|Chapters||67 • 68 • 69 • 70 • 71 • 72 • 73 • 74 • 75 • 76 • 77 • 78 • 79 • 80 • 81 • 82 • 83 • 84 • 85 • 86 • 87 • 88 • 89 • 90|
|Preceded by||Vulcan's Workshop arc|
|Followed by||VS. Special Fire Force Company 4 arc|
Venture into the Nether
In a flashback, a young Shinra is playing with some toys, leaving some unused ones on the ground. Shinra's mother walks by, asking the boy to pick them up and move them out the way, to which he cheekily replies he'll do it later. Bending down on her knees, she whispers in his ear that naughty boys get sent to the Netherworld, to which he jumps up and tidies the toys quickly. He blushes, and says he isn't afraid of the Nether, confidently stating that if his little brother Shō got taken there, he'd protect him. Back to the future, Akitaru and Licht tell the other members of the 8th that they've discovered that the White Hoods were hiding within the Netherworld, explaining that it is considered a land of taboo that no one should ever go to. Furthermore, Licht explains that much of it was destroyed by the Great Global Flame Disaster, though few rail-road tunnels survived. Akitaru states they will leave the next day and reiterates the danger that lurks within the Nether, giving off a tense atmosphere, but lightens it by saying they will retrieve Shō, to which Shinra agrees. Later on when everyone is in bed, Shinra is dreaming of himself naked, surrounded by flames; and spots a naked female with long flowing white hair nearby, questioning who it is. Back in the office, Hinawa notices a small earthquake occurs, to which Akitaru states they've been happening a lot recently. The next day, Vulcan and Victor are seen together with their Special Fire Force brigade uniforms on, joining them on their quest, and so they make it a move. Arriving at a huge door with masses of foliage covering it, and the Special Fire Force symbol across the whole door. As they walk to the door, Arthur asks Shinra if he's scared, to which he thinks back to the memory with his mother, but stating he isn't scared now. Maki and Tamaki seem to be the only ones who're openly showing their fear. Iris says a prayer, and the door suddenly starts to open slowly and mysteriously. Though it turns out Vulcan pressed a switch that opens the door. Taking their first steps gently, they tread further into what seems to be pure darkness. Out of nowhere, they hear a cry for help from deep within. Then, Princess Hibana reaches out of the darkness toward the 8th, telling them not to come in.
Maki vs. Flail
What seems to be Hibana reaching out her arm and screaming for help, disappears into the pitch black hole known as the Netherworld. The 8th don't know whether to be worried or confused as to whether it was the same situation in Asakusa where it was an impersonation. Nonetheless, Akitaru states that there are for sure enemies within here, and to be on watchful guard, giving spirits to the 8th. Suddenly, a huge fog appears, which ends up separating each of the brigade members. Akitaru finds himself finally out of the fog, with Vulcan sitting down creating something with goggles on that allow him to see through the mist. Takehisa finds himself within the fog, confronted by an impersonation of his old friend. In a dark room with lit-candles spread out, Shō commands that Assault leaves to attack the intruders. Back within the mist, Iris is confronted by two different Tamaki's, each claiming to be the true one. It doesn't take long for one of them to trip, fall and lose all of their clothing, sadly proving that Tamaki to be the real one. As the fake Tamaki sneakily walks off, Tamaki and Iris stop dead in their tracks when they see a man stand before them, stating he is the one that will kill them. Falling beneath their original position, Maki, seemingly scared, sits alone atop of some boulders. Soon after, a few silhouettes walk by and spot her; and dressed in white, Maki shivers at the thought they may be ghosts, but come to realize it's just the White Hoods, to which she is weirdly relieved. Flail, over-estimating the Fire Soldier due to her gender, yells at one of his grunts to attack her, though is put to shame swiftly. That's when Maki pulls out her mechanical Iron Owls with Pusu Pusu and Mera Mera, ready for battle.
