Prologue: A Completely Ordinary Conversation

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"...So? What do you think about him?" A soft male voice.


"I think he's doing great." A confident, quick voice.


"Great, you say? Interesting word choice."


"I said great, not exemplary. That will come."


"Sure about that? We all know how his uncle turned out."


"What about him? That isn't relevant to the boy's future. He is already leading a life unique to himself."


"On the contrary, he has followed an identical path, step by step. Did you forget that Aetius also had his period of peace? Nobody even considered his potential as a Hunter." A deep, unyielding voice.


"Even still, I believe in his friends. They have already displayed astounding levels of reliance, and they haven't even known each other for a year. Give it time."


"The last time we 'gave it time', we lost one of our most promising colleagues. I won't allow another failure. Especially not one of the same family."


"So what are you suggesting?"


"Isn't it obvious? What do we do with anybody who displays signs of mental instability?"


"His team will be devastated! Especially Alison. She is particularly close to him."


"Speaking of, what shall we do about her? Records oppose her very existence up to her application to Arcos. She isn't just some pretty girl who know her way with a baton."


"Indeed. She could be dangerous. She could be Vain."


"That is an accusation I will simply not permit! She is one of my students, you know, and I'll not have her dissected and tortured in some lab, if she isn't simply killed on the spot!"


"Calm down. She isn't an enemy. Not yet, at least. As long as she proves to be a good student and trainee, then we will ignore her... baffling origins."


"Thank you. I'll not speak another word of her. Back to the point. Kazuki is indeed someone to be observed, but nothing more. One lapse in judgement will not turn him into a Hunter."


"Tell that to Aetius."


"Once more, that is a separate case entirely."


"If you say so."


"I do."


"Now then. Why did you call me here? I do hope discussing a potential Hunter isn't considered 'dire' to you. It's not like they are especially dangerous to society, and even if they were, they certainly aren't any sort of threat to us."


"Well, I... I need you back. We need you back."


"It's gotten boring without you, you know. Besides, you can't just disappear like that, not with the responsibility you chose to bear. You started this, so don't you dare leave us in the middle of it all."


"Well, my apologies if having a family is detrimental to our work."


"That's not what we're saying. I have a family too, you know."


"So what do you want then? Be specific."


"We found something. Something that could prove to be incredibly useful. And we need you to investigate. We need you to get back to work."


"And if I refuse?"


"Then you may very well be held responsible for sealing humanity's fate as prisoners of Chorus for all eternity."


"What is it exactly that you've found?"


"The Queen."


"Ngh... So I'm to investigate where you left off?"


"We can't continue without someone of your exceptional skill. Do you understand?"


"I'd really rather not."


"Great. I'll pack your things."


"I never said I'd go."


"You just did."


"..."


"Good luck, Athos."


"Yes. Good chance and luck."


"...ngh... Fine. But I'm bringing my family with me. I will not let them out of my sight."


"Of course."


"One last thing, Aramis."


"Mhm?'


"I will get you back for cutting into my vacation time."


"Ahaha! Looking forward to it. So hurry up and get the job done, okay?"


"Why did I even create this group..."


"Ha! I guess back then you actually had some common sense."


"Be quiet."

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