he was just listening to her soliloquy. Megumi: "Come on, quick." The white hand which was extending towards me, had no ulterior motive. It was extending towards the blood stained shoulder. A feeling like it could embrace anything, the warm and comforting feeling. And then, almost dependently, he gave his hand to the white hand, and then, he dove into her chest like a little boy diving towards his mother. Kageyama: "Megumi I lost?" Megumi: "Yes, lost. The two of us together." Kageyama: "I I" Megumi: "What?" Kageyama: "I don't want to lose I can see it a future buried in darkness. So I wanted to help them. To lead those stupid human beings who cannot even think, at least, use my two hands to lead them, using my two hands" In front of his chest, heat came rushing out. It was not shame nor pride. Disposing of his dignity and pride, there was no longer anything that could stop him. Then, Kageyama Reiji screamed and cried as he desired in front of Megumi's chest. After this, how many times had he dreamed of this dream? Every morning after the dream ended, the feather-light blankets, felt as heavy as lead boards. Only the top half of his body woke up, looking at the digital alarm clock next to his bed. The time was 11:21. Then, it became 11:22. The alarm clock was not illuminated, it was a retro clock, like a calendar. It was mechanical, relying on the movement of plates with engravings.

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

Kageyama: "Have I overslept?" The man talking to himself was, the man who used the black rings in the back alley last night. The owner of the shadow was Kageyama Reiji. -- It's time, time to end this recurring dream. A smile gradually emerged on his face, then he picked up the lighter and cigarette next to the alarm clock, and lit it.

Because he just woke up, the colour of the smoke looked purple to him. Dispersing through the entire room, like a family suite of a 5 star hotel, it was spacious, with a luxurious carpet laid on the floor. But there was only a double bed and a wooden desk next to his bed in the room. Perhaps, this was only a room where there was no feeling of 'living'. "" Almost finished with the cigarette, Kageyama finally left the bed, and walked towards the window close by. Opening the thick curtains, the sunlight shined into his room. What he could see was an endless matrix of highways and skyscrapers shrouded in grey. This was a room, rather high up, in a building in the city centre. -- No, today is different. The dream was not coincidental, it was causal. Kageyama looked at what seemed like huge grave stones, arranged in a dull, mindless manner. Today was Yes, today was a special day to Kageyama. The countless number of times he saw in the dream, the long excruciating story after that day. It was about time to draw the line between now and that day. Slowly, Kageyama picked up the phone on the bedside table, it didn't have a phone number. It was an internal phone.

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

Beep beep beep beep. After ringing 4 times, the other party picked up the phone. The one picking up the phone was a clear female voice. Female worker: "Good morning, boss." Kageyama: "Running a bit late, need to leave right away." Without even a greeting, Kageyama continued speaking. Kageyama: "Have you arranged for the cars yet?" Female worker: "All cars, ready." Kageyama: "I just need car 6. I don't even need a driver, I'll drive myself." Female worker: "Roger." A substanceless reply, like a recording. -- I should be able to make it. Kageyama undid his robe and put it on the bed, he put on his left wrist the watch he liked. The meeting time was 1 pm. The time engraved in his mind. It was the time when he was going to meet his old friend, one who had not been in contact for 14 years. Ukiya Shun.

2. Darkness and Gale Unusually, the Route 246 (a highway) was not in operation. There were no roadworks nor traffic jams. Kageyama drove his Lotus Turbo Esprit (referred to as Esprit hereafter) like an ice-skating athlete, swiftly changing lanes.

It was a great car, but the engine was a bit unresponsive, you would notice as soon as you turn the leather covered steering wheel. Kageyama knew about the capabilities of his 22 beloved cars from the very beginning.

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

He breezed past valleys like the flow of a river, the scenery along the Route 246 was disappearing behind him. Though the time was just about noon, the overhead bridges made the road seem dark. Kageyama raised his head to look at the overhead bridges through his tinted sunglasses. He squinted, reminiscing. -- Yes. That time, when the bridges didn't exist, and the road still had tram tracks. The trams that ran on the Route 246, at the end there was only one tram left, which was eventually abandoned. It was 1969. The passenger count was dropping, the construction of highways and bridges was the main reason. -- Has it already been 16 years? Times have changed. The overhead bridges seemed like they had been here forever, shading the sunlight, the pillars that resembled huge tree trunks everywhere. The number of cars running on the road was still increasing. The new constructions alongside the road took away what remained of the sky's colours, disappearing like they were stolen. The times are changing, and the change will not stop, it will keep changing. Suddenly, Kageyama smiled. He smiled as if laughing at himself.

Thinking carefully, change is inevitable. He could not believe the drastic changes from before either. At first he was thinking in his mind, then, he said it out loud. "There's really nothing I could do." (TN: Terrible translation, but I couldn't quite think of how to say it in English)

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

It became bitter laughter, Kageyama wanted a change of mood, he moved his hand towards the audio system in his car (should be a CD player). He played the CD with his favourite songs. That was the time. *squeak* The rear wheel of the Esprit jumped a bit, it felt like it jumped to the side a bit. Was it because of the uneven roads? Flat tire? Or was it a mechanical failure? -- No. Kageyama was certain. It was not something normal. It was -- An enemy! In a split second, he switched to second gear. The speedometer was moving rapidly, the turbo engine was making a noise, sucking air into the engine. It was an overloading movement. Whilst he was accelerating, Kageyama was pressed to his seat. In a few seconds, the road that the Esprit just sped past, *Rumble*, along with the purple trail of light, the surface of the road had been scraped off. It was not just the cement, even the red clay beneath the cement had been removed. Attack. Yes, it was an attack. Boom! Boom! Boom! Not just once, numerous times.

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Like an excavator of light and sound. Travelling through the cement, scraping off the road surface, the clay splattering like blood, chasing Kageyama's Esprit. It almost caught up. Kageyama's Esprit swayed left and right, barely missing the attacks of the excavator of light and sound. (TN: Direct translation...) Kageyama looked in the rear view mirror. About 20 metres behind. A completely black car was following closely behind. The headlights in front of the car flashed like camera flashlights. The colour of the light was purple. He realised that the car was emitting the light, scraping off the road surface. They were light bullets which possessed a mysterious strong destructive power. Even in a foreign country, there was no way such a weapon could exist. Kageyama finally realised what the car chasing him was. Invader. Kageyama: "I take back what I said." (The comment on the unresponsive engine) The linear pressure increased with revolutions, it was not a Japanese built turbo engine. It was very smooth, this is great configuration! (TN: I thought the Japanese made good stuff) Kageyama was talking to himself, obviously not the right time to make such a comment. But this was Kageyama's style. He will not sway. He will not fear. He will not lose his senses.

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

Focusing on one thing, calmly. Even at a time like this, he focused on the bright light in the rear view mirror, analysing the path of the light beams. Bit by bit, without a wasted move, he dodged all the beams. But, if he kept on going like that, unrelated, innocent cars will be affected. It would have been better when there were no cars, but this was the Route 246 during daytime! Private cars, commercial cars, all sorts of cars were travelling on the road. *Boom* Exactly as he thought. One of the light beams Kageyama had dodged hit a container vehicle. The red petrol flames almost rose to the bridge above. It rose very high, the flames kept rising. -- It was pretty much impossible for a layman to dodge those attacks. In the burning vehicle, the driver was burnt to death. Thinking ahead, when the cars behind hit this flaming car, it will become a catastrophic traffic incident! Kageyama did not panic. He just kept looking back through the rear view mirror from time to time. -- What a stubborn guy. Does he intend to keep chasing me? No. He confirmed through the rear view mirror, he had lost the black car. However, the incident had dragged in normal civilians. From afar, he could only see a scene. Rumble! Rumble! Rumble! The black car slowly caught up.

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

-- Screech Ahead was a red light. Pedestrians were crossing the road. He estimated not less than 10 people, including old men, students, and a young mother pushing a buggy. There. Kageyama sped forward without hesitation. Kageyama did not panic. After a few seconds, he would crash into the pedestrians without question. At this moment A miracle happened. He missed them. In the small gap between the fencing and the pedestrians, he slipped through! Even at the speed of 1 km/h (TN: Eh?), Kageyama's Esprit did not decelerate, passing through the pedestrians. The feeling the pedestrians felt could only be imagined as a gust passing. That was how the Esprit should have, and did, breeze pass them. It all happened like a miracle. ...That's how it should've been -- If there had been even a minor error, if the car had been 3 cm to the right The miracle would not have happened. Kageyama could predict the pedestrians' motion. He could see the relationship between their pace and the position of the car when he passed them. Therefore, he could see the 1860cm gap which the Esprit had required to pass. Amazing. Ingenious. Kageyama's Esprit which went pass the pedestrians, you can use any adjective of choice to describe the skills.

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

The black car following Kageyama could not quite do the same. It was about to crash into the crowd. Everyone had noticed. The mother pushing the buggy let out a cry of despair. They watched the black car come closer. There was no time to evade it. Shocked by the bright light, like a cat in darkness. Their minds went blank, waiting for the moment of death. Death, it was approaching the lives of the young mother and the baby in the buggy. At the same instant. A sharp sound pierced their eardrums. The long, sharp sound. The sound of the brakes , and the abrasion between the tires and road surface. The source of the sound, was Kageyama's Esprit. The sharp sound of the forced deceleration was like a sad cry. It maximised the use of the road width to turn around. Like magic, the car turned around 180 degrees. The Esprit came to a complete stop, from the car door came Kageyama. Kageyama: "Such irritating bugs." He raised his left hand, he himself was like a powerful weapon.

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

*Boom* (TN: Something like that) Along with the sound like one of a pistol, above his left hand a black gate appeared. The Gate of Darkness. What came from the gate was dark energy. The target was the black car which was about to run over the young mother. Kageyama: "Death penalty, execution" He said concisely. From the Gate of Darkness came something which was also black. Sharp 'shadows'. Actual shadows, without depth nor weight, like black spots on the road surface. They traveled at the speed of bullets towards the black car. Between Kageyama and the car, the car thought these were only 'normal shadows'. The car let the shadows pass through the crowd and approach it. Disappeared. Without a sound. No, there was a slight sound. A sound like a brand new knife slicing through a watermelon. That was, the sound of the shadow approaching the car, and slicing it in half. Kageyama: "There's no escape. Something that can slice through any matter, the black 2nd dimension chasm, that is my shadows." By inertia, the two halves of the car continued towards the pedestrian crossing. *Zoom* At the moment the car was split in half, Kageyama saved the mother. The mother stood between the two lanes of the highway, right in the middle, like a traffic light. Young mother: ""

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

The young mother was not quite sure what was going on, like just now when the car was about to crash into her, she stood their stunned. On the pedestrian crossing where the people had just walked pass, the two halves of the car collapsed with a *bang*. The incident started to stir disturbance in the other pedestrians. Cries could be heard. Not too far away, Kageyama slowly got back in the car. He was not going to panic, no matter when, no matter what happened. Kageyama: "OK." Just when he was about to sit in the Esprit again, with his hand on the door handle. Suddenly. The remains of the two halves of the collapsed car emitted light, a dark purple light. "!" Kageyama sensed that in an instant. The light beams approaching him in a straight line, the unexpected attack. Could not evade. The light beams which used all of the car's remaining energy traveled at several times the speed of sound. No matter what reflex speeds you have, it would impossible to dodge this. No normal person could do it. -- It's going to hit. This phrase flashed through his mind. He was not going to sway. He as not going to be afraid. He was not going to panic.

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

He was unbelievably calm. Even at the moment when he was about to die. That is to say The reason for Kageyama's calmness, was his realisation for his death, which he had been prepared a long time ago. Death which cannot be predicted is a disaster, but if it can be foreseen, one will become calm like this. Naturally, this is not something a normal person could do. The light beams closed into Kageyama. About to split him into pieces. Without any form or traces remaining. But what was split into pieces was not Kageyama, it was the light beams. "" Kageyama knew that the light beams which were approaching him in a straight line would be dispelled by the sharp 'Gale'. Kageyama could hear it. The concentrated wind, the sound which would excite a blade. The over Mach speed air bullets came from nowhere. They destroyed the light beams, and saved Kageyama's life. The name of this move, Kageyama knew it. 'Vacuum Missile' There was only one person in the world who could use these vacuum missiles. He looked towards the source of the vacuum missiles.

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

On the ageing pedestrian bridge. The shooter of the wind bullets stood with his back to the sun, showing his figure as a silhouette. Kageyama: "Did you come to greet me? Ukiya Shun." "!?" This was obviously an attack. The proof was the right hand raised above his head. Bang! Along with the sound of his lower abdomen (TN: Eh?), the silhouette's right hand opened a blue light ring. The Gate of Gales, which means, this silhouette was indeed Ukiya Shun. --Is he, going to attack?! Yes. Roaring wind is concentrated at the centre of the Gate, and then concentrated into a single point, forming highly pressurised bullets of wind, which are then released. The pressurised air bullets which saved Kageyama just now, that is what vacuum missiles are. "Gah!" By reflex Kageyama raised his left hand and opened his gate. Kageyama: "Shadow blades." Black shadows zooming through the air. That was what split the invader-ised car in half, the black 2nd dimension chasm. Whoosh Vacuum missiles and shadow blades.

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

That was They met violently in mid air, and cancelled out each other. The wind generated from the impact blew Kageyama's fringes upwards. Kageyama: "Are you testing me?" Cracking a smile, Kageyama said to the silhouette on the pedestrian bridge. After a while, he got a response. Ukiya: "Perhaps." A sensitive, brave, but also slightly nave voice, the silhouette was Kageyama: "I was just thinking whether I failed to sense approaching danger, with slow senses like you." Slowly descending the stairs of the pedestrian bridge. Maintaining his prestige, but with messed up sleep hair, not too tall, but with a strong body. The scar on his nose was like a symbol. It could not be wrong, Kageyama was sure. The man who came down from the bridge, was the real deal, the man called Ukiya Shun. Kageyama: "You are quite evil, so to say, Ukiya. Suddenly greeting me with your vacuum missiles. Mah, it's been over 10 years already, to me, the person who started to oppose the invaders, this is no surprise." Ukiya: "I told you it isn't you." Kageyama: "You can speak."

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

This short dialogue was enough for the two. Naturally extending their right hands. They shook hands firmly. Kageyama: "You've got the mood to come pick me up eh, Ukiya." Ukiya: "Perhaps." At that moment, they could hear the faint sound of a police car siren. It was the chase between Kageyama and the car, one that happened on the motorway. They were late. Ukiya: "Shall we talk somewhere else?" He asked Kageyama. Ukiya: "Somewhere around Tamagawa should be good, there aren't too many people there." Kageyama: "Alright then, hop on." Accepting Kageyama's offer, Ukiya got into the Esprit's passenger seat. Ukiya: "Lotus Esprit, you've got a nice car." Kageyama: "There aren't any Japanese cars I like." Kageyama: "Speaking of Lotus, remember Jim?" Kageyama: "Jim Skylark." Kageyama shifted to first gear. The sound of the engines got slightly louder. The Esprit cruised smoothly as if the chase just now had never happened. Kageyama: "Ah ah." Kageyama: "I finally got into contact."

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

Ukiya: "Eh? He's still alive?" Ukiya, in the passenger seat, could not help but raise his voice. Kageyama: "I spent a long time seeking information about him. Just like what's going on here, without any support and only a couple of comrades, he continues to fight." Ukiya: "Is that so" Ukiya went deep into thought. Kageyama did not continued with the topic, he just drove on quietly. 3. Near the Flowing River Just past noon, near Futako-Takagawa station, next to Takagawa. (TN: In the latter case, this should be interpreted as 'Taka river'.) On the footpath on the river dam, there were people running, practicing pitching (baseball), there was also someone fishing. Like that, the scenery just as normal, Ukiya and Kageyama resumed their conversation. Kageyama: "I've checked up on everyone. Only Asagiri Reiko and Feng Fei Lei I still can't find, but what I can confirm is that up until a few years ago, they were both alive and well. Asagiri Reiko married a Violinist and moved to Switzerland in 1979. Feng Fei Ling returned to China after that incident and moved to Hong Kong after she found her family. That's a British colony, probably to avoid the cultural revolution and its effects." Kageyama, as always, had his hands in his pockets, and continued. Kageyama: "And after more research, I found that everyone went back to their normal lives. Most of them lost their Gates. The downfall of AEGIS was inevitable." Ukiya: "Yes indeed it was." Ukiya, who sat next to Kageyama on the dam, as if he had a lot of things on his mind, replied.

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

Then

Ukiya: "So, that means just like everyone else, you've researched on the people around me as well." Kageyama: "Yes." Ukiya: "I noticed ages ago, I don't think they realised I'd noticed. Watching over someone isn't exactly the best hobby." Kageyama: "Don't put it that way. That was all done so that we could reunite them." Kageyama: "Your subordinates?" Ukiya: "Not subordinates, associates. That's a better way to put it." Ukiya: "And the name Mitsuoka Yuuji?" Kageyama: "Don't mention that, that name is" Ukiya: "I thought you've given it up? That name." Ukiya chuckled. Although he seldom appeared in public, but from reading financial magazines, it was noticeable. Absorbing American R&D techniques, and using a large amount of capital. Not just through stock exchange, but also trading land in the city centre, the man who accumulated a huge fortune in only 10 years. The name was 'Mitsuoka Yuuji'. Mitsuoka Yuuji was Kageyama Reiji's previous name. Actually, Mitsuoka Yuuji is his official name. However, after he joined the Invaders, he had abandoned his past and changed his name to Kageyama Reiji. Yes, the Kageyama Reiji of the past loathed humans and worked with the Invaders. But by now, everyone had forgotten, when he took over the National Conference Hall, calling himself the 'Dark Prime Minister'. The incident on 26th February 1970. But Kageyama's plans were ruined. The man who ruined them was the man in front of him now, Ukiya Shun, with his comrades.

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

Kageyama always dreamt of it, a dream he will never forget. That is, the dream of the moment Ukiya Shun defeated him.

But, a man who had such a wild ambition and evil heart, and the man who was once his arch enemy, how come they're conversing like they're reminiscing the past? That, we will understand later on. Now, Kageyama removed his sunglasses, stood and looked at Ukiya Shun beside him. Kageyama: "What a diligent man, you've even been subscribing to financial magazines?" Ukiya: "Neh, just occasionally." He lied. Just now Ukiya Shun admitted himself that he had read a lot of financial magazines (TN: From my version, that part wasn't part of the speech). But why did he have to lie now? Kageyama notice immediately. Kageyama: "No, you've been paying attention, to what's happening around the world, looking for suspicious things, looking out for weird things that happen. I suspect that every morning, you watch the news religiously." Ukiya: "What a joke, I'm just" Ukiya: "I know, Ukiya. I'm just the same as you. However, although the scale is a bit different, I'm doing the same things. Collecting information from different news agents around the world, getting specialists to analyse it, to find the truth beneath the surface level." Ukiya: "The truth eh." Kageyama: "Yes, to stop the evil hidden in everyday life. They still continue to procreate tenaciously, their movement." Ukiya: "In-va-der." The syllables came out of Ukiya's mouth one by one. (TN: Words, in the original, but that doesn't work in English) Kageyama followed on.

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

Kageyama: "Yes, the Invaders. In our society, we don't know when they started blending into our society, corroding it. You should know very well yourself. Like the intentions of Shinigami Shinshi, ever since the 70's, they've started to change, cunningly, strategically. They're different from before, you can perhaps even say that they're another face of humans. Or, humans who have revealed their true selves." Ukiya: "Those things actually dare call themselves humans" Ukiya took out a handful of sparkling little stones from his chest pocket. Kageyama: "It can't be, you?!" The moment he saw them, Kageyama's expression froze. The translucent, light green stones. All of them were about 5 cm in diameter. All of them had the same geometry, like slightly larger Kompeitos (a kind of candy). They were like snow crystals. Kageyama: "The core of Invaders, their crystals?" Kageyama made a noise like a moan. Ukiya held the crystals in his hand, but did not answer. Kageyama: "Of course I remember, I remember everything very clearly. After that incident, the Invaders underwent drastic changes. They weren't imitating people, yes, they became like living people the moment they were born. Eventually, no matter who became an invader, it wouldn't be a surprise anymore. Also, Invaders themselves have been secretly spreading amongst the human society." Kageyama: "Ukiya, you? You did this to the Invaders alone?" Ukiya: "Your subordinates, they didn't investigate this thoroughly?" Kageyama: "Ah, they don't spy on you 24/7." Ukiya: "One of them." Kageyama: "?!"

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

Ukiya: "There are Invaders amongst your subordinates." Kageyama: "How's that possible?" Ukiya: "He started changing while spying on me, but I don't know what caused him to change. I ran out of my house immediately and destroyed him." Kageyama: "Even so" Ukiya: "Don't believe me, eh?" Kageyama: "Yes, just like this thing about how you kept on fighting." Ukiya: "Kept on fighting?" Ukiya stood up slowly, he took out a cigarette and a lighter from his chest pocket. The cigarette was the main focus, the lighter was just a cheap one made of resin. Kageyama: "Picked up smoking?" Ukiya: "Just started recently." After lighting his cigarette, Ukiya blew out the first puff of smoke, enjoying it. The smoke dispersed with the wind blowing at the river bank.

Ukiya: "Kept on fighting? Don't even joke about it. It's just when they decide to appear in front of me. Or maybe, although I want to get rid of it, but I couldn't, the power of my Gate seems to summon them. The real problem is, if I'm not nearby, they might actually just live on with the faces of humans."

Kageyama: "You're right. The new species of invaders seem to only change into battle mode when they need to procreate or they sense the presence of their arch enemy, the Gate Keepers. Originally, the Invaders predominantly existed in cities, especially in Tokyo. If they just decide to live in a random place, then the chances of finding them would become very low, if that were the case..." Ukiya: "If that were the case, what would happen?" Kageyama: "You've already stepped into the fight there."

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

Ukiya: "I've already told you, Kageyama. I have no intention to continuing fighting. It's just that, I cannot not protect. When the fire comes, I've got to put it out, that's the only reason why I do it." Kageyama: "That thing, you know that's from the human itself, right?" Ukiya: "Yea." Kageyama: "The crystals you hold, they form the cores of Invaders. In other words, it's more appropriate to call them the souls of people. You chose to defeat them, and collect the cores." Kageyama: "Or, would it be better to just leave them?" Ukiya cracked a smile. A spine chilling smile. Kageyama's expression froze. Kageyama: "You've changed, Ukiya." Ukiya: "You said before." Ukiya: "Me?" Kageyama: "You've forgotten? What happened when we first met." Ukiya: "When we first met" Kageyama: "Yes, in second grade of high school, at the beginning of summer."

Kageyama thought back to the past. 1969, when he was still on the Invaders' side, when he was still the evil Gate Keeper. In order to destroy the Gate Keepers from the inside, he went to Tategami High School as arranged by Kaiser Kikai and Count Akuma. At that time, his first conversation with Ukiya.

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

Kageyama: "So hot." In some corner at school, Kageyama started a conversation with Ukiya, putting up a pleasant expression. Ukiya replied uncomfortably. Ukiya: "It's summer, it's only natural. Oh yea, you've been living overseas." Kageyama: "No, I'm talking about you." Ukiya: "Me?"

Kageyama: "Yes, very hot, hotter than the magma beneath the earth, hotter than the sun which burns in the sky." (TN: Sounds like some very cheesy pickup line in English, but he means hot more literally) Ukiya: "Just when I thought you actually had something to say." Ukiya turned to leave. But Kageyama kept talking to Ukiya who had his back to him, with the complete opposite tone. Kageyama: "The current you, is losing yourself." Ukiya: "What?" Kageyama: "You said before, bad guys, you have to exterminate them all." Kageyama: "Have you forgotten?" Kageyama: "But that kinda strong mindset, when you're contradicted, you will lose faith in yourself. Being lost is no good, being lost will lead to the worst possible outcome." Ukiya: "That's enough, stop it." Kageyama: "If you really want to protect something, you will do so even if you have to cover your hands with blood."

