It's time for another part of Aria Finale. I wanted there to be more of a focus on action with this one. Also, keep in mind that in a couple of chapters time there's a good chance that the rating will increase due to voilence and romance. It is Phantom, after all.
Now then, let's get started!
Wrath of the Phantom
The City of Angels. A towering skyscraper stood in all of its grandeur as one of the mightiest buildings in the concrete jungle - a behemoth of glass and metal with great meaning. It symbolized the power of Inferno. This city belonged to McGuire and his men, and the Columbian lord wanted all the other families of the underworld to know it.
His organization was exclusive. Those who refused an invitation were destroyed. There was nothing more to it than that. Countless mafia families had already fallen during his brutal expansion across America's crime syndicates. In truth, his tale was a somewhat twisted version of the fabled American Dream. McGuire had come to this country ten years ago, a Columbian immigrant in his early twenties, with nothing to his name. He now stood as the most powerful crime boss in the entire country.
For all intents and purposes, he could not be touched, and that was exactly the way he liked it. Those who were loyal were granted rewards. Those who betrayed him suffered some of the harshest consequences. Scythe's former Phantoms remained on the run in Mexico, but it mattered not. Soon, they would be dead.
McGuire sat all too calmly within the VIP room right now, a glass of red wine held within his pale hand. It was a night of reflection, one of relaxation amidst an endless sea of business deals.
A gentleman in a suit entered, the doors swinging shut behind as he stood tall, giving a loyal salute before removing his sunglasses, "Mr McGuire, sir…. It has been done, as you requested. We arranged the false meeting, and it would seem that Phantom was seen taking the bait. We have tracked his location to Mexico City... It is only a matter of time before we find out where Zwei and Drei are hiding..."
At last, the glory of victory. McGuire took a moment to absorb the ambient bliss of another fallen enemy, the sweet sound of the violinist echoing throughout his penthouse suite.
"Fantastic, Sabastian. Have my security detail prepped. I wish to go downstairs and share this fantastic news with some of our associates."
The meddlesome remnants of Scythe's influence would soon be gone forever. Total control was within sight. There was simply nothing left to challenge Inferno's hold over the country's darker dealings. With that same thought in mind, pulled himself up from the couch upon which he sat, prepared for departure.
Bodyguards clad in black suits entered the room and flanked him with flawless efficiency- a dozen of them, each one brandishing heavy weaponry.
Another day slipped past. Yet another victim of the sands of time. "I'm done with running away."
Months did not change a thing. Reiji grew tired of Inferno hunting him and the woman he loved while they hid away like dogs.
Alas, Zwei let a sigh escape, his lips twisting into a cool smile as he drew a pistol from the holster at his hip, "You bastards are finally going to learn the meaning of payback..."
His eyes fixed upon a pair of guards at entrance of the massive building of concrete and glass. They stood with cautious eagle-like eyes, gripping their sub machineguns. It was all quiet right now. That would soon change.
One of the muscular guards turned to the other and chuckled, "Hey! Abel," He continued with a scoff, "You think the boss is gonna give us a pay rise sometime soon, huh?"
The other fired up what must've been his forth cigarette, holding it in the corner of his mouth lazily, looking over with a cold smile before taking a drag, "Your guess is as good as mine. I mean, shit… McGuire's guys are supposed to be loaded, right?"
The sound of a trash can falling echoed not far off in the distance. Both men, jumpy as they were, squeezed their weapons tightly and looked off into the night. Their collective breathing became slower heavier.
"Must've been a cat or something..."
Now was the perfect moment to strike. With flawless timing, Reiji pulled a knife from the pocket of his long coat, still obscured far from sight and mind.
The less twitchy of the guarding duo let out a sigh of relief, shaking his head. "I'm too damn jumpy…. Hey, Abel, you got a smoke?"
"Yeah, man. Give me a sec... got one left... You owe me wh-"
From the shadows, the Phantom threw his blades, watching painstakingly as the guard to the left, still halfway through speaking, let out a low, pained gurgle before falling silent, nailed to the wall in a spraying sea of red.
"OH SHIT! DAMMIT!" His comrade turned back, eyes widened in absolute terror, hands shuddering as he brought his weapon to bare. "I ain't screwing around! If someone's out there you better show yourself!"
