Author's note: Starting here on, the real trouble begins. Thanks for reviewing. :D
He needed to escape. He glanced swiftly to the back as he dodged behind the buildings. Under the protection of the night, he edged carefully around the slums, soundlessly like a trained assassin. There was no way he was letting himself get caught. He must not for the sake of the revolution. For his beliefs, he will fight and watch it come true.
Splash. Someone from around the bend stepped into a puddle. Was it an ally or was it a foe? May Seiryu forgive me. He prayed as he took out his pistol from inside his jacket. He could not and would not take chances, he had to kill everyone. Friend or foe, every dream and aim needed sacrifice. Was it John Maxwell who said 'There is no success without sacrifice' or was it a Christian discipline law? No matter, he knew his dream and his job and he would allow no one to stand in his way.
The lanky shadow on the wall crept closer and he breathed sharply. The gun, that he cradled very dangerously, tilted its nozzle towards the shadow. Closer, any minute now he would put a bullet fast through the head of that intruder.
Closer. Softer footsteps. More ragged breathing. Closer. Softer.
And silence. Dead empty silence. There was not even a movement. He furrowed his eyebrows as he thought hard. The moon was blocked and gone was the shadow. Was the intruder dead? But he heard no bullet, he heard no assault. Was it a silent shot? If so, he needed to be careful. He could end dead anytime.
Watch right. One step forward. Look left. One more step forward. Watch right again.
"Brother!" A sharp hiss and he squinted to make out the silhouette of an ally and felt his whole body relax. Even his grip on his gun relaxed as his eyes accepted the incoming person as an ally. But, within the next heartbeat, he raised his gun and pointed it recklessly at the ally. He knew not a foe from an ally. After all, everyone called each other brother except for Boss Harada.
"Come closer so I can see you," he snarled. He was not taking chances. He could not afford when he was fighting for his survival.
The incoming person came closer and he gasped. Ryuuzaki. "Come on Yamazaki," Ryuuzaki hissed urgently as he waved the gun away, "If you want to live, come with me now! Follow me before Harada finds out." Ryuuzaki walked off briskly and Yamazaki knew this was his one chance to escape. His one chance to live.
"Brother, I heard someone is waiting at the harbour and Boss Harada waits at the entrance. There's no way I can escape!" Yamazaki replied just as hoarsely as he kept pace with his look-alike. Sandy brown hair, clear light brown eyes. They were twins sharing the same dream and ideals like a single human but they were different in potential. Ryuuzaki is a brilliant agent but he, Yamazaki, was just a normal member of Boss Harada's gang.
"Do you trust me?"
Trust. That was not just a powerful word. It was a powerful tool too. If there was anyone in the world he trusted and believed in more than himself, it was his twin Ryuuzaki. Trust Ryuuzaki and nothing could possibly go wrong. "I'm sorry brother."
As a pair, they dodged past the guards and made their way to the waters. At sea, in the darkness, there was no way anyone could see them without a helicopter's light. That was absolutely no way…
"And where do you think you're taking the traitor to, Ryuu-kun?" A bald man sneered as he gripped Yamazaki's free wrist in a deathly hold.
"I plan on delivering the traitor personally to The King. After all, I caught him and therefore, I deserve all the credit," Ryuuzaki snarled as he glared at the bald man who had amused cat-like eyes. He did not like this man, no one did.
"Most certainly if you're the one handing him over, Ryuu-kun," the bald man replied easily. He smirked maliciously and licked his lips as his eyes narrowed gleefully.
The younger man scowled. He would not let anyone touch Yamazaki. After all, Yamazaki is his twin. He would be damned if he allowed anyone, especially this liar to touch him. "Don't provoke me, Diaz."
Diaz, the bald man, chuckled before he sobered and smiled easily. "Ryuuzaki-kun, if I were you, I would not disobey The King. After all, you should know The King's orders are law and I have orders." Growling quietly, Ryuuzaki reluctantly, unwillingly, painfully, released his hold on Yamazaki. "Ryuuzaki, I will definitely let The King know of your noble acts. Of course, I will also sing high praises of your brave efforts to capture this slippery Yamazaki." Pulling Yamazaki roughly, he grinned maliciously as he walked away backwards without breaking eye contact with the younger man. "I thought you were smart enough Ryuuzaki to discern a lie from the truth. I guess I overestimated you," he chuckled lightly, "I suppose they were right to bestow the title Liar on me." Diaz sighed softly as he pretended to look hurt and helpless.
