hapter 20: Adult Sacrifice
Ayame adored her father. She always had. She was a daddy's girl. His princess. It was a given. Black Star was an amazing father and would bend over backwards for his daughter. It was an interesting sight to see. Tsubaki was easily the one who had to do the disciplining. When Ayame was a little girl, she was practically his shadowed and could be seen trying to mimic her father's movements and form. Tsubaki was well aware that their daughter's bold personality wasn't simply learned but engraved in her DNA, only to surface the more she followed after her father. The girl had strength, and thankfully, intelligence, despite being stubborn and occasionally head strong. Black Star was proud of her and would shout it from the tops of the academy, so no one was shocked when he kept his face straight and stepped forward as Death City officials stood and Shibusen doors requesting all threats reveal and surrender themselves or further action would be taken. Zeke had to hold back his meister when she tried to rush forward to stop him. She was shouting at them to leave him alone. To let him go while other members of the staff silently stepped forward and surrendered themselves.
Why did no one understand that they weren't little kids anymore?
That they could handle themselves…
How had it come down to this?
**ONE WEEK PRIOR**
"Everyone's back!" Zeke lifted his gaze from his book as Ayame looked out their class window and over the school grounds. Shibusen was finally back in business. It had been for three days now, but no one had really returned so she had taken to regularly watching from the window to see who was returning. Gabe and Aiden had come back, but then Gabe had left again and Aiden remained. They hadn't heard much from Liam or Aimee and apparently Rion and Ava hadn't any plans on coming back just yet, where ever it was they were. Looking up from his own doodling, Aiden pushed himself from his seat and joined his celebrating classmate, only to perk up himself.
"Hey, they are all back." He informed and pushed open the room window, ignoring the looks of the other students in the room as he called out a waved, a bright smile on his face. "Welcome back home you guys!" he called. Pushing himself from his seat and leaning over his partner to look out the window, Zeke smiled slightly at the familiar faces. Ava and Rion were waving up at them, Liam leading the way into the school with Aimee chattering excitedly at his side. Gabe was nowhere in sight.
"Our entire class is almost back." Hummed Ayame, moving out of the window. Zeke stepped out of her way while Aiden pushed the large window closed once again. "Gabe should be heading back sometime soon, right? And Becca?"
"Yeah, last I heard they weren't getting many leads on where Eureka or Free were at." Aiden answered, smile falling from his face. He and Gabe had gone on quite the adventure during their break from school, finding out an interesting secret about their classmate Becca while trying to find out the truth behind where the witch Eureka Frog had gone. She worked closely with Kim for some time and had gone missing some time after Miss Misery had been found dead. There was a lot of grieving and panic within the school but everyone was trying their best to work past it. "Becca is pretty freaked out so I'm sure if they come back with nothing this time, it's not going to be a good thing."
"I think it'll be worse once Kim-sensei gets her hands on them." Zeke countered, hands shoved in his pockets and raising a brow at the pair walking beside him. "The fact that you guys ran off on such a dangerous mission without consulting at least a professor was pretty reckless." Aiden let out an uncertain laugh, running his fingers through his hair.
"Yeah… I'm not too excited about that myself." He admitted. They rounded the corner, Ayame picking up her pace as they made their way down the steps leading to the main level of the school. More students could be made out, lounging and chattering, though not all as exuberantly as they once had. Some seemed apprehensive while others held critical expressions while whispering to a fellow student. Zeke couldn't blame them. It was barely even December and they had been out of school most of the year due to incidents and tragedies. Ayame's excited cheer interrupted his thoughts.
"Liam!" The girl beamed and practically threw herself at their shocked friend as he rounded the corner. Her arms wrapped around his middle as she squeezed onto him happily. "You're finally back! How was California?" she asked as the Shinigami finally gathered himself and hugged her back.
"It was great, but I missed being home." He admitted as Aimee walked around him and greeted the others. Zeke smiled noticing his best friend's lax behavior and warm smile.
"Were you hanging on the beach while you were out there?" He asked and the dark haired meister couldn't help but laugh, his relaxed smile widening.
"Hardly. The weather was far fairer than here I'll admit." He answered and tugged at his jacket. "It's chillier this year than it was last December." Zeke looked up at the graying winter sky and wrinkled his nose slightly. It was colder this year. There were the rare occasions that Death City got snow, but never as early as this. It had been getting colder and colder since Thanksgiving.