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

Ukiya: "I've said so already, stop it!"

A trip down memory lane.

Yes, at that moment, Kageyama said that to Ukiya. To the Ukiya who was at a low, it seemed to be like mockery. But to Kageyama, they were all honest words. If you really want to protect something, you will do so even if you have to cover your hands with blood, you need to stick to this belief. To Kageyama, who lost his parents and home as a kid, there was truth in that. However. Ukiya: "Although I've said that before, things are different now." Ukiya: "How about you?" Kageyama: "Me?" Ukiya: "Just now I already saw it. You are just like before, no, even sharper than before, the power of your Gate. Also, you are hiding powers which I do not know of." Kageyama did not reply, Ukiya continued. Ukiya: "Using that power to open a Gate, even if you can dodge it, no doubt the Invaders will come to you. What will you do then? Run away, or, while knowing that it'd be futile, beg for mercy? I think neither, no doubt you will open you Gate, and casually cut the invaders in half. Even while knowing they're actually humans." Kageyama remained silent. Ukiya continued talking. Ukiya: "I also plead guilty for it. To protect ones important to me, I also defeat human beings. I am just a Gate Keeper by coincidence, on a certain level, no, I am definitely killing people. Invaders are beings which are beyond the law so we can't sentence them, but they are also criminals who deserve capital punishment. Dammit. Using your words, I guess we'd call them scums."

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

Kageyama: "Yea, perhaps it's like that." Kageyama finally decided to start speaking. Kageyama: "I also took down tens of Invaders with these 2 hands this year. Last night, I sentenced an Invader to death in a back alley in Shinjuku." Ukiya's cigarette became pretty short. He spat the cigarette out and stepped on it to put the fire out. The cigarette butt was still glowing weakly, but Ukiya was not too concerned. Kageyama: "You've changed." Kageyama spoke with the exact same tone as before. This was obviously his true sentiment. After hearing this, Ukiya replied sounding irritated. Ukiya: "So, have you got matters with me? When I suddenly got your call, I was having noodles. Little did I know it was about gathering information about past comrades. I don't think you're planning to host a grand reunion." Kageyama: "Of course not." Ukiya: "Then what is it?" Kageyama: "Ok then, I'll cut to the chase. Just like Jim Skylark whom I mentioned just now, although AEGIS no longer exists, there are still many people in the world who are still fighting the Invaders. I want to start gathering and managing these people, develop an international communication network. Especially in Japan where their emergence rate is so high. I'd gather people who've undergone special training and form an illegal weapon organisation. On a certain level, we could say that it's an underground organisation for protecting the earth. For this, I need your power, Ukiya Shun." Kageyama's reply, was nice and concise.

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

4. The Warm Light "Dammit, do you know what this song is, sir? It's called something like 'Meow Meow group, the Little Kitten group.' Listen to it, something about removing sailor suits (lyrics), I say this duo, shows that there's no hope in this world anymore. Even such ridiculous lyrics can be trendy." The taxi was playing a very upbeat song on the radio. This song had been pretty controversial, even the driver was gesturing unhappily. (TN: Apparently this is a real group, I might have the name translated wrongly though. It's a notorious 'rebellious' group because of the vulgar terms used in their lyrics.)

But, this song, and what the driver was saying, Ukiya did not hear a single word. Kageyama: "Of course, I don't need your response right now, I've only started preparing. But, time is tight, ever since AEGIS was destroyed, lurking in the dark, the number of Invader transformations has only been increasing. We should strike them at their roots while the original invader is still dormant. The earlier the better." Ukiya: "You can foresee with your eye?" Kageyama: "Yes." Ukiya: "Gate of Foresight, mah. So you can know everything without actually doing anything. So say you do set up this organisation, can we really wipe out all Invaders from the world?" Kageyama: "To put it simply, my Gate of Foresight cannot actually analyse physical phenomena. I can only sense a vague blurry future, and extract the definite result from it. The future which can't be seen, there's nothing I can find out about it." Ukiya: "Ah, so 'future' as by definition, something in the dark. (TN: I guess it works in Japanese somehow.). But Kageyama, if that's the case, then what would happen if we just ignored it? If you can't foresee it, then everything we do would be futile. The possibilities of anything leading to the result are equally high." Kageyama: "It's because of that, because of what I can't foresee, despair as well as hope, coexist."

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

Ukiya: "What you said about me just now, applies to you." Kageyama: "?" Ukiya: "You said just now, that I've changed." Kageyama: "Is that so? Perhaps it is. Probably after going through the ordeal of time. But Ukiya, if we don't do anything, without question the future will be dominated by what we call 'despair'. Human interactions will become colder, traditional moral values will eventually fade out."

The dialogue with Kageyama kept on repeating in Ukiya's head. The taxi passed through Route 246. Just now Ukiya turned down Kageyama's offer to give him a lift home, and got a taxi instead. Actually, he was walking distance from home, but he just lacked the energy to walk.

Ukiya: Is it because I haven't opened my Gate for so long, or just mental fatigue? Why am I so tired? Taxi driver: "But, sir." The driver did not understand what Ukiya was thinking right now, he continued talking with his voice over the radio. Driver: "My daughter, she just got into secondary school, and she said she wanted to enter that Meow Meow group band. Definitely not possible. I worked so hard to raise her, and she tells me she wants to join that kinda band. Ever since she was born, I've wanted to raise her as a fair lady, spent loads of money on her piano classes. Lately, she doesn't talk much to me anymore. That's probably adolescence, having special thoughts about men." However, Ukiya was just staring at the retreating streetlights, mindlessly. Alongside the road, there was a chain of well lit family restaurants. A few years ago, there was not even a half decent one.

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Ukiya: --When I was still in primary school, the Ring 8 hadn't even been built, everywhere was paddy fields and forests. (Note: The Ring 8, Tokyo-to Road No. 311 Ring Road 8, as I've translated it. Goes from Haneda Airport in Tokyo-to to North Tokyo-to, not sure about the geography.) Ukiya: What am I doing thinking about this stuff? Driver: "but, sir?" Suddenly, the driver's voice interrupted. Ukiya who was not paying attention, replied with: "Eh?" Driver: "Nothing much, I was just asking, sir, are you still single?" What a random question, but it would be troublesome to not reply. Ukiya replied concisely: "No" Driver: "Eh You're so young, I was sure you'd be single." Ukiya: Not young, I'm already 33. Ukiya thought he was going to end the conversation by remaining silent, but the driver went on anyway. Driver: "Then, do you have children?" Responding was a mistake. But although he thought so, it was already too late. Probably because the driver was too bored, the driver asked these questions while he was controlling the steering wheel. Anyway, no matter for what reason, Ukiya felt obliged, so he replied sighing. Ukiya: "Yea, I have a daughter." Driver: "Ah a daughter, same as me. That's great. But, I'd suggest you not let her learn to play the piano or do ballet. She told me she wanted to learn, so I spent loads of money on her lessons, but she didn't learn anything. I told you already just now, to let her learn the piano, I bought her one, even though it's second hand. Of course it's not a grand piano. The brand is Yamaha. Not the motorbike Yamaha, the musical instrument. It was a box shaped piano, really small. But even so, it was so

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expensive my eyeballs popped out."

The driver continued. Fortunately, the crossroad near home was within sight now. Ukiya felt relieved (he could finally rid himself of this talkative driver), and said to the driver. Ukiya: "My daughter just became one not long ago. Anyway, you can just let me off at the traffic lights ahead."

Ukiya got off at the crossroads, and walked into a small path from the Route 246. Simple single storey houses arranged in a row, a quiet little path. -- Ah, still the same. Ahead where the streetlights shined, there were buildings in construction. Looking carefully, this placed has changed quite a lot from before. The timber houses have basically all disappeared. Outside Setagaya (a place), there was a narrow and winding road. During the war, although almost all the paddy fields were lost, the periphery was fortunate enough to not be affected by the bombing. Afterwards, to develop agriculture, they built roads, and the streets became very complicated. The main culprit was having construction come before urban planning. Around the house he grew up in, high rise buildings had been built. 15 years ago when Aoyama Dori (a famous road) had just been built, seldom did cars pass through at night. He thought back again. -- Aoyama Dori, eh?

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Before attending primary school, Ukiya lived near the Jingu Stadium. Now, near Aoyama Dori was luxurious constructions. Back then, there were only old houses on this quiet residential street. That was before 1960. Because of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, many of the residents had to be moved. The Aoyama Dori of that time symbolised the beginning of the Olympic Road. It was then when Ukiya moved to Setagaya. -- Humans, such stubborn creatures. Back then, he said something against his intentions and separated with the girl. Many years later, history repeated itself. Forgotten for so long, no, wanting to forget but only filling his head. Like when you open a bottle of beer after shaking it vigorously. The one who shook the bottle of memories of Kageyama. -- I have not forgotten, about Kageyama, or about myself, or, about her. Thinking carefully, how could I forget? After numerous times of putting my life on the line for her. What do I have to do to forget, Kageyama? Just before they parted ways, Kageyama told Ukiya.

Kageyama: "Sorry for bothering, I'll call you again some other time, have a good think about it. Oh, by the way, Ikusawa Ruriko, still remember her?" Ukiya: "Yea." Kageyama: "A few days ago, I received information about her, wanna hear it?" Ukiya: "No." Kageyama: "Ok, I won't say anything then." The awoken memories, the past he did not want to remember.

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On this quiet path, there were numerous little lamps, every lamp, was like a part of a past memory. -- A lot of things had happened in the past, but it's all in the past, there was nothing that needed longing for anymore. The me now, just needs to think about how to protect that little bit of happiness, I am a selfish person. Just as he said, I've already found my little bit of happiness. On the other side of the dark path, there was a little house with the door lamps on, like little glittering stars. It was a newly built house, the white walls lit up by the door lamp. -- See, Kageyama, quite nice right? Just finished construction last year. I borrowed money from the bank, and even mortgaged the land for it. With my current monthly wages, by the time I pay my debts off, I'd probably have grandchildren by then. He took a key out from his pocket, and inserted it into the keyhole. not long after. *Click*. The sound of the door opening came from the inside, and slowly the door opened. Inside, was a woman holding a baby, with a warm smile. Woman: "You're back, honey." The woman said to Ukiya. Ukiya replied. Ukiya: "I'm back, Youko, and..." Reaching out with his right hand, he touched the baby's head. Light and soft, the feeling of the soft and tender hair. Ukiya: "I'm back, Ayane."

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The child who was being touched, made a sound and laughed.

Chapter 2: May 1970 5. The Gap between the Stable Times "Ah. It will be sunny today. It will be sunny today. Ah, yes, it will be alright, please turn." *Click*. The cassette tape started turning. "This is a Code A emergency evacuation warning. This is a Code A emergency evacuation warning. Using the remaining electricity, now, the escape car UP15-13079 will rise to the emergency exit. After the elevator rises, the Far East branch will be forever closed off by the separation wall. All members please evacuate the base immediately. I repeat, all members please evacuate the base immediately. I wish you all good luck." The notch on top of the cassette tape, the needle used to determine the tape type, stopped. Ochiai Keiko: "Is this really OK?" AEGIS Far East branch, the commander room. Ochiai Keiko (the secretary) kept asking the tall man standing behind her. Commander: "Yes, thanks for your hard work. That's fine, please give it to me after you've finished editing it." The tall man who replied was Tokiwatari Tetsuya, the commander of the AEGIS Far East branch. Ochiai: "But" Ochiai tilted her head, her long pony tail moved a bit. Ochiai: "Is this tape really necessary? The defense system of the base has been fortified, Invader activity level has dropped all over the world since February." Commander: "There's no need to worry."

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Tokiwatari smiled understandingly, he fixed the position of his glasses a bit, and continued. Commander: "It's always better to be prepared, just in case. No, for the one in a billion situation. Even though Invader activity is really quiet now, they have not been completely exterminated. Always think of contingency plans, being well prepared to deal with the worst case is our job. We have to do our job even if people mock us for being paranoid." Ochiai: "Is this really OK?" Commander: "What are you concerned about?" Ochiai: "Last week, the result of the meeting at the New York headquarters about the earth defense strategy" Commander: "That?" Ochiai: "That, is it really OK?" After the Second World War, AEGIS, the earth defense organisation set up to battle the ever increasing Invaders, played the role of the 'Underground United Nations'. Participating countries, and available opportunities, were exactly the same as the United Nations. Because of this, beneath the New York United Nations Headquarters, was the huge AEGIS headquarters. No, perhaps it could be called the other face of the United Nations. Anyway, just like the United Nation meetings, representatives of the AEGIS' key locations regularly held meetings to discuss strategies to battle Invaders. At the AEGIS Far East branch, the secretary of the commander, Ochiai Keiko basically knew about the meeting agenda, except a few classified items. Keiko: "Why now, would they cut down the number of AEGIS members over the world? Because of this plan, there are some branches which shrank in scale." Commander: "It can't be helped. It's the decision made at the meeting. Besides me, many of the commanders of other branches agreed to the cut. And actually, the evil Gate Keeper with the code name 'Shadow', Kageyama Reiji, was defeated, original invaders Dimension Maou (TN: Maou translates to 'demon king'), Kaiser Kikai and Count Akuma were killed. Invader activity over the world has decreased drastically."

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Ochiai: "Even so, but according to the AEGIS Intelligence Agency's investigation, the original Invaders" Commander: "Yes, the guys we call the 'cadres'." Ochiai: "Yes, the cadres, there are 8 of them in total. But only 3 of them have been destroyed" Commander: "That's only a rumour. Also, before AEGIS had been official established, there had been cadres killed by Gate Keepers. Investigation shows that although their core crystals had not been destroyed, and they are original Invaders who can keep resurrecting, the resurrection process takes a really long time. The immediate crisis has already passed." All along, the Invaders had been perceived as Invaders from outer space, but further investigation suggested that during Medieval times, the Gate Keepers summoned what resembled life forms. From the Gate, appeared 8 bodies assuming human form, the original Invaders.

Two of them, Kaiser Kikai and Count Akuma were defeated by the AEGIS Far East branch Gate Keepers. The other one, Dimension Maou, was defeated by the Gate Keepers guerilla squad led by Jim Skylark, even his crystal was destroyed. As a matter of fact, there was no longer immediate danger. The conclusion reached by the AEGIS HQ meeting was based on these facts. But. Commander: "Ochiai-kun, I understand what you are trying to say." Tokiwatari held the armrest of his chair with his right hand, groomed his beard with his left, and continued. Commander: "I already said just now, be prepared for the worst, that's our job. In other words, AEGIS has not been disbanded. This has only surfaced in a few countries, but after the Second World War, alongside the rapid development, the developed countries are starting to pay attention to the rapid destruction of the environment, pollution." Ochiai: "Pollution?" Commander: "Pollution is, for example, deforestation, chemical waste from factories, and the likes. Bad influences from activities of the human society."

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The world could finally take a breath from the heated rapid economic growth. It could be said as the reaction force of the long time growth, or the sudden emergence of the problem of pollution, covered widely by the media. Of course, that does not mean pollution did not exist before. Like the mine poisoning incidents, those date back to the Meiji period. But with development prioritised, the impact on the environment and people had been completely neglected. The time when the problems of pollution became hot topics, would be next year, in 1971. Tokiwatari continued. Commander: "AEGIS requires a vast amount of operation costs annually. Every country needs to gather this amount behind the government's back. It's about time they've reached their limits. By downsizing AEGIS, the money could be used to fight pollution. In a way, this is also protecting the earth." Ochiai: "But" Ochiai replied with her head down. The topic died for a while. *Click click*. The sound of the super computer operating in the commander room could be heard. After a while. Ochiai: "On the pavement, the scum littering as if it were nothing. Leaded oil being used like tap water (i.e. in large amounts), scums emitting exhaust gas. Ochiai spoke with her head down, so quietly it could just barely be heard. Ochiai: "It's alright now, but 10 years later, 20 years later, 30 years later. Because of these scums, the world will be turned upside down." Upon finishing, Ochiai raised her head. Commander: "Before, Kageyama said that when being broadcasted on TV."

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Ochiai: "Yes, I remember" Ochiai: "Before being taken over by evil, and becoming an evil Gate Keeper, he could see the future, with his Gate of Foresight." Commander: "Yes." Ochiai: "He.." Commander: "Ochiai-kun." Ochiai, as if she had just regained her senses, raised her head, panicking. Ochiai: "Ah, sorry. If I used such an arrogant tone to speak to you, commander." Commander: "That's alright." The commander nodded and smiled. Commander: "But, this thing about the Gate Keepers team disbanding, be careful not to let Ukiya and the guys know. At the right moment, I will tell announce to them myself." Ochiai: "Understood, AEGIS." (TN: AEGIS = Roger?) Ochiai almost seemed like she sprung up from her chair, and did the V-shaped AEGIS salute.

On the same day, at the same time. On the playground of Tategami High School, which was directly above the AEGIS Far East branch. After school, you could hear the voices of students participating in club activities coming from the corridors, 4 students stood there talking. Ukiya: "Reiko came to school to visit again?"

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The one who had this special voice was the young Ukiya Shun. He had his sleeves rolled up to near his elbow, wearing racer gloves, these were the features of the young Ukiya Shun. Ruriko: "Look, the 3rd year classroom we're at right now is for class A. Before this, Reiko was also in this classroom, oh the memories. Looking around, I think the others are messing around in the underground base." The one who replied was, Ikusawa Ruriko, with her long chestnut coloured brown hair, and a ribbon which was uncommonly large at that time. Ukiya: "Yes, good times indeed, but we've only graduated for a month, it's not like we need to come back to visit just yet." Ruriko: "Yea, but, I think coming back to school to visit is just an excuse. I think out of habit, you came to school as normal, that's the actual reason." Ukiya: "No way." Ruriko: "Yes, you're holding your school bag, and also wearing your uniform." Bancho: "This is really shocking! But don't misunderstand because of the trauma." The one shouting was Bancho Choutarou, the neglected Bancho. Ruriko: "This is really like the typical Reiko. Always airheaded, and even wearing her uniform. Miss Ono (Reiko's butler) must be lost for words from the surprise." And the last one of the 4, was the short-haired Konoe Kaoru. Ukiya: "But Reiko-san failed her university entrance exams right? Shouldn't she be going to tutoring sessions?"

Ruriko: "Yea, she's got private tuition at home, so she should be even busier." Ukiya: "Ah, private home tutor. The place which failed her was a music college, didn't she apply just for learning to play the piano?"

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Ruriko: "It's not like that. Her actual piano skills have been great from the beginning. Even the rector, who was the examiner, cried after hearing. But, her other subjects" After Ruriko's explanation, the other three said in unison "Ah." Bancho: "This is also like the typical Reiko." The Reiko they were talking about, is the one who frequented Tategami High School since March, one of the Gate Keepers, Asagiri Reiko. Kaoru: "But, when Asagiri-senpai keeps coming back, she will keep thinking about the happy times over the past year." Just feels like it's become kinda lonesome, Kaoru said softly. Ukiya: "Yea, after the last battle, Fei Ling was summoned back to China by the Beijing branch. Commander made Reiko-san a part-time member. Now, the only Gate Keepers left are me, Kaoru and Rurippe" Then, Ruriko and Bancho yelled at the same time. Ruriko: "How many times have I said, we're already 3rd year students, don't call me a sniveler anymore!" Bancho: "What are you saying, Ukiya? Why are you not counting the Gate Keeper with the Gate of Disintegration, me?" Like having two loud speakers on either side, it shocked his eardrums. Ukiya could not help but retreat. Then, using a line from a popular gag manga 'Ah, a nosebleed---!", he changed the subject. Everyone laughed. The calm air was flowing. But, softly also, Ruriko whispered. Ruriko: "But, that is the truth." (Referring to there being fewer members, the lonesome feeling)

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Ruriko looked up to the sky and continued. Ruriko: "After that battle, Megumi also disappeared" Ukiya: "Yea true" The warm and gentle Ukiya, became like an ice cold solid unexpectedly. Ukiya: "I checked out Megumi's shop, she wasn't there." Ruriko: "Ah, the ramen shop at the shopping street. What did they say?"

Ukiya: "Dotetsu Ken (TN: Should be the name of the ramen shop, I guessed the romaji from the kanji, could be wrong, literally means Iron Bone Shop). Megumi's father told me reluctantly, it seems like they had one phone conversation, she said she has to go to a place far away and don't look for her." Ruriko: "A place far away?" Ukiya: "I don't know, but, Kageyama did such a thing to her." (Referring to the anime finale) Ruriko: "She'd be better off not being a Gate Keeper." Ukiya: "Yea, that way, she could be like everyone else, and just forget that incident." Ruriko: "It was a huge incident back then. Reiko-san played the piano for a whole day." February 6th, after resolving the incident of Kageyama Reiji taking over the National Diet (the Japanese Government), the AEGIS Headquarters gave instructions to undergo mass memory erasing. They used Asagiri Reiko's Gate of Illusion over television, radios, loudspeakers, broadcasting cars and other devices which could transmit sound. Hence, the majority of the Japanese citizens forgot about the whole incident of the National Conference Hall takeover, except a minority with very strong will power, and the people involved. Bancho: "There's something else I want to ask, princess Ruriko." Bancho said unhappily, and took a step forward to talk.

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Bancho: "Don't let him (Kageyama) call us 'scums' anymore. Same applies to Kurogane. It's all because they were on the Invaders' side, we almost lost our lives. If it wasn't for our Ukiya, Japan might be Kageyama's already, don't sympathise for them." Ruriko: "Wait, Bancho!" Kaoru, who was beside him, elbowed Bancho.

Bancho: "It's all Kageyama's fault. Kurogane's even worse, put simply, she betrayed her comrades, us. She secretly went to Kageyama's side, and even took princess Ruriko away. She is an evil woman." Kaoru: "That's enough, don't talk about it anymore, Bancho. It's all in the past now." Bancho: "Princess Kaoru? I just can't forgive evil women." Ruriko: "Indeed, an evil woman." Ruriko said, sighing. "Ikusawa-senpai?" Kaoru's eyes widen from the shock. Ruriko: "The evil one isn't Megumi, it's me." Bancho: "Princess Ruriko, you?" Ruriko: "I could still remember clearly what happened when Megumi took me away. Her Gate of Walls was reversed by her negative emotions, yes, to become the Gate of Invasion. When she invaded my heart. At that time, because it was so painful, I know. The me at that time only thought about myself, I didn't consider the thoughts of people around me at all." Bancho: "Then, that evil Kurogane Megumi" Ruriko: "Yes, the same as me. She's the same as me. I had the mentality I just mentioned all along. And I didn't understand her, I just saw her on a surface level. If I had become friendly with her, then I might have been able to relieve her of her troubles at an early stage." Bancho: "That that's just your deduction!"

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Ruriko: "Perhaps. But, it's very unbelievable, she just disappeared in front of us, I just can't help being concerned about her." Kaoru: "Yea... We're all members of the Gate Keepers, but I've always felt that it was just difficult to talk to Kurogane." Kaoru looked down at her feet silently. The ambience became silent. Bancho: "Princess Kaoru." Bancho tried desperately to relieve the mood, he shook Ukiya's shoulders violently. Bancho: "Hey, hey Ukiya. Let's put Kurogane's case aside for now! The last battle you fought back then was truly amazing! My counter attack against Spigon (the dog Bancho destroyed with his Gate), I think that battle was comparable to yours. Your dad created the Gate Robo, that's also awesome! Hey, how's that right now?! It's been over a month, should be about time, Specs should've fixed it by now! I'm really looking forward to test driving it!" Ukiya: "There's no more Gate Robo." Bancho: "Yes! No more! What inspiring news. What what did you just say?!" Ukiya: "You just said something, Bancho? My Gate Robo was only a prototype, don't want to invest too much in it. Rather than repairing, abandoning it would be more appropriate." Bancho: "?!" (TN: Haha, I wonder what sound that is.) Ukiya: "We only kept the engine for research purposes, but we ended up installing it in the Yota-hachi." (Yota-hachi was the Gate Engine powered car) Bancho: "How how about the Gate Robo? My own mecha?"

