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Bounty on treasure

Chapter Text

The west is an untamable place, belongs to no one but nature. But nature isn’t always kind, it created a place where the wild is just as dangerous as a pack of lions. It was mountains with rough terrains, forests where predators made home or crayons with unimaginable horrors walking around. Insects with venom that can kill a man in an instant or have them suffer as they continue to live through it, but the dangerous creatures of all were humans. The land was filled with wanted men, cowboys or bounty hunters, but in the end, they’re all the same, murderers. Doesn’t matter what title you were around the waist, everyone knew you couldn’t be trusted. One man knew this, and every time he hears it, he just smiles. But this wasn’t any ordinary man. He dressed in a black trench coat covering his body but left the front open, underneath was a tannish button-up shirt with a red scarf loosely wrapped around his neck. Five o’clock shadow riddled the lower half of his face with brown eyes as bright as a bottle of whiskey being touched by sunlight. His brown pants and his black boots with spurs that told many stories as dry blood laid upon it, can only be seen if someone eyes were good as his accuracy with a revolver. It was the Smokey King, no one knew his real name but it didn’t matter. Who cares what your name is when you’re one of the most wanted bounty hunters in America? Even with being the most wanted, he took his time slow. He rested at an inn, music was being played as gambles were at hand. He was enjoying his meal, trying to relax until three men walked up, interrupting his meal. That was something he didn’t take pleasure in, the men were clearly bounty hunters but he didn’t worry, he needed some fun. They all had a special designs on the butt of the knives they were carrying, one of them lend down to talk to the dark dressed man.

“Mighty tasty meal you have there.”

“Had better, but the services aren’t bad.” The dark dressed man said as he continues to eat.

“I ate here once, I agree, the food could be better. I can ask for something better if you know what I mean?” the man said, he winked at him but Smokey gave back a snarky remark.

“If you’re trying to get what’s underneath my belt then you have to come back with a prettier face, or tell whoever sent you to not send someone from the pigpen.” The man didn’t like that comment, his companions did laugh at the jester. The man slammed his hands on the table and got in the dressed man face.

“Have you ever heard of “Smokey King?”

“What about him?”

“No one knows what he looks like, whoever comes across him as an enemy always dies. But a buddy of mine left a message, he wrote it on the ground.”

“What he write?”

“Rose tattoo, neck. That’s what he wrote and you my friend have a pretty interesting tattoo on your neck. So tell me, are you this famous bounty hunter?” the man showed a devilish smiled, the man turned to one of the servers.

“*Sigh* ma’am, you might want to close early.” He said as he instantly turned around, grabbed the man’s head and forced it down as the fork lodged into the man’s eye. The man screamed in pain as his companions took out their guns, Smokey flipped the table to catch the men attention. Then he took out his own revolver and quickly shot a bullet in one of their heads, then he ran behind the bar counter and ducked. The two men unleashed bullets, trying to pierce through the counter to expose the bounty hunter. He turned his head to see one of the servers ducking behind the counter as well, she was frightened as her body shakes in fear.

“Hey, hey, don’t worry. I’ll make this quick, promise.”

“I-I just w-want to g-go home, i-i can’t d-deal with this!” the woman shouted in fear, she rushed over and buried her face in his chest. The man started to comfort her but noticed something, something shine a bit, a knife. But this one is different, it had matching designs like the men shooting at him.

“What are w-we gonna d-do?”

“...I have an idea” the woman smiled but seen saw herself being brought up and used as a shield to block the bullets. Numerous bullets were shot at her, the men couldn’t get a hit but Smokey did. He took two clear shots to the head, the men dropped instantly as the woman struggled to stay alive. Smokey pulled her closer to him and whispered in her ear.

“(Next time, try to hide your knife a bit better).” he told, dropping her on the floor and letting her bleed out. The other customers came out from hiding, the bounty hunter put away his revolver and walked around a bit. If this server was a part of their crew then the actual workers must be held up somewhere, he looked around the place trying to find where they could be held in. At first, he found nothing but after one more step the floor creaked. He stopped his walking, places his ear to the floor and knocked. It sounded hollow, he took out his knife and stabbed the floor. Pried the floor apart and saw the servers and their boss tied up, he got them up and cut off the ropes binding their hands together.

“Thank you kind sir, those hunters came by earlier. They told the others they weren’t allowed to leave as they tied me and my workers under the floor. Seriously, we can never thank you enough!”

“No problem. If I'm being honest, it was more me trying to defend myself than helping you lots.”

“Still, you got us free, that’s all that counts!”

“(Love how he completely skipped over the part when I said I was defending myself).”

“If it’s not any trouble, mind telling us who you are?” he asked, but his answer came when a gust of wind blew inside and brought along a piece of paper. It landed in the bounty hunter hand and gave it to the owner.

“Think this paper is all the information you need. Anyways, these folks here are wanted. Unfortunately, the money is cut in half because they've died but I'm sure you lots will figure it out.”

