Author: Peptuck PM
In the gritty underworld, a fallen knight struggles to survive, putting his talents to work among the bosses of organized crime. But as he carves his own place in the darkness, he is assaulted by his past, his own regrets, and more mysterious forces....Rated: Fiction M - English - Adventure/Horror - Seifer A. & Fujin - Chapters: 10 - Words: 51,295 - Reviews: 124 - Favs: 22 - Follows: 9 - Updated: 11-30-06 - Published: 05-22-06 - Status: Complete - id: 2951425
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Final Job: Clean-up
No one raised a finger, and no one spoke a word of challenge as he walked through the warehouse. Regular workers and Anarak gorillas simply stood aside as he strode through the building, a pair of sunglasses obscuring his eyes as he advances. All of them know this man, and know who he is; word travels fast in the underground, and as a name circulated, so too did memories, and along with those memories came reputation.
His coat, a new, stylish red trenchcoat, waved behind him as he walked past fearful guards and workers, and the man showed no fear or hesitation. He knew, and so did they, that no Anarak soldier would dare raise a weapon against Seifer Almasy, saiko-komon of the Green Dragons.
Finally, after several minutes of striding across the building and entering the richly paneled hallways of the Anarak offices, Seifer met actual resistance, in the form of two large, rifle-carrying guards in black suits. They stood in the hallway leading to the main office, and barred his path. Seifer came to a stop within arm's reach of the two guards, who made no move to attack nor step aside.
"Step aside," Seifer growled quietly. "This is my business. Not yours."
"Can't let you through," one of the large guards replied, though he seemed more like he was saying it due to duty, not desire.
"You don't want to die for him, do you?" Seifer asked pointedly, and the two guards hesitated. They glanced to each other, and then were pushed aside as Seifer shoved between them, his junction-enhanced strength giving him the physical power to throw these men aside with hardly any effort. Once again, they made no move to stop the brazen gangster as he stalked down the hallway toward the huge double doors that led into Enrico Fornes' office.
The doors flew open, and Seifer strode into the office, grinning as his eyes fell upon the thin figure of Enrico Fornes as he sat behind his desk. Over his shoulder hovered the black-clad specter of Nicolai, who met Seifer's gaze impassively, his expression unreadable.
"Hey, kid, welcome back," Enrico remarked, smiling, placing his hand over his .45 revolver, a not-too-subtle warning. "What brings you here, eh?" Though he wore a tempered grin, Seifer could feel Enrico's fear, like a hunting predator, and that fear drove Seifer forward a step. Nicholai and Enrico tensed, the Trabian agent even stepping aside to give himself a clear shot at Seifer.
"You set me up," Seifer replied quietly, narrowing his eyes behind his shades. "Time to become a stain, Enrico."
"Really now," Enrico replied, leaning back. "Nicholai, don't you have an objection to this kind of language?" He glanced to the Trabian, who nodded and walked forward, around the desk. Seifer watched the agent warily as the man moved before him, and Nicholai's hands tensed. Seifer's fingers tightened around his gunblade as he locked eyes with the Trabian, their irises obscured by their sunglasses.
"Is this how it has to be?" Seifer muttered, and every muscle in his body hardened, preparing to strike. Nicholai was silent for several moments, and then quietly exhaled.
"It is regretful that our business arrangements had to come to this," he commented, and shook his head. "Things could have been different."
"If you hadn't betrayed me, they might have," Seifer replied, and Nicholai slowly nodded.
"Truly regrettable, indeed," the Trabian whispered, and his hands twitched.
Seifer was ducking, Hyperion whipping out as he started to spin aside to evade the shot. Yet, he had barely begun to move when Nicholai's handguns erupted from their holsters and fired, the cracking reports filling the office.
There was an empty, expectant stillness as Seifer stood there, his eyes widening in amazed surprise.
"If only you had listened to me, Enrico," Nicholai added as he stared at his boss, and lowered his pistols. Enrico did not reply; it was rather difficult, as crimson flowed from twin punctures in his forehead, his face locked in surprise and confusion as he slumped back in his chair.
Nicholai's sidearms slid back into their holsters as Seifer rose, still not sure what was happening, and the Trabian stepped up beside his former boss. He placed a hand on the dead man's shoulders and then casually shoved him out of the chair and onto the floor.
"I disagreed with him about what we should do with you," Nicholai whispered as he settled into the chair. He leaned forward, clasping his hands together, and rested his forehead against his knuckles. "He was a fool to oppose you. I knew the moment that I understood who you were, that you were infinitely more dangerous that anticipated. But Enrico did not see what I saw. He did not respect you, Seifer Almasy."
"And you do?" Seifer asked as Hyperion returned to its sheath. The Trabian chuckled quietly, and nodded.
"You, who have become the second in command to the Green Dragons, and who had the courage to stand against Asp," Nicholai stated, and shook his head. "You have earned your place in this underworld, I assure you. And I am not foolish enough to try to fight you."
"So where do we stand now?" Seifer asked, and Nicholai shrugged.
"Anarak is mine now," he replied. "I ask that we respect one another and keep to our respective territory. There is no reason for either you or I to wish to engage in a street war. Its poor business, and I do not wish to fight you, in particular. You are not my enemy, Seifer, and I view you as a comrade in our dark little world, da?" Seifer nodded, stepped forward toward the Trabian, and extended his hand.