The wind blew with vicious intent. Zwei moved again, perfect and deadly, pulling a pair of grenades from the pocket of his coat.
A violently gleeful chuckle echoed from his lips, his feet landing perfectly upon a lower adjacent building, the roof of a dingy, neon lit bar.
Yet there the lone guard remained, rooted in place, floundering in fear. His eyes widened at the sight of the two special gifts Zwei had placed at his feet, the pins pulled. Three, two, one.
A grandiose explosion of elegant orange flames tore through the outside air. The sheer force punched out the doorway - all while the colossal power behind the blast showered the lobby in a spray of jagged glass.
"That deals with the door..."
As silent as death, Zwei slipped inside.
Lo and behold, the windows lay shattered and broken, sharpened shards littering the ground. The entrance to the ground floor lobby sat engulfed in a sea of burning crimson. For but a mere moment there was silence, until an ear-splitting alarm bell screamed out. More suit clad goons came rushing from the rooms connecting to the lobby. They shouted orders back and forth in a disorganized mess; their weapons pointed in every direction imaginable.
There was no lighting left around the ground floor area. Perfect.
The nervous guards kept their eyes trained both left and right as they hoped to catch sight of an attacker. It wouldn't do them any good.
"I'm done with this shit!" One of them barked, moving closer to inspect the flames, "Let's find whoever did this and take them out..."
They were breaking away, disorganized, scared. Reiji smiled from behind his mask. It would only make them easier targets.
"You see anything over there Jackson?" Another suit-clad called out, moving closer to stand at his side. "The boss is gonna want a report on this."
Ready to unleash Hell, Reji pulled yet another handful of blades, this time from the belt at his waist, tossing them into the crowd.
Time seemed to slow as terror took hold in an instant. Thugs hit the floor left and right; each one of them impaled by pristinely sharpened steel, blood spattering across the walls in elegent crimson torrents.
"KILL THIS BASTARD! Kill him!"
The guards began yelling, any hope of organization long since cast into the wide, gaping mouth of oblivion.
Gunfire tore through the lobby, bullets sprayed the walls, and windowpanes alike, but hitting absolutely nothing in chaos that took hold. One by one the weapons, pistol, automatic and shotgun alike, clicked empty, signalling for a nervous reloading spree to begin.
Now was the time to reveal himself. Zwei readied himself, dropping with a low grunt from the sturdy reception roof rafters in a moment of perfect acrobatic skill.
"What in the hell?"
He took the role of an an illusion; a shadow that reared its ghostly head in the midst of the carnage.
There he stood, bold and emotionless, clad in the guise of the Phantom of The Opera, a pristine white ballroom mask obscuring his face, and an elegant black cloak covering his toned body. In his gloved left hand the Phantom held an, a large serrated knife of a haunting silvery shine. Five against one? These odds were just fine.
Every man in his sight shuddered, and as fresh clips were slapped into weapons, and shells slammed into chambers, weapons began raining carnage anew.
Zwei cared not, however - vanishing in a blur of incredible speed as his survival instincts took hold, leaving the cloak behind, floating devilishly toward the ground.
A wisp of inhuman swift swept through the room, a horrifying black aura left in his wake. One slash, two slashes, three, four, five. One by one, the guards were touched by the distorted shadow of doom, each falling to the ground like dominos in a single beat of the human heart. Perfect slice marks split their necks wide, darkened seas of crimson oozing beneath them. The room fell silent silent - not a single defence remained against vengeance so pure in form.
The Phantom stood as a stone statue. Every single surveillance camera in the room focused with magnified lenses. Slowly, he reached with one of his gloved white hands, gripping the ballroom mask and ripping it free.
With cold, dead eyes, he brought his gaze toward one of the cameras. A terrifying aura of black pulsed from his form.
Body motionless, he allowed his lips to curve into a smile of sadistic glee, "You took our lives away…. You almost turned the woman I love against me…."
Those words were all he spoke for the moment. Slowly, Zwei produced a pistol from the holster at his hip. "Your days are numbered. Rest assured McGuire…. I'm going to take everything from you. Inferno will burn..."