Realizing he was tricked, Ryuuzaki swore to kill the man and lunged forward but stopped in mid-motion. A gun was pressed to his forehead and an amused face grinned at him like a killer clown.
"Ah ah ah!" Diaz shook his free index as he grinned cheekily. His grip however on the traitor and the gun, falter not. "Don't make empty threats that you cannot follow through with. The King taught us all that, didn't he?" Diaz laughed as his men circled around Ryuuzaki and all their guns were aimed. There was no one who could escape that without getting hurt. Even The King would not escape un-scattered.
Ryuuzaki knew when he should back off and when to attack and this situation definitely called for a stay down, back off order. He could only gamble on one notion, he could not allow them to find out how precious Yamazaki was to him if he wanted less harm to come to his twin. He had to act nonchalant, he had to act calm. Act all panicky, and that spelled doom for both Yamazaki and himself. "Fine, take the traitor then, Diaz," he snarled as he turned away, his coat billowing gently against him, "Make sure to put some good name for me." For now, he would put his brother in the hands of the madman- Diaz but he would make sure Diaz paid the full price and tasted his fury. No one stole his brother from him without facing the consequences; not even The King.
"Yare, yare Ryuu-kun," Diaz smirked as his men slowly board the waiting ship, their guns still pointing determinedly at the head of the retreating young man, "Now, you don't spice up anymore mess. As it is, The King is awfully upset with your brother. Don't upset him anymore, Ryuuzaki." Ryuuzaki tensed and stopped in his tracks, but he did not turn around. They knew Yamazaki was his brother? As in, flesh and blood or as a friend-kind-of-brother? Anyhow, he could not take rash actions, he had to think through them lest Yamazaki faces their wrath and pays the price. Damn it. He would be a mad man if he tried to defy The King, The Leader of the 7D Organization without an army. 7D stands for The Seven Dragons. Then again, every head of 7D is rumoured to be mad.
"Oh!" Diaz snapped his fingers as he hollered towards a deep-thinking Ryuuzaki while his ship sailed away from the harbour, "One message from The King himself: Choose your side wisely because there is always a price to pay. And I'm telling you; don't go up against The King if you know what's good for your brother, Yamazaki!" A lingering snicker and the ship disappeared completely in the darkness.
Ryuuzaki narrowed his eyes as he melted into the shadows. He wanted to see 7D crumble, he wanted 7D to pay for everything it did to his family. 7D needed to be reconstructed from the base upwards and if he cannot destroy 7D from inner workings, external help was needed. He knew who he had to ask, he knew what he would offer and he knew they would agree. After all, his and their goals were complimentary goals. He wanted the destruction of 7D, they wanted to the head of The King. And the faster he moved, the faster the wheels turned, the faster he could achieve his dream.
"Ryuuzaki Takomi, Ken?"
"Usual place in fifteen." Ryuuzaki killed the call, mounted his bike and drove through the night as if his life depended on it.
"Flinch, he's all yours," Momoru sighed as he walked out of the cell, wiping the sweat of his forehead. Indeed, he was not fond of sea travels; he definitely preferred the monotonous land travels. At least, he would not be puking his guts out all over. And the traitor that was chained in the cell was one hard nut to crack. There was nothing he did that could make the traitor talk. Groan yes. Wince yes. But not talk. "I tried to play The Sadist, but," Momoru sigh as he looked at the bored grey-eyed man opposite him who was leaning rather lazily on the wall, "I failed in getting anything out of him; stubborn boy. Only you and your spine-tingling sadistic streak can draw everything out."
"Stop bootlicking and get out of here," Ryo said softly as he leaned away from the wall, "I want no interruptions and no witness or eavesdroppers." Walking into the cell, he locked it with a soundless bang and sighed one last time. In truth, he hated playing The Sadist on someone he considered an ally but if The King wanted this, then so be it. He would do as The King says for after all, The King's words are law. He strained his ears and heard Momoru's soft footsteps up the stairs, no doubt to gleefully tell the world that The Sadist was at work. Turning to face the traitor, he walked with a deliberate slowness. "Why?" he breathed gently into the face of the traitor and caressed gently the planes of the boy's face. As long as they were younger than him, Ryo called them boys. Men were a term for people of his equal or greater and people who fell in that category were as scarce as hen's teeth.
"I owe you no answers!" the boy growled and winced in pain at the same time. Momoru had broken part of his jaw and some other bones in his body. The boy knew he just needed to stay alive until his twin came to save him. Some thought they were just friends-brothers; some were smarter and thought they were twins simply because they looked alike. Only a handful knew they were flesh-and-blood twins.