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Ukiya: "The original plan was to ship here the mass produced model which Jim and co pilot. But as you can see, recently Invader activity has been quiet. So, they said they're gonna be delivering them a bit later than planned..." Bancho: "How how did it become like that" Ukiya: "Almost everyone's memories have been erased, the Gate Robo we fought with is no longer here. Now I feel like all the incidents before the National Conference Hall incident are just like dreams to me." Perhaps influenced by Ruriko, Ukiya also said rather depressing things. Bancho had a sulky face, screaming "My my Gate Robo!" But behind those words, there was one thing Ukiya could not forget. -- Kageyama Even if he didn't think about it, it was deeply engraved in his brain. Whenever he closed his eyes, he would remember clearly. The huge black hole created when the large number of Invaders were destroyed. Perhaps, it was the same thing as a negative Gate. But, when Ukiya was about to be devoured by it, he was kicked out. The expression Kageyama had the moment he fell in, was a mysterious smile, not mocking, not endearing either, and of course, not self-deprecating either. What did that smile mean? -- Kageyama Reiji. Were you devoured by the black hole? Or After those thoughts, he looked at the expression of Ruriko who was standing next to him. Perhaps subconsciously, he gave her a warm smile. The smile was different from Kageyama's, it was a smile out of loving feelings.

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It was, a place no one knew of. Black, shrouded in darkness. There were people talking there. "Hoohoo, then, let's begin." (TN: Hoohoo is some kind of strange laughing noise) "Ah, although we've always been troubled by it, now we have no choice but to do it. Ever since ancient times we've dealt with them, we're almost like brothers. Although they won't seek revenge like humans, but we still need to draw the line with them." The sounds came from two people. One sounded like a young little girl, the other one, although he also sounded rather young, but it definitely was not the voice of an infant. In the darkness, the conversation continued. "Speaking of which, you really thought of everything. Can't believe you actually found 'them', no one knew where they were. And when did you start getting close with people?" "Hoohoo, this is a real problem. Although they're very strong in terms of ability, but they are nothing compared to us when it comes to intelligence." "It's better if you don't say that, we still have brothers on their side." "Ah. My apologies. Humans have comrades, but we also do." "Really? Mah, something like that." "But seriously, what a surprise, you actually gave me a promise." "Ah really? No, I feel surprised myself. Don't know whether I could call myself lucky, but because of my inherent abilities, even my own kind dislikes me. Speaking of which, especially the Count and Kaiser, they hate me. We work so hard to grow our food, but you, all the food we grew with heart, you ruined it all."

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"Ah ah Such words of wisdom." "Don't laugh at me." "Sorry, but, you will avenge the Kaiser and Count. Hoohoo. Isn't this dramatic? Somehow it seems like a very interesting show." "In the human mentality, this isn't despicable." Suddenly, the man thought of something. "Then, what is your agenda?" "Agenda?" "Stop pretending. Going through all this trouble to do this. Although the organisation was created by the lowly humans, but the scale of the organisation is very large. This will undoubtedly affect our fate. What is the reason for you doing this?" "Yes, um, simply speaking, I want to find a friend." "Friend?" "There's someone I like. Ever since a long time ago, speaking my heart to that child, I want to create a time for us to talk." "Ha?! Ah haha! Just for that, you're doing this?" "Is it very strange?" "No, very good, like what a human would do. A long time ago I also lived in human form for a long time. But, I didn't manage to do it, yea, I mean to make friends. So that's it. On the contrary, after hearing what you said, I feel relieved. Just like Shadow, you don't have a weird wild ambition." "Ah, him! (Referring to Kageyama)"

"The Kaiser and Count are both stupid. They trusted humans, and gave him power. In the end, they

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were just being used."

"It's no problem, the Kaiser and Count are just resting in their cribs, they will wake up soon enough." "That's for sure. As long as the core, within which our soul lies, doesn't disappear, we're immortal. The worst case is like Maou (Dimension Maou), unlucky fellow, he lost his soul." "The ones in conflict, are the Invaders and Gate Keepers." "So I've said so from the very beginning." "Eh?" "As I've said, we have to draw the line. Someone made a brother cry, the person must now be punished. The human world, it's like that." "Hoohoohoo. Yes. It's like that. You've come to understand humans pretty well." "Thanks for the compliment. Now, talk time is over. It's time to get going, we have to make many preparations." "Understood. All is fine on my end. Tonight, I will let them take action." "Isn't it very far?" "No problem, have you forgotten about my abilities?" "Ah yes, right. So, I'll see you in a bit then." That was the last signal, the two people who were talking disappeared at the same time. What the two were talking about, at this point we did not know whether it was for better or worse. The only thing for certain was that they could assume human form. The young little girl's body was mainly transparent, very thin, wearing a thin and light silk-like dress. The man wore a brown old-fashioned, but prestigious, suit.

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They both, had very strange names. Ghost Girl and Shinigami Shinshi. (TN: I never worked out how this little incident ties in with the rest of the story, who the 'brothers' mentioned here were)

6. The Shinigami's Visit Saemi: "A while ago, Miyaku, A-chan and I were teaching Yukino how to skip. But Yukino always wears a kimono, so she always tripped over her clothes, she didn't skip too well." (TN: Miyaku and A-chan, I'm just guessing how to translate their names. They never appeared in the anime, should just be Saemi's friends) Weekend. Saturday 7pm. Ukiya's mother, Masako, was with Ukiya's sister, Saemi. As per usual, Ukiya had dinner in this noisy but harmonious atmosphere. After spring, along with the decline in Invader activity, Ukiya could spend the weekend at home in Setagaya instead of his dorm near Tategami High for a change. Once a week, her brother came home. Saemi was very happy, she could not keep herself from talking to her brother. Saemi: "That time, you said you'd give Yukino my clothes which I no longer fit in. Just last year, didn't I grow by 5cm? There should have a lot of those clothes now. But upon hearing that, Yukino, for some reason, appeared very lonely. She even said, Saemi you're so lucky, you've grown." At this point, the rice in Saemi's mouth flew towards Ukiya. He could not help but frown. Ukiya: "Saemi, are you eating or talking?" Saemi: "Ok I know!" Ukiya: "Saemi."

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Saemi: "What?" Ukiya: "Do you play with Yukino a lot?" Saemi: "Yea, about a week ago, Yukino suddenly visited a lot. She always says she'll come again, but couldn't confirm a time. Also, when I ask her where she's going, she would never tell. Although, I heard she lives near your school. But, why did you suddenly ask me this?" Ukiya: "Ah, nothing much. Just wanted to ask whether Yukino has fun with you." Saemi: "To be honest, at first I was a bit scared. Happy, or unhappy, I couldn't quite tell. Every time, she didn't talk too much. But recently, when we were playing Cat's Cradle (a game with a string), I wasn't really good at it and messed up, at that time Yukino had a slight smile." Ukiya: "Ah is that so." Houjou Yukino, a Gate Keeper like Ukiya. But 800 years ago, something tragic happened to her, and time froze for her. Ever since, she has kept her 11 year old body, living alone in the world. -- Great. Yukino finally met a friend of a similar age. Although it's my capricious sister, Yukino seems happy, so it's all good. Thinking those thoughts to himself, Ukiya aimed his chopsticks at the fried chicken on the plate. Saemi: "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!" Masako: "What?" Saemi: "Brother stole my fried chicken!" Ukiya: "What do you mean stole? The fried chicken is on the plate, it doesn't belong to anyone." Saemi: "No. There are 12 pieces in total, 4 each! You're on your 5th!" Ukiya: "Ah fine, I'll give it back to you." Then, Saemi took huge bites to show Ukiya she was eating the fried chicken.

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Masako: "You two, quit arguing, seriously!" Masako: "The fried chicken, you two can take my share." Saemi: "But, then you wouldn't have any, mum." Masako: "It doesn't matter. Anyway, I have something to say to you, Saemi." Saemi: "What is it?" Masako: "I feel sorry for Yukino, she's always wearing the same kimono. Next time she comes, I'll take her measurements and make her a new kimono. Yukino keeps you company, I'll treat this as a gift to return her favour." Saemi: "Really?!" Ukiya: "Wah! Saemi you're spitting rice at me again." Saemi: "Seriously, brother you're really annoying saying all this stuff!" Looking at the two arguing, Masako smiled from the bottom of her heart. Their father's photo seemed to also smile. At that time. There was a chirping noise, sounding like a cricket, but it was obviously an artificial sound. Saemi: "What's that noise?" Ukiya: "Not good, it's my watch." Ukiya hurried to get up to pick up his watch from the table beside the window. Ukiya: "!" Looking at the watch, Ukiya's smile faded.

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Ukiya: "This is?" This was clearly abnormal. All three hands were pointing at 10 O'clock, the three hands were on top of one another. On a normal watch, this was an impossible combination. -- It was a top level emergency assembly call! The watch Ukiya was holding was from AEGIS, a special watch with communication capabilities. But the watch was not making any sounds (no one was calling), just a soft digital sound and a message conveyed by the watch hands. This mode of communication was preset for situations where there is interference and calls are not possible. Compressing a very strong signal and transmitting it in an instant. Upon receiving the signal, the watch will deliver the alert as preset. Similar to a pager, which came long before mobile phones, it could reach places where it was difficult for radio waves to reach. But. -- Although he knows of this function, he has never seen it before! So, Ukiya did have a reason to panic. As a matter of fact, AEGIS has never used this function since setting it. In other words, this was proof that the situation was unprecedented. Saemi: "Ah you set an alarm on your watch?" His little sister Saemi took a peek at the watch, Ukiya hurried to stop her. Ukiya: "It's none of your business, don't look." A very strong sentence. Saemi tried to control her tone, and took a step back. Soon her eyes began to water, she screamed like she was about to cry. Saemi: "What! Brother! I just wanted to look at your watch, did you have to get this angry? Stupid! Brother is a stupid idiot!" Ukiya woke up and came to his senses.

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This was an unprecedented emergency situation. Under the influence, he unknowingly shouted at his sister for peeking. Also, he was worried that if his sister saw it, she would be dragged into this. He had all these thoughts. Looking at his 11 year old sister who was about to cry, he rushed to explain. Ukiya: "S sorry. I borrowed this watch from a friend. So ah yes, I said I'd return it to him today. So, I must take a trip to school now." Saemi: "Going now? It's already night time." Ukiya: "Can't be helped, it's a promise between guys." Saemi: "I refuse! You said after dinner, you were gonna play baseball pinball (a pinball game with a baseball theme) with me. Brother, you said that. So I borrowed it from Takeshi (Ikeda Takeshi, the one who broke the hair accessory Ukiya gave to Saemi in episode 20). Look, it even comes with the magic ball!" Ukiya: "Sorry." Apologetically, he patted her head softly. Ukiya: "Hoo hoo hoo! You aren't a kitten anymore! (In TV episode 1, Saemi said 'don't treat me like a kitten anymore')" "Don't say that anymore." Saemi looked happy. Ukiya gave a relieved smile, and turned to walk towards his mother Masako. Ukiya: "Mum, I'm sorry." Masako: "No problem, it's an important promise with a friend, go."

We do

not know if she knows that her son is a member of the earth defense organisation AEGIS.

Masako looked very gentle. But, that gentleness would seep through his back and Ukiya would feel restless about whether he could make it back. However, Ukiya is capable of overcoming the restlessness and fear, that was how he could take up the role as Captain of the Gate Keepers and fight

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to the end.

Ukiya: "Then, I'm going out now!" A very normal thing to say, but here it also contained Ukiya's strong resolve!

The annoying alarm just kept on sounding. The red visual alarm made the Far East branch commander room seem like a dark room for developing photographs. Operator: "Connection to the New York headquarters is cut! Could not connect to satellite communication lines either!" Operator: "Wired communication via seabed cables also not responding." Operator: "London branch, Parisian branch, all communication networks cut, no responses at all!" Operator: "Same for Moscow, Calcutta and Beijing branches!" Operator: "Cannot connect to the data in the super computer! Attempting to connect to emergency use ARPANET, but just like with other branches, we are getting no responses." (ARPANET Short for Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, developed by the United States Department of Defense. It's a real network, you can look it up.)

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The operators sat in a row, reporting one after another. Even in critical situations, they were trained to not be emotional, and calmly report the factual truth, but what happened to cause them to be moved like this? Ochiai: "Commander, if it goes on like this, the Far East branch will be completely isolated." Ochiai cast her eyes on the commanding Tokiwatari behind her, who was evidently worried. Yes. The independent real-time communications network connecting all the branches of AEGIS was crumbling. To AEGIS, which was formed to protect the world from the Invaders, this situation was equivalent to being blind folded, with their ears plugged and arms and legs tied up. It was like having an enemy right in front of them, holding a weapon, ready to strike, yet they could not feel his presence at all. To the earth defense organisation AEGIS, this was the same as stopping all their functions. In the centre of the commander room, the images and data displayed on the multi-purpose digital screen disappeared one by one. There were black pixels appearing all over the place, like a broken crossword puzzle. Ochiai: "So this is caused by the strong interference waves from the Invaders?" Commander: "No. The communication network using the seabed cables is also cut off. Even if there were an accident, having so many cables cut off at the same time, it cannot happen, it's better to think that way. If that's the case" Ochiai: "Then the remaining possibility is?" Commander: "No, what's more important is, how are we doing gathering the Gate Keepers?" Ochiai: "As you've instructed, we have sent out the top level emergency assembly signal. Having done that, even if there's a bit of interference, we should be able to reach them. But Captain Ukiya is still at home in Youga" (Youga: A place in Setagaya) While reporting. The black squares have completely filled all the screens.

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Nothing could be displayed anymore. The multi-purpose screens could not even display a number, and became black panes. All external data have been cut off. Commander: "Geh" Even Tokiwatari was making a painful sound from his throat. Operator: "Headquarters and all branches, communications have been completely cut off." One of the operators reported softly. At this moment, silence had taken over the commander room. Everyone was covering their own mouths. At this moment. Ring ring, ring ring. A weak sound pierced the silence. Commander: "What is it?" One of the operators answered confusedly. Operator: "It's it's not possible. The phone in this commander room is" Commander: "Phone?!" Operator: "Yes, it's an overseas call, the line is a normal telephone line." An unexpected blind spot. All the secret AEGIS communication links have been cut off, but the normal telephone line could still be used. But, even so, who was this person who knew the number of the earth defense organisation no normal person would know?

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Commander: "Where are you calling from?!" Jim: "I'm calling from New York." Jim: "Quick, connect me! Connect me to the loudspeaker!" Operator: "But, but, this is unencrypted and unsecured. It's just a normal telephone line, it's against the rules?!" Jim: "Don't worry about that, connect me! Quick!" Operator: "Understood." After not long, a muffled sound could be heard in the commander room. Afterwards, they could hear a stuttery sound of a man's voice. Jim: "AEGIS Far East branch, can you hear me? This is Jim, Jim Skylark." Commander: "Oh, it's you, Jim!" The sound came from Jim Skylark, from the AEGIS London branch, the one who fought around the world as part of the guerilla squad, using his Gate of Supersonic. Jim: "This voice, it's commander Tokiwatari, right?" Commander: "Jim, please tell me the situation. What happened at the New York headquarters?" Jim: "Unfortunately the remaining cadres" Skylark's voice was disrupted by what sounded like abrasive paper being rubbed together. It was noise, most likely due to the unstable connection. Commander: "Jim, what?"

Jim: "Headquarters has been completely Also the intrusion Jun Thunders (Gate of Lightning) and Sakimori Misao (Gate of Perception) have already the supreme commander has also

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Invaders"

The noise was worsening. It was getting more and more difficult to hear Jim's voice. Commander: "Jim! What about the Invaders?! The New York headquarters? What happened to the AEGIS supreme commander?!" Jim: "This side has already be careful" *Click* His voice was cut off, along with the noise. *beep beep beep* What was left was just the emotionless signal sound. Ochiai: "Was that call from Jim? What happened?" Ochiai asked. Tokiwatari squinted his eyes a bit, and replied. Commander: "There's one thing we're certain of, starting with the headquarters, and all the AEGIS branches, the reason for the communication being cut off, is not because of the network failing." Ochiai: "What is it then?" Commander: "It's very simple actually. The headquarters as well as the other branches have been taken over by the enemy." Ochiai: "How is that possible? It's impossible. The branches spread across the world, how could they be taken over at the same time? Moreover, the New York headquarters should be no problem at all, they have the strongest defense system. And also, it's..." Commander: "So, there's no point now. Although we're still considering possibilities, from Jim's call just now, we know it's a large scale counter attack by the Invaders."

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Ochiai: "Even so, the branches over the world, each equipped with the newest weapons, being taken over at the same time? It doesn't make sense. Each branch should have at least one Gate Keeper." Tokiwatari did not reply, he just crossed his arms. At that moment. Ochiai: "What happened, commander?"

In the commander room, from the Gate Keepers exclusive elevator, there appeared Ikusawa Ruriko. After receiving the emergency assembly call, she rushed to the Far East branch. Ochiai: "Ikusawa!" Ochiai's expression became better instantly. Although not all the members have arrived, but their trump card against the Invaders, a Gate Keeper, has arrived. This relieved a part of the restlessness. Commander: "Right on time Ikusawa-kun. After a while, Ukiya-kun, Konoe-kun and Bancho-kun should be arriving soon. Before that, I think I should explain to you the situation. Just now our communication with the AEGIS New York headquarters was cut off." Ruriko: "Headquarters?"

Commander: "Although this is only our guess, but I'm afraid the New York headquarters has already" Just when Ochiai was about to tell her their guess, unexpectedly at the moment *Crackle* There was a faint sound of electricity. This was not communication from the outside. This was limited to internal communications within the Far East branch, the emergency communication device. Sound from the loudspeaker followed. AEGIS member: "This is the Launch Control Room. Do you read me, commander room?" Commander: "This is Tokiwatari. Did something happen?"

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AEGIS member: "Yes. We don't know what it is, but something is heading towards exit 5, it is already very near." Exit 5 was where large vehicles such as the AEGIS bus was deployed. With a large scale elevator, it connected the Far East branch directly to ground level, the entrance was directly below the Tategami High sports hall. Whenever they deployed vehicles, the sports hall would slide to give way to a secret exit. So what the member was reporting, was that something was approaching the Tategami High sports hall. Right now they did not know who it was, and there was nothing suspicious going on at the sports hall, but. AEGIS member: "The surveillance camera is confirming, but it's not a student nor teacher from Tategami High, not a resident from nearby either. What do we do?" This was a completely different situation from normal. They had lost communication with the New York headquarters, it was a situation of crisis. Commander: "Quickly confirm!" AEGIS member: "Please wait a moment. No. Using the infrared filter, we can just about make it out. Looks like a male in a suit. No strange waves coming from him, doesn't look like an Invader" All of a sudden, the sound was cut off. That had already re-checked the lines thoroughly. Under Tokiwatari (in terms of the hierarchy), everyone in the commander room was waiting for the next line to come. But, after a long time, no follow up report came. An impatient female operator rushed to the operation panel and spoke to the microphone. Operator: "Launch Control Room, what happened? Please continue reporting." AEGIS member: "Ahh why is it like this?" Operator: "We can't hear you clearly, did something happen?!" AEGIS member: "Very strange my energy all the other members everyone"

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The sound came with a strange noise. This was not a signal problem. The voice was like the panting of a dog after running around in the yard. Yes, it was caused by the member having problems breathing, that was what cut it off. AEGIS member: "Everyone" The conversation was cut off. The phone line was still connected. Through the microphone, the sound of machinery operating could still be faintly heard. Then, what just happened? Ruriko: "Commander, I'll go check out the Launch Control Room."

Ikusawa Ruriko moved swiftly. She took out the foldable bow and arrow from the bracket strapped to her thigh. It was Ruriko's unique weapon against the Invaders, developed by the AEGIS R&D team. The non-offensive Gate of Life would concentrate the energy at the tip of the arrow and release the energy upon hitting the target. It was a weapon only for fighting against Invaders. -- Ukiya, Kaoru and Bancho aren't here. So I must fight hard. Ruriko thought to herself, and ran towards the elevator which was connected to the outside. But. Commander: "You cannot go." Suddenly, Tokiwatari stopped her. As if suddenly tied down by an invisible rope, Ruriko froze in surprise. Is there a problem? Before Ruriko could ask the commander, Tokiwatari spoke. Commander: "Final War System!" Once he said that, everyone in the commander room looked shocked.

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Commander: "From now on, the AEGIS Far East branch will be completely cut off from the outside. We will now employ the Final War System for a long term war to defend our base. All members shall move swiftly to the designated refuge areas. After the migration, apart from a small proportion, all separation walls shall be sealed off. This is not a drill." Ruriko: "Commander, what is this?!" Ruriko asked Tokiwatari. Final War System. That was designed for a nuclear war above ground, without doubt that was the last resort for the worst case scenario. Ruriko: "This is not a nuclear war! Even if there are Invaders invading, as long as they're not cadre level, my special bow and arrow should be enough to fend them off." Commander: "No, no!" Ruriko: "Why?" Commander: "I cannot let you go to such a dangerous place! From now on, we must make optimum use of your powers. Yes, if that guy shows up, he's more dangerous than nuclear weapons." Ruriko: "That guy?"

Commander: "Everything is clear now. This is indeed not a communication network problem. The New York headquarters as well as all other branches have been taken down by his powers. It can't be wrong. Of the Invader cadres, the scariest, and most dangerous being. If he used his full power..." Ruriko: "Wait, commander. A cadre with such power, he is?!" Commander: "You should know of his existence too. His alias is 'Shinigami Shinshi', he has finally reached this AEGIS Far East branch." 7. Rendezvous with Death

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From Ukiya's home in Setagaya, the distance from Tategami High was about 15km. By car or tram, it should take about 30 minutes. But Ukiya only took 10 minutes to reach Tategami High. -- Although he did feel slightly sorry for the taxi driver. He rushed out of his house to stop a taxi and used his ability to open the Gate of Gales. By controlling the flow of air, the taxi became a bullet on the road. The driver had no idea what was going on, and was petrified. By the end of it, he looked as if he was about to die. No matter what, this was speeding to almost 300km/h on a normal road. Fortunately he controlled his Gate of Gales sophisticatedly to avoid any accidents, but it still caused influence to other cars. -- Top level emergency assembly, what happened? The puzzled Ukiya approached the Tategami High entrance. The closed gates were almost 2 metres tall, but Ukiya leapt over it easily. With superb athletic abilities, and using the Gate of Gales on his hands, this was a piece of cake to Ukiya. -- The nearest emergency elevator was near the flower beds in the playground. Tategami High had several Far East branch secret entrances which only AEGIS members knew of. The one near the playground flower beds was one of them. Kaoru: "Senpai!" A greeting from behind. Without even turning back, he knew it was Konoe Kaoru. Kaoru: "Wait up, I just arrived too!" Kaoru came running frantically in a light coloured T-shirt and slippers made of resin. Ukiya: "Kaoru, I thought you lived in the dorms?" Kaoru: "I was just showering, then I heard the alarm on my watch so I ran here."

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Ukiya: "Is that so" In his mind, Ukiya was a bit irritated. He was not angry at Kaoru. He was angry that because of the decline in Invader activity, they had been indulging in the peace. If it were the peak fighting period, he would never have gone home even on the weekends. Kaoru would shower with the watch on, too. Ukiya: "So now, we just need Ruriko and Bancho." Kaoru: "I don't know about Ikusawa-senpai, but Bancho said he had to go pick up Yawata-san who came from Tokyo (Bancho was indebted to him, see TV episode 04), but he hasn't arrived yet." Ukiya: "How could this be!" Ukiya: "Sorry senpai" Ukiya: "No. Kaoru, you don't have to apologise for that." They talked while running towards the flower bed in the playground. Ukiya: "As the Captain of the Gate Keepers, I'm late myself. This definitely isn't Kaoru's or Bancho's responsibility." Kaoru: "But" Soon, they arrived at the playground flower bed. Ukiya: "Anyway, the most important thing now it to work out what happened. Let's hurry underground." Then, Ukiya twisted a sign saying "Windflower" at the corner of the flower bed. At first glance it was a normal sign, but it was actually the secret switch to the secret entrance. They could vaguely hear the sound of machinery movement, and part of the flower bed slid apart sideways. The passage connecting them to underground appeared. Slowly, with some low pitched, machinery noise, an elevator platform rose up.

