Chapter 38: "Farewell, my love."
There was a silence. A painful, deafening silence clutching at Rin's heart. A silence that bore a truth, a truth Rin refused to believe. She waited. She stood, waiting for Len to call out the lie, to assure her―evil or not― that he would never hurt one of her closest and most dearest friends. The ever sweet Kaiko, a girl who was like an older sister to her. But the silence wore on, soon broken by the quiet sobs of her teal haired friend.
Finally, she turned to Len. "Len, tell me it's not true," she begged.
Len walked past, ignoring her completely. Cerulean eyes met angry teal. Mikuo's eyes had hardened, waiting for Len to say something―anything to fuel his everlasting hatred for his old friend, his enemy. Instead, he raised his arms, exposing his bare wrists. "Arrest me," he said simply. Two simple words were enough to infuriate the broken leader of the rebel army.
That was it? The Dark Lord, bearer of many sins and blood-stained hands of millions had given himself up, just like that? He'd expected―no―wanted to see Len resist his arrest, to succumb to the cowardice of The Dark Lord who hid behind his rule, but he'd surrendered, he'd given himself to the rebel army, appearing to have no care for his own life.
Mikuo pulled out a pair of heavy lead cuffs from the back of his pocket, locking the cuffs tightly on his wrists. He pulled on the cuff's leading chain, dragging him away when Rin called out for him. "Len, why are you doing this? Why are you letting yourself be taken away like this? Didn't you want to clear your name? Len!" She ran after him, only to be stopped by IO.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you." He beamed an unnecessary smile. "The truth still stands after all. King Len killed Kaiko, and even if that wasn't the case, he's still wrongfully taken away the souls of many."
"But―" she began, only to be interrupted.
IO's face became serious. "A common girl who's lived outside the walls of the Capitol should know that best." His smile returned. "Now, sit back and watch history unfold, but don't stay out too late. Mikuo and I have a certain job we'd like you to do later on. Bye for now!" His voice was as sweet as sugar, but for some strange reason, his words caused a sickening chill run down her spine.
Rin hadn't been left on her own for long. The moment IO left, Mikiya had discovered her and brought her up to her room where he locked her inside. Apparently, he'd gotten the permission from Mikuo to do so. Rin's safety was the rebel army's top priority. She wasn't to leave her room until she was needed for a secret task known to everyone but her.
Bent over in a fetal position, Rin covered her ears, blocking the sound of chaos and the victorious cheers of the rebel army. Rin bit her lower lip, her eyebrows creased as she tried to ignore the screams of both young and old, the pleas for help, and the begs for mercy. This was all she could do. Mikiya had no intention of letting her out anytime soon. Her only exit was her room window and to escape meant to fall to her death.
"Damn it all."
Was this what she fought for? Mikuo had often spoke of the possibilities this nation held for its people. The rebel army always fought with the hope of a brighter future. They fought to rid the evil of this land, to protect the ones they loved. It was solely for that purpose did Rin join the group. She held an admiration for the growing rebel army. At the time, when Rin thought this world's affairs had little to do with her, she wanted to see not only Yamis but every corner of the mirrored world flourish with its potential future.
Then why...why was it like this? Why had the supposed good of this world become the very thing they were trying to fight against? To fight fire with fire? An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth? It didn't make sense to her. Maybe she was being naive. But were her thoughts really the definition of naivete? Were her thoughts really so foolish? Life was just too precious. The longer Rin stayed in this world, the more she began to realize this. From experiencing the harsh climates to the struggle of fighting for her own life in battle.
Len killed Kaiko. The thought came out of nowhere. She didn't want to think about it, not right now anyway, but she couldn't help but question Len's actions. Had he known about it all along? Did he intend on marrying her while keeping this from her? And why hadn't Mikuo told her about Kaiko's death? Did he think she didn't care―
"Please! Don't hurt me!" a child shrieked.
Rin's stomach knotted in disgust. A child! Were they really planning on harming children as well? Rin turned for the door, banging her already sore fists against the door. "Mikiya, open the door!" she yelled. "Stop this, please." Her efforts were futile and dread weighed in her core as the child's cries were silenced. This...this was murder. A massacre of the innocent. Rin was enraged, furious and she had nothing and no one she could vent it to.
Rage built up to her throat and Rin realised it through a powerful, blood-curdling scream.