"I thought so. We have to change that mindset now, don't we, Yamazaki?" Ryo whispered as he walked around the chained traitor and noticed the poor handiwork of Momoru. Indeed, that bald man had no taste for the arts. Careless ugly whippings bore no artistic value. Scars, in Ryo's opinion, held more than just pain and memories, they were valuable to the beauty of the body. Scars added a unique individuality to the carrier, only if those scars were done with passion; not like Momoru's hopeless, reckless, careless strokes. "You've got quite a plain body. I'll beautify it for you so that you'll always see your body and learn never to betray again. Would you like that?"
"Don't fucking mess with me! I'll fucking kill you!"
"Manners, young man, manners. Vulgarities irritate my ears a lot!" Ryo chuckled as he touched the broken wrists of the traitor gently. The traitor was chained above the ground with his limbs stretched out away from each other. His hands were chained above his head in a V-shape and so were his legs. He was looking quite like a star, except he was not that good a proportion to be a nice star. "If I recall, Diaz did tell me how your brother also threatened to kill him. Does this 'threatening' run in the family?" Ryo tilted his head as he touched all the broken bones tenderly. He had no doubt that Momoru was harsh and malicious to the poor boy. Only slaves and prisoners of war got these kinds of scars- permanent ugly lines of pain.
"I don't have to answer you."
"Hmm, true." A silence waned on as Ryo walked away from the traitor to observe him from a further distance. "Would Ryuuzaki save you?"
"..." Yamazaki knew he should not answer. No, he did not even know the answer to that question. He could only pray to Seiryu to give his brother enough strength and wisdom to save and protect him. Would Ryuuzaki save him? He clenched his eyes tight. He needed to believe in his brother even if it meant absorbing all of this pain. For his brother, for their dream, he would take all of the sufferings.
"Not going to answer? Well, how about this," Ryo dropped his voice to nothing more than a chilling whisper, "Did he promise your safety?"
Did Ryuuzaki promise him that? Yamazaki could not remember. Every time, Ryuuzaki would ask him for trust and believe but never given any promise. Was trust and believe the same as promise? Yamazaki was not sure. He definitely was not as smart as his brother but at least, he should be able to know if trust and believe was the same as a promise, right? No. It was a difficult question and Yamazaki knew he did not have the wisdom of his brother to answer it. So, in the end, he kept mum.
"Hmm, so Ryuuzaki chose his job over you? What a terrible broth-"
"Ryuuzaki is not a terrible brother! He may not show it, but I know he cares about me! He has never left me to die! He'll come through, he always does!" Yamazaki cried out. He hated it when people easily accused Ryuuzaki for feeling heartless because he knew Ryuuzaki cared about everything- the small living things, the trees, the animals and him, Yamazaki. "He's got a good soul! I know that because he's my half!"
A raised eyebrow and then a narrowed pair of eyes. A slap and Yamazaki felt as if his face was breaking. It was more than a tight slap; it was a slap that was so powerful. It was bone shattering. He felt his chin being grabbed and jerked forward roughly. "Is that so? Are you implying that Ryuuzaki is a traitor too?" Ryo sneered as he tightened his grip on the boy's chin, enough to hurt but not enough to break, "So, Ryuuzaki is indeed your flesh and blood twin."
Oh Seiryu! Yamazaki thought in panic as his blood curled. Just what had he revealed? He was careless and he was about to be the reason for Ryuuzaki's death and his own too. Damn it, why couldn't he shut up like before when Diaz was breaking his bones? Why against Flinch onslaught of questions did he reveal everything? Just who is this Flinch?
"I see. Looking into your wild eyes is enough to tell me everything." Ryo walked away after he slapped Yamazaki one last time. "Well, time to nip the other traitor into a bud too."
"Wait...don't..." Yamazaki felt tears pooling in his brown eyes as he called weakly to Flinch. Flinch was able to break him when Diaz could not. Flinch... Ryuuzaki did tell him that Flinch was known as The Sadist. The Second-in-command in 7D Organization. Damn it, he should have remembered but... Flinch definitely did not look like a sadist at all. What kind of sadist wore a Hawaii shirt and khaki riding pants and sandals?
Ryo stopped in his tracks as he heard the boy start begging and sobbing. To break someone was the duty and job of The Sadist but it never meant that Ryo enjoyed it. "Anyone who tries to hurt The King is enemy and must be eradicated."