A single shot of the handgun and the camera erupted in a bright flash of sparks.
From the command centre, McGuire stood tall and unflinching, having watched the ungodly scene unfold. He turned his back to walk away, but found his feet frozen to the ground as screams erupted over the radio system. Chaotic gunfire spilled from channels on the second floor, followed up with a melody of distorted explosions, before finally; connections fell dead in a sea of static.
"HELP! We're under fire... can't see the target!"
"Stay behind the wall... We need covering fire."
"He's aiming for the lights! Shoot him... quickly!"
All the while, McGuire held his hand over his chest - heartbeat thumping painfully. A lump formed in his throat as the cold screams of more dying men rang out, so utterly helpless against the cold, unforgiving hand of demise.
Eventually, he awoke, forced to break free from his fear-induced trance. Still flanked by his half dozen bodyguards, the overlord turned, walking away with a frightened spring in his step. The rooftop helipad wasn't far away.
"We gotta protect the boss! Stop this bastard here!"
It was hard to ignore the mobs of men desperately throwing over tables and ducking behind barricades. McGuire felt it in his gut - somehow, someway, Zwei was going to reach this place, too. The attempts of his underlings wouldn't amount to much.
"Sycthe…. You truly created a monster, didn't you?"
Hollow words. Hollow words that couldn't even begin to pay tribute to such an unstoppable foe. Without Claudia here to keep him under control, Zwei, the second Phantom, was truly a demon in human form.
Everything was ready for take-off. McGuire remained seated in the back of the helicopter. All the while, he watched as his men spread out all across the heliport. Their weapons, each and every one, remained trained on the doorway that allowed access to the rooftop. Zwei would not be allowed to come any further.
The pilot nodded to himself assuredly before turning, giving his headset a tap, "We're taking off, Mister McGuire. Please ensure that you have your seatbelt fastened."
At that same moment, the doorway leading to the heliport flew off its hinges in a shower of shrapnel.
"He's here! Make sure he doesn't touch McGuire!"
One by one, the peons in suits began blasting. There was no way to know if they were hitting anything, and after an ungodly amount of lead flew, the goon at the front gave the signal to hold fire.
"You see anything? He's gotta be dead by now, right?"
Gunfire came belting back but a moment later, "GET DOWN!"
Bullets tore through the suit-clad goons - one by one their bodies collapsing like so many others before them.
The Phantom sped through the doorway, blood pooled at the heel of his polished shoes for a second nerve-wracking time.
The Helicopter whirled its way upward, the sight of Zwei shrinking as they climbed higher and higher into the air. Airborne now, the pilot made hasty movements to make sure they were out of firing range.
There was still one final trump card. One last thing to slow the Phantom down.
McGuire nodded to himself, producing a cell phone from his pocket. With a collected smile, Inferno's overlord placed the device to his ear, "It is time. Please ensure that our 'guest' is kept busy long enough to ensure my escape. However, be cautious. You must not die on me yet, Nuen."
"Of course, sir."
Zwei scowled at the sight of that rat McGuire. No way was he going to escape from this trap! No way!
With a cold smirk, the Phantom produced yet another pistol from one of the many holsters at his hip.
Thinking back to the brutal training regimen, he breathed deeply aim was well placed upon the propeller blades of the helicopter, finger apparently upon the trigger and ready to pull. "This is where it ends..."
Reiji looked on in bewilderment as the helicopter slowly drifted away into the distance. No smoke billowed from the barrel of his weapon. In fact, he hadn't even fired a single shot. He stood, frozen still as a sudden wave of pain burned the midsection of his body. Eyes downcast, he saw crimson liquid escaping from his side.
His vision blurred as he took an uneasy step back, very carefully turning around, weapon still raised.
Blue eyes stabbed into him with pure, unrestrained poison. A dozen memories of that fateful night at the chruch flashed through his mind, and in an instant, the red organ within his chest thumped painfually.
"You…. You're one of the numbered sisters, Scythe's new puppets…. How? I shot you... I watched you bleed out..."
Words had never been asked with such caution especially from one with such a steely resolve.