Rin found herself on the ground, her side sore as light poured through the window of her room. It was morning.
Pushing herself off the ground, she sat up. She could hear knocking sounds coming from behind her. It had woken up, she realized. The sound was soon followed by a soft, but soulful voice. "Rin? Rin, are you up?" When she didn't reply, Rin heard the jangling of keys. Someone was opening the door! Quick to react, Rin dashed for the nightstand, pulling out a dagger from its compartment.
Quietly, she stood by the door, watching as it slowly swung open. A figure appeared and Rin took immediate action. She launched herself at the intruder, wrapping a strong arm around the stranger's neck, her dagger pointed dangerously close to the person's pale skin. Rin caught sight of the intruder's lustrous silver hair, realizing she had Pika in her grasp.
"R..in," she gasped. "What are you..."
Rin was hesitant to release her. She hadn't planned for this, but she had already set her plan into action. There was no going back now. Clearing her throat, Rin adapted to a cold, threatening tone. "You're going to take me to Len, got it?"
Pika coughed, struggling for air. "Alright! Just let me go."
Rin released her and Pika shot her a glare. Were the rumours true after all? Some had said Rin had fallen into the life of luxury during her captivity, others had said worse. They said she had fallen for The Dark Lord. Pika found these rumours to be preposterous, but now...she wasn't so sure. "Y...you might want to get cleaned up first." Rin still wore her wedding gown. It was stretched and a bit tattered. The crown she'd worn previously had rolled off under the bed after falling asleep. Her hair was a bird's nest, her face smudged with makeup. The girl looked exhausted and Pika almost pitied her.
Rin soon changed into a simple green dress provided by Pika. She'd washed her face clean of make-up and had combed her hair back into a messy bun. She felt lighter, refreshed from yesterday's events. Once she was finished, Pika checked the halls outside of Rin's room, secretly hoping there was someone she could call out to, but all was clear. Sighing, she turned to her captive, signalling Rin to follow her.
Nervous for the both of them, Pika led her down to the lower level's of the palace, her multicoloured eyes darting all through the palace halls, fearing someone would spot them.
The lower levels of the palace were dark and dingy. It couldn't even begin to compare to the beauty the upper levels of the palace held. Torches were lit, hanging by the side of the walls, but they did little to light their path. Pika stopped walking. "There are guards blocking the entry of the dungeons." Pika angrily bit down on her thumbnail. Since when did Cul or Gumiya do their jobs? She turned to Rin. "You go hide over there. I'll get rid of them." Just as she was about to leave, Rin grabbed her by the wrist, stopping her. "What are you doing?"
"How do I know you won't tell them about me?"
Pika couldn't help but feel a little annoyed at her distrust. "Because at this point, I'm risking punishment myself." Rin's face flushed in shame. She quickly let go of her, looking down, muttering an incoherent apology before hiding in the right of an intersecting pathway, the darkness concealing her presence. Pika approached the guards, greeting the two with a smile. "Mikuo says you've worked hard. Mikiya and I will take over your shifts now."
Gumiya stretched. "Well, I'm beat."
"Let's go get a drink," Cul suggested. "I found barrels of beer hidden in the storage room. I'm sure The Dark Lord wouldn't mind if we took some." The two sniggered amongst themselves as they left.
Rin breathed a sigh of relief as the guards walked right past her, eventually leaving the lower levels of the palace. Rin followed Pika down to the dungeon room recognizing its dark setting. Rin had once been a visitor of the dungeon room after all. How could she forget? She shivered, shaking away the dark thoughts residing the back of her mind. "Where is he?"
Pika pointed down the hall. "Last cell on the left."
Rin walked ahead and Pika followed her. She paused. "Do you think I can see him?" Pika gave her a questioning look. "Um...by myself?"
She shook her head. "No! If Mikuo finds out about this he'll have my head!"
"Please," she begged. "If anything happens, I'll take full responsibility."
Pika stepped back, intimated by the earnest look in her eyes. She tore away from her gaze. Oh, why did Mikuo think it'd be a good idea to leave me in charge of the keys? "F...Fine, but don't take too long. I'll be waiting outside." Pika turned for the steps already regretting her words.