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By riding this, they could reach the underground Far East branch quickly. Kaoru: "!" Kaoru sighed. The elevator platform rose up, a metallic elevator platform. There, they saw something unbelievable. Unbearable. That was A person. Ukiya: "Specs?!" Ukiya screamed. The one lying on the elevator platform was AEGIS' head mechanic, as well as the designated pilot for the Gate Keepers' back up supply delivery, nicknamed Specs, it was Meguro Kanetake. Ukiya: "What happened, Specs? Hey?!" Ukiya picked up Specs from the ground. Kaoru looked at him anxiously. Specs: "It's so good to see you Ukiya-senpai" Specs choked out painfully. Ukiya: "What happened?" He could still talk. Ukiya looked at the short boy Specs he was holding. There were no wounds. His work clothes were, as usual, full of oil stains. At first glance there was nothing wrong at all.

Specs: "I received an order from the commander there is a message I must give to you guys. Everyone has been working hard to get the message across. But Sawayama's comrades have

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already"

At this point, Specs was already on his last breath. Chaotic breathing pattern, the hoarse voice, his speech became discontinuous. Ukiya: "That's enough, stop talking, Specs!" Ukiya: "Look, your face has become so pale!" Ukiya and Kaoru cried in pain. No external wounds. But Spec's body became so weak, they could feel it very well. Ukiya and Kaoru could feel that if he kept talking, Specs could die. Ukiya: "We'll get you to the hospital, we'll be there in no time, hang in there." Specs: "Before that there is something I have to tell you no matter what." Ukiya: "What is it, Specs?" Specs: "The commander said this. Starting from the New York headquarters, all the branches have been destroyed by this man. The destruction of the Far East branch is only a matter of time The remaining Gate Keepers retreat immediately. Contact the AEGIS members around the world... and rebuild strength..." Kaoru: "We can't do that, that's the same as watching the Far East branch collapse! How could we do such a thing?!" Kaoru: "All branches have been destroyed, that's impossible" Impossible. Just when Kaoru was about to continue, Specs used his last breath to utter out the last message. Specs: "Although Ikusawa-senpai is using her Gate of Life to heal everyone but it's too late. Eye. As soon as the guy looks at you everyone will Even without directly looking. Just through a monitor still"

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Ukiya: "The guy you're talking about, who is it? An Invader?!" Specs: "I also only heard from the commander he's called Shinigami shinshi" Ukiya: "Shinigami Shinshi?!" Ukiya was shocked. His eyes widened, and like a paused video, he held Specs, and froze. No. His mouth twitched slightly. Ukiya: "That guy, he came to the Far East branch?" Kaoru: "What is it, senpai?" He did not seem to hear Kaoru's question. His arms, which were holding Specs, vibrated slightly. Specs: "Gah" Specs gave off a sound like a groan. Then, his arms and legs both collapsed and hung down. Kaoru: "Can it be Specs-kun?!" Kaoru gave out a sad and painful cry. Kaoru: "Wake up! Reply to me!" Kaoru's cries finally woke Ukiya up, he went back to his state before the shock. Ukiya: "No!"

Keeping her calm, she held her breath. Then she pressed her ear against the left side of Spec's chest.

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Kaoru: "It's alright, his heart is still beating. He just fainted 'cause he said so much while being so weak already." Ukiya: "That's great" Kaoru: "But, we can't just leave it like this. We must get him to the hospital as soon as possible." Ukiya: "That's true, but what Specs said just now" Kaoru: "I understand, but, now" Ukiya: "!" Kaoru: "!" Konoe Kaoru and Ukiya Shun almost reacted in unison. They raised their heads and looked around nervously. They did not hear anything. No one came to give them any news. Instinct. After numerous battles, the sharp senses the Gate Keepers had. It was that instinct which told them, danger was approaching. Ukiya: "At a time like this" Kaoru: "Yea" Almost without any lights, in a dark space. There. No idea at what time.

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Tens, no, hundreds of silhouettes were there. The silhouettes formed a ring shape, surrounding Ukiya and Kaoru. Ukiya: "They're planning to take us by surprise." Kaoru: "Unfortunately, that's precisely the case." Ukiya: "Ah seems like the news Specs had was true." The true identity of the figures surrounding them. Those were existences which had human form, but were not human. Their whole bodies were covered by black suits. They were all identical, wearing black hats. They all had a suitcase in their hands. Their faces were pale, wearing sunglasses even at night. The first soldiers of the Invaders. The lowest class fighters, the Invader Soldiers. Yes, Ukiya and Kaoru were being surrounded by a huge number of Invaders. Ukiya: "Listen carefully." Whilst holding Specs, he whispered to Kaoru. Kaoru: "Let's fight together, right?!" Ukiya: "No." Kaoru: "*sigh" Ukiya: "Fighting the Invaders here is a waste of time. Kaoru, you take Specs to the hospital. I'll deal with this here." His words surprised Kaoru. Kaoru: "Don't kid with me! If I fought together with Ukiya-senpai, even 100 or 200 Invader Soldiers would be nothing to us! Then we can go down to the Far East branch and let Ikusawa-senpai use her Gate of Life to heal Specs. Isn't that the plan?!"

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That judgment was without question correct. Had Ukiya not heard what Specs said in the end, he would have thought the same. But. Ukiya: "Kaoru, there is no time to argue now. I'll fight here alone. I will go underground after I finish them and verify things with my own eyes. But the important thing is to get Specs to the hospital as soon as possible. It's possible if it were you, Kaoru. Using your Gate of Close Combat to enhance your physical abilities. Hold Specs and break out of here, and use your fastest speed to take Specs to the closest hospital. It's all on you, Kaoru." Kaoru: "But!" Ukiya: "Do you want to kill Specs?!" At this moment, the Invader Soldiers closed the circle in. Their leader said. Invader Soldier: "Target confirmed. Ability classification. Gate Keepers of Gales and Close Combat identified. Danger level A. Switch to attack mode." After the signal, the suitcases the Invader soldiers were holding started to transform like puzzles. In an instant they became gun-like weapons. Shooting out compressed gravity waves, they were gravity guns (TN: Literal translation, I think it's something like the Zero Point Energy Field Manipulators from Half Life 2). Ukiya: "So, please, Kaoru!" Kaoru: "But" Ukiya: "Then listen carefully. This is an order from the Gate Keepers Captain." Kaoru: "That's so sneaky!" Ukiya: "It's not. Because that man, Shinigami Shinshi has arrived at the Far East branch already." Kaoru: "So what, that guy called Shinigami Shinshi?!"

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Ukiya: "That is" Ukiya did not want to say it. Kaoru had never heard about the origins of the Invader cadres, but Ukiya knew. This dates back to about 10 months ago, when Ukiya was assigned as the Gate Keepers Captain.

Ruriko: "Now, Ukiya-kun, although you haven't joined AEGIS for long, but anyway now you're the Captain, you'll have to read all this information." In the Far East branch commander room, acting like a senior, Ruriko gave Ukiya a mountain of documents. Ukiya: "Yea, in theory that's true. But there's so much information, how could I finish it?" Ruriko: "You must finish it. Like me, I know it back to front." Ukiya: "Lies. Stop kidding Ms. Goody Goody." Ruriko: "Who's Ms. Goody Goody?! I'm serious." Ukiya: "*Sigh Fine, for instance, this one. About unconfirmed Invader cadres, the analysis and investigation. What does it say there?" Ruriko: "Of course that's no problem. Listen carefully. *Sigh. Deducing from the past information, other than the known highest level Invaders, in other words, Invader cadres, we expect there to be a few others with abilities on par with them. In simple terms, they're called the unconfirmed Invader cadres. Their provisional names are Mugen Majuu (Infinite Magic Beast), Ghost Girl, and Shinigami Shinshi." Ukiya: "Oh Correct correct. And then?"

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Ruriko recited all the analysis about the abilities of the 3 Invader cadres, and their eyewitness accounts. Like spelling out a word from letters, fluently without pausing. At that time, Ukiya deliberately showed acknowledgement, nodding along to encourage Ruriko to continue speaking. Ukiya: "Ah. So anyway, we know there are a total of 8 cadres, and besides a couple of them, we don't know much detail about them." Ruriko: "That's right." Ukiya: "Then, the next topic is this one. The change in the number of Invader incidents over time around the world, do you remember this?" Ruriko: "eh?" Ukiya: "Eh?" Ukiya: "Ukiya-kun, could it be, you find reading it yourself too troublesome, so you're making me tell you it all?" Ukiya: "Ahahahaha. I didn't tell you to do that, right? Ah, I didn't tell you to do that. My sincere apologies!" Ruriko: "Wait! Don't go thinking that you can get away with this by sounding like a lame advert. You call yourself a captain like this?! Seriously, consider the feelings of the people who voted for you!"

Like that, he heard about it from Ruriko at that time. Besides Kaiser Kikai, Count Akuma and Dimension Maou whom AEGIS had fought, the unconfirmed cadres, they deduced their abilities from past eyewitness accounts. Because of that. Ukiya was very worried.

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Out of the unconfirmed cadres, the one with the most dangerous ability was Shinigami Shinshi. He did not expect him to really appear. Ukiya: "There's no time to explain, Kaoru-chan!" Ukiya had his hand on Kaoru's shoulder. Ukiya: "Take Specs and get out of here!" Kaoru: "But I want to" Ukiya: "This is the best plan right now. During the fight with these Invader soldiers, there's a chance that Specs may be hit by a stray bullet. No matter how we fight, there's only going to be the two of us, so" Gugugugugu There was no time left. The low pitched sound came out stuttery. The sound similar to flying bees was getting louder. The lights in the gravity guns the Invaders were holding were focusing. They were about to fire. Ukiya: "I'll deal with it here, so, Kaoru!" Kaoru: "Fine, I get it" Before she finished her sentence, another voice interrupted. A coarse, deep howl, like a bear. Bancho: "Correct!!!!! I'll deal with it here!" *Clack* The extremely loud sound of Geta (Japanese wooden slippers) echoed. At the main entrance of Tategami High, the person standing on top of the gate post was.

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Kaoru: "Bancho?!" Bancho: "Absolutely right, Bancho Choutarou reporting now!" The person standing, was the late Bancho who rushed here. Bancho: "Princess Kaoru, listen to Captain Ukiya's orders and bring Specs to the hospital! Captain, quickly take the elevator to underground!" Bancho's loud voice overcame the distance between the school entrance gate and the flower bed in the middle of the playground. Ukiya replied loudly at the same time. Ukiya: "Finally here, eh? Bancho!" Bancho: "Who do you think I am?! Look! Earth shattering! Ground breaking! Clear and merry! Roast meat meal! Impeccable, the power of the Gate of Disintegration!" Bancho had amazing presence, he pushed his right wrist forward. Bancho: "Gaaaaaaaaaaate Opeeeeeeeeeeen!" Rings of light formed, it was the Gate of Disintegration. Invader Soldier: "High energy source confirmed. Gate of Disintegration 97% probability. Danger increasing. Attack target change. Attack target change." Bancho: "Too late!" Maintaining his Gate open state, Bancho leapt off the gate. The sound of the Geta rang grandly, he dashed towards the crowd of Invader Soldiers unstoppably. Invader Soldier: "Initiate attack immediately" Dong!

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Before he could even finish his sentence, a shockwave came out from the gate, piercing through the Invader Soldier who just gave the attack order, and several Invaders behind him. In an instant, just an instant, the Invader Soldiers were disintegrated, falling on the ground like sand, leaving only the green crystals behind. Bancho: "Princess Kaoru, now!" Bancho spoke with a stern tone, Kaoru nodded by reflex. Kaoru: "Yes understood, AEGIS!" Moving like a flash of light, she picked up Specs, opening the Gate of Close Combat. Focusing all the energy in her legs, she leapt forward. With just a leap, she went over all the Invader Soldiers, landing just above where Bancho was standing. The leap was over 100 metres. That was the power of the Gate of Close Combat. Invader Soldier: "Target B. Gate Keeper of Close Combat, searching for escaping target. Attack target. Stop target from escaping."

Not the same as the Invader Soldier Bancho just took down, it was another individual giving the order.

While the Gate Keepers were feeling disgusted, the Invader Soldiers did the same motion, they pointed their gravity guns, flashing with black light, in the direction of Kaoru who was holding Specs. But. Bancho: "Your opponent is me!!!!!" Bancho's wave of fast attacks did not stop. He opened his Gate once again, swinging both fists one after another, as if practicing boxing. The only difference from practice was the targets, in front of him was a line of Invader Soldiers, whom he crushed one by one. Bancho: "Hurry, princess Kaoru!" Kaoru: "Bancho!"

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Bancho: "What?!" Kaoru: "Be careful!" Leaving that sentence behind, Kaoru made a huge leap again. She leapt over the lamp post in front of Tategami High, and disappeared into the dark streets. Bancho: "Thats good!" Bancho gazed at the direction Kaoru disappeared into. At that instant, there was a gap. Invader Soldier: "Shoot him, now!" The Invader Soldiers focused all their attacks on Bancho. Bancho: "Ooooh?!" Bancho did not get attacked. Ukiya: "Vacuum missile!!!!!" Numerous bullets of air, capturing all the targets. As suggested by the name, missiles with homing capabilities, flying towards the Invader Soldiers targeting Bancho. Bancho: "Ooooh!" Of course, he knew exactly who did that. Bancho: "What are you doing, Ukiya?! Didn't I say just now, I'll deal with it here! You hurry and go underground! Although I don't know the details of the situation, but quickly go there. After I trash all these guys, I'll be after you!" Ukiya: "Sorry! I'll leave it to you here, Bancho!" Ukiya, who saved Bancho when it was ever so close, ran like the wind to the platform to the basement levels.

Invader Soldier: "Gate Keeper of Gales. Moving underground. Stop him. Concentrate all attacks on

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him, prevent him from going underground."

Just late by a bit, but late nonetheless. By the time they shot the gravity guns, the platform was already descending underground.

Following a series of explosions, the entire flower bed was destroyed, along with part of the school. Bancho: "No! These guys damaging the things around the school, I must punish them!" Bancho crashed into the crowd of enemies, swept his Gate of Disintegration across the Invader Soldiers holding the gravity guns. Invader Soldiers: "Gales and Close Combat, two targets away from the battle. Danger decreasing. Target Gate of Disintegration locked on. Concentrate attacks." The remaining Invader Soldiers reset their formation. They surrounded Bancho. They surrounded in 2, then 3 layers of chains. By rough estimation, there were over 200 Invader Soldiers remaining. The ones he defeated were only a part of the group. The Invader Soldiers formed a huge circle in the playground. Bancho muttered to himself. Bancho: "This is like a group dance." He rolled up the sleeves of his uniform. Bancho: "Alright then! Who wants to dance with me first?!" Everyone. The Invader Soldiers surrounding Bancho shot their gravity guns at the same time.

8. The Pit Bottom of Despair On the other side.

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The AEGIS commander room became a war zone. No, it was more appropriate to call it a war zone hospital facility. Casualty: "Uh ah ah" Casualty: "Please, even breathing is" Casualty: "Even just by seeing his eyes through the surveillance monitor" Casualty: "So cold. I can't make it. With just a blanket. So cold. Ahhh." The painful sounds, from the AEGIS members brought here from the various departments. Now even the emergency blankets were all in use, there were also a lot of members lying on the beds. Everyone was the same, their faces pale and white, shivering perpetually. Female operator: "Someone hurry and put this man on a drip. Hurry!" Female operator: "There aren't enough blankets." Female operator: "Not good. This is also the last first aid box." If the commander room where the casualties were lying in were a war zone hospital, then these female operators would be the nurses. Holding blankets and the remaining emergency medication, running around frantically. In the corner of the commander room. There was a faint hint of a beige light. Ruriko: "Light of life" It was the light from the Gate of Life Ruriko opened. Casualty: "Uh uh ah" The member lying in front of her, a faint flush of red returned to his face.

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After a short while, his weak breathing became calm. His painful moaning, became the breathing noise of sleep. Ruriko: "It's ok now, next." Ruriko wiped off the beads of sweat forming on her forehead. Ochiai: "Stop it, Ruriko. Using the Gate of Life continuously, it's time to take a rest." Ochiai, who was on standby, said to Ruriko. Ruriko: "No, if I leave them, the number of deaths will increase drastically." The two of them were in the commander room. From this side to the other side, the dying members were struggling, painful whimpers could be heard everywhere. Ruriko: "As long as I have a bit of energy left, I will keep opening my Gate of Life." Ochiai: "But" Ochiai: "Also, is the commander ok?" Ruriko: "Ah, yes." Ochiai asked with sadness in her eyes. The Final War System which was designed for a nuclear war at the Far East branch was in operation. Besides a few passageways, moving between departments was not possible. The search for survivors became a huge problem. Tokiwatari, who noticed Shinigami intruding, implemented the Final War System just to buy a bit of time. After that, along with the remaining members, they left the commander room to search for any survivors. Ochiai: "And also"

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Ochiai asked Ruriko again. Ruriko: "What?" Ochiai: "Specs, did he get to meet Ukiya safely? We lost contact when he passed through level 22." Ruriko: "Definitely, safe and sound." Ruriko answered Ochiai with a smile, but she felt that she was just making herself think that way. Ruriko: "He definitely reached ground level safely, and passed on the message." Ochiai: "Yes you're right. Definitely safe and sound." Nodding, Ruriko continued speaking. Ruriko: "Anyway, I think Ukiya is used to disobeying orders" Ochiai: "Eh?" Ruriko: "The commander told Ukiya to retreat, but I feel that Ukiya will still come to save us" Upon hearing this, Ochiai's expression became complicated. She thought, it's better that way. Staying put there, Shinigami would eventually get there, along with the remaining members, no one there will escape their fate of death. That was the impending future of reality. But as the secretary of the Far East branch commander, look towards the distant future, that was the commander's final order, hoping every Gate Keeper would obey. Seeing the speechless Ochiai, Ruriko quickly continued talking. Ruriko: "Sorry. That's not gonna happen. Ukiya's become the captain, he's matured a lot already compared to before." As she said that, Ruriko thought about the young Ukiya without realising.

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Memories from long, long ago. Memories of Ukiya helping her when she was in trouble. Ruriko: "The miracle masked rider, eh?" (See TV episode 14, I may have translated it differently) Ochiai: "Eh, what was that?" Ruriko: "Ah, nothing. This is not the time to give up hope, miss secretary. This commander room is inside several separation walls. No matter how powerful this Invader is, he won't be able to reach here easily. This is not the time to give up, we will eventually be able to leave." Ochiai: "Yes, very true. You are indeed our Ikusawa." Maybe they were in denial, or maybe they were talking about an impossible possibility. But they still faced it with smiles. Female operator: "Ikusawa, sorry for having to trouble you again! Amongst the members who just got brought here, there's someone in critical conditions!" Taking up the role of a nurse, one of the female operators told Ruriko. Ruriko: "Understood."

Ruriko stopped and said to Ochiai softly "It's gonna be alright.", then she walked towards the female operator. On her way, her left foot kicked something, it felt both soft and hard at the same time. She looked down naturally. It was a dead, young member in his 20s. Ruriko: "!" Ruriko took a deep breath. Even though she was fatigued from over-using her gate, she had to keep at the rescuing. Suddenly she felt dizzy, her legs were wobbly, at the moment it seemed like she was about to collapse.

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But. -- Hang in there, Ruriko. You can do it. This level of fatigue is no problem. Now, even though there aren't too many, I can only think about saving the survivors. Yes, I am no longer the sniveler Ruriko. I am, the Gate Keeper of Life, Ikusawa Ruriko. Ruriko kept at it. She stood still, then exerted force with her legs. She stepped powerfully to walk towards the people waiting for her help. Ruriko: "Wait a moment, I'm on my way." On her way. *Beep beep beep beep beep beep* (TN: Not the original sound, but the original sound was like Jilulululululu, made no sense to me) The floor standing receiver for communication purposes. Next to the small screen, a red light was flashing. -- Could it be, Ukiya-kun?! Ruriko reacted in an instant. Yes, that Ukiya, could never submissively obey orders. The miracle masked rider. Didn't he always come to my rescue in emergencies when we were young? It will happen this time as well. Definitely. Perhaps, he's already arrived by my side. She knew the basic ways of operating the floor standing receiver. Ruriko pressed the switch of the microphone. Communication on. Ruriko: "Hey, is it Ukiya-kun?!"

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She yelled as she pressed the switch. After a while, an image appeared on the monitor. The wrong person. Not the most unfortunate person in the world. Shinigami: "Ah. I was planning to greet the commander, but now such a cute lady has to speak in his place. Ah, my apologies, I haven't introduced myself yet. My name is. Ah yes, I think you people call me Shinigami Shinshi."

On the other side of the monitor, the man took his glasses off and flashed Ruriko with his eyes. Ruriko's body felt like an electric current flowed through. This was definitely not the tingling feeling of love. It was right the opposite. It was the heart racing from contacting death. The story from here on. After several events, the story joins back with the prologue. With Bancho's help, Ukiya descended underground to the AEGIS Far East branch. In front of him was the thick separation wall lowered because of the activation of the Final War System. Bancho caught up from behind. He broke through the separation wall with his Gate of Disintegration. But. Ukiya: "Did you come here to be defeated by me?"

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Shinigami: "Defeat? Who are you planning to defeat." Ukiya: "I will defeat you! The unconfirmed Invader cadre, Shinigami Shinshi!" In the dark passageway, Ukiya and Shinigami spoke face to face. Shinigami: "No there isn't any gentleman (shinshi) here. But there's just about a lady." Ukiya: "Lady?" Shinigami: "But it's really unfortunate. My gem like eyes always interfere with me pursuing love with humans. Just through the monitor, I just looked at her once" Ukiya: "It can't be, you?!" Ukiya: "Yes yes. She was called something like Ikusawa Ruriko. That should be the name of the lady. I was just going to say hi by contacting the commander room. Unfortunately, the commander went out to rescue the survivors. In other words, the lady picked up my message. What a pity, although it was love at first sight, it seems like I've killed her!" Ukiya: "You you! Ultra...! Whirlwind Slash!" Shinigami: "So that's it, this is your strongest attack." Ukiya: "Die---!" The wind and Ukiya's cry intertwined, Ukiya slashed Shinigami from up to down front on.

What was the result? Ukiya: "Wooooooooooooh!"

Ukiya screamed loudly, the roaring of the gales twirling at high speed and the supersonic waves

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amalgamated.

Obtained through defeating numerous Invaders in the past, Ukiya's strongest attack. Ultra Whirlwind Slash. Shinigami: "What an interesting move. Ah, indeed, from the many Gate Keepers I've seen, this move seems to have formidable power." Ukiya who has become wind, was approach him. But, Shinigami analysed calmly. Shinigami: "However, barking like a dog, is not the way of a gentleman." He smiled. Shinigami smiled with utmost confidence. Then, he calmly removed his glasses. Just like that. Just by removing his glasses. The battle was decided. Ukiya: "Oh?!" The roaring wind around him disappeared without a trace. Without any signs, Ukiya tripped. He fell onto the ground. Like a headfront slide in baseball, Ukiya fell onto the ground face down. *Clonk*

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The special bokken sword fell onto the ground with an empty sound. Shinigami: "Ah, my apologies. I didn't expect you to fall over so grandly. Sorry." Ukiya: "You" The powerful aura he had just now disappeared. The strength in his limbs vanished. It seemed like he could not even move his tongue at will. What came out was a very soft sound. Shinigami: "Did you not know? My ability is the Eye of Genocide." Shinigami put his glasses back on. Shinigami: "A fearsome ability, right? Sometimes I find it scary myself. I have been an abnormal existence within the Invaders since my birth. You should know this very well. Invaders feed on the negative emotions of humans to grow. In other words, to us Invaders, humans can be seen as a food source in some way. But I will eliminate this food source. I am a taboo existence. Especially the Kaiser and Count. To me, I agree with their human farming scheme. I don't know who said this, he said I've forgotten that I am an Invader, and I liked to live like a person." Ukiya: "What are you saying you took away so many lives" Ukiya struggled to stand up. But, it did not work. Even though he wanted to support his body with his arms, he could not use any strength. His body trembled, and he fell back down straight away. No matter how many times he tried, the result was the same. It was like he was doing push ups. Ukiya: "My energy dammit. Just this kind of I" Shinigami: "You shouldn't move around, if you just stay put, you might be able to stay alive. You are indeed a Gate Keeper, even with my eyes, the effects have weakened. It seems like I can't make you die immediately. Remarkable, even with your life energy taken away, you still want to stand up. You are impressive."

