Senea: Whew FINALLY got it done... This one was kind of hard cause sometimes I was like 'But I don't want to kill the Don again!' and then did so of my sister's pestering. I'm quite sad this is all and done with now...cries. This was fun to write I will admit, torturing Yuri is fun, but he only really killed these people, so no more. Thanks to all of you who wrote reviews and took their time to read Cold Steel and Dark Enforcer... This one's just about as equally long as the last but I couldn't make it a two parter. And now please enjoy the greatly anticipated thrid and final segment of the Tragic Decision one shot trilogy!!
Note: Just in case, you might want to read the other two stories to get the gist of some things that may have been referenced. Just saying...
Disclaimer: Yes, just like flying monkeys exist and unicorns fall from the sky with cotton candy horns.....so no.
WARNING: Not verygraphic, I tried to make it simple from Yuri's point of view but if your squimish, just a slight warning. You all know what I'm referring to.
Dyed in Blood
Things really had gotten out of hand. The Don had beaten us to Danhgrest and was talking to the Palestralle people in the main square. Judging by how the old man reacted, it wasn't going so well. Everything was going wrong at this point. First Belius, then Judy and now the Don. Maybe I really am cursed.
Karol ran ahead of us, faster then he normally would have. Guess he was more worried about his idol right now, I couldn't blame him. Don Whitehorse didn't seem like the suicidal type but you can never tell.
By the time the rest of us got there, Don was already talking to some of the other guild members. Natz wasn't there by the looks of it. There was a huge fuss going on, almost like when the empire and the guilds were facing off against one another. Except no orders were going to come in to tell them to stop. This was a guild matter after all.
"Take me then. Let my head atone for Belius." The last part was shouted louder than everyone else and all of a sudden, it got really quiet. He was... he was actually going to go through with it.
"Don..." I heard Estelle from behind me. Out of the corner of my eye I saw her tense and look down. She must be feeling partially responsible for this. Hell, everyone probably felt guilty for what happened at Nordopolica.
"Idiot. These guilds... They're all filled with nutcases..." Rita said, trying to sound pissed off like usual. I couldn't help but hear the strain at trying to keep her voice from cracking. It sounded like she wanted to cry. She was just as upset as everyone else watching.
Karol was somewhere in the crowd in front of the old man and Harry so I couldn't see what he was doing, though he was probably worse for wear. It didn't seem like the Don was going to back down from his decision and no one seemed to like it.
He took out a short sword and placed it beside him. What exactly was he doing? The Don looked around for a short while before he spoke up. "So... Who's gonna be my second?" He annouced. Apparently he wasn't going to just hack and slash at himself. He was going to do it the old fashioned way.
The people from the guilds looked too devastated to even speak. Not even the old man volunteered. The whole square got quiet as the others waited for someone else to do their own dirty work. If one of the Palestralle people did it, that wouldn't be what the Don wanted. And they would be more then happy to do that after Belius died. An eye for an eye and all that.
"...It would be my honor." All eyes turned to me as I spoke those stupid words as loud as I could, though really it was quieter then I thought it was going to be. If no one else was going to give the Don what he wanted then... I guess it was up to me. Besides, I've killed more then enough people. What's one more?
Except, it wasn't like those others. Those like Ragou or Cumore. Not like a power hungry man who inflicted their wrath wherever they turned. The Don was a truly great man, from what I've heard and seen. He was a man who should be alive to help everything and everyone with his power. I almost wanted to damn them like Rita had done, but, life was just this unfair as usual, what's the use complaining?
Both Estelle and Rita gasped behind me, though I'm not really sure why. Maybe it's because this will be a public execution and not something that goes quietly in the dark where no one can see. They were going to see what I've done two times already for their own eyes. I just had to open my big mouth.
The distance between me and the Don waiting for his executioner all of a sudden felt like an eternity as I started walking. I passed Harry and the old man and saw him giving me a sad smile and nod, while Harry looked away, angry or scared who knows. As I approach Karol I couldn't help but try and look away from him. I was about to kill his idol, his hero, his very reason for making a guild of his own. I wouldn't want to see what was going on through his head.
"Guess yer stuck doin' a job nobody much wants." He said as I finally went to his side. It wouldn't be the first time Don, trust me.
I looked at the back of his head. "You too." My voice sounded a lot more calm then I thought it would.
His face stretched when he grinned, all of his teeth showing. "Heh. No kidding." He said. His smile left as quickly as it had come as his head shifted so that he looked at me from the corner of his eye. "Yuri. I was lookin' forward to watchin' ya go places. I'll make sure to save you a spot in hell." That was probably the only place I would be going to, old man. There was no doubt in my mind.