“You don’t want the reward?”

“Nah, I have plenty of money on me. I only really resort to collecting bounty when the funds are low, even though it’s pretty frequent with me. Anyways, catch you, folks, another time.” The man called his horse with a loud whistle and rode away as the sun rises, the owner of the inn looked a the paper and his jaw dropped. He was awestruck that the Smokey King was the one who rescued them, he smiled brightly as the sun continues to rise and watches as the man was gone from his field of vision. The sun rises high and its rays shine down on a small little town, carriages roll around as shops were busy with customers going in and out. The train arriving and leaving on time as men and women walk about their day, but the town was known for its bank. Inside the bank was a man with a smile on his face as he serves another customer. His hair dark brown that’s slicked to the side, his beard groomed and light as it matches the color of his hair. He was wearing a white button-up with a black vest over it, brown pants and circular glasses with metal frames. Eyes brown and golden like sweet honey and a voice haughty but kind. Dwight Fairfield was a 30-year-old man working for his town’s bank. Though he’s mostly silent, he was a well known and respected man. If only he trust anyone enough to let them get close to him. Due to his past, Dwight has a hard time trusting people and allowing them into his personal life except for one, Claudette. She only lived in the town for two years, she is the doctor assistant and a quite friendly individual. She was cheerful and upbringing, but most of all, she was the only one Dwight could call a friend despite him questioning it.

“Ms. Morel, I see you’re here early.”

“Good Day Dwight, you don’t have to be that formal with me.”

“Proper introduction is the basic function of human beings, Mr. Morel. Though I suppose I should lower my vocabulary a bit just for you.”

“You made it sound like I'm stupid or something.”

“My apologies, that was clearly not my intention.”

“It’s fine, how’s the day serving you?”

“The workday serving it purpose, though with the lack of entertainment around can be quite lifeless here.”

“It is pretty quiet here. Anyways, I better get back. Oh! Don’t forget your checkup today!”

“I won’t, be safe.” She left the building as he resumed his work. After he did his time his job and did his routine check-up, he went on home but Claudette ran up to him because he forgot something. Since she was here, he let her in and let her rest inside. She sat at his kitchen table and catches her breath. Dwight went to make her some tea to help her recuperate.

“Any particular tea you like?”

“I do like green tea!”

“I might have some, give me a moment.” Dwight looked around and did find some green tea, he heated up some water, set sugar at the side and some lemons upon request from Claudette. He poured the tea in the cups and even took out some pie out and gave her a slice.

“It’s blueberry, recently just bought it.”

“You didn’t have to roll out all of this for me, Dwight.”

“It’s not proper hospitality if the guest isn’t given a feast like welcome. Please, have as much as you want.” he said as he took his seat and cut a piece for himself.

“I have to question, why would a city woman like you come down to the countryside? I’m sure they must of been in need of nurses there?”

“The city is full of them, I was surprised that the countryside lacked them.”

“Well, your parents are doctors correct? I’m sure they could have done something for you.”

“It’s more of a personal choice than what was available, also only my mother is a doctor.”

“What about your father?”

“He’s a boxer!” he cheerfully answered but all Dwight heard was a dinging of bell ringing in his head and him in the ring with her father.

“A-anyways. Can’t believe you been here for two years already, how are you liking it so far?”

“I’ve been doing great, there are some rough days here and there.”

“I’ll say, managing medical treatment and checking up on patient can work up quite some exhaustion.”

“You know, it is cute how formal you are when speaking. Like an obedient child talking to the adults.”

“Don’t misconstrue the factor of my speech matching of an obedient child when you’re the one who is younger than me!”

“*Giggle* Meg was right, you do hate it when your speech is compared to an obedient child.”

“That woman spreads nothing but rubbish, maybe if she spent less time intruding and falsely making accusations about my speech then maybe she wouldn’t have a terrible reputation around this town!” Dwight quickly spoke out his mouth as he wiped his forehead, Claudette laughed and left the subject of his speech alone.

“Hmmmmm…”

“What now?”

“Well sorry if this press your buttons, but I normally see people your age with a family already.” Dwight's eyes avert elsewhere.

“Well...I just never really put too much thought into it, especially since I have a bit of trust issues.”

“You trust me, don’t you?”

“Of course I do! (only because I don’t need your dad to beat me black and blue).” he told himself as the sound of a bell ring in his head.

“Anyways, I never got to ask. How are your parents?”

“My father left so I never got to know what he did, my mother worked in an inn but died of illness when I was 18.”

“O-oh I'm sorry.”

“Don’t worry, she’s in a better place. Anyways, it’s getting late.”

“Yes, I should get going.” the two left the able as Dwight escorted her out.

“Oh, are you excited for tomorrow?”

“What’s tomorrow?”

