Surrounding the bed now, M'gann placed a tentative hand upon Ying's forehead, her gaze flickering from one member to the next in silent request for permission to continue. She kept telling herself that this wasn't an invasion of privacy. That what she was doing was a way of helping them end this mission before someone lost their life when they didn't need to.
It was Kaldur who spoke up, his voice crisp and commanding giving insight on what was to come. "We all started this, we all finish this. It ends now."
Nodding with Kaldur's words Dick couldn't agree more with the male before closing his eyes. "Let's do this."
Wind. It was the first thing Dick felt, fluttering gently across his face and neck, ruffling his black hair as is skin heated up slowly, no doubt being kissed by the overhead sun playing peek-a-boo behind slow rolling clouds. The smell of flowers hit his senses next filling his nose with the pleasant aroma of lavender and honeysuckle. Opening his eyes Dick was near overwhelmed, definitely passed the whelmed stage, at the vast field of flowers, seemingly going on for miles and miles and miles, ending of into the distance, cut off by the flat horizon.
Turning to look around him Dick realized he wasn't alone, the other members of his team in just about as much of a daze as he had been, M'gann and Wally, for obvious reasons, the only two besides him whom had seemed to pull it together faster.
"Who would have thought this is what goes on in his head?" Wally mused in little more than a whisper.
"Were you thinking of gloomy skies and angry clowns?" Artemis scoffed looking around the area seeing that they were surrounded on all sides by vastness. If this was Ying's head than where was the male? She too found herself wondering for a moment just how this could possibly be Ying's head.
"More like dark alleys and ninja's," Wally spoke for no other reason than to just keep the silence at bay. Sure the rustling of their clothes as the wind danced around them paired with the flowers blowing caused some form of sound but it was still deafeningly quiet. If any of them knew the green eyed male they'd know he hated silence.
"You watch too much television."
Whirling around at the familiar voice, Dick was shocked to see Ying standing behind them, arms crossed lightly over his chest. It was strange to see him clothed in a light grey hoodie and sweat shorts his feet bare when in the real world he was in a pale blue hospital gown. He looked completely healthy no traces what -so-ever of him having been shot and near death.
It was M'gann who spoke to the older crime fighter first, a small smile on her face. "Do you mind if we talk to you?" The soothing quality in M'gann's voice seemed to bat away whatever tension was left in Ying's shoulders as he nodded his head.
Looking from one face to the next it took Ying a few seconds to verbally state his answer, brown eyes resting on the female martian. "It is alright."
"This is…peaceful," Kaldur spoke up still in awe over the tranquil scene they had been brought to.
Nodding his head once again, Ying answered only to agree with the Atlantean male out of politeness. "It is where I like to go to think."
"Many times these places have sentimental value to a person," M'gann said trying to keep the peace for as long as possible. She knew that they needed to get to questioning the older hero, however, there were ways of going about it and the more calm the subject was the better the information flow would be. "Is it true for you?"
From the tone of Ying's voice and the slight raise of black brows, Roy knew he at least wasn't the only one who knew what M'gann was doing. As great as it was, they needed to know what was going on and now. "Let's just get to the point. What haven't you told us about this Ying?"
Brown eyes flickered over to stare into blue before they changed direction towards the horizon. "What do you know already?"
"You want the long hand or short hand?"
Never one to mince words Roy's tone was as demanding as any leaving little time for Ying to even think about just what it could be they knew. "Short."
A little surprised Dick had been the one to speak the older male dropped his gaze to the shade wearing male. "You're Shadow Oni and Jade Sun. We know why you came over here in the first place, we also know why you stayed."
"What we want to know," Roy continued in a less understanding manner than his 'brother', "are what's in that book Dorian took off with, where the last items can be found, why you even dragged us into all of this. You can start off with what changed you from killing Lee in the first place."
"You ever meet someone that changes your perspective on something?" Ying asked complying with the demands he felt more than obligated to meet. "Shows you that maybe the way you viewed the world was not…It had more to it than what you knew. Lee…He and his family showed me that. It was the first time that I could ever say I was…comfortable. The first time I felt safe."
Looking off into the horizon a small smile graced Ying's face for a fleeting moment before it disappeared as he went back to talking.
"I honestly don't know where the last items are, although my suspicions would be with Dorian or my-with Lady Lei."
"If Dorian where still at large, which Lady Lei predicted, then it would be harder for him to go after the items should they be within your care. So why come to us?"
Glancing to Kaldur, Ying shook his head as if having an internal conversation with himself which was weird in Wally's opinion since they were already inside Ying's head. "Harder yes, but not impossible. He would have found some way to jeopardize everything."
"What do you mean?"