"I don't think they'll let me in to the hell you're going to." I said loosely, trying to keep up some sort of front, one that wouldn't back down from this stupid request. Damn it, I really didn't want to do this.
"Hah. I won't forget that attitude, boy." He smirked at me and I couldn't help but give him a wry smile in return.
"And I won't forget your resolve. Don Whitehorse." I replied back, with as much of respect I could grasp at the moment. The numbness came back as he began to look ahead to begin. No turning back. No regrets.
"Don!" The people behind us all seemed to scream out his name at once, they realized that his end would soon be near. Guess they finally unfroze from his last request.
"Listen up!" He called out, addressing everyone in the town square. "You all gotta stand on yer own two feet from here on! There's a new age coming, so get out there and make it for yourselves!" Wise words from an even wiser man. But there was no more time for words, or goodbyes, or even to shed tears. I kept my eyes glued to my target as he picked up the blade he had set aside that would cut his chest open. He wasn't the Don anymore, but just something else that would become bloody and lifeless at my feet. This wasn't a strike across mere skin or bone, but fully through someones neck, an instant kill. No final words or last gasps. Just...instant death.
The silence began to tense up again as his short sword went to his stomach, and I readied my own blade and waited. As soon as I saw the metal being plunged into his stomach, I moved with one quick movement and deadly accuracy. I'm not sure how much power I put into that one strike, but I remember cutting through skin, flesh, bone, and more flesh.
Then, it was finished.
I felt my sword leave the target and come out fast the other end, almost making me turn to keep up with my own arm. I kept my eyes locked on it coolly as I watched the blood dripping from it quickly, then slowing down since the source was no longer there. I heard rather then saw the body fall to the ground at my feet before I had a chance to look at what I had done.
It was odd. The body was there, and the head was just a few feet off from it. It was a clean cut, apparently, same length throughout. I felt everyone else doing the same thing I was, looking at what was once Don Whitehorse, leader of the guilds, friend of Belius and a hero to Karol and many others. It felt like time had stopped.
A twinge in my sword arm told me to drop my blade and I did so, letting the bloody sword rest at my side, still dripping blood onto the cobblestones. Then, time started up again. People from Nordopolica came by and began to talk with the higher ups from Dahngrest. Others began to pick up the head and started to take away his body from beside my feet. No one cried, no one yelled, everyone just did what the rules told them to do, letting there own personal feelings be put on hold until this whole ordeal was through.
People started moving more so now that others were out of their own stupor. I looked around to see Karol running off somewhere, Estelle called out to him but he kept running. Before I even had a chance to follow him, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned to see that it was the old man.
"Follow me." He said, before dragging me off to the Guild HQ. I let him as Estelle and Rita caught up to us and followed through the doors and into the hallway. Repede whined, his nose nudging one of my hands, I looked down at him and gave him a small smile and a pat on the head, though he didn't buy it one bit. Sometimes he's too smart for his own good. I turned my attention away from him and tried to concentrate on the conversation that Estelle was having with the old man.
"--to chaotic for any of you ta be wanderin' around about now. Just stay here for a bit an' wait for things ta settle down." The old man said, calming down Estelle pretty well.
"Alright..." Estelle responded, though it looked like she wanted to go back outside and look for Karol. The two girls nodded and walked in the meeting room, leaving me with the old man and Repede.
He sighed, bringing his hands up so that they rested on behind his head. "Ta think the Don would have ta pay fer something that was..." He sighed again, dropping his hands. He was mourning like everyone else. He had just lost a friend too... and I was the one who ended his life. "Look kid," The old man's voice and demeanor changed as he addressed me and it looked like he was back to his old self. Talk about getting over himself. "don't go thinking about blamin' yourself fer the Don or anythin' like that. That's just the way the guilds are. He was probably happy that it was someone like you ta do that for him."
Did he just read my mind? "Humph," I began to look at the other side of the room, finding the door there very interesting. "It didn't matter to him who did it as long as it got Dahngrest off the hook with Palestralle."
The old man shook his head in defeat. "Anyways," He began to walk back to the door we had just come out of. "Harry's probably wetting himself lookin' for ol'Raven. May as well see where he ran off to." As he passed, his hand patted my shoulder lightly. "Take care." And with that, he was out the door.