Rin, sensing her unease, dashed down the empty dungeon pathway before Pika could change her mind. It wasn't until she reached the last cell of the dungeon did her heart rate quicken. She neared the cell, relief washing over her as she spotted her mirror image inside. He sat on the floor, legs crossed and wrists still cuffed. To her surprise and much to her relief, he wasn't hurt. "Len!"
His ears perked at the sound of his name. His blue eyes peered over to her, widening at the sight of his wife. "Rin, what are you doing here?" He observed her current state. "You're not hurt are you?"
Rin fell on her knees. She grabbed the bars of his cell to steady herself. Relief had overwhelmed her. Oh how good it felt to hear his voice. "I'm glad you're alright."
He was silent for a moment. "You still haven't answered my question. What are you doing here?"
"I came to see you." Her smile slowly faded, replaced by a serious expression. "We need to talk."
He nodded. "Yes I, agree. There are a few things I'd like to get out of the way." Rin stared at him, waiting for him to continue."I'm beginning to think being with you was a mistake on my part." Len didn't have look at Rin to know that his words had crushed her very spirit.
Had Rin heard wrong? She must have. After everything she'd been through―that they've been through...Len would never say something so cruel. "W...What did you say?"
"You heard me. Bringing you here, knowing you, marrying you, all of it. It should never have happened." He glanced at her, observing her trembling body, clearly affected by his words. He sighed. It seemed playing villain wasn't helping either of them. He decided to come out with the truth, to tell her about his true thoughts and feelings that he began to develop since his return, that's what he really wanted to do. "I...I'm sorry," he said. "I didn't mean it."
Rin turned away to dry the shameful tears she'd shed. "I know you didn't."
Len smiled in response, but his face became grim as he spoke. "Rin, I've known for a long time...it's my destiny to die this way," he declared. "I was never meant to live past old age. I don't deserve such a blessing, or any for that matter."
He ignored her. "Since my return, I've slowly begun to remember my life as The Dark Lord." He shot her a look. "Even after I asked you, you never told me about all my sins. Wasn't this once your cell?" Rin flinched, surprised by his hurt look. He shook his head, squeezing the space between his eyes. "I was always aware I had someone else living my life. I've caught only glimpses of The Dark Lord's life, but it was enough to know that it wasn't good. So when I began to remember, I had his memories―these missing aspects of my life returned to me and that's when I realized...I am The Dark Lord."
Rin stared at him confused.
"Don't you see? The tyrant King this land despises isn't The Dark Lord, but me. Kagamine Len." It took all of his strength not to slam his fists against the bars of his cell. "I was never cursed. It was only my darkness―a darkness that everyone possesses―brought out to rule this kingdom, to stir the hatred of my citizens and eventually bring me to my downfall."
Rin knew this. She knew this, but when the words had come out of Len's mouth...it was as if reality had come to slap her across the face.
"I remember her. That girl, Kaiko, was it? The first time I met her, I'd sentenced Mikuo to exile. The second time..."
A long-standing silence stood between them. It wasn't until she heard the clanging of chains did she look up to find Len fumbling around his ears. His expression was strained as he pulled out his earring and through the small space of the bars, handed it to her. "Will you hold on to this for me? I want to at least attempt to look humble for my execution tonight."
Her heart sunk into the pit of her stomach. Execution? Tonight? Would it really be so soon?
The gold and sapphier earring fell on her palm. Rin stared at the piece of jewellery then stared at Len who massaged his pierced earlobe. "Is this...are you giving me this as a memento?"
He didn't respond.
Rin clenched her fist, ignoring the pain the sharp end of the earring gave her. She couldn't do it. She just couldn't hate Len, even after all he'd done. Oh how she wished she could. Maybe then this pain in her heart would settle. I'm sorry Kaiko, I'm sorry Mikuo, Rojin village, people of Yamis. I just can't share your feelings. She gazed at Len, The Dark Lord, man titled bloodiest hands of all of Yamis. Yes, she must have been foolish after all.
Wordlessly, Rin pulled at the knots of her ribbon, shaking her hair out as the ribbon flew gracefully out of its hold. Her ribbon. It was special to her. It was a souvenir, given to Rin as a gift from her mother after spending her whole summer in France. She'd taken care of it through the years, using it in a variety of hairstyles. From her childish bunny-ear phase to a simple tool in keeping her hair in check.
Swallowing back her gradually thickening throat, Rin slipped her arm through the bar of the cell, handing him her ribbon "Here, you can have this."
