22 August 2018
Too much has changed.
I gaze down, sixty metres below. So many of them, just waiting.
This wasn’t what I wanted.
So many weapons. They came prepared.
I didn’t ask for this.
Prepared for a fight. But not for what’s coming.
So I’m going to make this right again.
“Sound of silence, dead of night...”
Just how, I do not know.
“Veil of brilliance, winter’s might...”
It started with them, so it’ll end with them.
I pause, casting an appraising eye at the sky. A majestic night, vibrant with stars. The moon holds court, surrounded by its subjects, all gazing. Peering down at us, this spectacle. I couldn’t have asked for a grander audience.
They must have an answer.
“Dance of silver, elegance fraught...”
I must be doing all these for a reason.
It’s a cold night. The wind rides, speed and stance unmatchable.
A search for truth.
“Songs of saints, all for naught...
Maybe it’s too late.
I close my eyes and breathe. The air tastes sweet.
If so, I’ll do it for the future.
Takashi Enzo, twenty-six, has been working with the corporation for four years, hating every minute. It’s never been easy, not for Enzo. In those four short years, he’s seen and done many things unforgivable, although he has never silenced any one in cold blood. That is the only concession allowed him.
Sighing, he settles on a nearby bench. The rifle rests heavily on his lap. He fingers it with a weary hand. What happened to that young man, he wonders? The one with dreams, hopes and a yearning for the future. The one with Anri. In a fitting flourish to melancholy, he glances up at the stars, hoping for a little guidance.
What he sees startles him. Something is falling towards the ground, fast. Focusing his thoughts, he tries to make out the object. As it draws closer, he sees it. A woman, dressed in white and blue, wielding a... scythe?
“Look out, on to-” is all he manages, before the blade slips through him.
Too slow. I fell three of them before they even notice me. As the cacophony of gunfire screams through the sky, I draw closer to my target. These bullets do little to annoy me. Any that are actually on target I simply deflect.
Fifteen, twenty, thirty... I lose count. They’re out in force tonight. My scythe ripostes endlessly, going through person after person. Bodies fall behind me, an orchestra of shouts and gasps. I barely notice.
Battle has become an instinct for me. My body takes over, leaving me free to think. As I cut down each combatant, I begin to wonder. What do they feel when I approach? When the gleam of my blade blinds them? Are they sad, because of what they have yet to do? Afraid, because of what is to come? Bitter, because of their own weakness? Angry, because without me, none of this would have come to pass?
Anger. It’s not like I know it.
I glance at the heavens. Clouds. The banquet has set and the curtains are closing. The moon stares back, unwavering.
Shinjuku Gyoen, such a pretty place, marred now by the fallen bodies of a hundred men.
The night is silent now. I walk towards the last man. Not even a man, really, still a child. A tightly gripped pistol in his trembling hands. His face is one of pure terror. Terror I can understand. As I draw closer, he lets out a shriek and drops his weapon, tears now running down his face.
Right in front of him now, I stop. And smile.
“Don’t worry. It’s done now.”
I touch my fingertips to his heart, and his terror is no more.
Nothing moves. My goal is within reach. It took us a good part of a year, but we finally located the final Chain. Rather ingenious, to hide it within a tree. Only Kanda could have traced it here. How, I still do not know.
It’s a cold night. The grass crushes beneath my feet. A cherry blossom. How fitting.
I crush a hole, right in the trunk.
“Quite a sight, and not a single one dead. Impressive as always, Ally.”
I spin around, caught off-guard, like so many times before.
There he stands, leaning ever so casually, that warm smile fixed on his face. I breathe a sigh and grin back.
“What’s impressive is how I never hear you coming.” He laughs, running his hand through his hair.
“It’s because I’m always there. Right in your heart.” I groan softly. Somehow he never tires of our banter. But I have to admit, it warms me up, considering what I do. Especially on a night like this.
“Yes, yes, you have permanent residence here.” He laughs again and walks up next to me, examining the tree.
“So, it’s inside, then,” he whispers. I nod. Without a word, he thrusts his hand inside, reaching for the gift within. Slowly, he pulls it out.
A silver necklace, resplendent in the moonlight, with an amethyst inlaid in the centre. Intricate patterns adorn the chain, a message long lost.
“This is it.”
“Looks like they failed.”
“I didn’t expect them to stop her. Frankly, even some of the Hex Vanguard would have problems against her.”
“You seem to think quite highly of them, don’t you?”
“They have proven themselves worthy on many occasions now. Even as we speak, Isamu lies, unable to move.”
The first man sets his glass down.
“The view here is spectacular.”
“Of course, I wouldn’t deign for a lesser place.”
His counterpart strides over and sinks into the revolving chair, whirling around to gaze at the same skyline.
“It’s a beautiful night, no?”
The man doesn’t respond. Outside, the city sleeps, at peace with itself.
“They have all the keys now,” he finally says.
“It starts tonight, then.”
“I would assume so.”
The man picks up his glass and empties it.
“You’re right. I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful night.”
It’s been a long time coming. I try to think back to the day it started. I thought I would have forgotten some of it, but no, every detail still burns vividly clear. How they came in and took everything from me. The man who did it. The man who laughed on his way out.
And yet, I harbour no hatred for him.
“It’s time, Ally. We’ve worked so many years for this.”
I glance at him, in all seriousness now, focusing on the necklace.
“Why did we work so hard for this?”
He turns, momentarily stunned.
“We all have our own reasons. The Holy Night, revenge, love, family. Ask Tohru, Erie, or even him. They will all have their own answers.” At this, he unconsciously touches his locket. I glance down at my own, aware now that it’s truly my own curse.
“Let’s head back. We need to get the others.” I nod.
“The final battle of this nefarious war is finally here.”