"Who cares about the weather," Aimee blurted out and beamed at their friends. "How have you guys been? Did you stay in the City the entire time?" She asked, hooking her arm into Ayame's and leading the way towards their class. "It had to be boring."
"It wasn't so bad." The younger girl answered, glancing at her partner for a moment before smiling at the tall red head. "It's been quiet with everyone gone though."
"Too quiet." The group of teens turned their attention to Stein who was standing with Spirit, hands shoved in his pockets and expectant look. Spirit was practically beaming at their arrival. "Welcome back."
"The kids are back."
"Gabe and Becca aren't though."
"Should we be worried?"
"Kim and Jackie have taken on finding them and bringing them back." Marie answered and allowed a small smile to cross her lips as Maka let out a sigh and sank deeply into her seat. Tsubaki had finally stopped fidgeting and Black Star had stopped tossing the small rubber ball he had been playing with against the wall. "We've got other things to worry about for the time being."
"City officials you mean." Soul countered from his position looking out the office's large window. He glanced at Marie from the corner of his eye as she gave a mute nod. "You guys realize there's nothing left that we can do to prove that none of what's happening has to do with us, right?"
"And what exactly are you suggesting, Soul?" Liz asked, arms crossed and frown in place. "That we just shut this all down, send all these kids off and stop doing what Shinigami himself worked so hard to establish?" A frown was shot back her way.
"And are you suggesting we pretend like their lives aren't put in danger every moment we bring them back to this school?" The death scythe challenged.
"They're safer here than running off into the streets to fend for themselves, Soul!" Liz barked back. Black Star raised a brow, for once silent as the two glared at each other. Tsubaki was by his side, fidgeting anxiously, eyes down cast. Everyone was watching at one waited for the other to back down.
"None of that needs to be done." Kid finally spoke up, some exasperation evident in his voice. He waited for a moment, pinning his wife and Soul with a stern look and waited as the two eventually broke eye contact. "Shibusen is a legacy and us bowing down and shutting down our operations only makes it seem as though we are guilty, so we won't be doing any of that." He explained in an even tone.
"So then what's your plan? These kids are afraid. They aren't safe." Marie informed. "I'm afraid for them."
"We're going to prepare them, just like our teachers worked to prepare us when the Kishin was revived." Maka cut in and looked at Kid who nodded back in response. Standing with a determined gleam in her eyes, all focus feel on the auburn haired woman on the other side of the table. "These kids are afraid because many of them are unaware of what they're capable of. For the longest time they were living in peace unlike when we were kids. When we were their ages we have defeated the kishin. We had started seeing our full potential and more. They need to know they're capable of as much and more."
"So we're preparing them for war?" Kilik asked, brows furrowed. "Against some kind of invisible enemy?" He glanced to the others for confirmation and they seemed to avoid eye contact not only with him but each other, each shifting awkwardly. The dark skinned man then set his sights back on their leader. "These kids aren't us. They've been sheltered far too long to just be expected to embrace an all out battle if necessary."
"But they've done it before." Azusa cut in, face as stoic as always. "When we were attacked on Halloween a good number of students stepped up to defend not only their friends, but this school."
"And some students lost their lives." Soul countered. "My son…"
"Your son has some of the greatest potential." All eyes fell on Black Star. The assassin let out a sigh, shoulders dropping as he fixed his best friend with a knowing look. "You guys know me. I'm all about running off and kicking ass… but I'm a parent now. I can't see my daughter fighting battles I should be fighting… But at the same time, she's no weakling and neither is Zeke."
"Whatever is lying dormant in Zeke can be tamed and used to our advantage." Kid added on and Soul gave an indignant scoff.
"You're shittin' me, right?"
"Soul!" Maka hissed, but she was ignored.
"None of you know what it's like to be in his shoes. To have something inside of you just waiting to take over." The man practically seethed. "He's not an instrument of war. He's not a soldier. He's a kid!"
"And so were we." Tsubaki had finally spoke up and looked sheepishly around at her comrades. "We can't expect to always be there and do everything for them… They need to be ready for what lies ahead."
"They'll be trained in everything necessary to put them at least in the same league as the enemy." Kid started to explain. "Of course not every student will be as talented as others. Those students will be used to focus on other areas."
"And those who are considered top of the class? What exactly is their purpose?"Liz asked.
"We're not considering sending them off on assignments are we?" Soul asked.
"Why wouldn't we?" Black Star asked. "If they're fully capable then there's no reason to hide them. We need as many able bodies as we can get. They're at this school to train for these situations. Soul. Come on, man."
