Chapter 03: Running on the Road
Day 001 – 08:19
Namie prepared to attack, but Roku took the initiative instead and ran forward, not hesitating to punch her in the face.
She leaned a bit to the left, evading the attack, and then promptly throwing a punch on Roku's abdomen, which he blocked with his left hand.
They separated and took a distance between them.
"Heeh. Not bad, Roku."
"Don't worry, Nana-san, that isn't even a 2 percent of my real ability. I will show you real hell really soon."
Her eyebrow rose in probable doubt as she directed her sharp amber eyes at Roku. "I'll look forward to that then."
"Bring it on, Nana-san."
Roku might be saying such things but in actual reality, he had already given up on attacking Namie after his failed attempt. He had battled Namie many times already in different fields. For example, studies, debate and arguments, sports, fighting games, and even the real fist fight. It was embarrassing for him to admit but he had lost all of them.
His countless experience of defeat made him improve in various ways. However, the Namie, his rival, was improving as well. However, his efforts weren't wasted. He could now put up a decent fight in those fields. If it weren't for it, then he would not be able to dodge Namie's punch at all.
Even so, physical and combat abilities wise, it seemed that he still could not hold a candle against her.
I should instead focus on expending the time left, he thought. His plan now, in contrast to what he had declared earlier, was to run around the rooftop for five whole minutes.
"Whoaa…!" Hachi on the sideline let out a surprise in a deadpan tone. In fact it sounded a bit sarcastic. "No matter how many times I see it. I can't help but be surprised."
"…What is it, Hachi?" Roku asked as he kept his eyes at Namie.
"You know, to think that my best friend here is shamelessly trying to punch a girl." Roku glanced at his side and saw a mocking grin from Hachi. "you'll end up losing in the end again. How do you say it? Kind of…you know."
"I will make you eat those words, bastard. If I win here you better give me your lunch. Now you better watch, I'll defeat this abnormality here once and for all."
"All right, but you will give me your lunch if you lose."
"Deal." Some way or another, Roku ended up not trying to run away anymore. "It seems that I've made you wait, Nana-san."
Namie just stood there as she looked at Roku. "Well, let's just say that I'm giving you a handicap, since, there less than four minutes left now. Quite a show you put up there to expend some time, Chicken Roku-kun."
"…Thanks for the compliment. Worry not, I don't mind being a chicken at all." Roku smiled. "But still, I would freak out if some chicken ended up defeating me. Won't you agree, Nana-san?"
"Ha. Well said. Now let's see if you live up to those words."
Namie suddenly dashed forward preparing her right fist but this was what actually Roku was aiming. He could not defeat this girl with his current abilities so he could only hope to catch her off guard.
He firmly planted his feet to the floor to look as if to look that he were about to dodge and then throw a counter. Namie proceeded and aimed at his face, and then Roku immediately lowered his body to dodge the attack and to swipe her foot.
However, the superhuman girl unexpectedly able to immediately leap into the air, causing Roku unable to knock her down.
"…" Roku could only stare upward, his mouth agape. His attack was evaded but this was not the real cause of his shock.
In his vision was a flapping dark colored article of clothing—her school uniform's skirt. She was wearing black socks below her knee so Roku could clearly see the white skin of her thighs. He even wondered if this girl even had a decency with her but his mind was focused on the image before him.
He widened his eyes, burning the image in his brain. But no matter how the skirt flapped he could not see Namie's underwear, as if the air resistance or even the law of the world forbid Roku from witnessing it.
"NOooo!" he shouted in frustration.
And then his sight was covered in black followed by a strong impact hitting his face. Before Roku lost his consciousness, he realized that Namie had probably kicked her mid-air before landing.
"Hmph. Big talk like always eh, Roku?"
"Hurray! His lunch is mine!"
Unbeknownst to the unconscious Roku, and to Hachi shouting in glee in the sideline, Namie mumbled words under her breath.
"…That was close." She straightened her skirt before she held her chest to calm down her fast heartbeat. "You pervert Roku."
She glanced at Roku one more time and she proceeded to their morning class, which would be starting soon, leaving the duo in the rooftop.