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Shinigami laughed as he applauded. Ukiya: "Don't treat me like an idiot!" Ukiya used all his strength to try to get up. But. Still did not work. His hand slipped on the floor, this time he fell face up. Shinigami: "This is very impressive. Ukiya Shun-kun, I really want to stay to play around with you for a bit more. Alright, seems like my guide has returned." Ukiya: "Guide?" Shinigami: "Even for me, she was of great help assisting me in passing through so many separation walls so easily to reach here. The guide who helped me create this path." Behind Shinigami. In the darkness of the passage, there was a faint light. Not the emergency lighting. The light was blurrier, a dim white light. Ukiya: "A girl?" Unbelievably, in the white light he saw a girl. A girl wearing a transparent dress. (TN: No dirty thoughts) An atmosphere full of fantasy. That body was like a Western spirit. Shinigami: "She led the way. It's time to put it in action. Rather unique. Using our method, annihilating everyone in AEGIS. Furthermore, from now on we will undergo revolution. Using methods never used before, making the human society a more pure existence. For example, living like a human normally, like me." Ukiya: "What does that mean?" Shinigami: "You don't need to know that. Farewell." Shinigami slowly turned around.

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Ukiya: "Stand there you stand right there" With his back to Ukiya, Shinigami stepped forward. Ukiya: "Hey" He raised his hand, but was helpless. With the footsteps, Shinigami disappeared in the passageway. Ukiya: "Dammit" Bancho: "Hey hey, hang in there, Ukiya." Ukiya: "Bancho?" I am fatigued from over-using my Gate. Bancho: "Sorry. Really sorry. Ukiya. I wasn't even good as a cover if I could only keep opening my Gate" Ukiya: "It's alright. In that condition, if I took his attack even once, I would've died" Bancho: "But" Ukiya: "Bancho take a rest here. I" The restless Ukiya tried to stand up again. Bancho: "Don't be stupid, Ukiya. You are like everyone else, without any wounds or bleeding. Abandoned cruelly to a side." Ukiya: "I'm fine I before I strike that guy good, I definitely won't" Ukiya felt around for his special bokken sword, he held it in his hand. He used the sword as a cane and struggled to stand up.

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Ukiya: "Guh uuuuh" But, he still couldn't use any power from his legs. He couldn't even straighten his knees. Ukiya: "If it goes on like this Ruriko will" Ukiya insisted on trying. But even if he tried to stand up with all his might, he failed. His vision dimmed. Anaemia. Ukiya fell to the ground once again. Ukiya: "If it goes on like this I I" Ukiya: "Yes, I will really become scum." "?!" A sound from an unknown source came. Ukiya: "Who is it?" Kageyama: "Is this the extent of your powers, Ukiya Shun? You're crawling on the ground just after being glanced at by a cadre?" Ukiya: "Who are you?" He did not have the energy to move his head. Ukiya looked from left to right just by moving his eyes, searching for the source of the sound. No one was there. Except Bancho who had also collapsed beside him. Bancho fainted at some point when he did not notice. Then, who said that Kageyama: "Then just lie there and rest forever. Just like scum." Ukiya: "It can't be?" In Ukiya's mind, a thought flashed by.

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Yes. Why didn't he realise straight away? The origin of the sound, full of confidence. Ukiya: "It's Kageyama, right?!" No response. Shinigami had left, it seemed like Kageyama's voice had disappeared too.

In the passageway, only the many corpses remained, along with Ukiya and Bancho who have fainted.

Chapter 3: 1970 to 1985 9. That day, that time -- It's impossible for me now, Kageyama. Once I'm in possession of a warm home, returning to the battlefield is impossible. Leaning on the sofa in the room, he thought of this. Youko: "What is it, dear?" (TN: I think that's what her name is in romaji) Ukiya's wife Youko looked at him. Ukiya: "Ah, nothing. I just saw an old friend, thought about the past." Youko: "Then, what is it?" Ukiya: "It's not something worth hearing. I just thought about the past." Youko: "You, you never like to talk about the past." Youko groomed her hair while smiling comfortably.

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Ayane: "Ah oo oo" Youko: "Ahh. It seems like Ayane has just woken up." Youko picked up the baby from the crib and held her up to her chest. Ayane was just over 1 year old, laughing like "ka ka" innocently. Youko: "Dear, speaking of which. Ayane finally learned how to stand up by grabbing onto something today." Ukiya: "Really?" Youko: "Yes. Ayane-chan. Stand up so daddy could see." Youko put Ayane down next to Ukiya's sofa. Youko: (to Ayane) "Look. This is where you stood up by grabbing onto something today. It's daddy's place." Ukiya: "So, Ayane? Can you let daddy see?" Moving his body a bit, Ukiya also spoke to Ayane. Youko gave Ayane a little lift to help her stand up. But Ayane, "Oo-oo ah", she did not seem like she wanted to stand up. At that time Suddenly, she rolled over onto the carpet like a tumbler. Youko: "Ok ok. Are you alright? Ayane-chan." Ayane: "Eh!" Then she moved her body, and grinned. For some reason, she seemed very happy and started rolling around on the carpet. Perhaps she found a new way to play around.

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Ukiya: "Seriously just now you said Ayane-chan could stand up." Youko: "It's, it's true." Ukiya: "Alright alright. She will be able to stand up soon, and then walk around here. No rush." Youko: "Yea." Ukiya sat up straight on the sofa, he went for the coffee cup on the table. Ah. It turns out there was no more coffee in the cup. Youko: "Ah, I'll pour you some coffee right away." Ukiya: "Thanks." Youko stood in the kitchen. Ayane kept rolling around next to Ukiya's sofa. Youko: "So." Youko spooned coffee into the cup while talking to Ukiya with her back to him. Youko: "It's almost time, mum's (Ukiya's mum) third death anniversary. What will Saemi do?" (TN: It's an Asian thing/tradition to visit the deceased's grave annually on the day of their death, is it also a Western thing? I'm not sure) Ukiya: "She, we only saw her when she came to pay respect last year. We didn't keep in touch too well. After all, she's already 27. Ever since she dropped out of high school to become an actress, she left home. It's time to give up those unrealistic dreams. Wouldn't it be better to just come back?" Youko: "That's true, but" Youko brought the full cup of coffee to Ukiya. Youko: "After mum passed away, this house had to undergo reconstruction. It wouldn't be the best idea for her to stay here even if she wanted to."

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Ukiya: "That might also be true." Suddenly, Ukiya thought about his conversation with Saemi last year when they went to pay respect to their mother. Ukiya's wife Youko did not know, it was just a conversation between the two of them.

Saemi: "Brother, do you remember Yukino?" Ukiya: "Ah, how could I forget?" Ukiya: "But we might not be able to see her again" Saemi: "How could that be? We will." Ukiya: "I hope so, too." Ukiya: "Why did you bring this up all of a sudden?" Saemi: "I didn't tell you about this, brother. Remember when I decided to drop out of high school, what happened on that day? That day, Yukino came to say goodbye." Ukiya: "That was 8 years ago?" Saemi: "Yea." Ukiya: "So it was like that. I think Yukino should still be around" Saemi: "Around here?" Ukiya: "No, I didn't say anything just now. So Yukino, what did she say at that time?" Saemi: "She looked a bit sad, she just said goodbye."

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Ukiya: "Goodbye" Saemi: "A truly incredible child. Just like when we first met, her body never grew. I grew up bit by bit, now, I'm almost like an old lady. Perhaps, Yukino still looks the same now as she was before." Ukiya: "How could that be, that's impossible. Anyway, why do you want to see Yukino that much?" Saemi: "No. It's nothing worth mentioning. If I see Yukino again, don't know why, feels like I need to work a bit harder." Ukiya: "That's enough." Saemi: "Eh?" Ukiya: "Being an actress or something, working while studying. It's time to come back. Don't do that drama stuff anymore." Saemi: "No, I haven't given up yet." Ukiya: "Seriously, the only thing which hasn't changed is your stubbornness."

-- Ah yes. My sister Saemi, she's really like Yukino? Although she's grown, but she hasn't changed at all, at least she hasn't changed on the inside. Just like before, so capricious, only moving forward with tunnel vision. But the 'me' now. He stared at his reflection in the full coffee cup. -- But. The number of things I should be protecting has increased. Different from 3 years ago when I wasn't married yet. It's just that, now, already. Youko: "Dear, look!" Youko said loudly.

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He looked at the direction Youko was pointing to. Beside the sofa, less than 1 metre away. Ayane: "Ah-ah-" Her big eyes looking in this direction, Ayane stood up. She stood up by holding onto the sofa. Youko: "See, I wasn't lying. Grabbing onto something, she stood up." Ukiya picked up Ayane with a huge smile on his face, kissing Ayane's cheek which was like a marshmallow. --Yes. Now I have a wife, and a daughter. I can't fight anymore. If someone came to ruin this for me, I will not let him off, and beat the crap out of him. I can't return to the battlefield. Forgive me, Kageyama. Seeing my daughter who stood up successfully, I've decided.

That night. Lying on his bed, Ukiya stared at the dark ceiling. Youko was sound asleep beside him. Ayane was sleeping in the crib next to them. --Sorry Kageyama. You came all the way to invite me. What you did for me at that time, of course I haven't forgotten. But, there was too much pain afterwards. To be honest, I've been hit quite hard both physically and mentally. Even though I don't want to fight anymore, those guys keep appearing. I didn't fight because I wanted to. I had no choice but to fight. At that time, Youko appeared. She gave me a very soothing, comfortable feeling. I wanted to hold on to her immediately. I wanted to lean on her. Kageyama. The help you had given me in the past, it's the same now. Youko is helping me by given me this stable and content life. So, I can't do anything which will betray her and Ayane.

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Thinking about that, after not long, Ukiya fell asleep. And then he had a dream. During the 15 years after that. The dream kept repeating itself. A dream about May 1970, the day when the AEGIS commander room became a war zone hospital. Tokiwatari: "Hang on, Ikusawa!" Tokiwatari shook Ruriko, who had fainted. But, there was no reaction. Ruriko just kept shivering. Ochiai: "Just like just now. Although we've wrapped her up in so many blankets, we can't stop her from shivering." Ochiai explained the situation. Ochiai: "Guh. I should've been a bit more careful. But, I didn't expect Ikusawa to be attacked by Shinigami Shinshi. She couldn't even open her Gate of Life temporarily to heal herself." Tokiwatari searched for survivors via the emergency passageways after leaving the commander room. Then he brought a few surviving members back to the commander room. Little did he know, the first thing he saw when he got back, was the weak Ikusawa Ruriko who had collapsed. Ochiai: "Sorry. I wanted to stop her, but just after a while" Tokiwatari: "You don't need to apologise, Ochiai. Although I definitely want to bring Ikusawa away from here, given her current conditions, I'm afraid" Ochiai: "What about the emergency use shuttle?" Tokiwatari: "No. It's too dangerous. The key is Ikusawa cannot operate it now, it will crash after launch. We couldn't control it remotely even if we wanted to, since the members in the Launch Control Room are all dead. It's not possible." Ochiai: "That reminds me, commander. UP-15. Before this, we made an emergency recording, if we use Captain Ukiya's Yota-hachi it should work."

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Tokiwatari: "Yes. It should be ok if we use the Yota-hachi." Ochiai: "Understood. Launching from the Tategami High School main entrance. Different from the shuttle, there is no risk of crashing. Because Ikusawa cannot pilot, we can only launch from the main entrance, it's much safer to launch from there than here." Tokiwatari: "Excellent suggestion, Ochiai-kun." Ochiai: "Thank you." Tokiwatari: "You also have a license, right?" Ochiai: "Ah, yes. Then?' Tokiwatari: "Understood. Then, you pilot the Yota-hachi and escape from here with Ikusawa." Ochiai: "Don't kid, commander. There are many more suffering here right now." Tokiwatari: "Exactly. I will stay here. Furthermore, in many places around here, there are still surviving members. We have to gather them here, don't give up until the end, and wait for a chance to escape. Before that, you have to take Ikusawa away from here. Ochiai: "But" Tokiwatari. "Do you understand? To rebuild AEGIS, we need to preserve some strength. Especially Ruriko's ability, it's crucial to Ukiya and the others. Also, when we last modified the Yota-hachi, we installed the prototype Gate Engine. Bringing Ikusawa and the Gate Engine to Captain Ukiya, bearing the responsibility of reviving AEGIS, that's your mission now." Ochiai: "Reviving AEGIS" Tokiwatari: "Yes. You also heard Jim's call, right? There are still many comrades fighting around the world now, gather them together, build the new AEGIS"

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No. Tokiwatari's speech was suddenly cut short and drowned by a deafening sound from the corner of the commander room. Female operator: "No!" One of the female operators gave out a sad cry. Tokiwatari: "What?!" Tokiwatari stood up and turned around. Shinigami: "New AEGIS. Unfortunately, that's not possible. Far East branch commander, Mr Tokiwatari." At a corner of the separation wall. There, he was unsure how it happened, there was a huge hole. As if it had been drawn on, it was a perfect circle. Tokiwatari: "It's impossible?! Out of all facilities, the strongest defense, the separation wall of the commander room has been penetrated?!" Shinigami: "It's actually really simple. Ah. It wasn't me who broke through the separation wall. I just used the power of my guide. Thanks to her, I managed to get here so quickly." Tokiwatari: "Shinigami Shinshi!"

Making that huge hole, arriving at the commander room, that was without a doubt Shinigami Shinshi. Also, there was a girl floating behind him. With floating long hair, a girl giving off a mysterious white glow. Tokiwatari: "She is?" Shinigami: "She's really shy. She doesn't want to be seen. Also, it seems like she's got something else to do. Anyway, I'll be your opponent."

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The white girl, disappeared into the passageway like that. Tokiwatari: "Getting to this commander room so easily" Shivering, Tokiwatari was both angry and scared. Shinigami told Tokiwatari with a slight smile. Shinigami: "Don't worry, Mr. Tokiwatari. In order to not accidentally kill important people, the Count and Kaiser made these for me, as long as I wear these special glasses, everyone can live. So, actually I came here to enjoy a show with everyone else." He snapped his fingers. Incredibly, the multi-purpose monitors lit up in this commander room which has remained quiet for so long. Shinigami: "Please enjoy, Mr. Tokiwatari. What we're about to play is the emergency message from the New York Headquarters to the AEGIS branches around the world and the various national leaders." Soon, noise appeared on the monitors, then someone's face appeared. Tokiwatari: "Could it be, New York Headquarters, the AEGIS supreme commander?!" Shinigami: "Although I didn't mean for you to watch it slowly. Please, all you dying members." After he finished, the supreme commander was full screen on the monitor, slowly, and solemnly he began his speech. Supreme commander: "All AEGIS members around the world and national leaders, I will now deliver the emergency report according to the in depth investigation and analysis, and the results of the intelligence gathering. Today, at world standard time (TN:GMT?) 16 hours 22 minutes, I announce that all Invaders on earth have been eliminated." "What did you say?!" Tokiwatari said loudly. "How did this happen?!" Ochiai had the same reaction as Tokiwatari. There were 2 Invader cadres right in front of their eyes.

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Female operators standing in as nurses and the dying members stared at the screen with shocked expressions. The supreme commander continued with his speech. Supreme commander: "Since February this year, the number of Invader related incidents has decreased drastically. Especially since May, there hasn't been a single report of Invader sighting. According to the detailed analysis of our science team, Invader activity has become dormant. We confirm that from that point onwards, there are no signs of their revival. We deduced that it was due to their cadres being eliminated, their commanders no longer exist. From now on, even if there are isolated cases of Invaders appearing, they will be of small scale. National armies and the police force are capable of dealing with them." Tokiwatari: "Impossible. Although Invader activity has quieted down, they are just progressing into a new phase!" Tokiwatari glared at Shinigami with rage in his eyes. Tokiwatari: "You, are you guys coercing the supreme commander into doing this?!" Shinigami: "Coerce? How could that be. A gentleman would never do such a thing. That is the real supreme commander, from now on he will be using this identity." Tokiwatari: "From now on?" Shinigami: "Fine then, I shall tell you, Mr. Tokiwatari. The supreme commander there, is not the supreme commander you know. Appearance, knowledge, and memories. They're all the same as himself, but it's also not himself. Yes. His true identity is" Tokiwatari: "Unconfirmed Invader cadre, Mugen Majuu!" Shinigami: "Correct. Out of us, his intelligence is of a lower tier. His appearance looks like a tiger or wolf. But he has the ability to transform. He can completely reproduce the memories, knowledge and appearance of humans he has devoured. Also, secretly devouring important people in various countries, stirring chaos throughout the world. The magic beast of infinite faces. In other words, Mugen Majuu (Infinite Magic Beast)."

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Tokiwatari: "Devoured the supreme commander?! How could that be!" Shinigami: "Seriously, what harsh words. At least that is not the food for a gentleman. Only one with a beast's appearance can do t hat. But he also understands, we are entering a time of revolution. Choosing the body of the supreme commander, then, spreading the word of Invaders being eliminated, and then disband AEGIS. It won't be revived." Tokiwatari: "Impossible. Taking the lives of members of so many branches. To hide this information, it's impossible" Tokiwatari, who was speaking with such strength just now, froze. Without realising it, he thought about an incident in the past. It was November last year. Tokiwatari and Ochiai were attacked by Nishitani (appeared in TV episode 17), a humanised Invader. Tokiwatari saw through it, but normally he was exactly the same as Nishitani. Tokiwatari: "Replacing the killed members, the Invaders transform into AEGIS members!" Shinigami: "Yes. After AEGIS is disbanded, they will lurk within the human society, breeding the new species for us for operational support." Tokiwatari: "Us, new species?" Shinigami: "That, is something you do not need to know." After finishing speaking, Shinigami moved his hand toward his glasses. Shinigami: "Alright. We're done talking. After this communication is over, the New York supreme commander needs to hurry to Washington to meet the president. They will then start to dismantle AEGIS officially there." Tokiwatari: "Then, it seems like there is still time." Shinigami: "Ho?"

Tokiwatari took out a mini-pistol from his pocket. A semi-automatic pistol, known as the Baby Nambu.

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He got this from a superior when he was still a pilot for the navy in his youth. Ever since, he has kept it with him at all times like a charm. Bang! Quickly and rapidly he shot Shinigami's forehead. But. Shinigami: "You know very well this is futile. That is not very gentleman-like. Mr. Tokiwatari." The gunshot had no effect on the Invader cadre Shinigami, at all. Of course. If he could be defeated by a bullet from a tiny gun, they would not be suffering now. Tokiwatari did not choose to not shoot. No matter how little hope there was, he would not give up his spirit, this made him pull the trigger. Shinigami: "But, this is the end of it." Slowly, Shinigami pulled down his glasses. Ochiai: "Commander!" Ochiai screamed. Operators in the commander room, the surviving members, they all looked away from the Shinigami out of reflex. But that was of no use. Even if they don't look at Shinigami, their life force will be drained away as long as Shinigami sees them. At this moment, the person who got to the AEGIS Far East branch is Megumi: "Wall of Mirror!" Who said that.

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Shining with a dim light. Between the commander and Shinigami stood a female, with an open Gate. Megumi: "Long time no see, commander." Commander: "You are?!" Gate Keeper, Kurogane Megumi. She concentrated the energy from the Gate, in front of their eyes was a shining wall. A barrier reflecting all optical phenomena. It was called the Wall of Mirror. After seeing the barrier, Shinigami took a step back. He always kept his calm, this is the first time he looked worried. Tokiwatari: "It's Kurogane Megumi. It surprised me that you appeared here." Megumi: "It's too early to be surprised." Tokiwatari: "Ho?" Kageyama: "Shadow Blade!" Upon hearing the noise, Shinigami dodged agilely. Then, where Shinigami was standing, there were black shadows stabbing towards Shinigami. Able to cut through any matter, the 2nd dimension chasm. In other words, an attack from the 'Shadows'. The one using this move was Kageyama: "You live up to the reputation of an unconfirmed Invader cadre. You managed to dodge that in an instant." At some point they were unaware of, beside the multi-purpose monitor stood a man.

Shinigami: "Even you have come to interfere? In the past you had the name of Shadow, standing on

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the side of us Invaders, you"

Taking his long arms out. With golden hair. Wearing sunglasses on his head. That man was

Ukiya: "Kageyama!" Ukiya woke up in shock. Breathing rapidly. There was a drenched spot on his chest. --It was--the same dream Beside him, Youko was fast asleep. --For how many times he did not know. Dreaming this dream. Ayane, who was in the crib, was woken up by the cry. Her round eyes looked in this direction. Ukiya: "Sorry, Ayane, I woke you up." Ukiya crept out of bed slowly to keep Youko from waking up, then he picked up Ayane. It seemed like she was not fully awake yet. Seemed like she was just sleep talking, Ukiya held Ayane to his chest to allow Ayane to continue sleeping. --Children feel so warm. The body warmth of Ayane was transferred through his drenched chest. It was like holding a kitten.

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Soft, and warm feeling. --When will the dream about that day ever end? When we just got married I even woke Youko up, she asked me what the dream was about. And now, as if nothing happened, she sleeps. --Do you know or not, what you didn't ask, is not something to be happy about. Quietly he placed Ayane back into the crib. The moonlight shined through a small gap in the curtains into the bedroom. Ukiya looked at his deceased father's photo on top of the drawers. Father, mother. You have died before becoming grandparents. Can I live until Ayane grows up, and has a daughter, before I come to join you? Perhaps it was because he sweated too much, his throat felt very dry. Opening the door which was not closed in the first place, Ukiya walked towards the kitchen, which was only a few strides away. The house was very small to begin with, even after modifying, all there was was a living room and a kitchen. --But, this is already enough for me. It is big enough already. My little home. My little family. I do not have any other wild wishes. This is what I have to protect until I die. Like me and Saemi, father died an early tragic death, this cannot happen to Ayane. Ukiya opened the fridge and took out the milk tea.

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10. Fragments from the Past Ghost Girl: "Hoohoo. Finally I've found you. Or did you intend to hide since the beginning?" Yukino: "Who are you?" Ghost Girl: "Found you. Someone who could understand me. Since a long time ago, I have been observing you. Thinking whether you could become my friend?" After Ukiya woke up from his dream. To bury the past, he kept the fragments of the days in 1970 inside his heart. Yukino: "I, don't contact anyone. Except this little friend on my shoulder." Ghost Girl: "You're lying. Always, always. Living in a time longer and lonelier than mine. Actually, you should not be able to stand the loneliness. Tell me. Your true feelings. Do you understand? You definitely understand." With minimal light, deep underground at Tategami High. Two girls spoke face to face. One was wearing a thin lace-like dress. Ghost Girl. The other, wearing a kimono with lilies, white silver long sleeves. With long and beautiful black hair. Houjou Yukino. Ferret: "Jee!" Yukino: "Don't be like that, Hisame." On Yukino's shoulder, Yukino called the ferret's name, which was making a noise as if to scare the Ghost Girl, and then Yukino continued. Yukino: "This child. Doing anything is futile. She exists, but at the same time she does not exist. Even if I wanted to contact her, she's an existence I cannot touch." Ghost Girl: "Hoohoo, hoohoohoo. Impressive. Realising what kind of existence I am so quickly."