He blinked, appearing somewhat surprised. "This is..." He smiled. "I'll treasure this."
Rin's time with Len hadn't lasted long. Pika had called her back. Her time was up. She'd been reluctant to leave, but Pika's calls were starting to get louder and more desperate by the second. Rin stood up, heading back when she paused. She turned to Len, giving him one last look. Last. The word pierced her heart. Her vision began to blur, tears burned her eyes. She quickly turned away. No! She wouldn't cry. If anything, Len should have been the one in tears. It would be his life that ended today, not hers. She had to be strong.
She quickly turned away, heading up the steps when a cool and quiet tone greeted her. "Saying your goodbyes?" Rin gave Mikuo a cold sideways glance. He was angry, she realized, but didn't show it. He stood beside the visibly nervous Pika, his arms crossed. Turning to her he said, "I thought I told you not to let her out of that room. Were you not aware of the consequences?"
Pika shrunk under his gaze, unable to find the words to defend herself when Rin intervened. "I'm the one who forced her to bring me here." she said displaying her weapon for emphasis.
Grabbing her by the wrist, he glared at her, dragging her away from the lower levels of the palace. Rin tried to break free from his grasp, but his grip was tight and unforgiving. "Let go of me. I can walk by myself."
His head snapped towards her. "I been searching for you everywhere in this whole damn palace. I can live without your attitude."
"Where are you taking me?" She didn't want to be hauled up in her room again. Last night had already been hell.
"Because of your little stunt, you missed out on an important meeting. IO and I will fill you in." Mikuo eventually released her, leading her upstairs to Len's study. Rin had to admit, she found it a bit unsettling watching as Mikuo sat in Len's chair, and IO sitting on the counter of his desk. Rin sat in her own chair, biting on her lower lip, refusing to voice her thoughts.
The eerie silence of the room suffocated her. She was so used to the sound of life. The sound of Len flipping through important documents, his soft breathing, the creak the door would make whenever Ted stepped in to see if everything was in order, the giggles of passing maids..."What happened to the servants?" Rin asked almost forgetting about their existence. She hoped Ted hadn't been caught in the mishap. She worried about Tonia and Leona, they weren't hurt were they? She even began to worry for Gala.
"They've been left in out care. They won't be harmed."
She breathed a sigh of relief. "What is it you wanted to tell me anyway?"
IO and Mikuo exchanged looks. "Well..." IO began. "As we all know, his highness has gained quite a few allies during the world conference."
She raised a brow. "So?"
"So? So? Don't you know what this means for us?"
She hesitated to answer.
IO answered for her. "It means we're in a lot of trouble."
Mikuo's propped his elbows on the desk, fingers interlaced. "It means they'll be sending reinforcements." His eyes bore into Rin's, his stare sharp and merciless. "As a result, The Dark Lord's execution has been set to an earlier date." Rin closed her eyes, already knowing what he'd say. "Tonight at sundown." Mikuo opened his mouth, about to continue when he paused, reconsidering his next words, but changed his mind, deciding to get straight to the point. "You'll be the one to execute him."
Her eyes snapped open. "What?!" She shook her head. "No...No! I won't do it! You can't make me!"
"It's already been decided. You don't have a choice in the matter."
"Why? Why does it have to be me?"
IO pointed at her, grinning. "You're our best candidate. The rebel army's symbol of hope and The Dark Lord's Queen? It would become one of the most historical events ever to occur in Yamis! We couldn't miss this opportunity." His smile faded and IO frowned. Rin didn't share his excitement. Not that he expected Rin to be enthusiastic about her task, but still. "There are many who'd like to be in your place," he said in a matter-of-faculty manner.
"Then let them do it!" Weren't they being cruel enough?
"Rin! Stop being selfish," Mikuo yelled. "You were the one who swore loyalty to the rebel army, but it's been one betrayal after the other with you." He sighed. "You may think we're low after all that we've done and that's fine, but complete your final mission and you'll be free from us. I haven't kept many of my promises in the past, but you can believe in this one."
Rin stood up, heading for the door.
"Where are you going?"
"I understand, but...I just need some time to think."
Rin stood out in the palace gardens, her mind a jumbled mess of worries. She'd hoped to clear her head by standing out in the calm of the garden. She'd been out for hours, frost already bitten into her skin. It hurt, but the pain was the least of her worries. She just wanted to ease her mind, to get a grasp of her current situation and of her future's.