"You're ok with your daughter being on the front lines?" Soul countered and noticed his friend stiffen slightly. Black Star then gave an indignant scoff.
"Ayame Star is fully capable of taking on whatever is thrown her way, especially with the proper training. I've got faith in her abilities to even surpass me one day." The assassin answered proudly. Soul gawked at him. Tsubaki smiled proudly at her husband's proud declaration while Maka and Liz looked at him in disbelief. Kilik seemed to be entertained by the whole thing, while Marie carried a level on uncertainty with the glance she sent towards Kid.
"Then a decision has been made." The shinigami interrupted. "We're doing this." He gave Soul a pointed look with received a growl in response as the man allowed his head to drop back as he squeezed his eyes shut.
"Yeah…" He answered bitterly. "I guess it's time to bring Spartoi back."
"Duel arts?"The class of students watched as Stein spread a banner across the board, Spirit assisting him as the corners would roll in. The group of teens had been silent for the most part, some whispering why the senior death scythe had decided to grace their class with their presence. He usually was seen in the halls chatting with professors and occasionally peeking into classes, but never had he sat in on a lesson. Now, however, they were being faced by two men with serious expressions on their faces and their tilted banner behind them.
"As you are all aware, the dynamics of not only this city, but this country are changing," Stein began, hands in his lab coat pockets and face stoic as usual. "Shibusen is not seen as protectors of the weak by all. People are beginning to fear us and worst of all, there is an enemy that is using the fear of the population to their advantage."
"Does that mean we're not protecting citizens from kishin eggs any more?" asked one students, panic evident in his voice.
"We're still going to protect citizens," Spirit answered promptly, though not with his usual smile. He was serious this time and his voice tense. "Before we spoke of students only being able to go on assignments if accompanied by two star teams… Things have changed. From now on, assignments are only designated to meisters and weapons ranking two stars and higher."
"No way..." muttered Zeke as this class went into outrage, shouting about the unfairness. They were a class of one star students who barely hit quota due to the incidents taking place within the academy. For them, any further setbacks meant failure.
"This isn't fair!"
"No one in this class is near being a two star meister!"
"How are any of us supposed to complete 99 souls?"
"Why are we being punished?" Complaints echoed through the class and both men seemed poised for the moment, but the sound of the classroom door crashing open and against the opposing wall instantly silenced them all. Maka came in, followed by an unamused Soul, unusually quiet Black Star, and very serious Marie.
"I'm hearing a lot of complaints." Maka's voice barked out, causing the students to shrink back into their seats. "Things are changing. If you value your lives, you'll listen to what your seniors have to say. This isn't child's play anymore, this is your lives!"
"This isn't about kisin chasing anymore." Kid took over. "This about survival. You'll be broken into teams and trained as protectors of not only Shibusen, but Death City, whether they want to have us or not. This is home. This is your family."
"Are they serious?" Ayame whispered cautiously to Zeke. He glanced at his confused partner and then back at Liam who was frowning in his seat. Confusion and fear had filled the room fairly quick and when Black Star had started to bark at them to get up and head off to the training grounds, there was no longer room for question.
"This is insane." Rion whispered to Ava as they stood along with their classmates facing Black Star, Sid, and Nygus. With the three in front of them standing with serious expressions on their face, it took a lot not to fidget. Tsubaki had arrived for a short period of time with Kilik and Ox, but they had taken several student and left. It seemed like all the EAT level classes had been called out and were being separated.
"We're being divided by abilities." Aiden whispered back, eyes roaming over each student. "The intellectuals, the brawn, and strategists. That's how they're going to go about building these teams." He explained, watching as Azusa and Akane arrived.
"Who did Tsubaki-sensei take with her?" Ava asked, frowning slightly.
"The intellectuals." Aiden answered easily and made sure to keep his eyes straight as names were called. "Next are strategists… Anyone left behind is going to be trained in hand to hand." There was no response for a while.
"How do you figure all of this?" Aimee asked suspiciously. A hint of a smile crossed Aiden's face, though it was bitter, as his name was called.
"Because… they're preparing for war."
Black Star was annoyed. But maybe that was putting it lightly. While he agreed with most of Kid's plan in training the students, he wasn't exactly happy with the circumstances the plans were made under. The idea that these kids had to be trained to an extreme extent put him in a position where he was no nonsense and that included with his own daughter. What he had once thought would be an easy feat turned into him feeling more like a drill sergeant, barking at a group of brats that clearly didn't value their lives.
