fadeuntooblivion started following you
He fell silent while Phantom took care of business, issuing orders to his forces. While he was well aware of Phantom’s forces had the ability to remain next to impossible to detect they were hunting down the dark elf. A reminder to stay cautious wasn’t remiss he’d felt.
X had reason for refusing to answer in depth about Omega, and of course Wiel himself. There were pieces to the puzzle he kept close to his chest, plans that only he was aware of.
It was… Tiring; this journey. His dearest friends long since past or sealed away.
Phantom’s voice called out to him, snapping him out of his moody state. He couldn’t fall yet. He still had work to do.
"Yes, I’ll be looking forward to that tomorrow." He responded once he’d turned his gaze upon the Guardian.
Hopefully, they’d figure out where she was.
"If we locate her we’ll need around the clock surveillance until we can find a surefire way to seal her." X added.
In other words, Phantom’s forces were going to be busy for a while either way.
Often X found himself longing for simpler days, days where he didn’t have to lead humanity and reploids alike, days where he wasn’t called ‘master’, those days when he himself had taken orders.
This was one of those times. Sure, Signas may not have been able to inspire people as he had, but the tactical officer had been a brilliant strategist and a strong leader in his own right.
No, he couldn’t take the time to focus on the past. Neo Arcadia’s master shook his head, clearing away the thoughts.
"Very well then," Phantom replied with another bow.
He knew that his forces would do their job to peak standards, as they were trained to do.
The Guardian decided that there was no use prolonging the conversation, and he deduced that X needed some time to himself, so for now, he would leave him be.
"Then, I will leave for the time being," he said before standing up to his short (in comparison to his siblings) stature, but tall in comparison to his tiny master.
Enquires to the Wind (@sageharpuia)
Harpuia sighed a little shaking his head. This was a lecture he saw coming, those were words he knew his brother would say. It was why he did not wish to discuss it in the first place, it was something he was already well-aware of. “I know.” He merely replied, closing his eyes. There was no fear in him when Phantom said he would be eliminated if found to be Maverick, it was something he already knew.
It was something he appreciated.
Still, that did not look like an act at all, Harpuia could not believe it was all there was to it, and the more he thought about it, the more Zero’s words resounded true. What proof DID they have of the reploids going maverick, other than the trials? The claims made against several of the reploids felt sketchy at best, as well… It was all too strange.
However, he had to stop thinking about it.
"How can I forget our duty?" The reploid muttered, then shook his head. "It will be fine, Phantom. I will be sure to quell these foolish doubts so my blade will be swift if I meet Zero once more."
He could not allow anything to stop him.
"I trust you will terminate me if anything ever goes wrong."
Phantom watched as Harpuia sighed and shook his head. The ninja, too, expected the response, but that was precisely why he had his concerns.
Harpuia hid his thoughts more often than not, but then again, the Shadow Guardian did the same, as, as far as he was aware, did Fefnir. They were all tactical liked to keep their thoughts inward.
But it was exactly that that, in this situation, the ninja didn’t like so much.
He had to accept his sibling’s words, however.
With a short nod to his brother, he said, “you have my word.”
He knew that at first, at least, his presence had not been wanted. As someone who valued personal privacy, the Guardian realised that an apology was due. When he turned to leave, he stopped and eventually turned his head slightly, “my apologies for the sudden intrusion.”
Hopefully that would be enough.
"And let us hope the next time we meet Zero in combat, it will be the last."
Lest more unnatural thinking occurred.
Enquires to the Wind (@sageharpuia)
Harpuia noticed Phantom seemed tense, as if making sure they were not being listened on, and sighed, closing his eyes and rubbing them gently with his right hand, the left on the desk.
"I am aware." The reploid groaned. Phantom was not about to let this go, was he? Still, he did not wish to tell his brother of this, as he was not sure as to how he’d take it. It was just… a touchy subject, his reasons as to why he had gone, and it would make him sound, perhaps, traitorous.
Harpuia had to turn his chair so he was facing Phantom, now beside him to try and stand in front of him, and sighed. “I wasn’t planning to divulge to anyone about this, you probably already know.” He said, calmly, and shook his head.
"As for what we spoke of… I already told you what was said. I asked him why he fought for the resistance, why he believed they were not mavericks. He gave me his answers, we ‘argued’. I left." The reploid summarized. "The only problem being that the… ‘argument’ caused me some… unsettling thoughts. I will push them aside to do my duty, but it doesn’t make them any less concerning…"
Ah, he might as well say it.