"Dorian had a way, a means greater than ours for you to have trusted him. Should he have come to you all first who would you have less of a time believing, the uncle of one of your own members or a faction of criminals? It is not to say that you all could be easily fooled but anyone can play off of people's emotions, especially those whom want to keep loved ones safe. He would have seemed like more of a trustworthy person at the time. It is one of the things that we first learn in becoming an assassin. It is one of the first things you go after to take down your enemy."
"The league would have still looked into Dorian just as hard as they had done you," Kaldur spoke in disagreement to Ying's words. It was hard to believe they would act otherwise should it have been Dick's uncle or not. Batman had little trust for anyone and the small circle he did the Altantean was sure took them years to work their way through the walls.
"They did a wonderful job."
"You are good at hiding information," Zatanna spoke, her gaze lingering on Ying's stony face.
"He is better," Ying countered turning his back to the group. "Whilst I relied on half-truths and omissions Dorian relies solely on truth to spin his lies."
"He's less likely to get caught that way," Dick spoke watching the older male silently. Truth told he wasn't expecting for Ying to be so open right now about everything but maybe, just maybe, the male was about as tired of all of this as they were. In a small sense, Dick saw where Ying was coming from. Where the Shadow Oni and Jade Sun were involved they had to act quick less Dorian spin whatever lies to get to the items. After, well, there may not have been an after considering just what Dorian must have planned with the items should he ever get his hands on them all. It all made perfect sense.
That was, if it weren't Dorian they should be wary of. You could trust a dishonest person to be dishonest. It was when they began telling the truth that one must wonder, were they still lying. It was like the real life version of the boy who cried wolf and Dick and the others were stuck with wondering should they listen to the boy or let the sheep get devoured by the wolf, should there be one.
What was his gut telling him? Dick wondered as he continued to watch Ying. He wanted to believe the older crime fighter, his gut telling him on first meeting Dorian that the male was no good. There were a lot of things the man could tell him about his family however, Dick didn't know if he could stomach talking to the man who had been alive this whole time. Even possibly known who and where he was and said, let alone done nothing until now. What was his end game? Anyways there had to be a reason as to why his parents never even mentioned him having an uncle, just as much as they had never mentioned anything about this whole fiasco.
Dick was beginning to feel like secrets where the root of all evils.
"Either way we still would have looked into him," Conner said reiterating what Kaldur had said before. He couldn't see the League doing otherwise. They were very thorough in just about everything, no matter how annoying it was most of the time. Lost in his thoughts the clone of Superman was brought back to the conversation with the gentle squeeze of his hand. M'gann.
Looking down he was met with concerned amber eyes, the silent question of 'are you okay?' written as clear as day. The return of a gentle squeeze was all that was needed for the green skinned female to get her answer. Tuning back into the conversation Conner wasn't that annoyed he had missed some of what was said deducing most of it to be unimportant. It always was when he tuned it out.
"All in all it was to disrupt whatever he could have been planning. You see once the Shadow Oni got wind of where the rest of the items were there was the possibility Dorian would have found out as well."
"Which he did."
"Yes," Ying said nodding at Artemis. "We had to get to them first."
"But why tell us?" Zatanna asked a little impatiently. They needed to keep the conversation going after all.
"It was Lady Lei's wish."
"She wanted our help?"
Ying returned to face the group, a slight frown upon his face. "This is something that has stayed secret for too long and now that it is out, maybe it is not such a bad thing. Yes. She wanted your help, well mostly the League however, you all have been most helpful." There was so much Ying wanted to say to them about his older sister's reasoning's. That, he couldn't bring himself to do no matter how open he promised the group he would be. Some things one just could not divulge even if maybe, the information would help. Could change the way things were viewed. Much like they had been for him. Turning from the group yet again Ying carefully picked his way up a hill that had morphed right before the Young Justice's eyes.
About to make a comment Wally stopped on the scathing look Artemis was sending him, daring the redhead to say a word.
Dream worlds, Wally thought to himself before winking at the archer wincing soon after she punched him in the arm as they followed the group up the what should have been tiring slope. Seriously the hill looked to be at a sixty degree angle. It wasn't anything to complain about what with him being so fit and all 'fastest kid alive and what-not- but dang, why the change of scenery?
Stopping at the base of the rather large tree atop the hill, the group right behind him, Ying sat down carefully before motioned for the others to follow suit till they were all seated in a circle. "You will have to forgive me, even in mind I am still recovering."
"It's fine," Artemis cut through Wally's impending question of why they had just walked up a hill the size of Mount Kilimanjaro. So she had been thinking the same thing, the blonde just had enough tact not to ask.
"Thank you," Ying exhaled out before taking a deep breath letting it out in an even slow breath. Closing his eyes it took the older male a while to figure out just where to begin. There was a lot that he was sure they knew, more than what they had told him yet Ying was done keeping many of the secrets locked away within his head. If this were to end then things needed to be brought to the light. Eyes still closed Ying began to talk his voice deep and slow as he recounted a story long told to him by a loved one since passed.