Rin blew warm breath into her palms. She was cold, so cold, but she couldn't head back inside. The bodies of last night incident hadn't been taken care of. They had all been gathered in the ballroom. They would later be burned to ash after...after the execution.
Rin felt her heart clench, tears burning the whites of her eyes. Crouching down to the ground, Rin buried her face in her arms. She just couldn't do it. She couldn't kill Len.
"Ah, I can't wait for the day to be over," A voice said behind her. Rin turned to find Rei standing over her. "I have to say, you and your...friends have saved me a lot of trouble. I was this close to poisoning your wine too." He shrugged off his statement and a look of pure joy melted away his ever-high-and-mighty expression. He watched the sun begin to set, bringing a beautiful orange haze to the darking sky.
Rin quickly stood, moving several feet away from him. How had Rei survived? She thought the rebel army had killed every noble (excluding IO) attending Rin and Len's wedding. But Rei was cunning after all. He'd survive by any means necessary. She was a fool for not taking Rei's threats seriously. What was this she heard about poisoned wine? He'd been quiet all throughout the wedding and Rin, drowning in euphoria, ignored his presence not wanting to let the little things bother her on her special day.
"No need to be alarmed," he said noticing her distressed expression. "I see no use in killing you now." His eyes darkened. "I want to see him," he muttered. "I want to see Len beg for his life like the pathetic little cretin he is. To suffer as he gasps for his last breath."
Rin was furious. Anger overpowering her senses, she unknowingly stepped forward, slamming her fist into his face. Her hand hurt from the forceful impact and Rei, surprised by the blow, fell to the ground, glaring up at her as he placed a hand over the injured side of his face. "What is wrong with you?" she yelled. "Don't you care about Len, even a little bit? For god sake―he's your cousin!"
"You wouldn't understand," he snapped. "To live as a mere shadow of his existence. You don't know how long I've been compared to him. I don't even have my own identity anymore. I've always been the cousin of his highness, his insignificant other," his voice broke. "I've never been Rei."
He pulled himself off the ground, a glare returning to his face. "So, no, Rin. I don't care about what happens to him."
Rei stalked off, leaving Rin to feel even worse about herself.
"Rin," She felt her heart plummet at the sound of his voice. "it's time."
Wordlessly, she followed Mikuo back into the palace. As soon as they went back inside, she was placed in the care of the female members of the rebel army. They took her back up to her room where they changed her into a deep red tunic and aided in the fitting of black body armour. Rin had been confused at first, finding the change unnecessary until she realized they were trying to make her look appropriate for the execution.
"Ah, what a time to be alive," one of the members said gingerly to Pika, who smiled in response.
Meeting Rin's eyes, she poked a steady finger at her armoured chest. "You're ready."
Rin hadn't expected there to be such a large turnout. It was an execution after all, a morbid event. Reanalysing her thoughts she realized she had almost forgotten about Len's royal status as King. A large turnout was to be expected.
Rin stood on an elevated platform, standing in between IO and Mikuo, watching the crowd. There were people as far as the eye could see gathered just behind the golden gates of the palace entrance. The streets were filled with Capitol citizens, members of the rebel army, and visitors. All were silent onlookers for the event, though the crowd hadn't been as silent as it was now. As they expected, there had been many who had spoken out, crying for the release of their King, but these cries had quickly been silenced with the threat of their lives.
Silence. That's all there was. A cold, deathly silence Rin had quickly grown to hate.
IO stepped away from Rin and Mikuo. He held a scroll, unravelling it as he read the contents of the paper. With a surprisingly loud, booming voice he read out Len's crimes (a disgustingly long list) to the crowd. The list contained not only Len's crimes documented throughout the years of his rule, but the number of casualties and the irreversible damage caused by these crimes.
Rin could hear quite a few gasps and murmured cries from the Capitol citizens, as if it was the first time they'd heard of it. She supposed in a way, it was. It was the truth shown in its true, unfiltered light.
A long while had passed until IO lowered the scroll, finally finished with his reading. As soon as he was done, Mikuo gave a curt nod to one of the rebel army guards on duty. Recognizing this signal, he headed back inside the palace. Soon, the doors were opened.