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Yukino: "If the living people, are all deceased people, as long as they are in the world, there will not be happiness." Ghost Girl: "Ah. It's ancient poetry. I know this one. It's Manyoushuu (TN: ancient Japanese poetry collection, literally 'Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves'.). Hoohoohoo. It's no use. To me, happiness is unnecessary. Before knowing of this world's happiness, I will do all I can to take away lives. Performing terrifying judgments." Yukino: "Is that all, you want to say?" Ghost Girl: "Where do you want to go?" Yukino: "To teach you the ways of being a person." Ghost Girl: "Hoohoohoo. Those living beneath my feet, what can they teach me? Also, this won't be effective on me. Humans, everyone's lives are short, they will all die at a certain age. You should know that very well. People are like beings which disappear like dreams. Even after years, decades, centuries. They will never change and stupidly repeat this process." Ghost Girl was playing with her crystal ball like a ball. Ghost Girl: "So, come play with me. You and I are the same, although different we are the same. (She said the same thing to Ayane in GK21). You, would definitely understand." Yukino: "I will not play with you." Yukino raised her right hand to the sky, pointing her middle finger. (TN: middle finger?!) Yukino: "Open. Gate of Ice and Snow." At the tip of her finger, there appeared light purple rings of light. It was the Gate of Ice and Snow which Houjou Yukino had opened. Flah, flah, the snow danced around like flower petals, and then Yukino disappeared. Leaving behind only Ghost Girl.

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Ghost Girl: "Ah. Teleportation. She can use the same powers as me. Hoohoohoo. Indeed, that child is the same as me. I will not give up. No matter how many times, until I know she understands me, I will keep seeking her. Because, after not long, the humans she knows will all disappear. Hoohoohoo. This makes me happy. Really happy." Ghost Girl held the crystal ball with a huge smile. On the other hand, Yukino disappeared in the darkness.

Shinigami "Aiyaya. Coming to save the Far East branch from the crisis with Kurogane Megumi. Planning to atone for your sins, becoming the righteous hero. Kageyama Reiji-kun." Shinigami laughed like 'kaka kaka'. Kageyama: "How could that be? You don't know anything." Shinigami: "Ho?" Kageyama: "Righteous hero? Don't joke. I've never thought about being the villain." Shinigami: "You did use the Kaiser and Count to take over the country." Kageyama: "Doing that was still better than the true darkness this country will fall into soon." Shinigami: "But, that does not justify defeating me. If you wanted to become the leader of this country once again, then your obstacle should be this earth defense organisation. It could be said that you and I have the same goal. Am I right?" Kageyama: "Unfortunately, you are wrong. In the past I wanted to destroy AEGIS in order to fulfil my goal. To direct this country in the right direction. What I hate has never changed." I assessed myself, those who only blame others, but doing such nave things themselves, without any ambition, stooping so low, only thinking of their own happiness. Scums. Then you are even worse than those people, killing people who are unrelated to yourself, the true king of scum, wreaking havoc and causing chaos."

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Shinigami: "Hey hey. Don't say that OK? I am just giving those people a little punishment. That's all." Kageyama: "Don't lie." Shinigami: "Lie?" Kageyama: "Your true aim. To let the Invaders evolve to a new stage. Destroying AEGIS is only the overture. The Invaders you spread have already been eliminated, giving humans a temporary sense of stability, they become the breeding ground of the people who are unaware of the fact that they have already depraved, breeding scums indefinitely. And then using those scums as the seedbed for breading new Invaders. Different to the inorganic ones from before, you want to convert humans into Invaders." Shinigami: "Geh." Different from his normal calm attitude, clenching his jaw. His whole face became unhappy. Shinigami: "I didn't expect you to know this all so clearly." Kageyama: "Who do you think I am?" Shinigami: "Stupid human, you are only one of the scums you speak of." Kageyama raised his hand, focusing his thoughts. Kageyama: "Gate---Open!" Black rings. The black floating Gate.

Kageyama: "Die. You original Invaders are born from negative human emotions, coming from this black Gate. So even if you are the Shinigami Shinshi, you cannot escape from this Gate of Darkness." Shinigami: "Although I wanted to finish this elegantly, it seems that I have no choice now." Shinigami clapped his hands together. Then.

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From the ceiling, ventilation openings on the walls, gaps in the ground, black paper-like matter emerged. The thin paper danced around the commander room like ribbons. Soon after, the thin paper inflated like balloons in the air, then slowly took on human form. Black Suits. They were the Invader soldiers. Shinigami: "Now everyone, I'll leave it to you here." Upon Shinigami's orders. Standing in a line, the Invaders shot out light bullets from their briefcase-shaped guns. Kageyama turned his head back and said to Kurogane Megumi: "Open the defense barrier." Megumi raised her hand, displeased, saying: "I didn't need you to tell me that." Megumi: "Wall of Steel!" The Gate opened, creating a spherical barrier. Dong, dong, dong. The barrier reflected all the light bullets the Invaders shot. A strong barrier which can block out anything. A Wall of Steel. That was the true power of Kurogane Megumi's 'Gate of Walls'. It was a really close call. If Megumi had been slightly slower, not just Kageyama and Megumi herself, Tokiwatari and all AEGIS members would have been hit by the light bullets. That of course includes the unconscious Ruriko. The shots from the Invader soldiers were intensive as usual, and the area was also very wide. Megumi: "Hoohoo. Didn't think I would be helping you again." Megumi sneered and glanced at Ruriko who was behind her on the ground. Kageyama: "Damn Shinigami Shinshi. Didn't expect him to use these minions to slip away. Seriously, and he calls himself a gentleman."

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It was exactly as Kageyama said. Shinigami was nowhere to be found in the commander room. He most likely disappeared when the Invader soldiers fired. The negative Gate Keeper who could open this black Gate created by negative emotions was equivalent to a natural enemy to the original Invaders. Kageyama: "But, that doesn't mean I'll just let you go." While Kageyama muttered to himself, the Invader soldiers continued to shoot their light bullets mercilessly. Thanks to Megumi's barrier, no one was injured, but because of the light bullets, the walls in the commander room started to become damaged. This was a few hundred metres below ground. At this rate all of them will be buried alive. Kageyama: "Megumi, remove part of the barrier. Get outside." Megumi: "Is that really OK?" Kageyama: "Who do you think I am? Eliminate the Invader soldiers, then go after Shinigami Shinshi. It seems like Ghost Girl came too. She has teleportation abilities, we have to get to her before she reaches somewhere we can't." Megumi: "Fine, if you say so." Kageyama: "Good girl." Megumi: "Good, it's this confident smile." Kageyama: "?" Megumi: "Different from the dispirited look you had after being defeated by Ukiya, crying in the building. The smile so cruel, showing that you will not lose to anybody. Not panicking regardless of the situation, always composed, the born emperor. That is Kageyama." Kageyama: "Speak no more, Megumi." Megumi: "Then, I'll remove the barrier now." Kageyama: "Yes"

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At that moment. Tokiwatari: "Wait, Kageyama!" The one who spoke was Tokiwatari, standing beside the collapsed Ruriko. Tokiwatari: "Are you on our side? Or?" Upon hearing Tokiwatari's question, Kageyama snickered. Kageyama: "Unfortunately, AEGIS has been destroyed. This is the indisputable truth. There is no more friend or foe distinction." Tokiwatari: "Then, why did you save us?" Kageyama: "Didn't I mention just now? In the future, the scum will breed indefinitely, I just don't like the way they do things." Tokiwatari: "But, I really can't believe, what you have said." Kageyama: "Believe, or not believe. It has already begun. The rapid economic growth. What will happen in the end with their boundless desires. How will people's attitudes and values change. You should've have seen my TV show, right? This show broadcasted on WHK for the younger generation. (TV episode 19) There you should've seen a description of the future I see." Tokiwatari: "Indeed, I do agree with many points you said back then." "Commander?" Ochiai said in surprise at the side. But, Tokiwatari ignored her and continued. Tokiwatari: "But, humans aren't actually such stupid animals. When the time comes, humans will look back, correct what went wrong, preserve what was good, and then continue developing. Let alone humans becoming Invaders. I believe in that completely." Kageyama: "Do you really think that from the bottom of your heart?" Tokiwatari: "That"

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Kageyama: "Please don't forget. As the Gate Keeper of Foresight, I can see the definite future. As well as the huge dark abyss of a Gate above the National Conference Hall, from which Invaders were born." Tokiwatari: "Then, at what time did you?" Kageyama: "I still get the chills when I think back about it. After being defeated by Ukiya, a huge black Gate appeared in the sky. Yes, that is also a type of gate. At the very last moment, Kurogane Megumi used the Wall of Steel on me, that's how I escaped. But that was already enough. I have already touched it. Saw it. Not through my eyes. It's my heart. The amalgamation of the negative emotions lurking at the bottom of people's hearts. The amalgamation of a vast amount of negative energy. Memories were stored as remains of thoughts. That is why Invaders appear. Also the buried, shocking truth about Gates." Tokiwatari: "Truth?" Kageyama: "At least, Gates are not hope." Tokiwatari: "That's impossible. Just now we managed to escape from the Invader Soldiers' attacks thanks to the power of Kurogane Megumi's Gate. As for Ikusawa, she used her Gate of Life to heal members who were critically injured. If that's not hope, what is it?" Kageyama: "Have you forgotten, what I planned to do in the past?" Tokiwatari: "That" Kageyama: "If we reverse the Gate of Life, it will become the Gate of Genocide which will take away lives from living organisms. Yes. That is the same ability as Shinigami Shinshi. Actually, Shinigami was born from a Gate. So it's no surprise that he has a similar ability. But, the biggest problem is the same powers as Shinigami Shinshi, appeared in a mentally unstable girl." Tokiwatari: "Wrong. I am sure that is wrong, Kageyama. Ikusawa reversed her gate because" Kageyama: "No, are you sure? Can you guarantee that from now on she will never want to give up her life, and stimulate her hatred?" Tokiwatari: "That"

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Kageyama: "I'll stop here. It's moot discussing whether humans are good or evil. But the truth is, this thing called a Gate, should teach us Gate Keepers a good lesson." Tokiwatari: "According to the user's will, both good and evil are possible, double sided power, eh?" Kageyama: "You finally understand, Tokiwatari-san." Tokiwatari: "But, if that's the case, Kageyama-kun." Kageyama: "Excuse me, it's time to end the chatting. I can't let that guy escape. If we live to meet again, I will have a good long talk with you." Then Kageyama faced Megumi, and said to her: "Remove the barrier." Hearing that, Megumi opened a gap in her barrier. It was a gap just wide enough for one person to pass through. Kageyama jumped through it with a somersault. As soon as he was outside the barrier, Kageyama's left hand shone. Kageyama: "Shadow blades!" Black darts flurried. Then, cutting noises came from all directions. Invader Soldier: "Oh geh geh geh" Invader Soldier: "Geh" Invader Soldier: "Oh oh oh" Invader Soldier: "Goo geh geh geh" The unclear sounds mixed together. While shooting the light bullets, the Invader Soldiers were sliced and diced, their limbs scattered all over the floor. Bang. Different from the crisp and clear sound from glass colliding, soon, the fragments of the Invader soldiers became green rock sugar-like crystals.

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Kageyama: "Hoo." Kageyama did not even bother to confirm the results of the battle, he disappeared into the circular opening Shinigami came through. "Kageyama" Tokiwatari stared, confused. Ochiai said behind him: "Let's forget that for now, commander, it's really dangerous here." Tokiwatari: "Ah, yes. You are right."

He has finally returned to our side. The Invaders had all been taken down by Kageyama, but because of the attacks from before, the commander room was in the state where it could collapse any time. Cracks appeared all over the ceiling, even the steel framework was giving off creaking noises. Tokiwatari: "Shinigami Shinshi has retreated. In the current situation, we will have to give up the commander room. Everyone still mobile, carry the injured to warehouse number 3. There is an emergency evacuation staircase there opposite the separation wall. Escape from there." Members: "Roger, AEGIS!" From Ochiai under (in the hierarchy), the lightly injured members saluted with the formal AEGIS salute. After nodding, Tokiwatari looked at Megumi. Tokiwatari: "Kurogane Megumi, what do you plan on doing from now on?" Megumi: "Unfortunately commander, I had betrayed everyone. Also, I must go and help him." Tokiwatari: "Kageyama?" Megumi: "Yes. Without my support, he will fall down again some time." Megumi smiled with a hint of evil, that smile, it was very hard to imagine that smile coming from a 17 year old teenage girl. Then she turned around, ready to leave the commander room.

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Tokiwatari said behind Megumi. Tokiwatari: "Kurogane Megumi. Although a lot has happened, but we still see you as a comrade. Please don't forget that." Megumi: "Thank you very much, commander." Megumi answered with her back to the commander, and then disappeared into the dark, deep passageway.

Ghost Girl: "Ala ala. This is really rare. Leaving before achieving your original agenda? At least think about me, who opened up the path for you." In the passage, beside Shinigami, Ghost Girl appeared. Shinigami: "Don't say that. At least the schedule has not been affected. AEGIS has collapsed, the functionality of the Far East branch has been terminated completely. By the way, Kageyama Reiji, he saw the abyss of the black Gate, but he lived to tell it. As a mere human, it's pretty impressive." Ghost Girl: "That can't be helped. He was originally on our side. At that time, he already knew a lot of our secrets." Shinigami: "Our, eh? Don't you think it's weird to say that?" Ghost Girl: "Really?" Shinigami: "Of course it's strange. Because originally you were also" *Tap*. Shinigami stopped s hort. At the same time, Ghost Girl was also looking at something ahead.

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Shinigami: "Aiyaya." Ukiya used his sword as a cane to stand up there. Shinigami: "We meet again. By t he way, you are really resilient. After being seen by my Eye of Genocide, you're still alive." Ukiya: "You" Shinigami: "Ho?" Ukiya: "I definitely won't let you go" Accompanied by the unsteady breathing, Ukiya struggled to force the words out. His legs shook again and again. His face was pale and white. Beads of sweat the size of peas were forming on his forehead. His eyes up until now, still had a powerful glow. The light of determination. Killing all the AEGIS Far East branch members like bugs, Shinigami, must be defeated by these two hands. The light of this strong determination. Shinigami: "Didn't I tell you just now? Moving around recklessly is no good. No matter what you do, you cannot defeat me." Ukiya: "Even if I can't win I, Ukiya Shun, as the Gate Keeper, Captain. I definitely won't let you go. Definitely won't" Shinigami: "Then, what you if you die?" Ukiya: "That doesnt matter. Rather than living with regrets, I'd rather take you down with me. I, even if it's just for my own sake, will have done what I needed to do. I can rest in peace." Shinigami: "Sad. Really sad. You speak of something like the will of ugly humans."

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Ukiya: "That's for certain because I am a human." Shinigami: "If that's the case, then it's all good. But what a shame, Ukiya Shun-kun. I wanted to keep playing with you for the next few years, or decades."

After saying that, Shinigami had a very depressed expression. Was he just acting, or was he serious? Then, slowly he reached for his glasses with his right hand. Ukiya screamed with all his might. Gripping his special bokken sword tightly with both his hands, there was a faint glow of blue and white light. It was the power from the Gate. The power of gales. Ukiya: "Ultra, Vacuum Stab! (Not the Ultra Whirlwind Stab used in the TV finale)" That was an attacked learned through the battles in the past. His opponent could kill just by taking off his glasses. There was no time for a close up battle. He would be killed before getting close. The only option was to use the strongest long range attack. The power of gales transmitted through the special bokken sword, the 'stab' at the tip of the blade was critical. The move was a combination of the Ultra Whirlwind Slash and Vacuum Missiles. That was the Ultra Vacuum Stab. Ukiya was correct. The bullets from the Ultra Vacuum Stab travelled at several times the speed of sound. Even Shinigami would be hit before he could remove his glasses. But. What if there was third party intervention? Weak and powerless. The path of the bullets from the Ultra Vacuum Stab formed strange curves in the air.

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S-shaped snakes. Or perhaps it could be said that they looked like skipping ropes. Ukiya: "?!" Ukiya Shun was stunned. The path of the bullets curved into a spiral and hit the walls of the passageway. There was an extremely loud sound of explosion. The special armour-reinforced walls of the passageway were penetrated through in an instant. A huge hole was formed. Reaching all the way to the foundations, there were sand and dust floating. Ukiya: "How could that be? My Ultra Vacuum Stab was so simply?" The floating particles took away his sight of the surroundings. Visibility was zero. He could not locate Shinigami. Ukiya: "Where, where are you?!" Shinigami: "So it's like that. You really scared me. If I took that attack directly, I would be dead for sure." He could not work out where the sound came from. Ukiya: "You!" Although he tried hard to confirm his enemy's position by the sound, but perhaps due to the debris and dense floating dust, there was reverberation. He could not confirm the direction of the source of the sound. Shinigami: "But it didn't work. Using the very last bit of your energy to release that attack. In your current state, you cannot even open your Gate." Ukiya: "Shinigami Shinshi, what did you do?"

Shinigami: "Unfortunately, that was not my powers just now. I could explain to you, but I really don't

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have the time now."

As the dust faded, the reverberation weakened. From behind, at an angle from the right, Ukiya swung his special bokken sword in the direction of the sound. But, that was a stupid and reckless move. Shinigami: "Ah. Looking at you without my spectacles, this is the second time." In the end, Ukiya looked straight at Shinigami without his glasses on.

Ruriko: "I must go" Ikusawa Ruriko swung off Ochiai's hand which was supporting her. That was the emergency passageway to the underground warehouse. After giving up the commander room, as Tokiwatari and the rest gathered the survivors and started to evacuate to ground level Ochiai: "Ikusawa, when did you wake up?" Ochiai was not surprised for no reason. A few minutes ago she was still unconscious, then without any signs she just got up and stood up with her own legs.

Ruriko: "I must go. It can't go on like this. After being seen by those eyes, there's no getting back up." Ochiai: "That's too reckless, Ikusawa. You were just unconscious a while ago. Also, where do you want to go?" Ruriko: "To Ukiya"

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Ochiai: "Eh?" Ruriko: "I saw, Ukiya fighting with that Shinigami Shinshi." Ruriko held one arm with the other hand, shakingly, walked back to where she came from. Tokiwatari: "Wait, Ikusawa." Tokiwatari stood up. Tokiwatari: "Although we are still out of contact with Captain Ukiya right now, but, you are also in a very dangerous state. Over-using the Gate of Life, and being seen by Shinigami Shinshi's Eye of Genocide, your stamina has reached its limits. Dont force yourself." Ruriko: "But, still I must go." Tokiwatari: "No. There is no evidence to prove that Ukiya is in danger." Ruriko: "I can feel it, commander." Tokiwatari: "Even if he were, I can't let you go in such a wounded state!" Ruriko: "Commander!" Commander: "Your powers are essential." As they were arguing, another soft voice interjected. Vaguely, there was a hoarse voice which sounded as if about to faint. It sounded like a girl's voice. Ruriko had recollections of that voice. Memories of the snowy hills. Ruriko: "Could it be Yukino?" Appearing out of nowhere, behind the door in the passageway, Yukino stood in her white, long-sleeved kimono. Waka (Japanese poetry) came out between Yukino's small lips.

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Yukino: "" (TN: poetry left untranslated) Tokiwatari understood the meaning immediately. Tokiwatari: "A section from the Manyoushuu. The meaning is roughly, no matter how many times, still mercilessly" " still mercilessly covered by the clouds, is that really good?" Ruriko realised following Tokiwatari's explanation. Ruriko: "Covered by clouds. That, is Ukiya?!"

Ruriko understood in an instant, covered by clouds was implying that Ukiya was on the verge of death. Ruriko: "Please, Yukino. Bring me to Ukiya." Yukino: "Understood." Yukino reached out and held Ruriko with her small little hand.

Tokiwatari: "Wait, this is too dangerous! Even if Houshou Yukino is a high level Gate Keeper, it's still" He did not have time to finish his sentence. At the instant Yukino and Ruriko touched, the two of them disappeared into thin air like smoke. Ochiai:" Commander? Just now, it seems like I saw a little girl disappear with Ikusawa?!" Tokiwatari: "Not seems like, they actually did disappear. An ability only high level Gate Keepers, or a limited number of Invaders, could use. Commonly known as teleportation." Tokiwatari's shocked eyes were fixated on the space next to where they disappeared, little bits of snow floated down slowly. Soon after, the ice melted, and disappeared.

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11. Between the Gap of Life and Death A clear afternoon in 1985. Steering slowly, entering Mejirodoori (name of a road)from the congested Ring 7, Ukiya looked at the surrounding scenery. --The same here, eh? Changed a lot since that time. By the way, I haven't been to this area for a long time. 5 years. Perhaps 10 years. He drove a '79 model of KP61. A small automobile from Toyota known as the Starlet. Tracing back to the origins, it was the car Ukiya's father Shunjiro used for installing the prototype Gate Engine, Publica (the Starlet's predecessor). With air cooled, flat-twin engines (Toyota 2U), the plain family car. That was also, a car from the Toyota Sports 800 series.

But, it was not the car Ukiya wanted. Firstly, to loan money for renovating the house for new born Ayane, he had to settle for a small car from 6 years ago, that was the passive reason. Secondly, out of all the small cars of various brands, this one fitted his preferences the most, a small back wheel drive car with a classic feel to it, that was the active reason. Combining the two reasons, he chose this car. --There was a slight creaking noise from the rear door. It was from the time when recently, Youko was taking Ayane to the hospital, and bumped into the corner of the house's concrete wall. Thinking of those times, Ukiya smiled. --Seriously. It was just a slight burn, but she said no, and cried like Ayane was going to die. All the neighbours thought something happened, sticking their heads out of their windows. Under the influence of Youko's cries, Ayane started crying, causing chaos. The traffic lights turned red. Stepping on the brakes lightly, the car slowed to a stop in front of the line. After stopping, Ukiya smiled again. This was a bitter smile.

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--I'm just the same. In the past, I would've braked grandly. Now I've gotten used to having Ayane in the car, it was like having a stack of eggs. Lightly steering and stepping on the brakes. A typical driver father. The sun was shining brighter. He pulled down the visor to block out the sunlight. He saw the road sign through the windscreen. He was soon to arrive at Mejiro (name of place). Yes, just not far ahead. It was faster to turn at the crossroad with the wine house in the corner, away from the residential area, into the narrow road. The lights turned from red to green. Slowly stepping on the pedal, the car accelerated slowly. He was now headed to a place he wanted to forget, but could not forget, a nostalgic place. Tategami Private High School. That was the former secret entrance to the AEGIS Far East branch, it was the place where Ukiya and the others' youth and days of earth defense were deeply engraved. The place was in a quiet residential area in Mejiro --I didn't think that I would really come here. Last night, Ukiya was determined. For his wife Youko and his daughter Ayane, he will never participate in fighting again. If possible, he would not even open his Gate. Seal the forbidden memories, to live as someone oblivious. I said that to Kageyama at that time. But. Why did Ukiya come to Tategami High to visit again? He was not sure about that himself, either. But, he had a strong feeling that he must take a look. --Regardless, I have decided. This time it's really the end. Today, if I look at Tategami High and bid it farewell, I probably won't have that dream again. It would be great to forget the regretful memories of the past, starting a new 'me' from tomorrow onwards. Yes, it'd be great. But, there was something lingering in his mind. I should have made up my mind already, but I still hear that hoarse voice in my mind repeatedly.

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"Is this really a good idea?"

He would have missed the turn if he were slightly less attentive. All the surrounding environment had changed. Ukiya relied on a lamp post as a landmark, and drove ahead slowly. The streets from his memory, and the streets he was seeing and adapting to, he was organising them in his mind bit by bit. Finally, he could see his destination, Tategami High. --Was the school this small? Ukiya said that for a reason. In the past, most of this area was buildings from before the war, there were empty grounds everywhere. Out of them all, the only newly constructed Tategami High stood out. Now, buildings over 10 stories were everywhere, as if narrow roads were becoming obsolete, there were new houses one after another. Tategami High was just another one of the old concrete and steel frame buildings buried within.