"You've gotta be shittin' me!" The assassin barked, causing a few of the teens to cringe. "I didn't say stop moving! Move your asses! Fight like your pathetic lives depend on it, because they do!" They were rushing through a series of fights with level two meisters that had volunteered. To say the younger students were getting their asses handed to them was an understatement.
"This is pathetic." Black Star glanced over his shoulder and grimaced as Sid and Nygus approached.
"Are any of them even trying?" Nygus added as one student face planted and their weapon went flying yards away. "That's not even full potential."
"Don't remind me." Black Star grunted and growled in annoyance as Ayame face off with an upper classman. Her stance was sloppy as she wasn't using Zeke for countering. While she was holding her ground, she was being careless.
"They almost need to go back to their first day as students." Sid muttered in disapproval and sighed in disappointment when they timer sounded. None of them had even made it passed their enemy and to the set up target.
"Absolutely pathetic." Black Star shouted out as they students began to file back towards him, looking battered and tired. "It's a wonder any of you ever survived your assignments!"
"Sensei it isn't fair-" One girl had started but froze at the dark glare sent her direction.
"I don't want excuses! I want to know we haven't been wasting our time on a bunch of undedicated brats! For Shinigami's sake, this should be a refresher and I feel like I'm dealing with a bunch of first years!" The assassin barked, causing a few of them to lower their eyes in shame. He glared at the group and noticed Ayame had a stubborn frown on her face while glaring off into the distance. His eye twitched slightly.
"No one has anything to say?" Sid's voice called out and some students twitched. The zombie gave an exasperated sigh. "Listen here, we are looking for a group of leaders within our students. You were told that you had to be two star level in order to go out on assignments, but exceptions can be made if we find the right students with the right drive and skill."
"That's the way around all of this?" All eyes fell on Rion who had been the first to finally acknowledge what was happening. "We have to be able to hold our own against those guys and we can move up in the ranks?" One of the older students scoffed in response. His ginger red hair was styled in a Mohawk and he work a cocky smirk on his very freckled face as he crossed his arms over his chest.
"Yer not just holding yer own against us, ya little twit. You gotta beat us." The red head then turned to Black Star, who looked even more annoyed. "C'mon teach. Gimme three in one shot. I can take em."
"Is he serious?" Ayame blanched, all eyes falling on her as she stepped up, eyes narrowed. "I'll take you on by myself. I don't need back up to take you out, carrot top."
"Bring it on, pipsqueak." The ginger cackled, causing the girl to seeth.
"Leave it, Seamus." Sid started but was interrupted by Black Star.
"No, let them go." Said the assassin, arms crossed and expression serious. "If Ayame can hold her own against Seamus, maybe I'll ease up. No interferences." His eyes fell on Zeke, who stiffened under the hard look.
"I don't need help." The girl answered, moving in front of Seamus who smirked at her. She was cocky, though it wasn't exactly strange for the girl, but Black Star knew she was also acting on emotions. If she could hold her own, he'd be proud nonetheless, but this wasn't about proving yourself.
"Rules are simple. First person pinned or cornered is the loser. The enemy isn't going to spare your life because you weren't ready so don't expect sympathy from them or me." The azure haired man spoke.
"Go." Everyone cringed at the speed in which it had all happened. Ayame had been on the offensive and went in for the kill without hesitation. She had gone for his midsection, ready to send him flying with a soul blast, but before she could reach him, he vanished from his spot, causing her to stumble forward in confusion. Seamus then appeared behind her just as quickly as he vanished. He grabbed hold of her arm, twisting it behind her back and with the other hand, gave her a quick jab in her pressure points, causing her body to go limp in his grasp.
"Too easy." He hummed, glancing over his shoulder and sending a taunting smirk at Zeke, who ran over and easily caught the girl. All eyes fell on Black Star who let out a sigh and turned on his heal.
"None of you are leaving until you can hold your own against Seamus." He informed and with that, was gone, leaving a group of gawking teens and discontented Sid.
"They're not ready."
"There's no way."
"It's only been a week. Give them more time. They can improve."
"They're too self centered and panicked." Stein leaned back heavily in his seat, looking around at the staff that had dedicated the past week to the students and their progress. Everyone looked worn and stressed, which was fair considering the amount of work they had been forcing. "None of them are thinking as a team. And not only that, none of them are thinking on the lines of survival. They've been around and are too old to still be thinking like that."