"I just feel like there’s not much maverick behavior about those reploids in the Resistance. It makes me wonder why we started hunting them down in the first place. Their trials as well, it just… vexes me. Perhaps Master X can merely detect that which we cannot, but still."
He shook his head. “I do not want to question our Master’s judgement and cause, but it still ate at me, and I had to find myself some answers.”
He wasn’t even sure why he felt the need to question it, they had tried to sneak into Neo Arcadia, after all, and took a factory from them.
"I figured it was something I needed to find for myself, which is why I did not consult with you before heading there, nor let you know. It was a personal matter, and it will be settled. I am certain Master X is right, and I have no right to doubt him."
The ninja reploid nodded when Harpuia revealed he had no intentions of revealing what he had discussed with Zero to anyone. Of course he hadn’t - that was why he was here.
He listened carefully once again as the Wind Guardian stated that what he had said before was truth, and he nodded his head once more at the summary. However, he was not prepared to hear what his sibling said next.
Phantom remained stock still as Harpuia spoke of his doubts, and his feelings regarding it. He could see it clearly that what had taken place had deeply affected the green armoured reploid, or rather, it had confused him greatly.
Doubting their cause was something that the Shadow Guardian knew Harpuia would never do lightly. And even at the assurance that he would go back to himself, he knew better. His sibling was a thinker, and as much as he tried to get rid of lingering thoughts, now that they were there, they would always be there, in the back of his mind, and eating away at him.
But by the same token… Phantom turned away from the other reploid to look out the window behind him. There were storm clouds outside - fitting, really. It cast the office into deep shadows and made things darker than usual, even with lighting.
After a while of silence, the shorter reploid spoke, “thank you for telling me the truth.” First and foremost, he was going to thank his brother for trusting him.
"These… doubts that you have. I trust, and know, that you will not let them sway you on the wrong path. At the very least, even if they do, it is my job to see to it that you are exterminated before any harm can be done to Neo Arcadia," there was no use mincing words - he knew, and Harpuia knew, that executing his siblings was just one of the many tough jobs that he may have to perform someday.
"In saying that, however," he looked at the Guardian, no longer annoyed and back to his normal, neutral self, "mavericks know how to deceive, and to lie. How the members of the Resistance were acting could of been simply that - an act. And Zero could’ve easily been trying to manipulate you, his enemy, and causing doubt."
Turning back to his sibling now, Phantom spoke once more, “if we cannot trust Master X’s judgement and decisions, who can we trust?” he looked at Harpuia once more, “it is not our place to step beyond our duty. It is our job to follow orders and nothing more. If nothing else, remember that before running off on your own.”
A scolding, but of course - the ninja was slightly worried about his sibling’s mental state right now. After all - what if he became a maverick too from… exposure… to the Resistance?
That was how this outbreak had happened, right?
What do you think of the way of the samurai?
"If you speak of the art of Bushidō, then, anonymous citizen, I can tell you that I find the concept fascinating, of what is left of it in the archives,” Phantom spoke with respect to the anonymous being, “however, I find that my line of work closely follows that of the ancient arts of Shinobi, and therefore, I apply more of the principals of that art to my work and way of life, so to speak.”
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE INANIMATE OBJECT?
Staring at the small device, the ninja almost grabbed his sword out to slice it in two before the loud question was blurted at him. He didn’t know how to make heads or tails of the strange being, except to… answer the question.
"… My sword."
Hopefully now he could catch it and have it examined. Whatever it was.
Enquires to the Wind (@sageharpuia)
Harpuia sighed. Ah, what a time to not pay attention to who had followed him. This was becoming more and more troublesome, as speaking parley in front of the resistance base to find out about their objective seemed to have been blown out of proportion.
Phantom’s demeanor would have scared him, if he had actually committed a crime. For now, it was nagging at him that his sibling would have so little belief in him, but it was his job.
"I simply sought to know why the legendary reploid would side with Mavericks.” Harpuia replied, his tone a bit tired. He still needed to think about what was said, and he did not intend to let the other know the exact words at all.
Phantom himself seemed agitated, angry, and possibly concerned, but that was all that had happened. “Before he was sent to hibernation, Zero was Master X’s most trusted ally. It was a question that has been eating at me.”
It was not exactly all that had gone on, but Phantom did not need to know that the conversation had led to him doubting their cause, doubting their Master. He would be over it soon, crush those doubts and show Zero that, without a doubt, Master X was right, those were mavericks, and they needed to be disposed of for the greater good.
"I learned little from the encounter other than the fact that Zero is stubborn and believes he is in the right." More like the cause of the Resistance, of those Mavericks (were they even mavericks? He had come to doubt that too), and their leader. "Next time we meet, it will be with blades in hand."