Day 002 – 9:37
"Senri isn't in the school anymore," Namie casually spoke. "When I had escaped the school yesterday, I saw her ride the school bus along with other students."
"Hear that Hoshimi-chan? Your sissy's safe."
Hoshimi was really happy when she heard Namie's statement and Roku felt his chest lighter when he heard that. For now, he didn't have to worry about Hoshimi's only relative.
"So where do you think she went?" he asked. They were currently in the living room of the first house, sitting in the sofa. Roku was beside Hoshimi facing Hachi and Namie were in the other sofa across them.
"Dunno. I saw it went to the straight road, you know, the one when you go out from the school gate."
"That's kind of bad, isn't it?" Hachi asked. "Now we don't have any clue where to find her."
As Hachi said, they didn't have any hint where to find Senri anymore. Roku thought on how they would proceed from this point. Of course, the plan was to go to Hachi's house first, and it haven't changed yet. It was now very close and it would not take them more than 15 minutes to go there. Roku could tell since he had been in his friend's house more than he could count.
He could see Hoshimi making a nervous face again so Roku, who was just sitting on her left reassured her. "Don't worry, we'll find her."
"Y-yes, Onii-san," Hoshimi meekly answered.
He needed to find some clue or possible locations where Senri had gone. "Say, Nana-san, who else have you seen in the school bus."
"Oh. I don't know the exact number of the passenger since the bus was about to go that time and I think some had already entered it. Well, the only ones I saw entering by the way were Ogasawara, Imai, Hatake, Kagamine, and Senri."
"That's certainly a lot of them. But that's quite a coincidence, all of them are in our grade," Hachi said, inserting his observation.
"Yeah," Namie replied casually.
"Do you know where they live?" Roku asked.
"There is the chance that they could have gone in their respective houses, or all of them as a group could have stayed at one house, and I agree with that. But unfortunately, except for Senri, I am not close with any of them."
"Aw crap," Roku muttered.
Unexpectedly, Hachi raised his hand. "I know where Kagamine-san live."
Roku was surprised about that statement. Kagamine Emi was a girl in their grade and although she was not impressive at her studies, she was diligent and always doing her best to improve. She had a kind personality and cute appearance that made her popular to both boys and girls alike. Due to this, she was ranked as one of the Top 5 Most Beautiful Girls in their school along with Namie and Senri.
"Oho. So even with a girlfriend, you are still into someone else? I see, I see. Man, it's hard being popular."
"Now that's a surprise," Namie noted who had probably heard of it for the first time
"…The hell you saying Roku! I don't have a girlfriend!"
This bastard, he still think he can hide it from me? Yes! Despite being only a Kawamura Hachi, this bastard have already had a girlfriend in an all-girl's school.
Roku cursed him inside his mind. His statements weren't a lie. There was one time when he saw a message in Hachi's phone from a girl. He had read the content of the message saying that they'll meet up in weekend that time.
So in the day he saw in the message, he went into the said location, and there he saw Hachi hanging out with a cute girl. When he questioned his partner later on, he was flustered and his answer that the girl was just a friend from another school didn't sound convincing at all.
Roku became more certain about his suspicion that that girl was really Hachi's girlfriend as time passed.
"Curse you! I never had a girlfriend, not even once! I have never been even close with a beautiful girl! Fuck, I'm jealous!"
"Like I said, no! She isn't my girlfriend," Hachi vehemently denied. "And if we're just talking about beautiful girls, doesn't Nana-san count as one?"
"As if! Who would consider this gorilla—"
In that instant, Roku saw Namie lean forward at the table in before them and then she grabbed Roku's face, lifting him upward with just her one hand.
"Na-Nana-san…" Roku said nervously as he held the Namie's forearm. In his front, he could hear Hachi groaning in pain. He didn't know what exactly happened but this girl must have punched him or something.
"Just what did you say?"
"I'm really sorry, Nana-saaaaannn!"
Just after his desperate plea, Roku heard a childish laugh and he immediately realized it was from Hoshimi.
"Ha-ha-ha you're so funny, onii-san."
Still being held up high without able to see anything, he replied, "…Thanks for the compliment."