"Friendship?" he asked, and Nicholai nodded, stood, and took Seifer's hand.
"To peace, friendship, and profit, Comrade Almasy."
Seven men were seated at the table, with one woman rounding out the group. Or rather, there should have been seven men and one woman, but the last of the group was out on a particularly ill-advised line of business.
"So, the operation in Dollet is underway," remarked one of the men, a brown-haired figure of small stature, barely over five feet and six inches. The man leaned forward, clasping his hands together. "Our contacts are already making their moves, and I've got Asp troops ready to support them."
"Good," remarked the man at the head of the table, a lightly-tanned man with a perfectly shaved head. A thin black mustache and goatee framed his mouth and rested upon his chin as he leaned back in his chair. "Our main research on that island has been removed, correct, Doppel?"
"Most of it, sir," the man named Doppel replied. "The remainder we've got in comparatively low-key locations. We figure it will only take a few hours for the situation there to be resolved anyway."
"Excellent," the bald man replied. He leaned forward, and nodded toward another man at the table. "Now, to our next order of business. It seems that our resident evolutionary success here has had some encounters. We need to address this situation. I'm sure you're all aware of the reappearance of Kathryn's other son, so we'll go straight to the operation. Bones?"
The blonde man who bore a painfully similar appearance to his brother grinned his typical insane grin, and waved a hand in the air.
"He's good," he explained. "Real good. Not only has Seifer buried himself inside a power structure that we can exploit, but I've got lines on his weaknesses. We can manipulate him real good now." His fingers twitched, and all of those assembled could see the manic, blood-thirsty gleam in his eyes.
"That is really irrelevant," the bald man replied. "What I need to know is . . . how much does he know? And has he really manifested unusual abilities?"
"He's a damn good fighter, if that's what you want to know," Bones replied with a shrug.
"He killed Bones ten times,' remarked one of the men across the table, and the madman grinned and giggled.
"But as for what he knows . . . ." Bones slowly shrugged. "I think he knows about Mommy."
The bald man went silent, and lowered his head, closing his eyes, before finally looking up.
"If he knows anything about his mother, he is a serious danger." He slowly looked around the room, before settling his eyes on Doppel and the man next to him, a dark-clad man with shimmering white-tipped hair, with black roots..
"LeBlanc," he stated. "We cannot afford to let an actor we have no control over operate, especially when he may or may not be aware of the circumstances surrounding his birth. If anything in regards to the Womb project were to get out . . . Well, we can't have that happening. Mobilize your Archons. Find Almasy, and kill him."
"Of course," replied the white-haired man, who slowly nodded. "If he does present a danger to us, I will have him removed."
"Excellent," replied the bald man, smiling. "Now, it is time for us to address the area in Centra where we will-" The bald man stopped as one end of the room opened, a rectangular portal slid open. Those within remained deathly silent as the figure started across the room, and remained that way until the portal slid back into place.
The man, clad in a blue robe with golden cloth fasteners, and with an odd blonde beard and dark hair, settled into the empty chair, directly across from the bald figure, and smiled.
"Soval," he asked, "What did I miss?"
"You were absent, Sion," the bald man, Soval, replied. "I was under the impression that you may have indulged in a certain . . . desire of yours."
"I did, though it seems that Garden did not react favorably to my visit," Sion said with a wide grin. Soval stared for a long while at the bearded man across from him, and then closed his eyes.
"Gentlemen, may I have a brief word with my second, in private?" the others nodded and silently stood, filing out of the room through another rectangular portal, leaving Sion and Soval alone.
"Dammit, Sion!" Soval shouted, slamming a fist into the table. "Now is not the time to be engaging in your petty vendettas with SeeD!"
"Petty?" Sion echoed, narrowing his eyes. "I would not call what we are here to engage in 'petty'."
"You attacked Garden, didn't you?" Soval hissed. "They know someone is out here! Someone who intends to-" Soval stopped, and went silent for a long moment, before frowning. "I am not pleased, Sion."
"Nothing we can do about it now," the bearded man replied, and then smiled. "So, I got word from LeBlanc that you want Seifer Almasy dead." Soval blinked, and then narrowed his eyes.
"How did you-"
"Secrets of the Magi, Soval," replied Sion. "That's why we're partners, right? So . . . ." he sat forward. "Why are you so worried about Seifer Almasy?" To this, Soval slowly chuckled, and opened his mouth to answer.
He looked left, and he looked right, his crimson coat flapping in the wind as he passed through streets that he now virtually owned, and Seifer Almasy smiled.
As those eyes moved, however, something slowly shifted. Perhaps a passerby would have though it was the gleam from the multitude of neon lights, but it seemed that, for an instant, the blue-gray of Seifer's eyes became a deep, dark blood red.
Across the city, in the deepest, darkest depths of the Auburn District, far beneath a distant, decrepit hospital, a little girl smiled, and her soft, amused laugh echoed through caverns and tunnels endless in their depth.
"Evolution, Sion. Evolution."
To be continued . . . .
Thus concludes Ronin, but not Seifer's particular story arc.
Until next story . . . .