Maki stands alone, confronted by Flail and a gang of White Hood grunts. Going in for the attack, a White Hood uses a Third Generation ability to sling fire toward Maki, with her effortlessly deflecting it. The rest of the grunts do the same, though to no avail, shocked to see her ability as a Second Generation. Adapting to the situation, they start throwing sharp discs, hidden within the flames that they were originally slinging. Peer pressured, she gathers her Iron Owls together and blocks the incoming attacks. There's a moment of silence as the attacks suddenly stop. Without noticing, Maki fires off a projectile, directly hitting a White Hood in the face and knocking them out. She then uses her Iron Owls offensively, smashing them against the White Hoods; all the while beating them up with her bare hands. Realizing his underestimation, Flail whips out his fiery flail in order to attack Maki, smashing the large object around. Despite this, Maki prevails, stopping his attacks and successfully landing direct hits. Elsewhere, Hinawa is seen walking a shroud of mist, surrounded by various bodies, while Tamaki and Iris stand against the powerful Assault. Shinra, alone, is still looking for everyone, and Vulcan and Akitaru are confronted by none other than Lisa and Giovanni.
Tamaki vs. Assault
At the 5th Special Fire Fighting Industrial Complex, the 3 Angels of the 5th confirm with Hibana that the 8th have made their way to the Netherworld, to which Hibana hopes for Akitaru's safety. Back in the depths of the Netherworld, Vulcan is happy to see Lisa, while she questions why he is wearing the uniform of the organization that he hated so much. Vulcan returns with a compliment, stating Lisa looks beautiful in whatever she wears, making her blush. Vulcan declares he came all the way down to find Lisa, making her blush even more. The sweet serene atmosphere suddenly turns sinister, as Giovanni wraps his cloak around Lisa, manipulating her with his evil words, reminding her of the mission she carries. Overwhelmed by his words and presence, Lisa, now referring to herself as "Feeler", immediately goes on the attack, growing huge flaming tentacles. Aiming at Vulcan, he is luckily spared, as Akitaru used the magnetic extinguishing ball to block the flames. Akitaru lets Giovanni know of his resentment toward him, but Giovanni calls him an ignorant man, not knowing anything about the Human Body Ignition Phenomenon. He goes on to explain that the Preacher had taught them everything they knew, including the reason for the phenomenon, the identity of the Bug, the secret of the Adora Burst, and what happened to the world years before. Akitaru calls the Preacher a bad teacher as he lowers his face-shield, and Giovanni calls the Commander interesting. Elsewhere, Assault tells the girls to stay where they are, and makes a praying stance, making Tamaki think back to how Rekka made that same stance. The man creates a fire under his arm, and Tamaki goes in for the attack using her Nekomata; but Assault dodges and knocks her away with the rocket. While she's down, he assaults her with a flurry of more fiery rockets, claiming that he will end her quickly. Startled, Tamaki thinks back to just before the 8th left to go to the Nether, when Shinra says that whenever she's in trouble to call his name and he'll rescue her, but Tamaki says that she can protect herself. Motivated, she prepares to attack Assault with full strength and protect Iris from him.
Assault fires his Crimson Barrett toward Tamaki, launching her high into the air, and due to her Lucky Lewd Syndrome, adjusts what part of clothing she has on in a sexual manner, distracting Assault's concentration. She falls onto Assault, breast in his hand, leaving him to try and struggle through a very awkward situation. But Tamaki being who she is, it only gets worse; her bum lands in his face as he tries to escape from a very lustful experience. Thinking back to his training, Assault is seen destroying his foes with his fiery powers, leaving them on the floor. Jonah walks by and is impressed by his abilities. Back to the situation, Tamaki now has her chest in Assault's face. Iris uses this great opportunity to bash Assault over the head with a metal pipe. Nearly unconscious, he lifts his head from the ground shouting "I won't let it end like this", but Tamaki and Iris double team on him and trample him to unconsciousness, giving a humorous cheer at the end. Tamaki is impressed with herself, claiming that Kusakabe doesn't need to protect her, but Iris puts her in a bad mood commenting on how Tamaki went about beating Assault, rightfully. The Sister hugs Tamaki's arm, saying that she counts on her, and they leave to find the others. Hinawa is then seen shrouded in a mist, with multiple silhouettes appearing before him. He comes out of the mist, in what seems to be a subway train station. As he continues to walk, he sees a light down a long hallway coming his way, brighter and brighter, it turns into an explosion as it hits the structures behind him. He falls to the ground, noticing that the right side of his brigade coat was burnt off, despite it being fire-resistant. He hides behind a pillar, carefully looking down the pitch black hallway. At the other end, Arrow is seen keeping a watchful eye on the 8th Captain. She shouts out the the man with the Adora Burst, referring to Shinra, should be with the White Hoods and not in the Special Fire Force, and Hinawa asks what it is they want with him. Arrow responds by telling him to die, and prepares a large fiery arrow heading his way; while Hinawa does the same and prepares his shotgun, beginning what seems to be a battle between two long-shooters.