Namie dropped Roku on the floor, who saw Hoshimi still giggling, Hachi holding his stomach with a somewhat pained look, and the superhuman monster eyeing him with a hostile glare. She asked, "And?"
"Oh… Well. You know. I'm just joking, Nana-san ahaha… You're just as beautiful as the center of the idol group Death Frills."
"You think I would buy that?"
"Anyway!" Hachi exclaimed, interrupting the two. "The reason why I know where Kagamine-san live is because she's my neighbor."
"…Oh I see. That explains it!" Roku replied, thinking this was the perfect chance to change the topic. "We have a clue now and this even supports the idea that we should really head to Hachi's house. We could just go to her house afterwards. Yes, so we should prepare soon! Hurry Hachi, go pack our stuffs already."
Hachi just played along to his friend's obvious device. "Yeah sure. Let's get ready." He stood up from his seat and started packing up. Roku and the girls followed after him.
"Can we find my sissy there?" Hoshimi asked.
"I am not sure yet, Hoshimi," Roku said. She became dejected again. Kids are really such a trouble, he thought.
"We can find her sooner or later. Don't worry too much," Namie stated quite confidently.
"Is that really true, Onee-san?"
"Yeah. We could even try the evacuation center if necessary. I heard from my bro that some people went there."
"Oh, yeah! That's right, Nana-san! I can assure you there is one here. We can see it from our balcony."
"…It would somehow explain too why she was not able to go home," Roku muttered.
"…You mean the quarantine-kind thing to prevent any more victims?"
"Yeah. That might be the reason."
"That's probably it," Hachi stated, rather confidently. "I mean that serious student council would never leave her cute little sister behind."
"All right then." Roku smiled and concluded their discussion. "We'll head first to Roku's house and then to Kagamine-san's house. If it doesn't work, the evacuation center."
The four of then went outside the house using the door in the back and started walking toward their destination. After the scene they made earlier with the suspicious man, some zombies had started gathering outside the house. Hachi lead the way, followed by Hoshimi and Namie and Roku was in the back. They advanced carefully walking near the walls and evading places where zombie could ambush them.
Roku was the one who carried the shoulder bag that contained the breads and few tools that they possess and Hachi had the backpack they took in Hoshimi's house on his back. This one had their water and the rest of their tools they brought from their school.
The blue-haired teen observed the road in the front, carefully. There were broken vehicles here and there and few corpses occasionally. Some were remains of a zombie while there were the also those that hadn't turned into one. Those kind of corpses were badly damaged to the point that it could be only described as grotesque. Innards were spilling out, and he even saw one with the brain scattered in the road. The asphalt road that was supposed to be black was now decorated with various human parts and blood.
Also, he saw one policeman's cadaver as well but it seemed that someone looted him already.
Then he also shifted his view towards the windows of the various houses they passed. So far, there was only one person he saw aside the man who wanted to take Hoshimi. There were also just few zombies that he saw within this neighborhood. As bizarre as it might seem, the blue-haired boy believed that a lot of people should have been killed already.
He might just overthinking things but he also couldn't just neglect the idea of some people going mad just because it's a zombie apocalypse. It might be the influence of too many movie I've watched, he thought. Zombies could be mostly dealt with melee weapons but for humans, we will need some guns.
Also both of the partners had one knife in their bag. As for Namie, Roku had just assumed that her backpack was full of melon bread. The person herself, right now, was currently holding her bat with her right hand while she held Hoshimi with her left, who was currently looking at the surrounding with fear in her eyes.
Roku noticed Namie gently putting more strength into her grip in Hoshimi's hands. "Just don't look at them. Just keep walking forward. Everything will be fine."
Namie had always been the quality of carefree person. Even in times they were in dire situation, she would always take care of things easily. This time, however, Roku thought that she looked definitely serious about taking her of the young girl beside her.
"What Roku, the hell you staring at?" Namie glared at him as talked in a low voice. It still didn't remove her annoyance though. "You're creeping me out. Just so you know, I won't give you another melon bread for free."
