It was that quiet time of night when one could escape the constant droning of machines and voices to revel in the simplistic beauty created only in their absence. The path they walked was lit on each side by lanterns suspended from poles twice his height, ending at the beginning of a beautiful Japanese garden. Beyond that laid their home, newly constructed and modeled in the contemporary Japanese fashion. Fed up with their mother’s tirades-not to mention the fact they were still living with their mother-the two stole enough money to secure them financially for several years then purchased a place inland. It was far away from her that suited them perfectly. Sieryu called it a revelation but the reasoning, as Faust viewed it was far more significant.
The world was falling apart.
Bit by bit every aspect of their blasphemous existence had not only been completely exposed, now it was being used against the woman he loved, the mother of his child.
Eve del Fuoco.
He wasn’t blind to the truth; until recently neither him nor Sieryu had thought of betraying the trust each laid down in the guild but recent events now called that faith into question. People-children-were dying because of his mistakes, choices he could have made to prevent the horror now taking place outside the media. The specter of Corporation X had risen from the grave, attempting to reclaim the strangle hold that once cast his life into uncertainty and suffocating darkness.
And there was the root of the cancer, the enemy to all.
Keishen. His mother; their mother.
When the two left their mother’s house several months earlier Eve’ Hana followed without question. She’d mutated so rapidly there was nothing to be done but wait for it to stop. The medical physician predicted her sporadic growth would cease once her metabolic structure resembled that of a mature female, but Keishen had other plans. Somehow she seduced the clone into joining the ridiculous war waged against the Deathseeker’s guild. Sieryu risked his life to bring her back but was ousted for his betrayal. Yet another person he loved was lost to the madness of that wretched woman. Then there were the tears, the overwhelming sadness he felt when he connected with Keiko mentally. She was in emotional turmoil, pain. So confused and lost amid the chaos produced by this unceasing conflict.
“Will there ever be and end?” The question was so sudden. It startled Faust out of his reveries and he stopped, watching Sieryu as he turned several feet away. “So much blood has been spilled over nothing. People continuously slaughtering one another over unimportant things.”
“I think the most important question is what can we do to stop it?”
It was his brother’s turn to hesitate in confusion. His silver brow furrowed.
“Don’t you see? All this time we’ve been involved in making this mess, right beside the executives. We’re not saints, having participated in her wayward destruction. Taking lives for profit, killing without mercy. This is our punishment, and still we sit and whine about how the world has screwed us over.” He paused, shaking the errant strands of hair from his gaze. “I, for one, am tired of running from my past.”
There was no mistaking the hardened edge his face had taken, nor the frigidness of his tone. Sieryu had barely begun to speak when Faust wheeled about on his heel and disappeared in the shadows of the dark house. His booted feet echoed loudly off the solid granite floor. The hall, lit by braziers hanging from tripods on the stone wall cast an eerie luminance over his countenance, deepening the shadows in his gold-flecked burgundy eyes.
Such a shame is took him this long to discover the fountain of potential welled up inside him, even longer to become his own master. There was much he did not fully understand about all that transpired through the long years spent in isolation; he knew very little about where he stood with Eve, her passion changing on a whim. Even worse was the lingering smell of rainwater, the scent trapped in his mind from that one night.
A night I will cherish forever.
The corridor ended a few feet ahead, the path sealed off by a heavy bronze door rusted from years of wear and oxidation. He stepped up, brushing aside slick moisture, waving his other hand just before the latch. A series of clicks and high-pitched squealing pervaded the silence. On the other side myriad locks and latches gave way as the unseen force passed. The door gave a sudden lurch before rolling hastily to the side. Stepping inside the pitch black Faust waved his hand again over the hidden cold lamps, instinct guiding him. Six large crystals burst to life with stunning radiance, then dimmed to their more preferable level.
The chamber inside was a stark contrast to the grimy hall. Modeled after the Meji architecture the floors were settled with tatami mats, canvas screens lining the walls. Paintings depicting Samurai warriors lined each. Various cabinets and tables furnished much of the interior. A fine layer of dust covered the glass cages containing his weapons. Shaking his head slightly Faust approached, unlocking each, taking out several items to lay on the single desk.
He took two custom Smith & Weston double action pistols, checking each with a careful eye before holstering them. Several clips were secured in their respective places. Next he drew out a simplistic leather sheath, each pocket carrying a double-edged throwing knife. He took two, fastening them tightly around his legs. An oddly shaped shredder was selected; having had an affinity for these devices it had become force of habit to carry one. There were three sides, each containing a blade that retracted automatically when thrown. Once settled in the skin the spring loader would disperse one into the victim’s flesh, making it more difficult to dislodge. He fitted three on the leather sash about his waist. Without reason he also selected two hand crafted stilettos, depositing them into wrist sheaths. With the flick of his wrists the straps gave way; each blade fell without prompting into the palms of his hands.
“Suiting up?” Sieryu inquired, digging through a set of plain looking shortblades. The question was rhetorical; he too had begun outfitting himself.
“Coming with me?”
A dry laugh. “Wouldn’t miss this for the world. Besides, I have my own score to settle with mom. She took Eve’ Hana, polluted her mind. I won’t sit by and watch her ruin anyone else like she did us.”
The high ringing of metal sung a heartfelt tune as Faust pulled the Marasame from its scabbard. His mother’s sword; the sight of it sent a wave of revulsion through his veins but this he suppressed and resheathed the weapon, smothering any remaining feeling of sickness and guilt.
He wore nothing to mask the glittering metal strapped to his person, though Sieryu chose his cherished leather jacket, carrying several automatic rifles and his own choice of blade. With unvoiced acknowledgement the twins rushed from the room to the open hangar, hopping three hundred pounds of roaring metal and raced off under the start speckled expanse of dusk.