Battle Between Two Long-Shooters
Shinra paces through the Netherworld trying to find Licht, and eventually finds him being held hostage by a White Hood. Licht calls out for help, telling him to use the rapid technique. Before realizing, Shinra's feet were planted in the White Hood's face, and was left defeated, displaying Shinra's speed. After, they hear gun shots from afar, realizing that the others are also fighting against the White Hoods, and so the duo state that they can't hold back either. Elsewhere, shots are being off sporadically, as Hinawa and Arrow continue their long-distance battle. Takehisa takes note that he's in a dark spot, meaning Arrow's eyesight must be amazing. Hinawa is yet to hit Arrow yet. He makes a move into an old train, and makes his way toward Arrow's location. But before long, Arrow fires off an arrow toward the train, leaving Hinawa damaged as he attempts to jump out the window. Hinawa sits beside a pillar; and with his glasses destroyed, he can barely see. A black silhouette appears in the mist caused by the mass of explosions, and what seems to be his old friend, but Hinawa, strong-minded, is not fooled by this, and instead feels better after seeing his face. Preparing his final attack, he pulls out four large shotgun barrels, declaring he's about to make the fight overheat.
Stunned by Hinawa's raw power, Mirage and Jonah tread their steps as they watch the Captain and White Hood fight it out. Elsewhere, Shinra cleans up fighting against some grunt White Hood members. Victor Licht is happy to see Shinra improving in his fire abilities, and Shinra recollects how Benimaru taught him about the science equation 'Kinetic energy = 1/2 × mass × speed2', meaning Shinra understands that his attacks will be more powerful the faster he is. Licht relates this to Captain Hinawa, who is able to shoot off extremely powerful blasts as a Second Generation, commenting he has the power of a war tank. Back at the confrontation, Hinawa is seen firing explosive shots at Arrow, so powerful it breaks his barrel each time he fires a shot. Jonah begins to worry for Arrow's safety, but she comes out strong, firing off shots of her own, hitting Hinawa, but at the same time, he shoots at her. Jonah comments that they are fighting a full-out brutal showdown, where they're both getting hit, so it's a matter of who falls first. Exhausted and hurt, Hinawa begins to think about how Arrow is doing, to which she still stands, preparing another arrow, saying she is always prepared to die. Hinawa, on the ground, grabs his 8th patch on the left side of his arm, gaining the confidence to stand back up and prepare his final shot. Faded out like a black silhouette, Hinawa says that the reason he hasn't ended her yet, is because he hasn't activated the emblem on the left of his shoulder. He then takes aim, with a glowing eye and a glowing patch, Arrow first fires her arrow, and Hinawa makes a destructive blow, blowing back Arrow and leaving her defeated. The shot is so powerful that it continues past her down the pathway, destroying everything in its way. Hinawa sits, leaning on a pillar, exhausted, and spots the two White Hoods walking toward him, but he isn't scared. Mirage pulls out a knife, but Hinawa quickly flicks a bullet through Mirage's head, only to reveal it was a clone. But the bullet hits the ceiling, causing it to fall. As they prepare to kill Hinawa, a pony-tailed head pops out of the bricks.