"Don't hurt Ryuuzaki, please. He has a good dream. He has good intentions."
"It is not me who makes decisions; it is he, The King." Ryo murmured as he continued to stand with his back against the broken traitor. "You want to protect your brother? You can only pray Seiryu tells The King to be merciful or... pray to the Gods so that we never capture your brother."
Oh Seiryu. Nobody escape the 7D Organization and live to tell the tale. Even Xing Shu the previous leader of that Organization was rumoured to be personally dismembered by The King of 7D Organization. Xing Shu's body was found dumped on a common road in Tokyo, torn and broken...and dead. It was all because Xing Shu was the head of a rivalling organization. Damn 7D to the bowels of hell. Yamazaki felt a new surge of anger and remembered the reason why he joined his brother. It was because 7D were made of scumbags who only knew to hurt others, use and break and discard others once their usefulness was used up. "You scumbags deserve hell more than anyone else! Even Hades would probably not want anyone of you, 7D scum!"
"Keep the insults coming, Yamazaki Takomi. That way Ryuuzaki will know that we didn't break you that hard," Ryo smiled coldly, "Besides, hell? It's a been there, done that kind of thing." People were ignorant, that was what Ayuru once told him. Let them think as they like, there was no way anyone could control the thoughts of everyone in the world, unless that being was mystical. Even celestial warriors of the Gods were humans too and therefore cannot possibly control the thoughts of everyone. So, it was alright if people thought them evil, trash of the world, the most inhumane scumbags, because there was absolutely no way to please everyone into thinking they were heroes. Pfft. Heroes... Even some humans don't think well of the Gods, no matter their religion. That's why there's something called sinners. Ryo shook his head. He knew his principles, he knew his beliefs and faith, and he knew his code and honour. For no one, not even Kaen or Ayuru will he compromise all those core values in him. "Thanks for keeping me entertained Yamazaki. It was good while it last."
Exiting the cell and climbing the stairs up, he heard the mournful curses and cry of Yamazaki. Poor whelp is staying in a room with the rats. Ryo pushed sadistic Flinch into a deep part of his mind, and laid the cruel and malevolent sadist to sleep. He had things to tell Ayuru and he knew he had better do it before Ryuuzaki put the bullet through his best friend, his favourite cousin but not his favourite person. Thinking of her, Ryo wondered how Kaen was doing with the Priestess of Seiryu. The one they had all sworn to protect and die for. The one Ayuru was doing his best to protect.
"Tomo, Soi," the blond haired man called to his comrades while the other warriors slowly stir from their slumber, "We have nothing more to lose, and everything to gain. Let us not forget the duties we choose to carry and we shall do them as we deem fit. No longer will we do them for the sake of harmony or peace, nor for the sake of Heaven and the Gods, and certainly not for the sake of destiny and any other being but only for ourselves."
The artist and lady stared at him, disbelieving his words entirely. Just how far was their leader willing to go to disobey the orders and laws laid to manage them? Just how far was he willing to go against the odds to secure his own identity and soul? "Nakago-sama, what if we do not remember our past or rather our true identity?" the artist asked quietly as he glanced at the bodies that were slowly restructuring themselves, "We may not be able to bind our soul and memories into the new host we shall inhibit. To whom do we turn to?"
"Do you not remember, Tomo? We are created as celestial beings. We possess a fragment of Seiryu; his essence, however unfortunate, runs deep within us," Nakago replied softly as his attention turned to his other comrades whose seal begin to shine brightly, "They are waking. Do not fret, I have it all planned. All of you will remember your true self, and be completely reincarnated."
"And what of yourself? Someone has to stay behind and has to have sufficient strength to continue channelling Seiryu's will into ensuring the rest transcend through time and space smoothly," the lady snarled as she glared into his amused eyes, "I am not joking, Nakago-sama! You may end up being completely destroyed! Seiryu's will is not something anyone can just channel for long!"
"Soi, I am not an ordinary person. However disgusting it is, I remain as Seiryu's strongest warrior and no individual is on par with me," Nakago gave them a wry smile, "If the last one is to survive and transcend as well, it may as well be me. I am the strongest, the most gifted, and most probably the closest to Seiryu. I will have the highest survival rate."
"And should you not remember yourself?"
"Then, let us remember the ancient curse that binds us all to each other and to Seiryu. Where the Priestess stands, the warriors will gather; and where they gather, the God shall descend from the Heavens. Should Seiryu descend, then I would have awaken from my slumber and remember who and what I am."