Damn it, why did he have to go and say stuff like that? I sighed, too tired to really get angry with the old man right now. I wonder...what does everyone think of me now? When Estelle heard I had killed Cumore, I had asked if she was afraid of me. Though she was confused, she didn't want to leave. Maybe she and the others might have changed their minds this time, seeing something like that first hand. And Karol... I just chopped off the head of the man Karol had looked up to the most of his life! He was probably taking it harder then any in our group. Does...does he hate me? Is Brave Vesperia just going to end and we all give up? How are we going to continue as a guild, or even as a party if things like this keep on happening?
I jolted at Repede's bark, looking back at him. "What is it, Repede?" He whined, sitting down and looking back at me. He was worried and I couldn't help but smile at him. "Nothing gets past you, huh pal?" A muffled bark came out this time, agreeing with me. I sighed. "I must look like a wreck if the old man thought so. May as well wait with Estelle and Rita for now." Then we'll be off to get Judy, right after we find Karol. Heh, our guild sure isn't off to a great start.
Repede trotted over to the door and barked, waiting for me to open it for him. He really was an impatient dog. I started for the door when something felt weird. I looked for the source and found that it was my hand that was holding the cord to my sword. It was shaking just enough for the sword to be swinging into my leg every once in awhile. Why didn't I noticed that before? Too much going on, probably. I shrugged it off and walked over to the meeting hall's door.
"Everyone here seems to have calmed down."
"Feels more like they're expecting the end of the world."
"Karol's been...taking the Don's passing pretty hard, too."
"And it looks like things are keeping the old man busy. I guess it comes with being a member of Altosk."
"Huh..." I stopped looking at Rita's back and stared over at another wall, only half listening to what they were saying.
"He gave up his own life to make amends for what happened... Guilds take their laws pretty seriously."
"...The pride of living by the laws of the guild...taking responsibility...and accepting the choices he'd made..." Just like everyone should do, whether their in the Empire or the guilds or wherever. Just like I should do. "The Don practiced what he preached."
"And he was willing to stake his life on those beliefs..." Rita added sadly.
"Responsibility...choices..." Estelle looked like she was trying to make some of her own decisions, something that everyone needed to do right now.
"...I've got to get these things figured out myself. Best to start with our guild, with Brave Vesperia." Which meant Karol was going to have to move on sooner rather then later for us to get to Judy. I started to head for the door, it's now or never.
"Yuri? Where are you...?" Estelle's voice made me stop, she sounded worried.
"Just going for a walk." I opened the door before either of them said anything and walked out of the headquarters. To find Karol or just to move somewhere else, who knows?
There was still quite a bit of commotion going on in the streets but compared to what it was before, it was a ghost town. People passed by me and I could feel some of there eyes on me. Just because the Don wished to be killed in that fashion didn't mean that his followers would like the guy that did it.
"Now my hands have killed someone I never wanted to kill." I mumbled quietly. Clenching my hands, I noticed they were still shaking slightly. "...Don, that feeling still hasn't left my hands..." I looked down at them and there was still some blood on them. How much filled the air when I had cut him? Smiling to myself, I turned another corner. "You really were a piece of work, old man." Not many men had such a thick neck, must've put some real power into that swing.
This street was farther away from all the excitement that I was slighty surprised seeing that Karol was there in a little corner, arms wrapped around his legs. His face and eyes were red too. How long had he been crying for? Maybe I should get Estelle or the old man, they'd have a better time comforting him then I would. Flynn always said I was bad at these sort of things and he was right.
Too late though. He had picked up his head when I came over to him. "Yuri... I..." He looked back down again, his voice cracked slightly. "There wasn't anything I could do... The Don...and all the rest of you, you'd all made up your minds and did what you could do."
"..." What was I suppose to say to something like that?
"Nobody in this town's gonna listen to anything I've got to say..." He started up again. "So I was thinking I should try talking with Palestralle instead. But they might be done talking and just attack anyway... When I thought that, I... I was too scared to go alone... So I ended up not going at all. I'm not good for anything..."
"What about Judy? Weren't you going to look for her?" I asked. That was something he could do. Besides, Karol was better off here then at Palestralle. His guild was here after all.
He chewed his lower lip before shaking his head. "...I can't. I can't go with you anymore, Yuri. I'm just not cut out to be the boss of a guild..." Karol looked so depressed. Where was that kid who would scream about bugs and lie about it? Where was the Karol that always wouldn't give up?
"Is that it, then?" My voice was getting louder, that wasn't good. "Is that all guilds and Brave Vesperia mean to you? Just walking away from the dream like that?" I shouldn't snap at him, but what the hell was Karol saying?!
"But I wanted to be the best guild!" He defended. "To be useful to the Don! For him to notice me! He's been a role model for me... And now he's not around..." Tears again.