Arthur vs. Mirage
Mirage and Jonah look ahead as a head pops out of a pile of bricks, with the pony-tail wiggling. Arthur pops out of the bricks, proudly claiming the knight has arrived. Hinawa thinks back to when he saw somebody peeking through the ceiling, hence why he blew down the ceiling, despite knowing it was actually Arthur. Realizing the situation, Arthur prepares his attack, while Mirage creates a mist. Multiple silhouettes appear throughout the msit, and Arthur is annoyed by Mirage's lack of creativity in battle, linking it back to their previous battle. Mirage comes in from behind Arthur, knife in hand and aiming for his back, but Arthur doesn't make a move. Instead, he understands in himself that it was a mirage of the real body, hence the knife passes through him. Mirage is surprised by this. Arthur thinks back to his training with Benimaru and Konro, when they taught him to be able to sense life while in battle. Arthur claims he now has the ability of a samurai, a double profession, and holds his sword in a samurai stance. Arthur understands that what the eyes see isn't everything. Mirage is shocked by his continuous attacks on the knight-samurai that are not effective, and goes in for a horde of attacks with multiple clones. And yet, Arthur continues to stand there patiently, waiting for the right moment. There, sensing life, Arthur pulls out his sword for the first time, making one powerful swing, so fine that it cut the pillars in the room without making them fall. Not long after, behind Hinawa who was nearly also hit by the swing, the real Mirage appears, damaged heavily by Arthur's sword. Mirage's true intention was to take down Hinawa while he was down, Arthur calling him a cheat. Moving on, they 8th due talk about Jonah who was with Mirage but has disappeared, taking note that he didn't look like a human, and his face looking artificial. They leave to reunite with the rest of the 8th. Elsewhere, Vulcan and Akitaru are caught in Lisa's tentacles.
Struggling to Find the Truth
Captured in Lisa's flames, Akitaru stays strong-minded and declares he will save her from Giovanni. The previous 3rd Brigade Commander begins talking about the Human Body Ignition Phenomenon, saying Lisa gained her ability through compatibility with the Bug. She claims that the flames saved her from her fear and after she had lost her parents from Flame Humans, but Vulcan and Akitaru persist that Giovanni is simply tricking and manipulating her into acting out his will. Akitaru fights through the flames, using a extinguishing grenade, and pulls out an axe attempting to attack Giovanni, but is hit by one of Lisa's tentacles. Soon after, Giovanni begins to explain the concept of phototaxis and how the burning of human bodies strangely relates to the relationship between the Bug and flames. He goes on to explain more, but after a moment of silence, something begins to pop out of his cloak, revealing a large mechanical face that resembles his own, screaming "I won't telling you", and quickly pops back in his cloak. Akitaru pulls out a fire extinguisher, and sprays it across Lisa's tentacles, but continues to get whipped. Akitaru questions Lisa, asking whether the flames are actually protecting her when she looks so insecure, to which she says she isn't. After being whipped by all her tentacles, Akitaru shouts out that Fire Soldiers will always be there to protect others, and clicks a button, revealing that he had attached extinguishing grenades to all her tentacles, to which they all perish, and Lisa falls from the sky. Looking down, she sees Giovanni not even looking at her, proving his carelessness for her. In that moment, it seems she gives up on life, but it doesn't take long for Vulcan to swoop in and catch her, to which she begins to tear up. Giovanni then looms over her with a heart-striking appearance, claiming that she is making a mistake.