"In other words, we must find and protect her until it is time for you to wake." When the blonde remained silent, Tomo knew it was time for them to part ways and defy orders. If the world that is so structured and abides to the laws that governed it, then it must surely recognize that wars are not predictable and sometimes they do not follow laws. Therefore, it cannot truly expect the children of the God of War to follow orders, can it?
So, first things first. Get the hell out of Momoru's Castle, fly to Tokyo and deliver the reports to Ayuru. Nakago-sama, it seems we have now entered the third phase of your war plan. Protecting Yui-sama…
"So, Soi, you were reincarnated?" Yui asked incredulously yet happily. After all, she had spent nights crying and wishing they were back with her in a world of less chaos and more harmony. Soi, or now known as Kaen, had told her how they were all called back and summoned and fetched by a certain force and how that force had channelled enough energy and power to reconstruct their bodies and sent them into the priestesses' world. Kaen also told her whoever she knew had come back and what their names were. Of course she left out Nakago, seeing that Ayuru was not ready to accept Nakago. She also left out Ashitare and the twins for she had yet to meet them. She also did tell the Priestess of Seiryu of her engagement and upcoming wedding.
"Grace us with your presence at our wedding," Kaen smiled gently at the blonde. Last time, in the world of the book, she had competed with the priestess and shockingly, Tomo too, for Nakago-sama's affections. Kaen shook her head, she knew Nakago-sama was not made to love her and Tomo as lovers but more so, as friends and companions for life. She and Tomo held high-honoured places in Nakago-sama's heart, although he would not want to admit it, and she was thankful for it. To stay by his side as one of his two most trusted companions was an honour itself. To entrust Yui's life and safety in her arms, was almost the same as entrusting his sanity and heart into her arms too. For this, Kaen knew she had bragging rights to boast it to her to-be-husband and their circle of companions. But, all this had to wait after this new storm is over.
"I'd be happy to come, So-, I mean Kaen!" Yui grinned as she hugged the bride and as if she remembered something important, she fished out a sketchbook from her bag. Turning to an empty new page, Yui thrust the book into her celestial warrior's surprised hands. "Can I have an autograph, my most idolized model, Kaen?" The blonde smiled cheekily as she fished out another item from her bag- a camera. Taking a picture of herself and the model, Yui knew she was extremely happy but all this ended with an abrupt pop of her happy bubble. The camera. She brought it to take pictures with Ayuru, of course after Miaka had insisted.
"Yui-sa, I mean, Yui, is anything the matter?"
"I... I miss him," Yui blurted as she hid her face behind a sofa cushion. Yes, she missed his presence so much it actually hurt her heart a lot.
"Ayuru-kun? Don't worry about him. He'll come and see you again," Kaen smiled helpfully as she hugged her priestess and gave the younger woman a reassuring shoulder squeeze, "He never breaks a promise, no matter what. He'll find a way to come for you. Just be patient, he'll come through, you'll see." But while all this was true, Kaen could not help but feel as if she was also trying to reassure herself about both Ayuru and her most important person, Ryo Chuin Flinch. Would Ryo be alright? After all, Ryo is always needed to pull information out of anyone; Ryo The Sadist. She knew he hated it; he hated the sadist in him. That was why Kaen was not so sure if he would be alright after torturing a person, once thought of as an ally. She knew what she had to do; once her Ryo was back home (here), she would hold him and promise him her eternal love. He needed it and she too, she needed it just as much.
Yui looked at her idol and sighed softly. It was not Ayuru whom she yearned for. Needless to say, her heart had and will probably continue beating for only one man- Nakago. No matter if everyone and even the Gods claim Ayuru to be Nakago's incarnate, in her heart and mind, both Ayuru and Nakago will always be two different identities. Sure they may both possess similar physical features but Ayuru is as clear as glass. In other words, Ayuru is still as naïve and innocent as any ordinary Joe but Nakago had the maturity and the ability to walk through the darkness and embrace every part of it. Nakago was the embodiment of a full grown and matured man who acknowledged and understood the light and darkness of the world yet still kept his identity. However, Ayuru was only a grown man who has yet to see the full extent of the world's light and darkness, he did not have the maturity to embrace both sides yet. For this, Yui felt Ayuru paled in comparison to her most loyal warrior. Ticking away a tear that strayed down the side of her face, she breathed deeply before she whispered, "He would if only dreams are more than a fragment of our imagination and desire, and actually do come true." But dreams are just sad fragments of our lost and impossible hopes and desires, isn't it Nakago?
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