"Ah, no. Don't worry, you can have them all for yourself." He flatly said. After seeing her eat melon bread every day, he had somehow lost his interest of eating that particular bread. He had no qualms earlier when he received one from her though as it was offered to him.
"Oh right, Nana-san," he started, taking note on the volume of their voices as he glanced at Namie while walking.
"You said something about you having a brother earlier, right?"
"Yeah. I have a big bro. Got a problem?"
"Heehh," Hachi inserted in an impressed tone, not looking back. "I bet he's crazy strong too."
"Yeah, I guess."
It was the first time they heard about her having an older brother. In fact this might be one of the only few private info they have about her since she never actually talk about herself except on some conversation where she had to, like what had happened earlier.
Suddenly, Hachi stopped.
"Wait," he spoke. Roku then walked forward to his partner after confirming that they were safe behind.
When he turned to a corner, he saw zombies loitering. They had dealt with few of them on the way here but this time, the partners could notice that there were larger number of them than before.
"Should we walk to a different route?"
"Do you know other way, Hachi?"
The two of them then explained to Namie that they would take another route albeit taking a detour. Namie's expression was telling that she could not agree entirely after she took a peek at the corner herself, but soon she still complied. From what Roku knew about her, she would probably just smash the hell out of those things. She was that confident.
They walked to another path, occasionally seeing zombies. The ones within several meters were dealt by the two while they ignored the ones from afar. It goes without saying that they avoided the streets that contained many of them.
"This is taking us a while…"
It was Hachi who muttered that as they saw another horde.
From the current state of their travel time, they were taking considerably longer than expected. They were walking nearing 10 minutes now and they had just barely crossed half of the distance to his partner's house. Still, they couldn't afford to take a long time so they hadn't stopped walking since the start.
However, the number of zombies were rising as they neared their target location.
"If only we could fly or something," he joked as they started walking again.
"Like hell you could do that, dumbass," Namie immediately replied. "Even Hoshimi here wouldn't think of something like that."
"Damn Nana-san, I was joking, you know."
Hachi probably wanted to retort but he couldn't do that in their current situation. Roku in the other hand just stayed silent as he looked up in the sky. He observed it for few seconds before returning his attention to the road.
"Do you want to fly too, Onii-san?"
"…." In contrast to Hoshimi' innocent question as she clung to Namie's hand, Roku felt a bit nervous. "No."
"Ha-ha," the despicable woman spoke in a mocking tone. "I see. As expected of our childish Roku. Just imagining a piglet flying makes me laugh hahaha."
This bitch! He thought grudgingly. As expected, Namie didn't even let that one just pass under the bridge. He wanted to retort as well but for this time, he judged that it will be more reasonable to just explain his side.
"I was just thinking about how normal the sky is."
"Huh?" She tilted her head as if looking at an imbecile.
Roku's vein pulsed on his forehead. "…I mean, not even one have we seen any aerial vehicle. Not a trace of military nor the self-defense force."
"Now that you said it, I guess we hadn't" Hachi said.
It was what was bothering in the current situation of their city. No, if he was thinking right, then like most zombie apocalypse, it was currently a world-wide calamity. A pandemic.
The lack of military presence meant two things. Either they were in some high priority mission with no personnel to spare, or perhaps they were defending some area. Or if, looking negatively, perhaps they had suffered a huge casualty already. In any case, they couldn't rely in government right now. Roku had just hoped that it was the former though.
"I heard some of them are in the evac area though."
"Ohh!" he answered briskly. "That's great then."
The former seemed to be the right answer after all. Roku then thought that the government might had set up various safe area rather than to eliminate the threat. He couldn't comprehend it fully well but right now, they had to be safe themselves.
Several more minutes they were already near their destination as they saw the slope before them. Roku and his company started climbing the road and within few moments, they would arrive at Hachi's house.
The road was straight without unnecessary curves, with some few occasional trees beside it. There were two zombies to deal with on the way but it wasn't a problem for them. Namie was with Hoshimi right now so it was obvious that she wouldn't charge ahead.
"I'll take care of that one, and that one is yours," Roku said as he pointed two zombies, one in the right, and one in the left.
"No prob," answered Hachi as he readied his weapon before he ran forward, using his momentum to crush the skull of the undead.