As Tamaki and Iris venture through the Netherworld after defeating Assault, they come across two paths, leaving them unsure of which to take. Sensing a dark aura coming from the left path, they soon encounter what seems to be demonic eyes floating in the blackness of the Nether, but it turns out to be Maki and her floating Pusu Pusu and Mera Mera. The duo feel safe and cheer at her presence, deciding to take the right path since Maki came from the left, in hope that they can re-assemble with the rest of the 8th. In the meantime, after Vulcan timely caught Lisa from falling, she miserably struggles back toward Giovanni, apologising to Vulcan for not staying with him. But suddenly, Giovanni wraps her neck with a hot wire, causing her neck to burn and the hair that was caught to burn off. Threatening to kill her, Giovanni dashes a gun toward Vulcan, ordering him to do as he says, and kill Akitaru, or he'll kill Lisa. Confused and upset, Vulcan calls him wicked. He picks up the gun, and Akitaru tells him to shoot, so that Lisa doesn't die. In a flashback, at the Special Fire Cathedral 8, Vulcan is displaying his new creations to Akitaru. Vulcan says that he joined the 8th so that he could meet with Lisa again and get her back, but because he joined the 8th, he wants to protect its members. Back to the present, Vulcan has to make a choice.
He shoots Akitaru, leaving him flat on the train tracks. Laughing like a crazy man, Giovanni is shocked he actually shot his friend over a girl, and ends up throwing Lisa on the floor. But without haste, Akitaru gets up, and force-ably pulls up the train tracks with his strength alone, leaving Giovanni stunned and having to avoid the wave of train tracks heading his way. Mockingly, Akitaru asks Giovanni if he wants to know how he survived, but blurts out that he won't tell him. Immediately after, Vulcan tells him that the coat he's wearing is anti-concussive, and apologises to Akitaru afterwards. Getting serious again, the Batallion Commander claims that the 8th have trust in each other. Maddened, Giovanni unveils a horde of mechanics under his long white cloak, preparing his attack. Vulcan retaliates, and dashes toward him with a mechanism of his own: a penguin-themed helmet that with fire boosters, and headbutts Giovanni in the centre of his chest, leaving him heavily damaged.
Giovanni is blown back from Vulcan's Penguin Helmet, and a bunch of mechanical objects hidden within his cape are destroyed. Giovanni praises Vulcan's attempt as he is someone without any abilities, and Akitaru makes his move, picking up the rail-track and running toward Giovanni. Attacking him with the ladder, Akitaru demands to know who the Preacher really is, with Giovanni saying that humans are nothing more than energy, and they should burn to become part of the star. Akitaru heroically smashes the rail-track into the ground for form a ladder, climbs up and jumps down to elbow Giovanni in the face, dealing a critical hit- but is then launched back from one of his mechanics throwing him off. Giovanni explains that people without abilities such as Akitaru will never understand, leading him to think about Shinra, who is currently leaning over and breathing heavily, Licht confused at what's happening to the boy. He then realizes that Shinra is going through the motions of the Adora Link, with a face as if he wanted to dissect the boy. Shinra is then seen in a place surrounded by burning bones similar to that of a Flame Human, and a strange model of himself above him, drooling on him from his mouth and eyes. While he questions where he is, a strange black, demonic-being sprouts out from the ground, horns growing from its eye-sockets and with a uneasy smile on its face, grabs the smiling Shinra by the face. A white ring is then seen in a pitch-black background, with more light at the bottom of the circle than anywhere else. Shinra's mother appears, calling his name, and is then seeing burned alive by flames. A Devil Flame Human emerges from the flames, the same as the one from the day Shinra's mother died, and Shinra looks at it afraid, with that same white ring in his eyes as if it were his pupil. Suddenly, Leonardo is then seen holding Shinra's hand as his house is burned down. Flames emerge from Leonardo's eyes, and a Flame Human appears, slashing across Sōichirō Arg's face as he stands with his tongue hanging out surrounded by those same burning pitch-black bones. A baby Shō appears, sitting alone, with black energy sprouting from beneath him. A five-year old Shinra, cape around his neck, sees him and bends down, Shō grabbing his nose and making the pair laugh. The ring appears from above them, and a hand reaches down slowly toward the pair. Finally, Shinra wakes up, sweating and confused. He looks down, only to see black footprints sizzling on the ground. The Devil's Footprints. Licht asks if he's okay, and Shinra responds, saying that his little brother is close.