The Wind Guardian’s tone, along with his general attitude, as well as admitting what had happened, was enough to lighten his expression back to his neutral calm, but the ninja remained in the same stance as he was before - arms folded, and tense.
But Phantom was no fool - and Harpuia was right; it was his job to investigate all claims, even against his own siblings.
He looked back over his head to make sure that the door was closed, and he then set the lock to Guardian only access via remote control. The ninja then looked around the room, turning his head very slightly in both directions to make sure they were, indeed, alone, before he spoke again, and his voice weighed every word.
"It is our sworn duty to serve our master, and eliminate all foes, whether they were old friends of our master, or not. He has given us his orders, and that is all there is to it. You know that as well as I do, Harpuia.
"Therefore, I find it difficult to believe that you would go to the Resistance base for no other reason but to question that faith."
The ninja unfolded his arms and walked around the desk to stand in front of his sibling, and he said simply,
"This does not leave this room," he said harshly before he spoke again, "but the only reason I have come directly to you to speak to you of this matter is because out of all of the Guardians, you are the only other that I feel I can trust, aside from our master. You are wise, wiser than most, and that is why your actions have, frankly, baffled me," he blinked at the green reploid, "and it is because of that trust that I am asking you to tell me what you are hiding, because I am well aware that you are hiding something from me. Something you likely believe that I will react negatively to if you told me."
While Harpuia did not tell him anything and everything, the two had had many talks in the past about things that had been bothering them, or just to seek advice, or talk about their work or their master’s health. Of all of the Guardians, Phantom liked and got along with Harpuia the most.
The black armoured reploid folded his arms once more, “so you can either tell me now, or I can interrogate the one who followed you for a full report of what was said and make my own assumptions based off of that. I hazard a guess, however, said assumptions will not be in your favour, and…” he paused for a moment before speaking again, “I would rather hear it from you.”
Silence fell for a moment before the Shadow Guardian’s deep voice ran through the quiet again, “well?”
fadeuntooblivion started following you
X had fallen silent as he considered his options. Once again Omega plagued his thoughts. That cursed monstrosity had continued to its rampage for so long, and now the earth was a just ruined echo of its former self.
However, his focus was pulled back to the present as Phantom made his request. It was a bit unusual to hear him make requests, but not completely out of the blue as he did serve as a general himself and needed to make military decisions.
X straightened his body fully upright on the bench. Then, looked straight ahead of himself, taking in the fullness of the gardens before he gave a faint nod.
"Go ahead and send out a team. Just don’t let the search party spook her. It’s going to be extremely difficult to contain her as it is, let alone doing so when she’s terrified… Not to mention it’d be incredibly difficult to relocate her if she flees too quickly or too far."
Phantom, in turn, lowered his head and put an arm over his chest as he bowed to his master, “as you command.”
It didn’t take long to issue the order, along with the command that the response team was, as always, to be as stealthy as possible. It was his unit’s speciality, after all.
But something struck the black armoured reploid as curious about the earlier topic regarding Omega - what was it, exactly, that his master knew that he did not?
Well… there were times for asking, and clearly his master was not interested in answering.
Once the order was issued and he had confirmation that his unit was responsive from Phoenix Magnion, who was to be the leader, the Guardian raised his upper body and lowered his arm once more so that he could face the shorter reploid.
"The response team has been dispatched," he said in his normal quiet voice. "They will return within 24 hours. Would you like a full report of their findings, Master?"
fadeuntooblivion started following you
X wouldn’t have been surprised if Phantom hadn’t believed it. Then again, it was Phantom. He wasn’t the head of the intelligence division for some petty reason.
Still, Phantom wasn’t exactly the type of person to defy X either or question him directly. This was something Neo Arcadia’s leader appreciated.
"Indeed. However, one day will come where Omega will be dealt with.” Either by reclaiming his friend’s body, or by Zero’s decision to destroy him anyways…
X then returned his head to face Phantom, instead of staring up at the bright blue sky. Could he really have expected the excuse to work? No, not with Phantom. Or any of the guardians really. Phantom might have been the head of the Intelligence division but it didn’t discount the other three. Harpuia had excellent administrative abilities, Leviathan had mastery over the seas, and Fefnir might have seemed foolish to those who didn’t know him but he wasn’t.
All four of them shared a similar trait though: They had considerable ability when it came to tactics. Each of them were cunning and they could surprise an enemy in a matter of seconds. Any enemy tactician needed to keep flexible and on their toes when dealing with them.
The former hunter’s thoughts returned to the present.