"It was said amongst the Guardians that the author of the book was another spirit long passed from the world of the living, a nature spirit. Almost like a watcher, it was a being that was given the duty of protecting the Nian and its family from harm yet failed, the greed of man too much for it to handle on its own. To make up for the loss the spirit would possess a living creature each year during what is now celebrated as the new year and watch the account of each attack. The spirit would stand amongst the carnage; it wouldn't run, as villager after villager was ripped to shreds till it too became a victim as repentance for what it could not do."
"It was the spirit who gave the seven warriors and the monk the strength to seal the Nian after not knowing what to do, to quell her anger. After she was sealed the spirit gave the Guardians the book which has been kept for generations in hope that those who read it, those strong enough to carry the weight of the Nian's pain would protect what was left of the deity. That they would make sure she was never awoken to feel that pain again."
"That is what the book held. Her tail, her downfall, her rage, and her final resting place."
"So with it Dorian could resurrect her," Zatanna spoke not at all liking where this was going. Then again she didn't like it from the beginning.
"With all the items of course. Yes."
"Does it tell how to stop her once she's unleashed?" She continued to question.
"Should it get that far, yes," Ying spoke, his tone solemn. "Dorian has the book of that much we know. Many a time has the book been stolen from our hands for evil. There was no guarantee that it would not happen within my own so as a precaution I split the contents and hid them. As of yet I do not believe he knows of this or he would have done more than just paid me a small visit."
Dick's eyes grew large at the revelation. "Where are they?"
"What parts?" Wally had asked at the same time his best friend had spoken.
"How to resurrect the NIan and how to get her back into the items. I am just hopping that the latter part will not be needed."
"Where?" Dick asked again his patience for the answer long gone.
If this were a cartoon Wally was sure he'd have fallen on his side by now in befuddlement. Maybe he had suffered a concussion on top of everything else. Either that or his brain had been starved of too much air before he had been resuscitated. "And you say I've been watching way too much television. What does a fictional game from a cartoon have to do with anything?"
Tilting his head Ying gave a small smile as if remembering a found memory. "It is the name I gave a stuffed toy given to me by Sammy." The smile soon disappeared Ying looking much older than he was as he stared off into the vast sky above them. "I am sure she would not mind that I modified it."
"You stuck important documentation into a stuffed animal and just what?" Roy asked, his voice filled with disbelief at the older males actions. "Hoped that he wouldn't find it?"
"Some of the best hiding spots are in plain view," Ying answered back calmly." "Dorian would not suspect someone like me to take sentimental value over an item let alone associate it with something I hold dear."
"So both portions are-" Wally began but was cut off.
"Just the one." Ying's gaze rested on the young speedster before going back to staring at the sky. "The other is-"
"In your car."
Everyone's attention snapped to Artemis whom, to the untrained eye looked unimpressed. The slight twinkle in her eyes showed that she was amused with Ying's apparent hiding skills. "Yes," Ying spoke after a moment, eyes narrowed in a suspicious glare. "How did you-"
"It's a female thing." This time it had been Zatanna whom answered an all knowing look passed between the two females. Men and their toys.
"Right," Wally drawled silently wondering himself just how she had come up with that answer although maybe he didn't want to know. Females.
"There's something that's been bugging me for a while now," M'gann spoke, her voice cutting through the fleeting silence. "When talking to my uncle you explained that he shouldn't try to make contact with the Nian. He's made contact with many enraged beings before. Why would this be any different?"
"A sealed soul is just that. Sealed. It is like being in a coma no awareness of anything happening around you. Imagine floating in a vast sea, just you. No ways of turning your anger and hatred onto anything. Now imagine finally having something to turn those emotions against. I am not saying you and your uncle are not strong beings, but dieties are stronger and rage fueling anything-he would not come out the same."
"Spoken from experience somewhere. Something happened."
It took Ying a moment to speak, for a while Kaldur believing the older male would all together ignore the question. "My grandmother." His words came out slower than before. Like every word was a pained thought baring his soul to the world. "Years ago she tried to make contact with the Nian in hopes of figuring a way to quell her suffering. She could relate, losing a husband and child in this struggle. Her empathy alone was not enough and it cost her greatly. To this day she is trapped within her own mind living her life out as a frail woman knowing nothing of what goes on in the world." Closing his eyes Ying took a deep breath before exhaling slowly. "I volunteered to do what she could not."
The group stayed silent for a while soaking in what had been said. It was Artemis whom had broken it this time, rolling her eyes at Wally's curious gaze. "How long have you been at this?" It was a question none of them had asked but one the archer feared the answer. Within the way Ying carried himself she could only guess he had been doing this job far longer than any of them, Artemis could feel it in her gut.