To the right of the main entrance, he stopped his car . He turned off the engine and stepped outside. There was a ringing sound behind him. Rushing frantically, it looked like a late female student riding a bike, brushing past Ukiya. With a loud braking noise, she disappeared into the direction of the school entrance. --Really, even the uniform has changed. The bike riding girl wore a dark blue vest, and a checkered skirt. On her chest, there was the 'lion' logo of Tategami High. In that era, many private high schools had gotten rid of the old sailor-style uniform. Westernised uniforms were being heavily promoted. Some schools also designed their own uniform. Getting rid of old things, replacing with new things, times were definitely changing.

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Ukiya went on ahead and looked at the school again. After 15 years, there was an incredible feeling. But, only memories resurfaced. Starting from deep underground at the school, the memories of the final battle.

Back to 1970 again. Deep underground at the AEGIS Far East branch. Ukiya: "Woo oooooo ah" The result of looking at Shinigami directly. It was his second timing being seen. Ukiya's vision slowly became foggy. Energy was drained from his arms and legs. *Clack* The wooden sword in his hand fell to the ground. Ukiya could just hear a distant sound. It was not just vision, he was losing his aural sense too. Ukiya: "My Ultra Vacuum Stab was" His chest felt very painful. Could not breathe. Just like anaemia, an unbelievable light feeling surrounded his body. Suddenly, without anymore energy, he kneeled down. --I fell down? On the ground? Where is my wooden sword? No. No. That's not important. Where is that guy? Where is Shinigami Shinshi? With what was left of his consciousness, he asked himself those questions. If he didn't keep asking himself, he could be devoured by the darkness surrounding him. Shinigami: "This time it is really the end. You've been seen by my eye for a second time. But, even so you did not die immediately, very impressive, Ukiya-kun."

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A sound from far away. It was Shinigami's voice. No. It should be nearby. He almost could not tell anymore. His consciousness was fading. The cold feeling of the floor, the guy's voice, and the scent of the surrounding dust. Now for real, all his senses were disappearing. --Is this it? Dying without even knowing what is happening to my body? I haven't avenged my comrades at AEGIS. I. All his energy was gone. Cold and dark, his mind and body were slowly surrounded by a magical feeling. This is, death? "You cannot die yet!" Deep within his closed eyelids, a soothing, beige light appeared. Like the moon slowly emerging from amongst dark clouds. Faintly, senses returned to his fingers. The cold feeling of the floor. Then, his hearing recovered bit by bit. The first thing he could hear was someone talking to someone. Shinigami: "So it's like this. From the front, you are really a beauty. Moreover, you managed to find us here. Even though it was through the monitor, you were still seen by my eye, why?"

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"To stop the treachery of you, the being who treats a life like nothing."

Shinigami: "Ah. Oriental ladies are really powerful. But there's nothing we could do about that. We are Invaders. Inorganic beings which resemble humans. Structurally we're slightly different, for example, something like robots. To fully and correctly understand the concept of life, it's basically impossible." "You're lying." Shinigami: "Ho ho?" "With that level of intelligence, it's impossible to not understand the meaning of life. You know it, but you just ignore it and take away lives to fulfil your targets." Shinigami: "Seriously. The meaning is different from different perspectives. Your subjective values and ours are different. Valuing life, or not valuing. In different positions, discussing is pointless. You are on that side, and I am on this side. Anyway, we can't reach a consensus." "Then my only choice is to destroy you." Shinigami: "Yes yes yes. This is really funny. So it's like that. As long as your enemy does not have a life, then eliminating them is no problem. Just like how you've always been eliminating Invaders." "That is only to protect everyone's lives." Shinigami: "So, let me ask you. What if Invaders were all metamorphosised from humans? Will you still destroy them like you couldn't care less?" "You could it be, you want to?" Shinigami: "The answer will likely appear in a few decades' time. When it becomes the time of your descendants, also humans, destroying them under the name of life and peace. Even though they're clear that their hands will be full of blood, they still don't care." "Could it be, you want to humanise Invaders? As a trial for us?"

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Shinigami: "Maybe. Or maybe not. It doesn't matter. No matter which path you choose, you will still be mesmerised by my eyes right now, and then die. Just like the guy on the ground next to you, your powerful boyfriend." No. Ukiya cried in his heart. The two people conversing were Ikusawa Ruriko and Shinigami Shinshi. Then he realised, the beige light which gave senses to his fingers was the light from Ruriko's Gate of Life. The one who saved Ukiya, who was on the verge of death, was Ruriko herself. --Rurippe Run. Run. He could not make a sound. His energy had not fully recovered yet. He wanted to stand up immediately, to protect Ruriko from Shinigami's eyes.

Shinigami: "Then, goodbye. Beautiful lady." Shinigami sneered, his right hand reaching for his glasses. Ruriko: "Unfortunately, you cannot kill me." Ruriko picked Ukiya up, and said without even taking a step back. There was a confident smile on her face. Ruriko: "Now!" As Ruriko shouted, two people came out from the passageway. "Shadow darts!" "Wall of Mirror!"

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It was Kageyama Reiji, and Kurogane Megumi. "Guh?!" The darts of shadow flew towards Shinigami. Then Megumi made a sphere of light which surrounded Shinigami who was retreating. Kageyama: "Seriously, what do you mean 'now'? Are you ordering me, Ikusawa Ruriko?" Kageyama asked with his left hand in his pocket. "Don't misunderstand. I am not trying to be your ally." That was from Megumi. Ruriko: "Sorry. But, you awoke my negative Gate, then used it. Now, let's just call it payback for that time." "Fu. You are a good talker." Kageyama showed a wry smile to Shinigami, who was surrounded by the ball of light. Kageyama: "Ok, what will you do now Shinigami Shinshi? As long as you're inside Megumi's Wall of Mirror, your Shinigami eye will be of no use. If you want to escape, then my shadows are waiting to rip you to shreds." In the dim passageway, the ball of light shined like a bulb, the Wall of Mirror. Shinigami was smiling inside as if enjoying it. Shinigami: "Seriously. I seemed to be too indulged in talking to the lady. I didn't notice you coming after. Mah, if it wasn't an ambush, you would all die simply under my sight." Kageyama: "Stop acting tough, Shinigami Shinshi." Shinigami: "?" Kageyama: "Kaiser Kikai and Count Akuma are no longer here, why do you still wear the glasses they gave you? As long as you don't wear your glasses, you can kill anyone, anywhere, just by looking at them." Shinigami: "Really impressive. So you noticed."

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Kageyama: "Ah. Those glasses, while limiting your powers, also act as your lifesaver. You can take away someone's life without contact, but that doesn't mean you can take away lives without limit. Taking away lives without limit, will actually become your heaviest burden. With too many lives taken, your bodies will also be destroyed. The glasses are for preventing that from happening." Shinigami: "What a pain. A human with such observation skills has once again returned to AEGIS' side." Kageyama: "Don't misunderstand. I did not go back to the good guys. No. I never thought about being a bad guy from the start." Shinigami: "But." Kageyama: "?" Shinigami: "Don't you think I would have contingency plans?" *Snap* Shinigami snapped his fingers in the ball of light. Kageyama: "It's no use. Even if you summon the Invader soldiers it's no use." Shinigami: "Not Invader soldiers. It's a very special guest. Coming from the other side of the planet, he is the same as my guide, a very powerful guy." Shinigami's smiling face twisted despicably. No. That is not an expression. It was true, Shinigami's face and body started to distort into a weird form, like the reflection in a distorting mirror. Kageyama: "?" Beside Shinigami, someone appeared slowly and quietly. It appeared like steam rising. Ruriko: "Could it be, that person is?!"

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The one speaking was Ikusawa Ruriko. The person appearing beside Shinigami was a sturdy man, about 50 years old, in a stylish shirt. Intuition, although she has never seen him before, but Ruriko knew who that man was.

Ochiai: "This, what happened?" Leading the survivors to the warehouse, Ochiai said standing, confused. All types of aircrafts and vehicles parked in the warehouse were disfigured, like a recycling market. Steel frames were crushed horrifically, from something unknown. They were bent into ovals. Ochiai: "Is this the doing of Shinigami Shinshi?" Tokiwatari: "No, it isn't." Tokiwatari replied while lowering the unconscious member to the floor. Tokiwatari: "If our information is correct, that guy's ability is only taking away lives. He should not have this kind of battling abilities." Ochiai: "Then, who could it be?" Tokiwatari did not reply, he carefully looked around the warehouse. The wings were snapped, the upward-tilted YS-11 transportational aircraft. The crushed camouflage bus. The NF-104A defense machine with a tough aluminium surface was hit by a strange wave. No matter which, all of them seemed like the materials itself had transformed and bent. Out of them, objects which looked like they were squashed could also be found. Tokiwatari: "This was not an explosion, nor was it damage caused by a strong external force."

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Ochiai: "Then, how was this formed?" Tokiwatari: "Im afraid it's space distortion. No matter how strong the armour, how tough the reinforcements, it all makes no difference. Existing in this dimension, all matters could not defy or resist this power. Yes. These are the traces of distorting the third dimension itself. Ochiai: "Distorting space" Tokiwatari: "Not an Invader. From what I know, the only one with this ability is"

12. Gate Openers "AEGIS, supreme commander!" Ruriko said. Yes. Standing beside Shinigami was someone she had only seen in pictures before, but it should be the AEGIS supreme commander of the New York headquarters. Kageyama: "Don't be fooled." It slipped out of Kageyama. Kageyama: "Although I don't know how he managed to get all the way here, but this guy is the unconfirmed Invader cadre Mugen Majuu in disguise." Ruriko: "Mugen Majuu?" Ruriko: "Ah yes I remember. I lost consciousness at that moment. Mah, the point Shinigami Shinshi was trying to get across was, he used this guy to take the form of the supreme commander for a trick to disband AEGIS." When Ruriko was done, Kageyama laughed.

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Kageyama: "So what? Although we have the one impersonating the AEGIS supreme commander, Mugen Majuu here, we can't do anything to change the terrible situation you're in. I've heard about Mugen Majuu's abilities from the Kaiser and Count. Even though he is powerful in battle, basically he's for acquiring the faces of people he's devoured, as well as copying their memories and abilities. Before this, he secretly devoured the leaders of various countries, and caused chaos from the background." "Ukiya-senpai--!" They heard footsteps from behind Kageyama. Ruriko reacted immediately. Ruriko: "Kaoru?!" Racing here from the dim passageway, the Gate Keeper of Close Combat, Konoe Kaoru. Kaoru: "Ikusawa-senpai?! Kurogane Megumi, and even Kageyama, are here too?" Ikusawa: "I'll explain later. Right now, they're here to help us." Kaoru: "Help us? But isn't Ukiya-senpai down?" Ikusawa: "Ukiya is fine. In a moment, I will give him energy from the Gate of Life, then there will be no problem. Rather, how are Specs and Bancho?" Kaoru: "Specs is in the hospital. I bumped into Bancho on the way here, I took him back above ground, so he should be safe for now. But because of that, I got here a bit late" Kageyama spoke again loudly to Shinigami to drown their voices out. Kageyama: "Didn't I say so before? The other Gate Keeper is also on the way here. Summoning the Mugen Majuu who is using the supreme commander's body, is it for catching us off guard? You've miscalculated, Shinigami Shinshi." Shinigami: "Is that what you really think? Mugen Majuu's ability is duplicating someone after devouring them. But what if even their knowledge, memories, secrets and their original abilities could also be copied?"

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Kageyama: "Fu. Although he is the AEGIS supreme commander, he is just a normal human being, what can you do?" Shinigami: "Mah, Mr. Tokiwatari would know. In AEGIS, it's classified as an S-class secret. It makes sense that you don't know." Kageyama: "What?" Shinigami: "Mugen Majuu-kun. No. AEGIS supreme commander. Demonstrate your ability in front of these imbeciles." Majuu (TN: Shortened from Mugen Majuu): "Oh ohohoh oh" The supreme commander stepped forward slowly. As if asking for attention on his hands, he raised both of them. Subtly, the supreme commander's body started bending. Like a reflection in rippling water. Not just the supreme commander's body. All the surroundings rippled like water. Then. In front of his raised hands, orange rings appeared. Kageyama: "Could it be a Gate?!" What a man, Kageyama, he did not hide his shock. Could it be that the supreme commander in front of him could open a Gate? Majuu: "Ohooohoohoohoooh!" Majuu in the form of the supreme commander, made noises which did not seem like a noise. The rings of the Gate kept expanding, the surroundings were also becoming increasingly distorted.

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The curving ripples seemed to be alive, they extended to the ceiling, walls, and the floor. The distortion seemed contagious. It looked like the ripples formed when a stone is tossed into calm water. Kageyama: "Space distortion?!" Kageyama spoke in shock while retreating. Even the Wall of Mirror surrounding Shinigami was bending like a bubble. After a short while, it ripped open. Megumi: "Even my Wall of Mirror is ripped?" Kageyama: "Shadow darts!" To keep Shinigami, who broke free, from escaping, Kageyama released his shadow darts. But Shinigami: "It's no use." Just as he said, the paths of the shadow darts curved and flew over Shinigami's head, disappearing deep into the passageway. Distorted. The space distortion the supreme commander used also distorted the paths of the shadow darts. Yes. From Ukiya's full power attack just now, the bending of the Ultra Vacuum Stab's bullets was also because of the supreme commander's ability. Shinigami: "This is the AEGIS supreme commander's Gate of Distortion (TN: I've seen it as Gate of Space and Time before somewhere, but this is what I see here). Distorting the third dimension, deflecting all attacks." Shinigami proceeded to explain: "This AEGIS supreme commander is not just some person. Within AEGIS, he could be said to be a top level Gate Keeper. When AEGIS was just formed, he used this ability to bury an uncountable number of Invaders. But now, in the huge organisation of AEGIS, he is just a useless member of authority. So he didn't notice Mugen Majuu secretly approaching using teleportation, and fell into the trap. Yes yes. Mentioning this, when you took over the National Conference Hall, the one who abandoned this tiny Eastern country, Japan, was this supreme commander."

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Kageyama: "So what?" Shinigami: "In other words, he is a human being, but also someone who is almost an Invader. I wanted to make him one of us sooner. So that's how he became Mugen Majuu's food." Majuu: "Oohooohhaaaaaaaaaaahh!" The one giving off this roar was the supreme commander. Now, his heart belonged to Majuu, but his body and abilities were exactly the same as the Gate Keeper of Distortion, the AEGIS supreme commander. In other words, he is their most fearsome enemy. Shinigami: "Come on, Mugen Majuu-kun, a body combining both offense and defense. Use the powers of your Gate of Distortion to crush this Far East branch, and destroy the Gate Keepers standing in front of you." The area of the Gate in front of the supreme commander grew even larger. The distortion extended in all directions into the passageway. Not able to withstand the expansion and contraction, the walls started crumbling. The basis of the space distortion is very strong gravity. Like tides caused by lunar gravity. The moon's gravity not only affects the sea water, but they also have a subtle influence on the earth's tectonic plates. If the moon's gravity multiplied, the earth's shape would change, and start breaking apart soon. The way the Gate of Distortion distorted space was similar to that, with the same effect. Although in comparison, the activation is localised. *Grumble grumble* The ground started making noises from all directions. The space distortion twisted the constructions, and they all started crumbling together. Kageyama: "I won't let you succeed, Shinigami Shinshi!" Amidst all the noises, Kageyama focused his concentration.

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*Dong* From the Gate of Darkness, out came black shadow fragments. Kageyama: "Black Dimension!" Kageyama's strongest attack. Surrounding the target in darkness, and making it disappear from this dimension, falling into abyss. Shinigami: "It's useless, Kageyama-kun." Just as he said, the released shadow fragments twisted and distorted in front of Shinigami and the supreme commander, and finally dissipated. Shinigami: "Then, I'll start with you." Shinigami signaled with his eyes. Majuu, in the form of the supreme commander, reached for Kageyama. The distorted space extended like a predator to a prey. "Guh?!" The space around Kageyama was twisting. Accompanied by explosion noises, the floor and ceiling crumbled in an instant. "Oohooohoooh?!" Just when Kageyama was about to be buried in the debris. "Wall of Steel!" A defense barrier was formed around him. It was Kurogane Megumi.

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Kageyama: "Thank you, Megumi." Megumi: "Hoohoo, it's still like this after all." Kageyama: "?" Megumi: "Without me supporting you from behind, you're no good." Megumi opened her Gate of Walls. The physical barrier formed from this Gate finally stopped the debris, but Shinigami: "If you were buried along with the barrier, could you still survive?" As Shinigami said, the distortion was becoming gradually more intense. As a result, the steelworks and pipes started to fall. Like thin ice on water, they were buried away in the debris. Kageyama: "Megumi, remove the barrier. The only way is to seal the Gate of Distortion." Megumi: "No, if I remove the barrier now, our bodies will be exposed to the distorted space. That is a distortion field which could even twist the strong concrete and steel frames. A body of flesh and blood would be ripped apart in an instant." Megumi analysed the situation calmly. As a matter of fact, if she had set up the barrier slightly later, Kageyama would have been devoured by the distortion field and became a hideous pile of flesh. The two people relying on the barrier have reached a point where they could hardly even move. Affected by the aftershock, the whole passageway was affected, the damage at the Far East branch continued spreading. In the corner of the affected passageway, Ruriko was desperately protecting Ukiya. Ruriko: "Ukiya, please, now! Shinigami Shinshi is focusing all his attention on Kageyama!"

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Ruriko held the fallen Ukiya's hand tightly. There was a weak beige light, it was the recovery energy from the Gate of Life. Ruriko suddenly remembered, in the past she also held Ukiya's hand like this before, and shared her energy with him. Yes. It was when they met again for the first time after separating in kindergarten, when Ukiya was knocked down by the huge spherical Invader. (TV episode 1) Ruriko: "Stand up like that time, Ukiya. You can do it. Stand up once again, kill Shinigami Shinshi, avenge everyone." Ukiya: "Woooooooo" Vaguely, Ukiya was making a sound. Ruriko: "Ukiya?!" At the same time, above their heads. With a loud noise, the ceiling above their heads started to collapse. Under the influence of the indefinitely spreading distorted space, the passageway itself was started to collapse. An uncountable amount of cement fragments, and steel bars as thick as logs were falling from directly above Ruriko and Ukiya. "Ah!" out came a sad cry, Ruriko's eyes were filled with despair. But. Kaoru: "Ikusawa-senpai, Ukiya-senpai!" Kaoru came out and stopped the falling steel bars. Kaoru: "Are you alright?" Ruriko: "Kaoru-chan?!" Kaoru: "Hurry, take Ukiya-senpai and leave! We can't hold it here anymore! Before all the whole ceiling falls, hurry!"

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Ruriko: "No, no, Kaoru! It's too dangerous to move Ukiya in this state! If I don't give him energy from the Gate of Life right now, most likely Ukiya will never wake up!" Kaoru: "If we don't hurry, everyone will be buried alive!" Ruriko: "It's gonna be alright." Kaoru: "Eh?" Ruriko: "If it is Ukiya, he will definitely do something. So I'm drawing all the energy from my Gate and infusing it into Ukiya." Kaoru: "All? But, if you did that, wouldn't Ikusawa-senpai you from now on?!" Ruriko: "I, have no regrets." Kaoru: "But, Ikusawa-senpai!" Ruriko: "Rather than us, Kaoru-chan you should hurry up and leave!" Kaoru: "Don't kid with me! I've already lost in the race of love, how could I also lose in Aegis Far East branch's final battle?!" Ruriko: "Kaoru-chan" Kaoru: "Also, I promised Bancho just now. I will definitely protect Ukiya-senpai. Then along with Ukiya-senpai, avenge everyone." On top of the steel frame Kaoru was holding up, debris were falling one by one. Kageyama: "Damned Shinigami Shinshi. You were aiming at the Aegis supreme commander's hidden ability from the start, and orchestrated the destruction of Aegis." Kageyama said grimly. The surrounding barrier was buried in a horrifying vortex of dust and rubble. At this rate, they will surely be buried alive. But, they were all aimed at Kageyama. As long as these powerful waves from the space distortion are still there, they could not just simply remove the barrier.

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Kageyama: "Is there no other way?" Shinigami: "Aiya aiya. It's not as hopeless as you think." On the other side of the falling rubble, Shinigami smiled coldly behind the supreme commander. Shinigami: "As the stronghold of the peace of you humans, being buried with this Aegis Far East branch, isn't that great?" Kageyama: "Are you not afraid?" Shinigami: "What is that?" Kageyama: "My negative Gate." Kageyama raised his left hand and opened the Gate of Darkness. The dark Gate from which the Invaders were born. The source of all conflict, the negative Gate. Shinigami: "As you said. Ah ah. I'm so scared. That's given that you open it at a close distance, at this distance it's of no threat. The only weakness of us original Invaders. Originally, this is a Gate which only people with twisted minds are capable of opening." Kageyama: "Ah ah. It's inconceivable. I'm a good guy from head to toe. But I'm too good a person, so I've hated those filthy people all along." Shinigami: "Fufu. Hahaha." Shinigami laughed loudly, but it was drowned out by the falling debris. Shinigami: "Anyway, Mugen Majuu-kun. Fully open the Gate of Distortion. Rip those two apart along with this space." "This is the time, Megumi." Kageyama whispered to Megumi. "There is only one chance, the moment you remove your Gate, just before the rubble falls, I will dash into that guy. If all goes well, I should be able to take him down with my Gate of Darkness in one go." Megumi: "" Kageyama: "What did you say?" Megumi: "Don't die."

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Kageyama: "I know" Majuu: "WooOoooOoohOooh!" Majuu in the form of the supreme commander was rioting. The Gate in front of him grew even larger. Kageyama: "Now, Megumi!" Megumi: "Wall of Steel, remove!" In a blink, the light barrier disappeared. Kageyama dodged all the falling debris and dashed towards Shinigami. Because of the distortion field, his arms and legs felt like ripping apart. His whole body felt pierced. It seemed like he had already broken a few bones. His skin was ripped, blood splattered. But there was no time to deal with that. The guy was right in front of him, he just needed to get close. Kageyama: "I'll use my Gate of Darkness to take him down!" Shinigami: "What a pity." Kageyama: "?" Shinigami saw through Kageyama's actions. Shinigami: "I could see you clearly from here." Ahead. Shinigami stood there with his glasses off. The Eyes of Genocide shimmered. "Woo goo?!" In an instant, all the energy in Kageyama's body vanished.

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His legs felt as heavy as lead, he fell and rolled over. Shinigami: "That's enough. From now on you can just be left to die." Before Shinigami even spoke, the falling rubble and steel bars fell on Kageyama. Kageyama: "Tsk" There was no evading. Exposed barely to Shinigami's sight, all the energy in his body disappeared at once. Kageyama did not open his eyes. As if accepting his fate, to being covered by the rubble, he did not even bat an eye. Now Kageyama was really going to be buried in the rubble. At the following moment. Frozen. Everything. The falling debris, the steelworks. Even the vibrating, distorted space was frozen. Everything was white, frozen. Kageyama: "This is?" Kageyama looked, clueless.

Such a magical sight. Like a freeze frame, the rubble and steelworks above him stopped miraculously. What was more incredible was, Kageyama could move normally himself. Kageyama: "It is not time which has stopped. It is space, as if frozen."

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Kageyama focused his remaining energy in his arms, he started moving his body bit by bit. Following, his face felt something ice cold. A feeling which he yearned, but also felt surreal. Kageyama: "Snow?" In front of his eyes, the snow fell like flower petals. Kageyama: "Could it be that, you froze space?" Sensing the presence, Kageyama looked back. There, stood Houshou Yukino in white clothing. Kageyama: "Is that you? The one who sealed my actions at Tokyo Tower?" (TV Episode 22, when Kageyama was about to strike Ukiya) I will never forget. The time when I, in the dark Gate Robo, was stopped from attacking Ukiya in the Gate Robo. Interfered by a forceful freezing, the high level Gate Keeper from that time. Although she looked like a little girl, it was obvious that her powers were superior to mine, a mysterious Gate Keeper. Megumi: "Houshou Yukino" Megumi said from a distance. "Houshou, Yukino?" Kageyama kept repeating. Yukino: "This way, your path ahead has been opened." Houshou left a soft, weak message, as if she was about to faint, and vanished slowly. Teleportation. At the same time. "WooOoohooohOoohoohOooh!"