His gaze fixed upon a young woman with long pale-blue hair. She bore a young face that and delicate features, most notably her shining sapphire blue eyes. However, those blue pools of water held hardly any emotion except for a flare of intense determination. The slender young lady wore a long white Chinese dress with a lotus flower stitched most pristinely down one of the sides, and in her hand she held a revolver. Smoke billowed from the barrel ominously as her cold eyes glared into those of Reiji.
Convinced she had the upper hand, the young woman let an insulting chortle slip free before taking two slow paces forward - her white platform shoes clacking across the ground as she went.
"You killed all of my sisters, Reiji Azuma, Zwei... every single one. But I refused to die... not until I had a chance to see your face one last time."
Her words were cold, calculated, and sinister. Flipping back her locks of blue hair, she aimed her weapon between the eyes. "I won't rest until I kill you..."
As moments went by, Reiji couldn't help but think over and over about how unbelievable this situation was.. One was still left. Inferno still had a Phantom of their own.
The menacing young woman kicked off her heels, stepping ever closer, gun still gripped tightly in hand, "My name is Neun. I'm the youngest of the Phantom Project... and now I'm the last surviving child of the Numbered Sisters."
Blood, so pure and red, continued to drip from Reiji's wound. With each moment that passed he felt an increasing sickness.
Alas, In one last attempt to escape, he slid forward, trying to tackle the weapon from Neun's hand.
The agile young lady cartwheeled back to evade. However, when she landed and brought her gaze upward again, Reiji was already behind her. Neun spun around in haste, but a blinding flash of light knocked her to the ground.
With the girl out for the count, Reiji was able to breathe a hasty sigh of relief, "It's a good job I brought a flashbang with me."
It was time for Zwei to leave. His plan tonight, was a failure.
Before he left however, there was one last thing to do.
Picking up Nuen's discarded revolver from the floor, he let out a small breath, aiming the weapon at her unconcious form, watching as her chest rose and fell in soft movements.
A pang of guilt tore through his body, especially as he took a closer took at her face.
Inferno's final Phantom. In a single pull of the trigger she'd be gone forever.
Yet for some reason, one that deep down he knew all too well, it was impossible to fire. A lone question spun around in his head time and time again. He thought back to his beloved Miss Devens, a girl whom had also worn the title of Phantom, just like him.
"What if she can be saved? Just like Eren... just like Cal?"
Shaking his head, overcome by sentiment and humanity, the Japanese man, usually so hardened to the concept of watching lives end, emptied the bullets from the revolver's chamber, tossing it to the ground with a thunk.
"Consider this an act of kindness... Just like I said to Eren all those years ago... We're not just tools... The future is ours to make with our own hands..."
Sirens and service vehicles screamed in the distance. It was time to go.
With the border of Mexico behind him, Reiji pulled over the car to reflect on the events of the day before. Tiredly, he laid his head back against the seat while listening to the radio. It helped calm his thoughts. If it weren't for music his mind would overload under the pressure.
"Deep down I know I'll regret finishing her off," Reiji sighed exhaustedly, "As long as she's still alive, me and Cal will be running from Inferno even longer... but for some reason I just... couldn't bring myself to do it..."
His cloudy thoughts flashed back to his encounter with the girl on the roof, Neun. That light blue hair, and those ocean blue eyes. They bore the same coldness as Reiji's eyes, and deep down, that scared him. She couldn't have been a day older than Cal, but that clearly didn't make her any less lethal.
'Karma nandomo onaji koto no... kurikaeshi no naka o ochiteitte wa.'
The sound of his past in Japan, "Karma," he sighed, turning up the volume on the radio. "I haven't heard this song in so long..."
Now able to clear his thoughts a little more, Reiji placed his foot on the gas pedal and continued down the road. His vision was a little woozy, but nonetheless, he had to get home.
A light gasp of discomfort escaped as his side bled slightly. "Gotta keep going... need to keep my eyes open. I'll be back soon, Cal... Wait for me, okay?"
To be continued...
Thank you for reading this chapter through until the end! Did you enjoy it? Is there anything you'd like to see in future? Feel free to leave some feedback and share your thoughts.
As always, keep on supporting Phantom of Inferno and Requiem. I'll see you in the next chapter!