"But, for now Omega isn’t going to be a problem. We’ll need to finish mopping things up so we can be deal with him on our terms."
He wasn’t sure if he’d be there to face the psychotic reploid though… Sometimes… He felt as though he’d reached his last leg of strength long, long ago and now merely was going through the actions…
If his master was indeed going to face the evil reploid someday, Phantom figured it was pointless to continue the line of conversation. It was as X said - they needed to deal with the current situation with the dark elf.
So far, there was no real way to seal her, or capture the Dark Elf, at the very least. So how to capture her…
A slightly thoughtful expression crossed his face for a moment as he considered all of the options currently available. First thing was first, however, and that was finding the Dark Elf in order to contain her.
With that in mind, his expression reverted to it’s usual stoic calm, and he asked, “with your permission, Master X, I would like to send out a scout crew in order to locate the Dark Elf.”
If they could find her, they could find a way to imprison her.
Enquires to the Wind (@sageharpuia)
Harpuia sighed once he arrived, shaking his head. He had much to think about. As he stepped off the transfer area,he was met with the last reploid he wanted to see.
"… Phantom." He said, quietly, as he looked at the ebony reploid, the other’s eyes unsettling to him. "… Come with me."
This was the last thing he needed after what he had heard from Zero, from the resistance. He needed time to think, and Phantom was not exactly about to let him have it. Ah well, he couldn’t do much about this now, so he might as well take the plunge.
Leading Phantom towards his office, Harpuia crossed his arms behind his back, right below his jets, as he thought. What exactly did Phantom want? That was easy enough to discern. The other knew he was away, there was no other explanation, and hopefully, it is all he knew.
He didn’t plan to lie to Phantom, he really didn’t, but he did not wish to speak about this, least of all to the Zan’ei general.
Motioning for Phantom to sit at the ‘guest chair’, Harpuia himself took his usual seat, then motioned for the shadow Guardian to speak. He was going to save himself the pleasentaries, as he doubted the other was in the mood.
Phantom followed without complaint or question. He watched the other reploid rather carefully as he walked with his arms behind his back. He was looking for signs in his body language as to what the other commander could be feeling, and right now? He knew that he wasn’t exactly a wanted presence.
But that was all the black reploid needed in order to grow highly suspicious of the other General’s activities.
Once they were in the Rekku leader’s office, Phantom remained standing, and then he spoke.
"A scout informed me that you were seen leaving Neo Arcadia to the Resistance base by yourself earlier today," the Shadow Guardian didn’t mince words, "out of curiosity, she followed you. The report stated that you spoke with Zero before returning, no battle having taken place and that both you and he were unharmed."
He did not want to think that his sibling had gone maverick, and he knew that his brother always had good reasons for his actions. Very good reasons. But right now, Phantom had a job to do and he was, at the least, highly disappointed in the other Guardian for not killing their most troublesome threat to Neo Arcadia.
So why in the world had Harpuia decided it would be a fantastic idea to go and speak with him?!
His glare was now rather apparent, “explain yourself, Harpuia.”
Well, it was more than could be said for most of the others he had interrogated or questioned. He never really gave them a chance to protest before locking them behind bars and THEN questioning them. Phantom knew that he was going easy on the other Guardian in that sense - and part of him knew that such sentimentality was not wise.
But he wanted to believe in his sibling, at least this one, in that he’d at least confide in him and explain his actions in a way that wouldn’t land him in jail.
Enquires to the Wind (@sageharpuia)
An unscheduled trip outside of Neo Arcadia never escaped his notice, especially by someone of a high enough rank as his own sibling.
Where Harpuia went, he did not know at first, and did not focus on it. After all, the Guardian had plenty of work to do with his army, as well as guarding his master. However, after a spy reported that the Wind Guardian had visited the Resistance stronghold, alone, the Shadow Guardian felt the need to find out exactly what this had been about.
What, exactly, was his brother up to?
Therefore, he put work aside as he heard that the other General had returned, Phantom left his office and went straight to where Harpuia was in his return. In the back of his mind, the part that cared deeply for his siblings, he did not want to think about the possibility that his own brother was up to no good, especially Harpuia of all reploids. But it was his army’s job to investigate all suspicious activity, and as the leader of that army, he took it upon himself to investigate the Wind Guardian’s unexplained absence.
Appearing out of nowhere in front of him (at a decent distance), the black reploid looked over him once before speaking into the silence.
"Harpuia, I would like a word with you. Now, please."
While his tone was no different from his regular calm, his eyes told another story to those who knew him well enough to decipher the minute changes in his facial expressions.
Right now, he was not exactly happy.