"I started my search at sixteen. But I've been…active…for much longer."
How much longer? Roy thought glancing over to Dick whom had been masquerading as a crime fighter since he was nine. It was possible that he had been doing it at a younger age figuring from the way that the male carried himself to what they had learned so far in Dick's mom's diary. If all of this was viewed as a family business and some started their children at damn near birth then…Ying was screwed since day one.
"But you're just a foot soldier to her," Raquel spoke up. "Why go through all of the trouble." It just wasn't right in Raquel's eyes, the female quiet for the large portion of the conversation. She couldn't fathom why someone knowing what they did, would go through all this trouble to possibly die, for someone whom didn't seem to care all too much about their wellbeing. Sure his boss, Lady, whatever, had come to the states only after he had been shot but that could have been chalked up to her wanting to 'do the job right.'
Seriously who would send a 16 year old on a death mission? Even their mentors had a limit as to what they would send their students out against, only things they could handle.
"Loyalty," Ying spoke with a calm air. "Loyalty and duty."
Shaking her head the dark skinned female smirked. "You're definitely crazy."
That gained a tired smirk in turn from Ying. "Thank you."
"I think it's time we left," M'gann spoke noting the tired gaze of their journey's host. He was by far more reserved than when they had first gotten into his mind scape his breathing slower than previous.
Getting up Kaldur held his hand out to Ying whom shook it. "If there's anything else we need to know you'll tell us." If it had been a few weeks ago, Kaldur was sure he would have phrased that statement into a question. Something in him however, was saying that he could trust the older male. Even if it was up to a point it was something.
"You have my word. Stay safe. All of you."
The sincerity of the words that left Ying's mouth made Dick stop in his tracks as he had begun following the others back down the hill. Turning to face Ying the Asian male sat legs crossed, eyes closed, humming a tune that for a fleeting moment seemed so familiar to the raven haired teen. Dick stood there for a few seconds more, watching the male as he seemingly drifted off to sleep (which was weird considering) before rushing to catch up to the others.
Waiting outside of the room Kaito bopped his head to a tuneless song arms crossed over his chest. Checking the time on his watch he sighed. It had been at the most, fifteen minutes since he had left the children alone wondering just how long it would take them to do, well, whatever it was they were doing. He couldn't help the smile crossing over his face at the small fact that Ying, their Ying, had gained some friends. Sure it could have been underneath better circumstances but it was still a good thing. Kaito would never say it out loud but he never did feel like the life they lived was right for the younger male. He was by far the softest out of the siblings, Kaito having watched him grow into the young man he had become.
Maybe after this he could live out his life.
Going back to humming the song Kaito was just in the beginning stages of relaxing yet again before his most favorite person in the whole world came waltzing down the hallway. He did not look happy in the least.
Let the fun begin, the weapons specialist thought to himself before readying for the verbal onslaught he knew was to come.
"You are left alone for no more than an hour and already you can't follow a simple direction?" Dante Ueda's enraged voice could be heard through the other side of the hospital room door as Dick and the others slowly came too.
The dorm knob turned Ueda's voice getting louder as he and the object of his disgruntled affection made their way back into the room. "What would have happened should that bastard have come back and-" Dante stopped short, the rest of his sentence hanging in the air as he stared at the teens in the room all of whom should not have been there. They damn sure weren't there when he had left the weapons expert in charge of watching Ying. Glaring at Kaito, the older male took quick stock of the situation, hundreds of scenarios running through his mind, none of which made the most sense as to why they were even in the hospital room to begin with.
"Your assistance on this mission had been terminated," Dante spoke looking to the eldest of the group, ignoring the other 'children' as he let his displeasure with the current situation be known. Crossing his arms Dante didn't bother to hide his anger as he continued to speak driving home his point. "You may leave, now."
"How do you know we weren't just here to visit a friend?" Artemis shot at the Jade Sun's drug specialist not at all liking his tone or his obvious dismissal of them. Heck, if it hadn't been for them they wouldn't have gotten as far as they did in this mission but nobody seemed to realize that not so little detail. How quick some people forgot.
"Your concern is noted," Ueda ground out not at all pleased to have been talked back to by a child. The lack of respect from the younger generation was something Dante would never understand. He could remember a time when even looking at an adult the wrong way would constitute for a punishment. Yet, here the Young justice stood speaking out of turn, defying their superiors orders, and all for what? To prove themselves? This was not the proper way to do it. Taking a deep breath the male pinched the bridge of his nose in an attempt to calm down before speaking, the action not helping much Dante glanced over to Kaito whom remained silent, his presence doing nothing to help the situation. Seconds from calling out the male the door once again opened revealing the presence of someone Dante hadn't planned on seeing again anytime soon.
Sorry about the long update. The usual...The usual. And as always hope you enjoyed. XD