On his side, Roku killed his target too.
He glanced at his back to check on Namie and Hoshimi to see that they were fine. The road was relatively wide, and their field vision to their back and front was clear. The right side of the road was a wall, and on the left were few houses lined beside the road. There was the chance of being ambushed.
Roku noticed some people gazing at them from their windows, he carefully examined their faces to determine if they could be hostile. It seemed that they were only cautious. He returned his gaze forward again.
However, it was then before he could see the top of the slope that an unexpected event happened.
There was a zombie walking faster than the normal ones and it was coming down from the road towards him and since he was climbing, the distance between them was very small. The zombie started stretching its hand towards him.
"—!" Before it could touch him, he panicked and swung his metal pipe at its head, knocking it before it rolled down the street.
"Crap!" Hachi gasped as he and Roku turned their gaze downward to follow the rolling zombie. It was going towards Namie who narrowed her eyes and like one would expect, she just extended one foot forward to intercept the undead to stop its decent.
Namie had the calm look on her face, and Hoshimi on her side was averting her gaze from the corpse. Roku exhaled in relief as he looked at his front once again. It was a good thing that they had managed to minimize any loud sounds—
"Hachi! On you left!"
A shout came from Namie making Roku turned his head to the said direction immediately. On the left was a two-story house, with a wide open gate. And on the road before it was Hachi, and a zombie who was attacking him.
"Holy shit!" Hachi managed to stop the zombie from biting him by blocking with his weapon horizontally, pinning it with the undead's neck. It was currently flailing its arms and head, desperately trying to grab him. "This…damned…thing!"
Roku was about to ran forward to aid his friend but he saw his partner swipe the zombie's feet with his right foot. It lost its balance, and at the same time, Hachi pulled back his metal pipe upward. With all his strength along the force of the gravity, he brought it down with both of his hands, and smashed through its skull.
"Roku." Namie's voice called his attention once again. "Look forward."
Roku felt a cold sweat running down his spine.
From the peak of the sloping road, zombies were coming to them. Roku could not see the top yet so he couldn't count the exact numbers as they were still coming. So far, there were three of them. On Hachi's direction, another zombie appeared from the house.
Hachi prepared to intercept the zombie in his side again while Namie kept Hoshimi close to her as they approached Roku.
"Roku, your decision!" she prompted.
"Hachi's house is near." Roku gazed at the zombies approaching them, counting the one on the left, there are six of them in view now. He inhaled as he bended his body forward a little, making his fringe cover the upper part of his view. However, he could still clearly see the zombies before him. "We push through."
Namie directed her sharp gaze at Roku as she smiled. "Nice Roku. I love that plan."
A dull thumping sound came from the left and then Hachi's voice followed. "All right, here we go!" He ran forward, took a sudden stop and used his momentum to smash the head of an incoming zombie.
"Keep her close to you." Namie said as he glanced at Hoshimi and then back to Roku. "I can't let Hachi outdo me."
"Yeah. I got it."
Namie then dashed and followed after Hachi, immediately taking one zombie down. Roku held Hoshimi's hand tightly, making sure that he would not let her hand go by mistake. He used his right hand to adjust his shoulder bag in a better position and after that, he and Hoshimi then walked.
"Don't let go of my hand. And, don't shout."
"Y-yes!" Hoshimi tried her best to sound courageous and she even had the look of determination in her wavering figure.
"Well, don't worry too much. The two of them will surely protect us."
Namie and Hachi waited for them, and then four of them climbed the top of the slope soon. The top was a residential area with numerous houses in the surrounding. The road was straight from here and if they would follow it, they would gradually arrive at Hachi's house.
"There are quite a lot of them, Nana-san."
"I guess so."
Roku just listened to their conversation as he surveyed the situation. He had thought that there were considerable number of the zombies from the groaning he heard earlier but there were more number than he expected. As they walked forward, with Namie and Hachi killing the nearest zombie one after another, Roku noticed that the zombies were still rising in number.
There were even new zombies appearing in the sides of the road, aside from the ones in front. And there were even few coming in the back, which he just dealt with.
"Where are they even coming from?!"