"So you're just gonna pack it up and quit? Just what was it the Don died for? You of all people should know the answer to that." You're not suppose to give up Karol. Damn it, you never gave up before.
"You can always do everything you want, Yuri! You'd never understand how I feel! I'm not tough like you!" Karol was yelling now too. Great, teach him yelling's the answer. And where was he getting this stuff? "There's no way I can be like you or the Don! It's over. Our guild is--" He turned away from me, his voice cracking as he started to crying again.
"Karol!" I grabbed his shoulders and started to shake him. "Don't you remember all the Don told you?! Did you forget his resolve?" I yelled, still shaking him. I knew I shouldn't be yelling at the captain, he was still a kid after all... Estelle would've done this better.
"..." Karol didn't respond, more like he couldn't from the way he was holding in his breath. He didn't want me to see that he was crying. Though the tears that were streaming down his face didn't help.
I let him go, all of a sudden feeling very tired. "As a member of our guild, I'm going to Mt. Temza to find Judy."
He looked up then, his eyes all misted over. "Huh...?"
My back was turned to him now. Things had to be done, there wasn't any time to cry or grieve. "Brave Vesperia will go on, even if you don't." I said. "This guild is more than just you now." This was what we had decided on doing, Karol. Going back on it now would just ruin everything we've worked so hard on.
As I turned the corner, a heartbreaking sob started just behind me. I stopped, wondering whether I should try and comfort him. I should have known he didn't need a hard hand but rather a bit more of a soft touch. Estelle really should've done this. "... I don't want to run away..." Karol hiccuped as he tried to calm down his cries. Damn it. "I don't want to, but..."
When there was no more sobbing, I continued my way back to the others. Karol would be fine. He always worked something out and I'm sure he'll be joining us when we get Judy. He won't back down easily, he never did. That's what made Captain Karol, well, Karol. He'll be all right, hopefully everyone else will be too, after this whole thing is over and done with.
We were all the way back at the boat and no sign of Karol. I felt a small twist in my gut. Maybe he wasn't going to be all right after all, maybe I just made eveything worse. Just great. There goes our guild...
"Waaait!!" A loud thump collided with the ship and there was Karol, pratically collasped on the deck's floor.
"...Wait!" We did as he caught his breath some more. He must've ran all the way over here like a bat out of hell. "I'm...Huff...Coming with you..." He walked past Estelle and made his way over to where I was. He still looked uncertain as he had when I left him. "I might not fully understand the things the Don wanted to tell me yet. But Brave Vesperia is my--no, our guild, so...so I've gotta come with you guys!"
He continued. "I think if I ran away... If I abandoned my friends, that'd be the end! I couldn't come back... That's why...that's why I've gotta go! Please let me come, too!"
I gave him a grin. He didn't know how happy I was to see him, and there was no way he was ever going to left behind. "Of course. You're the boss of this outfit, Captain."
Karol beamed. "Yuri! Thanks! But... Don't call me 'boss' anymore."
"Hmm?" Where'd that come from?
"I...I haven't done anything to earn that title yet... Until you really think I'm a boss... Until I don't feel embarrassed when someone calls me 'boss'... I'll just do my part as a fellow member of Brave Vesperia."
I couldn't help but give him another smile. "...Understood, Karol. Not a bad plan." Even though he was a great boss and he should be proud to be one, if he didn't feel it was right, I'll wait a little bit.
"Alright!" Captain Karol got his spunk back it looked like, just like always.
Guess everything really did turn out. Everything will be all right.
Senea: I didn't actually realize how much talking there is after Karol's breakdown, since normally Yuri just went to the inn to sleep afterwards on Ragou's and almost right away after Cumore, this one he dusts himself off and just keeps going...Not much time to think about it so I put in that little blurb with him and Raven along when he's looking for Karol, so some parts can be him being slightly angsty for killing off the Don. Even though he wouldn't really show it. I also added that tiny skit in it cause, well, it's a good tiny skit. And a sort of brotherly sweet/corny ending to make everything better...aw...ahem
Once again, thank you to all the people who read Cold Steel, Dark Enforcer, and now this one, I'm glad a lot of you enjoyed this mini series as much as I did. Special thanks goes to all the reviewers: Kalika the Demonic, Oldspice2625, iCards, orangepotato, MingHuan, VampireHunterSephiroth200 and oange. Thanks guys you helped me a lot with some decisions and gave me a real boost! Hope you enjoyed this one just as much.
Please review and tell me what you think of the last Tragic Decision piece and thanks again for reading. See ya later in the writing world!