"Even in their teams?" asked Tsubaki and the man nodded.
"Some of them might as well not have a partner with the way they act." The silver haired scientist answered.
"Not to mention none of them have figured out Seamus' game yet." Black Star grumbled, annoyance evident in his face.
"They don't realize how serious things are. I don't know if any of them can do what we did." Said Soul. "Spartoi is something they don't understand."
"So we'll tell them. They need to know and understand." Maka spoke up. "They have an idea of what's to come. They only know bits of our story. It's time to stop sheltering them."
"They're hardly sheltered." Came Akane's voice from where he, Tsugumi, and Azusa sat. Tsugumi was fiddling with her fingers nervously. Since arriving back from the Japan branch to Shibusen, she felt like she had her first year at the academy, except now she was assisting in preparing students for a potential war. Watching as her senpais stressed wasn't exactly what she wanted to be part of. "They've been put in situations where they were put in danger and worked as a team. They have the ability. I've seen it."
"You think they can hold their own?" Marie asked.
"Not at all. They still need the guidance, but there's a large enough group of them that, if you're looking for a primary group of leaders, could prove thriving." The dark haired fighter answered and looked around at the others expectantly.
"And who did you have in mind?" asked Liz from where she sat on the arm of Kid's chair, both of them listening intently to the debate that had seemed to finally calm after about an hour. She honestly wanted it to all come to an end so she could get a good night's sleep. She'd watched as the kids were drilled from the moment they arrived until sunset and while she understood where it came from, she couldn't help but to have pity on them "Whoever it is, they can't possibly be as ready as you think."
"They are." Akane answered and nodded his head to his partner who was sitting across the room with a folder in his lap. The blonde nodded.
"I've been keeping record of progress of students since we arrived. "Clay started. "After all, we were called here to assist, and with that attack on the school, there was a group that turned back to help their classmates and held their own until reinforcements came." He walked over to Kid, handing him the paper. The shinigami cocked a brow for a moment before opening the folder.
"Crescent Moon class…" He read.
"All of them?" asked Kilik.
"No…" Liz slipped the folder from her husband's hands and began reading off the names.
"Crescent Moon class students eligible for Spartoi: Gabriel Ford, meister. Liam Thompson, Mesiter. Aiden Éclair, Weapon. Rebecca Daives, meister. Ezekiel Evas, weapon. Maria Gonzalez, weapon. Ayame Star Nakatsukasa, mesiter. Aimee Siochana, weapon, Rion, last name unknown, weapon. Ava Rung, meister." She read off. "Ten students."
"With the suggestion of them being lead by Ares and Lyra." Clay finished. Maka let out a scoff, placing her hands on her hips.
"Ares is one thing, but Lyra?" she sneered. "No offence, but the girl already voiced having no time for helping with these kids."
"Times have changed," Marie defended.
"And so have the circumstances." Stein added. "If observation has lead to these kids being the possible future, then as someone who has watched their progress since before the attacks, I second."
"Do we think they have the ability to lead a group of kids?" asked Tsubaki.
"Lyra led them before during their mission to find Ares three years ago." Soul offered, leaning heavily into the wall. "Though I'd be lying if I didn't say it didn't make me nervous."
"So this is what we're agreeing to?" asked Kid finally. "These are the kids we're asking to become leaders?"
"Who better?" teased Black Star. Kid rolled his eyes, ready to counter when the door to the office slammed open.
"Anya!" Tsugumi jumped from her seat as the red face blonde tried to compose herself, but she looked panicked.
"Th-there are people outside of the school!" she chocked out. Kid stood swiftly.
"What do you mean?" He barked.
"They're demanding we stop all operations of the school." Anya responded. "They're accusing Shibusen of crimes against the city and murder!"
The days seemed to all blur together over the past week. Not all the students were asked to stay at the school for extra lessons. That could be considered an honor and a curse all the same, but Zeke didn't question anything any more. His day started with running up the school steps behind his partner and ended with him wishing her could teleport to his bed. Today was one of those days and as he and Ayame walked out of the school, he wasn't happy to see the crowd blocking his only path home. "What's everyone looking at?" Ayame wondered outloud, still walking forward.
"Maybe your dad is putting someone on the spot again." Zeke answered and Ayame mad an annoyed noise in response while still approaching the group. The white haired weapon sighed and followed, his green eyes taking in the expressions of the others standing around. He frowned slightly, noticing some of them seemed panicked and some were scared.