It was Hachi who asked that question and it was understandable. They were making some loud noises as they kill zombies so it wasn't strange that they were coming to them. But still, there were far too many. It was as if most zombies in the neighborhood just happened to be at the slope's top at this time.
If this keeps up, we will be surrounded with the crowd.
Roku thought that if it were only he, Hachi and Namie were the only ones here, this wouldn't be a real problem. However, the situation right now was not good. Both fighters couldn't fight with their full potential because of Roku and Hoshimi being protected by them.
"Hachi! Carry Hoshimi! We're going to run through!"
"All right!" Hachi replied instantly, clearly understanding that he must be the one to carry Hoshimi since he was physically stronger than Roku.
There was still some time before they would be completely surrounded. Hachi took off his backpack, threw it at Roku, who caught it without a problem. He passed his metal pipe at Namie and then he carried Hoshimi in his back, fully ready to dash.
"Okay." Roku adjusted the backpack in his back, and the shoulder bag so that they wouldn't get in the way. He confirmed that Hachi was good to go, Hoshimi tightly clinging to him, and Namie who had a bit puzzled look with a weapon in both hands. "We're counting on you, Nana-san!"
"Ha! Follow after me, I'll clear the road for you." Namie grinned and then ran forward, her red hair swaying gracefully in the air as she immediately killed a zombie in her front. "Let's go!"
Roku trotted after Namie as he glanced at her back.
Namie took down one zombie after another using both weapons. Her handling wasn't extraordinary but the unexplainable strength within her slender arms overwhelm that weakness. With each swing, an undead would fall down. She would sometimes also swipe the zombies's feet or just kick them out of the way.
She was never stopping, like a tank that crushes the obstacles on her way—if Roku were to describe her right now, this sentence would certainly come to his mind.
However, her running figure despite being tomboyish had still feminine touch. A person who was strong, reliable, and even though it's not obvious, she could be kind sometimes.
Roku could not help but admire the girl before him.
Really. She's really an unfair person…
In his front, a zombie was nearing the cleared route made by Namie. He change his course a little and met the undead instead of evading it. Roku made a firm step and then swing his pipe to it, crushing its head. He needed to kill the zombie, this way, Hachi behind him wouldn't be obstructed from running.
"Keep up, Hachi!"
"YEAH!" Hachi shouted back between his breaths. "Roku, another one in the left!"
Surpassing the crowd took around 20 meters or so but they still didn't stop running until they could already see Hachi's house.
"Nana-san, that house!" Roku shouted to Namie. They made their way into gate and closed it after Hachi entered as well. His breathing was ragged but he didn't took a break after he let down Hoshimi. He retrieved the key from one of the bushes in their front yard while the rest of the team guarded him. Within few seconds, they entered the house, locked the door, and breathed in relief.
"That was…damned close call," Roku muttered wearily as he walked inside the house.
"They were scary but everyone was amazing!"
"Thanks…Hoshimi-chan," Hachi replied. He headed into the sofa placed in the living room and plopped on it, completely relaxing his body. "Yep. Nothing beats home."
Author's Note: I was probably going to update around in a week or so but when someone said this story is fitting right now, I went and write. But on the way, I was distracted by some things, mostly Anime and Manga hahah!
My, it is a first time for me writing a story set in a modern time. I had already few troubles in the first chapter, and few more in second, and now even more in this third chapter. I had to rely constantly in the internet and then watch some show so that I could get reference for the city setting. Well, I had the same kind of trouble in Finding Purpose whenever I thought of settings there. And for those who doesn't know, I plan to revise that story.
Continuing with RoHa. Man, Namie's personality and reactions are the hardest in characterization I have ever yet encountered. Imagining her reactions whether they are suited or not, or whether they are good is really hard. Even Aki who is almost all the time condemning himself is more manageable, maybe?
And with Cud-b-better and Shang's suggestion, I am trying to gain knowledge in passive voice. It is also proving kind of hard. Aside the city setting, I have one other trouble again. Welp, See if I improve. And if it is not too much to ask, can someone give me examples of passive voice in this chapter?
Okay, done with my few topics again so with that, until next time again!