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They heard roaring from somewhere. Kageyama looked towards the direction of the sound immediately. The source of the sound was Kageyama: "Ukiya?!" (TN: Haha I thought it was the Mugen Majuu.) Ukiya: "Back off, Kageyama!" Holding the special bokken sword in his hand, the fully recovered Ukiya Shun was about to charge. Granted the energy from Ikusawa Ruriko's Gate of Life, now, Ukiya was revived.

Kageyama: "Stop Ukiya! As long as that guy still has the Eye of Genocide, charging like that is useless!" Ukiya: "I know that very well!" Kageyama: "Then wait! Join forces with me, then defeat him, that's the best plan!" Ukiya: "No, I don't need to borrow your powers! I need to avenge everyone, with my own hands!" Ukiya's charging could not be stopped. He completely ignored Kageyama's advice and dashed towards Shinigami's Majuu front on. The falling rubble and steelworks were still frozen by Yukino's powers, so the path was clear. There was only one obstacle. Shinigami: "Again? So embarrassing. When I was fighting Kageyama-kun, you should've just left with the ladies." Shinigami held his glasses. Shinigami: "Mah, seen for the third time. This time, I will really take away your life." Ukiya: "The same trick will not work on my anymore!"

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Ukiya swung his wooden sword left and right. The air pressure from the Gate of Gales expanded in all directions. Shinigami: "This is?" This was the first time Shinigami wavered. It was snow. The wind caused by Ukiya, made the ice frozen on the surface of the rubble start dancing, and created a snowstorm. A flurry of pure white snow. Shinigami's vision was taken from him. Shinigami: "Like this, my Eyes of Genocide will be?!"

Ukiya: "If you can't see me, then the Eyes of Genocide you take so much pride in will have no effect!" At the other side of the white blizzard, Ukiya's voice was getting closer. It was near. Shinigami: "Mugen Majuu! Gate Open! Make a field of distortion!" Majuu: "Woo ooohooohOoohooh!" Opening the Gate in front of him, Majuu expanded the distortion field. The frozen rubble and steelworks were bent into strange shapes. The largest scale third dimensional distortion field appeared. The space was distorted, the ceiling and walls looked like they were put into a blender and were smashed at an increasing rate. The furiously flurrying ice and rubble took away Shinigami's vision completely. Ukiya: "I knew you would do this!" Shinigami: "Where are you, Ukiya Shun?!"

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Ukiya: "Even if you distort the space! Even if I can't see you! I know where you are! In the centre of the distorted space! That's where you are!" Shinigami: "Then attack me, with the distortion field in your way, use your best move!" Ukiya: "Ah ah, exactly what I wanted!" The blizzard became fiercer. It has become more than a snowstorm, it was a cyclone of snow. Ukiya: "Ultra, Whirlwind Slash!" Then, Ukiya appeared from amidst the snowstorm. Right in the centre of the distortion field. No, no. It was the opposite direction. In other words, behind Shinigami. In the blizzard, Ukiya somehow got behind Shinigami. Ukiya: "You two go ahead and disappear---------------!" Ukiya raised his wooden sword and leapt up. Directly below were Shinigami and Majuu. Ukiya swung the sword without hesitation. In the following instant. The Gate of Distortion Majuu opened expanded infinitely. An abnormally powerful distortion, it devoured the whole of the Far East branch.

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13. The Connecting Path "So, you did come, Ukiya" Kageyama was standing there with his sunglasses on. 1985, Tategami High School main entrance. The two looked up at the school which stood in front of them. Ukiya: "You're good." Kageyama: "I called your place, your wife said you went out." Ukiya: "She really can't keep a secret." Kageyama: "Mah, don't say that." Kageyama smiled slightly in his sunglasses. Kageyama: "I remember she's called Youko? A good wife." Ukiya: "You investigated her?" Kageyama: "Seeing you now, I felt that you would say that." Probably from the music room, they could vaguely hear piano sounds, sounded like a practice piece by Debussy. Clumsy performances somehow tend to feel enjoyable.

"Do you have an answer?" Kageyama asked.

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Of course Ukiya had his mind made up. He could not utter a word of apology. I can no longer return to the battlefront. From now on, I will be a very normal person, living a stable life as a father. I will only fight when my wife and daughter are endangered. Outside of my family, nothing matters to me. Even if humans were to become Invaders, there's nothing I could do. He wanted to say that. But. "To be frank, I'm not sure myself." What Ukiya said was the opposite of what he thought. Kageyama: "Indeed. The fact that you came to Tategami High shows that you're still pondering." Kageyama continued calmly. Kageyama: "By the way, the walls of this school seems a bit dirty. They just had major refurbishment works done not long ago." "You make it sound like you own this school." Ukiya said laughing. Kageyama laughed as he replied. Kageyama: "You didn't know? Most of Tategami High's operation costs are donated by me. Practically, I am the owner of this school." Ukiya: "What a surprise. So recently, you even started putting your people in schools?" Kageyama: "Don't say that kind of stuff. Bottom line is, this is not some prestigious private high school, it is not profitable. But I just couldn't leave it be. There are still traces of what's left of the Far East branch below the ground here. If not managed properly, the school won't survive. The school will be demolished, then houses and condos will be built on top." Ukiya: "Wouldn't that be good? It's become ruins which no one can enter anyway. Most of it had been buried in the rubble from that fight." Kageyama: "Mah, even so, it seems to give a sad feeling nonetheless."

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Ukiya: "Sad? Don't kid with me. You, who don't belong to Aegis, would feel sad?" Kageyama: "Of course not being sad for Aegis. It's because that era, was back when I still felt a gleam of hope for the future." There was a moment of silence. The wind blew lightly. Transported by the wind, they could hear the noises from students on the roof. It sounded like gym class. Happy noises from female students. Kageyama: "The size of the playground was cut. The swimming pool and tennis court have been surrounded by fences on the roof." Ukiya did not reply. Kageyama stopped for a while, and said to Ukiya "Want to take a tour?"

The sports hall had been rebuilt, compared to before, it was one whole size smaller. In the past, there were tall poplars planted all around the playground. Now there were only inorganic concrete walls. Not far ahead, there were newly built dormitories. Kageyama: "Ukiya, have you thought like this before?" Ukiya: "What?" Kageyama: "If life were a story, in the end, will your own story end with a happy ending?" Ukiya: "What a nave thought. Life is not a story, how could there be pre-written happy endings like in movies and novels."

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Kageyama: "You sound exactly like an adult, Ukiya. Yes. It is indeed like this. We're already over 30, we've known for long that a tranquil life from a happy ending will never happen in this world. Even if we had random moments of fortune, in the end, that is only the beginning of misfortune. But even if we always complain about the misfortunes in our lives, as long as we live in the world, there will still be little moments of happiness." The two walked through a corner of the playground and reached the courtyard. That was a gap between the two school buildings, connected by a very long corridor. Kageyama continued speaking as he walked. Kageyama: "Yes, as long as we live in the world, both good and bad things will happen. On the other hand, taking a snapshot in life, the story could change in any direction. Will it be a happy ending or a bad ending? But as long as we live, taking a snapshot is impossible. The different endings will all cross over, just when you thought it was happiness, it will become misfortune. Comedy and tragedy. Life just keeps repeating like that." "A very optimistic view." Ukiya finally spoke, then he followed on. Ukiya: "But, Kageyama. Fortune or misfortune, it's all a matter of perspective, it depends on how the person thinks. When everyone else thinks it's misfortune, perhaps the person thinks it's happiness. In the contrary, when everyone else thinks you're happy, you could also feel unhappy." Kageyama: "That I know, of course. But, in reality, there are many people who just judge by the cover. No, no doubt the number of these people is increasing. Measuring based on their own values, failing to acknowledge other possibilities, adults who are just like kids. They are very sensitive to being hurt, but very dense about hurting others. Because of these people, the breeding ground for Invaders is still growing." As if he suddenly thought of something, Kageyama stared at Ukiya. Kageyama: "Ukiya, there is actually something I wanted to ask you." Ukiya: "What a sudden change of tone, what is it?"

Kageyama: "I want to ask you directly. Do you feel happy now? If you were to die right here, would

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your story have a happy ending?"

Ukiya: "This"

Kageyama: "I don't want to hear a perfunctory response. Instead, I want to hear what you truly think." Ukiya: "My true answer is" Ukiya could not help but stutter. All the memories poured into his mind like a fountain. Ukiya thought about what happened 15 years ago. The location was still here, in the courtyard of Tategami High.

May 1970 The fight ended. "Well done. Ukiya. Ikusawa. Konoe. Bancho who's not here. Specs. And also Kageyama, Kurogane Megumi." Before dawn, in the courtyard of Tategami High. Tokiwatari, who crawled out from the emergency exit along with the other survivors, stood tiredly, commending Ukiya and the others who fought a tough battle.

Tokiwatari: "Anyway, the most important thing to do now is send the injured to hospital. It'll be fine. Even if the Far East branch has collapsed, it doesn't mean Aegis has stopped functioning. There are still many dedicated facilities in the city, there are also many members spread throughout the world." Then, Tokiwatari helped the severely injured Ukiya up, and looked at Ruriko.

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Tokiwatari: "Ruriko will also definitely recover. She just over-used her gate and lost consciousness temporarily." Ukiya: "I'm very sorry, commander." Tokiwatari: "What is it, Ukiya?" Ukiya: "Well done or whatever, I really cannot accept that." Tokiwatari: "That is not true. You guys are the very few remaining fighters, but you still managed to defeat the unconfirmed Invader cadres, Shinigami Shinshi and Mugen Majuu" Ukiya: "No, that's not true. That time, I saw it. I did indeed tear Mugen Majuu, in the form of the supreme commander, to pieces with my Ultra Whirlwind Slash. But Shinigami, the culprit of all this, the one who flipped the whole Far East branch upside down..." "I'm afraid it was probably the Ghost Girls doing, a white figure appeared, and then disappeared." Kageyama finished Ukiya's line. Kageyama: "That was without a doubt teleportation." Then he looked back outside the courtyard, at the long corridor. On the corridor, a looming light appeared. Houshou Yukino, who was late, appeared. Perhaps she was secretly worried about their safety. Tokiwatari: "Yes, you also participated in the battle. Thank you, Houshou." Tokiwatari was speaking to Yukino. However, Yukino was just looking at the others. Kageyama: "What a miraculous fight. In the end, the Gate Keepers squad and Houshou Yukino got out of this crisis together." He sounded as if he was complaining, then he said to Megumi. Kageyama: "Hey, Megumi. Give me your shoulder, we need to go." Megumi: "Understood"

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Although he tried hard to maintain his composure when speaking to Megumi, but he had already received a considerable amount of damage from the attacks of the Gate of Distortion. In the end, he was already struggling to simply stand up. "Please wait, Kageyama." Tokiwatari shouted. Kageyama: "What is it this time?" Tokiwatari: "What do you plan on doing from now on?" Kageyama: "No matter what, the ball's in the Invaders' court from now on. Secretly seep into the human society, then transform, changing from inorganic material to organic. Until all humans become Invaders. Invasions which normal people can't see will also continue." Tokiwatari: "In that case, why don't we fight together?" Kageyama: "Hasn't Aegis collapsed?" Tokiwatari: "The branches around the world have indeed been destroyed, but, I won't just give up like this. If Shinigami Shinshi really plans to convert all humans to Invaders, I will announce this danger to the countries around the word, and focus all resources on rebuilding Aegis." Kageyama: "Can you really do that, Tokiwatari-san? Humans becoming Invaders, it's no laughing matter. They will learn from past failures. The appearance of the Fukuoka-type and Nishitani-type was no coincidence. They are the failed products of their experiments to expand their territory. In the end, their invasion will reach the final phase. After many years, they will become the same as humans. They will be like the genes of viruses and take over living people. By the time of outbreak, it may be several decades, but what we can be certain of is that they are changing humans. In the long dormant period. In the long incubation period, they are definitely invading." Tokiwatari: "Then, what will you do from now on?" Kageyama: "If the scums walking this earth became Invaders, can I just wipe them out without worrying...?" Kageyama took a stride while leaning on Megumi's shoulder, and continued.

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Kegeyama: "But if I didn't do that, the number of humans will keep decreasing. Wiping out the scums who have become Invaders, then we can cure the normal humans well and build a utopia, this isn't completely bad." Tokiwatari: "But Kageyama, that is a bit too.." Kageyama: "Then, let's stop here." Those were Kageyama's last words. Megumi, with Kageyama leaning on her shoulder, turned around and bowed slightly. The two left in the dim streets before dawn, once again. Ochiai: "Letting them go like that, is that really fine?" Ochiai said to Tokiwatari as she walked closer. Tokiwatari: "There's nothing I could do, they are them. I believe that there will come a chance when we can have a long talk. Anyway, the most important thing to do now is take the injured to the hospital." Looking at the Aegis members lying weakly on the ground, he could not help but think about how up until yesterday, there were still several hundred members at the Far East branch. Now they were only in the double digits. The remaining people have all been buried in the dark and deep underground, along with the rubble. "It's all because I'm not good enough" He could vaguely hear the shivering voice. It was the voice of Ukiya, holding Ruriko. Ukiya: "In the end, I still didn't manage to avenge everyone. Shinigami Shinshi did all this but still nothing could be done" Tokiwatari: "Ukiya, there's no need to blame yourself. You've already exceeded the duties of a Gate Keeper."

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Tokiwatari placed his hand lightly on Ukiya's shoulder. Kaoru: "Exactly, Ukiya-senpai, you don't need to blame yourself. It's the same for me. The Invader cadre was right in front of me, but I could only watch all this happen. If I tried a bit harder, perhaps we could've killed Shinigami Shinshi." Kaoru-chan said desperately. Ukiya: "No It's still my responsibility. Even though Ruriko used all her energy to open the Gate of Life I still let the most important Shinigami Shinshi get away In the end, I couldn't do anything Two battles, I didn't even manage to touch that guy... couldn't do anything. Just lied on the ground at the side... I. I..." Then, Ukiya threw away the wooden sword in his hand. *Clank* With a clear sound, the wooden sword fell on the ground. At the other end of the corridor. "Ah?" Yukino displayed a sad expression, and slowly disappeared.

Ukiya: "My answer is" Memories kept rushing in, delaying Ukiya's response. The 15 years after that, he could not rid himself of that feeling.

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That is, regret. Thinking back to those dug up memories, it seemed like he had lived for a very long time. After that incident, he split up with Ikusawa Ruriko in the end. Although the reason was unknown, but she suddenly lost the power of her Gate. At the same time, the physically and mentally exhausted commander Tokiwatari fell ill. It was because he publicised the secret plan of the Invaders, but no one believed him. --Even though we've lost the Far East branch, we still plan to keep on fighting. But. Invaders were not seen at all, not even a trace, they could not find them. They had entered what Kageyama Reiji called the 'incubation period.' Ukiya said some really harsh words to Ruriko, who had lost the power of her Gate. Ukiya: "You've already lost the power of your Gate, how are you going to fight?" --If you remain related to Invaders, you will be killed one day. Ukiya: "To me, you are only a burden." --It's enough. Being together with the ungrateful me, things will only keep repeating. Ukiya: "Although I'm sorry, but from now on I will fight the Invaders alone. You should go back to your normal, daily life."

--Yes, repeating the same things. Because me, who will keep falling over due to my uselessness, you will desperately open your Gate of Life. One day you will lose your life because of sharing it with me. Ukiya: "So, you should understand." --Please forgive me. I cannot reciprocate your expectations. An enemy who does not appear no matter how long the wait. Even though I want to exact revenge for what happened at that time, Shinigami Shinshi never appeared.

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Ukiya: "Someone who lost the power of their Gate is no longer my comrade. I will keep on fighting. Even if there's only me left, as the captain of the Gate Keepers." --Yes. If it's just me, rather than living with regret, dying is not a problem. But Rurippe, you are different. The memories swirled into a whirlpool. Ukiya stared at the school building without saying a word for a while. There was a soft breeze. There was a short ginkgo tree at t he corner of the courtyard, the branches swayed slightly. The leaves floated down around the tree. Ukiya, who delayed his response to Kageyama, gazed at the sign at the root of the tree for some reason. At that time. In Ukiya's mind, he thought of something. On the sign, written with an oil-based magic marker: "From all the graduates of 1970" Ukiya did not turn back, and started to structure his response to to Kageyama. Ukiya: "Hey, Kageyama." Kageyama: "?" Ukiya: "Because of that incident, we were all somehow forced to drop out of school. Although the records show that we graduated as normal, but in the end, we weren't even able to attend the graduation ceremony." Kageyama: "Mah, nothing could be done about that. Then, what is it?"

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Ukiya: "After 15 years, coming back to school again, it feels like I've remembered some unfinished business." Kageyama: "Ho." Ukiya: "But that is only for my own satisfaction. It will upset Youko, and Ayane who just turned 1, the ones who supported me when I was in pain." Kageyama: "Didn't I say just now, Ukiya?" Ukiya: "?" Kageyama: "In this world, as long as you're alive, both good or bad things may happen." Ukiya: "But" Kageyama: "Yesterday, when I saw you, there was a topic you didn't want to bring up, so I didn't mention it. It's about Ikusawa Ruriko. After graduating from university, it seems like she became a qualified teacher. On a sparsely populated island, she became a teacher of a few kids. I saw her in the photos in the report, one year ago, it seems like she got married. She looked very happy." Ukiya: "Rurippe, became a teacher." Kageyama: "Don't you find that quite appropriate?" Ukiya: "Yes, that's true. Indeed, it may be a very suitable occupation." Kageyama: "Ukiya. If you treasure you wife and daughter, live on." Ukiya: "If I live on, I, want to rid myself of the past regrets. Is that possible?" Kageyama: "If it were you, you could definitely do it." Ukiya: "I knew you would say that." Smiling a little, Ukiya turned around.

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Ukiya: "Let's go, Kageyama. The Aegis network you spoke about briefly, tell me in more detail." Kageyama: "My pleasure." Then, when they were about to leave. The cool breeze blew into Ukiya's face. He turned around to look by reflex. A young girl was standing in the corridor, in long sleeved clothing which was as white as snow. She was smiling slightly. Ukiya: "One day, we will meet again."

Final Chapter: February 1988 Secretary: "I'm very sorry, Kageyama-sama." After passing the piece of paper to Kageyama, who was sitting in his leather seat, the secretary Isogai Ayako lowered her head without saying a word. A grand skyscraper in the city. The top floor was Kageyama's office. After a moment, they could hear the sound from the wall-hung clock. After a while, Kageyama finally spoke. Kageyama: "Isogai-kun. Actually, you seem to be pretty interested in things about Ukiya." Isogai: "Yes. I know he was your classmate, so" Her voice was shaking.

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As if about to cry. Kageyama: "Yes. When we were younger and fooling around, we joined the social psychology study ground, after that, the memories did not disappear and helped my business. Although I'm only saying it now, I'm really thankful for you." Isogai: "These things" Kageyama: "No, I just happened to think about this. What happened back then." Kageyama tossed the piece of paper Isogai gave him into the bin. Kageyama: "Not being able to do anything well, it's all my fault. Even though I have the power of the Gate of Foresight, what I can foresee is limited. The important parts are always buried in the darkness." Isogai: "Is there something I did not do well enough?" Kageyama: "Thank you. But, I just want to be alone right now." Isogai: "Understood" Isogai only said that, then she left the office while wiping away her tears. The sunlight penetrated into the office through the blinds, Kageyama let out a deep sigh. Unbelievably, he did not shed a tear. Instead, he moaned in the empty office. Kageyama: "Even Megumi has left. Then, up until now, I may have been wrong. Ukiya, I think I said as long as you're alive, both good or bad things may happen. But what is this world about? It seems like only bad things happen?" Again, his gaze fell towards the paper in the bin. Inorganic, the text from a Japanese typewriter formed strings.

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There, it said this.

Report A-22 Battle Record with unconfirmed Invader Cadre S-08D, commonly known as "Shinigami Shinshi" Captured Shinigami Shinshi Set up surrounding net 17 Invader hunters dead Attack squad captain, Ukiya Shun, crashed in Gate of Gales identified Full power Total annihilation of Shinigami Shinshi confirmed At centre of explosion, corpse of Ukiya Shun discovered Death confirmed

Kageyama: "So sneaky of you, Ukiya. In the end of the end, you broke our pact." He swiveled his chair back, and looked at the large window behind. From the slits in the blinds, he could see the grey sky.

Kageyama: "Getting closure with the you of the past, didn't you plan to make your own happy ending? Ukiya, what will happen to the people left behind? Me, your wife Youko, and your daughter Ayane." Then Kageyama fell into silence.

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*Tick tock tick tock tick tock There was only the sound from the clock left. Cannot be stopped, the sound was of time flowing and passing ruthlessly. The clock will keep on cycling. Never stopping, never stopping, no matter how much happiness and sadness has passed. Until October 2001. Someone heard the voice of a person who had already left at the other end of time.

Ayane: "A person like you, I really don't want to admit you are my father. Mother said this before. Your father did something no one approved of, but had to be done, he was a great man. But to me, whether someone is successful is not important. Even if he drank and puked while complaining about society after getting home, I still want him to be beside my ill mother." Ukiya: --No matter what I say, you won't accept it. Sorry, this is all my fault. Ayane: "I really want to say, because of the annoying ability I inherited from you, I couldn't make friends no matter where I went. Everyone left right in front of me. That, at least" Ukiya: --At least, what? Ayane: "I am not obliged to answer you." Ukiya: --But

Ayane: "That's enough, I don't want to hear, I don't want to tell either. Compared to you who died midway, now I only have uncle Kageyama who understands me and says I have talent in being an Invader hunter. Who wants to be a man like you who could not even bring happiness to the woman he

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

loves?"

Ukiya: --Perhaps it's like that. I am in no place to scold you. Ayane: "So disappear in front of my eyes immediately. From my dream, from the world with only me in it, there is no place for you here." Ukiya: --I understand. But, there is one little thing you need to remember. Don't force yourself, do what you like. Face yourself honestly, even if just a little. One day, like that time at Shichi-Go-San, show me your gentle smile.

Shichi-Go-San (literally 7-5-3): A Japanese festival. Held annually on November 15.

If interested, you can look the rest up, it's all on Wikipedia. It is a traditional rite of passage for three and seven year old girls and three and five year old boys, hence the name '7-5-3'.

Ayane: "Do you really have to go?" Ukiya: --Ah. Time is up. Ayane: "Wait, I have a mountain full of things to say to you. Things about me, things about mother. You are obliged to listen." Ukiya: --Sorry. Ayane: "Sneaky person! Casually appearing in my dream, then casually leaving! You are the worst and most sneaky person!"

Ukiya: --It's fine for you to think that. But, in the abyss of despair, now, there are people waiting for

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Gate Keepers 1985 The Gap between the Two Times

you. Not for me, for those people, wake up.

Ayane: "Wait! Hey, wait!" Ukiya: --Goodbye, Ayane.

Was that a message which transcended time, a voice of the past, or an illusion in her mind caused by her longing to see her father? But, she positively heard it. The voice of her deceased father. Just like the past, a voice which was gentle, firm, and with a hint of sadness. Ayane: "Me, who has always been hated since I was small, who could be waiting for me?" While murmuring, Isuzu Ayane slowly woke up on her bed. Incredible, her body seemed to have become lighter. Just like, a feather. Then, Ayane faced the sunlight seeping through the blinds, which were somehow opened, squinting her eyes. (The End)

Chinese translation: (Blessing of an Angel) - English: David Yu

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