Held down by heavy chains and cuff around his wrists and ankles, Len was brought out. He had been changed into dirty white robes, his hair pulled out of his usual ponytail style. He was surrounded by guards with weapons placed dangerously close to him.
There was an uproar the moment he was brought up to the platform. Rage and passion expressed by two very diverse groups, but silence came yet again when Len sat himself down in the middle of the platform, arms crossed and chains lined neatly against one another. Yes, the crowd had been stunned into silence. Neither sides had expected Len to be so willing, so cooperative in his execution. One half had expected him to fear his fate, to beg for mercy. The other half had expected their King to speak against the injustice befallen onto him.
Mikuo handed Rin his sword. The weight of the weapon growing heavier and heavier in her arms. "Go," he ordered, giving her a light push towards her target's direction. She went and the attention quickly shifted onto her. She felt the stares. They burned into her skin. Whispers soon followed.
"What is that girl doing?"
She stood in front of Len now. He slowly looked up at her and smiled. "Somehow, I knew it'd be you."
She unsheathed the sword, the shiny metal reflecting her torn, uncertain expression. She turned away, tightening her grip on the hilt of her sword. "Any...any last words?" she offered
He seemed to ponder this. "Well...It's something I'd like to say to my people." This seemed to surprise Rin, but she said nothing as she stepped away from him. Now in the view of the Yamis citizens, he took a breath and said..."You're all fools!"
Rin's eyes widened in shock. "Len! What are you―"
"Do you think killing me will change anything? I've already done so much damage. There's nothing you can do now."
He turned to her. "My life is complete. I welcome death," he smirked.
Flabbergasted, Rin could only stare at the fallen King. His words had spread throughout the crowd like wildfire, trigging an immediate response from the crowd. Most were outraged, others ashamed for mindlessly following what they thought was a caring leader. But all was clear now. Len Kagamine had to die. The people called―practically begging―for it. It was amazing how fast one could change sides. Len had lost his followers the moment he had shown his 'true' colours. His evil grin remained, but Rin caught his smile falter. He was hurt. Everyone had turned against him. No one, not one person was on his side.
"I'm on your side. I'll always be on your side because I love you." Is what she would have said, but the words were caught in her throat, never to be voiced. Instead, in a soft whisper, she asked, "Why must you play the villain till the end?"
Len didn't hear her or ignored her. Whatever his reason, his lack of response stung.
Rin raised her sword, the raging howls slowly quieting into nothing. Len...if this is truly what you want...I will respect your wishes... She pulled the sword back. She held Mikuo's sword firmly in her grasp, ready to inflict the deadly blow. It was then she spotted her ribbon tied around his wrist.
She turned away from Len, only to be faced with the ever-growing crowd of spectators. Looking closer, she spotted familiar faces in the crowd. There was Luki. He had his arms crossed. He wore a calm expression as always, though it was obvious he was questioning Rin's actions. She spotted Pika and Mikiya at the front of the gate. Pika had her hands clasped, her wide eyes staring up at her in hope. Mikiya, on the other hand, glared at her, yelling at her to get it over with.
She turned her gaze to Meito, standing further back in the crowd. She'd forgiven him for the most part, but still remained a bit bitter towards him. He stood beside Kai and Hiyami. Meeting her eyes, the woman gave her a wry smile and Kai, a thumbs up.
Just behind the gates, there stood Ted, Tonia and Leona, and Gala with his assistant, all were held back by guards of the rebel army. They'd been quiet, all in a state of shock. Sensing her stare, Gala's eyes locked with hers. He mouthed one word.
She turned away, facing Len once more. "I...I...I..."
"Just do it already," Len said quietly.
Rin gathered what little strength she had, shifting into position. She ignored the trembling of her sword as she tightened her grip. "I'm sorry."
It all happened so fast. One moment, Len had been alive, poised, proud and almost arrogant despite his promise to remain humble during the last moments of his life. The next moment...the next moment...Blood. Everywhere. The bloody substance splattered across her face, the floor, and everything else that stood within a three meter radius. She'd then heard shallow breathing coming from behind her. Choked sobs soon followed. A pitiful sound only the dying could make.
For a moment, she could have sworn she heard a strained voice calling her name. But she didn't turn around. She didn't need to. She didn't want to. She didn't...that is...Rin didn't―
The silence snapped Rin back into reality. She raised crimson-stained fingers to her eyes. "Blood?" It could be found all over. On her hands, Mikuo's sword, her clothes and oh god...the smell. The sharp, metallic scent had wafted under her nose. Where was it coming from? Giving into her curiosity, she turned around immediately finding its source.