"Zeke!" he turned his attention to Aimee who was waving him over. She didn't look excited. Pushing his way through the whispering students, he started to make out what they were all looking at. There were men in suits standing with soldiers holding guns. Facing them, in front of the students, were the teachers.
"What do you want?" Kid's voice called out. It was a different tone than what Zeke had been used to hearing, having grown up with the OCD man as an uncle in his life. He had heard the shinigami stern, but this was something different.
"We want you to cease operations of this school and the training of child soldiers." A tall brooding man in a suit had spoke up. His eyes had scanned the mass of silently watching students. "You're facility is functioning as a threat against this city and we order you to halt all operations."
"There's nothing threatening about this school or these children!" Maka barked, stepping forward.
"We will not be ceasing anything. You have no reason to be here." Liz added, stepping forward as well. "We've done nothing wrong at all." The brooding man glared.
"If you can not cooperate, then we will have to take unnecessary force." He spat.
"Guns against a bunch of unarmed kids?" Soul sneered. "What the hell is wrong with you people?"
"Unarmed?" A random soldier had scoffed. "From what I've heard, there are a few brats in there that could cause more damage than any single bullet could."
"They're children." Marie seethed, hands clenched at her sides. "Why can't you just leave them be?"
"They are far from children." The balding man sneered. Zeke felt a few of the students around him tense and glanced to his side at Ayame, who had clenched her hands at her side. He looked forward, noticing his dad, place a hand on his mother's shoulder and still her.
"What gave you any reason at all to come here? We've only just been active again and all they've been doing is attending classes." Soul spoke, voice even and professional.
"To put it simply. The citizens are tired of living in fear."
"Fear!?" Black Star finally stepped forward and was no where near ready to back down. "Who the hell do you people think you are?!"
"Black Star-" Tsubaki stepped forward to calm her husband but Marie was quick to halt her as the assassin continued shouting.
"We've done nothing but protect your sorry asses over all these years! Even as a kid myself I put my life on the line for this pathetic city and now you want to come strolling into my territory telling me that my kids are threats?!" He teeth were bared and a few of the men had faltered under his intense glare.
"We are here to eliminate any threat to the citizens of Death City." The words were said evenly and a thick silence filled the air. Black Star blinked a few times before standing straight and squaring his shoulders.
"Is that so?" he hummed before taking a few steps forward and holding out his hands in front of him. "Well then, I guess you might as well cart my scary ass off to whatever dungeon prison you have for a monster like me." Whispers took the air.
"Is he serious?" Zeke murmured in disbelief.
"Dad…" He glanced to his side and watched as Ayame reached up to push the person in front of her out of her way. He took hold of her other hand, squeezing it and tugging her back.
"If he's a threat, then I guess as the leader of this establishment, I'd have to hand over myself as well." Kid's voice spoke up.
"This is so uncool." Soul muttered, stepping forward as well. The soldiers were hesitant, but with a wave of the hand, the professors that were stepping forward and handing themselves over were handcuffed with strangely thick and mechanical cuffs.
"This is a joke, right?" Ayame whispered, watching as Sid handed himself over, sending a pointed look at Nygus, who looked ready to step forward as well. "They're taking them away…"
"Is anyone going to stop them?" Aimee's panicked voice asked. "What do we do?"
"Don't move." Turning his head swiftly, Zeke's eyes met with Lyra's. The silver haired young woman wore an expressionless gaze on her face as they watched the scene in front of them. "Sometimes sacrifices need to be made in order to move forward." It was with these words that Ayame turned, tears burning her eyes as she glared.
"You're ok with them taking away our families!?" she screeched and yanked her hand out of Zeke's, turning to the scene.
"I'm not letting those cowards take my dad away!" She started to shove people out of the way. "Let my dad go!" she screamed. Swearing, Zeke grabbed her around her midsection, pulling her flailing body to his tightly.
"Ayame, stop it." He whispered in her ear as she continued to yell, the sadness evident with each cry. "There's nothing we can do." Some of the other students were shouting now. Thunder could be seen consoling Ava while Patty was being held back by Fire and her own sister. Maka and Tsubaki could be seen holding their heads high, though sadness evident in their eyes as their husbands sent fleeting smiles over the shoulders while being marched away. The few remaining professors seemed uncertain and defeated. Some students had shouted out in disapproval at the unfairness of the world and the discrimination, but no one moved.
It was chaos in the midst of a motionless crowd.
How did it become like this?