It was a body. An unmoving body. Len's body.
Rin had killed him.
A cheer erupted from the crowd. It was so loud, so deafening, so happy. Rin staggered back. Why were these people celebrating? Had they not seen what happened? She was a murder. She'd killed Len! Tears pricked her eyes as she came to the realization. "What..." What have I done?
Rin felt a purge in a stomach. Slapping a hand over her mouth, Rin dashed off the platform and ran through the palace fields. She had made her way over the back of the palace when she fell on her knees and vomited the contents of her stomach. Even when her stomach had been emptied, she continued to purge. She still felt so very sick.
How could I have killed Len? She gripped the roots of her hair. I'm a monster.
Rin grasped her chest, only to be blocked by the black metal of her armour. She quickly slipped out of the heavy constraint, quickly grabbing the fabric of her cloth. She bent over, her head hitting the wall before falling into a pool of her own vomit. She was overwhelmed with guilt, with sorrow, and...what was this feeling? It was as if a black hole had formed within her, sucking away her insides until she was nothing more than an empty shell.
Rin heard footsteps. "Rin! Are you alright?" Mikuo reached out to touch her, but Rin moved, slapping his hand away.
"D―Don't touch me." She wrapped her arms around herself. She was shivering. "J―Just leave me alone."
Mikuo's heart panged with guilt. After all Len had done, watching him die had to be one of the most satisfying experiences of his young life, but practically forcing Rin to execute Len might have been a mistake. At this point, there was no way he could apologize. It would be a great insult to his former companion. The damage had been done after all. "W...Will you really be alright by yourself?"
"Just go!" she hollered.
Rin watched as Mikuo reluctantly left her. As his back turned to her, Rin had the urge to call out to him. She didn't want to be left alone. It was the last thing she wanted, but she didn't want to be in Mikuo's company either, so she had no choice but to be alone. A bad choice.
Rin looked up at the sky, the palace roof blocking her view of the darkening atmosphere. She wanted to go up and see it.
In a daze, Rin stood up.
Entering the palace through the door to the servants' quarters, she headed up the stairway where she continuously walked until she reached the top floor. There was a door that stood between her and the hall to the top floor. It hadn't been opened, but she could still smell it. The victims to yesterday's events. And to her mild surprise, this didn't affect her in the slightest.
Rin opened the door, stepping out into the hall. She stepped over bodies and avoided slipping in pools of blood. Once she was inside the ballroom, her eyes scanned the room for the balcony, now seeming completely unaware of the piled bodies spread across the room or its overwhelming stench. Much to her dismay, she found no balcony. She frowned. How was she supposed to see the nightly view of the Kingdom now? Oh well. She supposed she would just have to improvise.
Rin searched the room, trying to find something of use when she came across her throne chair. It was big and heavy enough to do some damage. Yes, this could work well. Dragging the chair across the room, she stopped in front of a window. Pushing the curtain away to the side, Rin was now open to the windowed view of the Capitol.
Taking a deep breath, Rin lifted the chair over her head and threw it, the large piece of furniture crashing against the window. The window shattered completely, its glass flying everywhere across the floor and out the window.
Smiling, she climbed through the window. Rin stepped onto the ledge, cool winter wind blowing through her hair. She slowly awoke from her daze, her smile fading. I'm sorry Len. I just don't see the point of living anymore, now that you're not here. I wonder...do I feel this way because I've lost you, or my mirror image?
Rin didn't give herself enough time to answer because the next thing she knew, she'd leapt through the air, falling...falling...falling...
Until she hit the ground.
A/N: I was *this* close to letting Len off the hook and giving Rin and Len a happy ending in the mirrored world, especially since I felt a bit guilty after getting reviews from a lot of you asking for a happy ending (and yes, I did go with the overly dramatic S.O.E execution. I'm sorry. It had to be done, Chibi-sensei.) . Well, technically it doesn't end here. I have one, maybe two chapters left before this story ends.
Anyway, sorry for not updating for a while. I've just been so stressed with work and my sister lost my notebook where I keep my plans for this story (I had to rewrite almost everything because of her!), but you guys have really kept me going and I don't think I've really thanked any of you for that :)