“WHAT’S TO- IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY! Ugh doesn’t matter, I got a surprise for you. See you tomorrow to show you!” She ran and became out of sight, Dwight smiled as he closes his door and went to his bedroom. He sat down in front of a mirror attached to his dresser, he unbuttoned his shirt. He has a scrawnier frame with body hair compared to the other men roaming in town, but that wasn’t the most interesting thing about him. He turned his body slightly and the mirror showed a detailed map tattooed on his back, the map leading to his father's treasure. Dwight is the son of a legendary bounty hunter Douglas Fairfield, who stole from banks, mines and from the rich. He could've become the richest man alive but he didn’t, instead, he hid it in a certain location that can only be found with the map on his back but Dwight didn’t care. He didn’t care of his dad that left him nor his riches, he just wanted a simple life and that is what he chose. But with this map on his back, trusting people was his main issue. He was too afraid to let anyone get close to him, if they found the map on his back then they’ll most likely kill and skin him. Claudette was the closest thing he had to a friend, but he couldn't even trust her. He built up a deep grudge against his father, he never wanted this. Then him leaving without saying anything made it worse, he got up and went to his washroom and cleaned himself. Once he was done, closed his curtains on his windows, and lay in his bed in only his underwear. The night was cooler than the day despite being in the middle of summer, he started to drift off to sleep. His dream was pleasant at first but soon turned into a nightmare. The nightmare made him sweat but worse of all, it was replays of his past memories. Him running for his life once again as men and women hunt him down, ready to kill him just for treasure. Not caring that their greed was enough to kill an innocent man. As the night progresses, Smokey King wasn’t too far from the town. He was walking his horse slowly, enjoying the cool night as he looked at the wanted paper of him again.

“Funny, no matter how many people saw me, none knows what I look like.” he told himself, he yawns as he scratches his head. He decided to rest, doesn’t matter if he was near the town. The night was already in motion and he rather not be a late-night nuisance. The horse laid down as the man rested his head on the horse, he looked up to the sky. Not a cloud in sight as stars glitter across the sky. As he star gaze, he remembers the story of the legendary bounty hunter and his hidden riches. How he never told a soul where he hid it and his only clue is a detailed map tattoo on his son’s back. He laughed, a story so farfetch couldn’t be real. He assumed his son must of found the treasure by now, why wouldn’t he. He could be the richest man alive, especially since he’s the only one who can find it. But that was only if it was true, the story sounds too much like fiction to the man. This is reality, the land may be crazy and unpredictable but fantasy will always be fantasy. It can never be anything like reality, no matter how hard someone tries to make it be. He drifted off to sleep, preparing his trip to the town. But he had a creeping feeling crawling on his back, something big was going to happen to him. What could it be, hopefully, an experience to remember. As he sleeps, a woman was walking. She was far from the town and wasn’t nearly as close as the man. She has a bright smile on her face, whistling a tune as she star gaze. She was carrying some large on her back, I was covered in a large cloth but seemed light. She was far from home, what was her purpose for being here? The answer lies when she reaches her destination.

Chapter Text

Dwight wakes up from his nightmare, he was sweating intensely. He quickly got out of his bed and check the outside, not a single person in sight as he saw the morning sun rises up. He sat back down on his bed and sighed in relief, the nightmare was only a nightmare. It can’t hurt him in the present, but him having the same nightmares on repeat will potentially harm him. He knows this, it’s only a matter of time before the past catches up to him. But he’s determined to keep it at bay, he worked hard and earnestly to get to where he is now. He heard a knock on his door and heard a voice, Claudette’s. He was about to go out and open it but he stopped, he was still shirtless. If he answer her now she’ll see the tattoo on his back, he grabbed a button and threw it over his himself and went to the door.

“Claudette? Fancy seeing yourself here this early, didn’t think the office open this early.”

“It doesn’t, we normally open around nine. I got a letter attached to my door after i heard a knock, the sheriff wants to see us both.”

“Hmph! What does that woman want with us? *sigh* come in, at least let me get you something to eat before we head off.” Dwight took her inside, cooked her something quick as she rubs her eyes for waking up so early. Dwight bathe himself in the washroom as Claudette continues to dine on her meal. Dwight came back out, wearing his white button up and black vest, brown pants and dress shoes and joined Claudette at the table.

“I have to admit, walking in your home feels like a wonderland. Fine silverware and plates and that massive book collection you have!”

“I do enjoy reading in my spare time, this silverware and plates I brought from a wandering salesman. Anyways, what does that woman want with us?”

“You sound a bit aggressive…”

“Well of course! Waking us up this early is intolerable!” he said as he straightened out his tie, after she finished they headed into town and went to the sheriff’s office. They went inside and saw a woman with a short bob cut red hair, dusty button up shirt with dark brown pants, a metal star pin the shirt. Boots with spurs and a hat to match the color of it. She lifted her head up and greeted them with a smile from her desk.

“Morning, sorry for making you two come this early.”

“I’ll say! What has possibly happen for you to intruded us by waking us up this early!?” he shouted, Claudettte tried to get him to calm down as Meg got off her chair and leaned on her desk.

“With that attitude of yours, no wonder you have no friends.”

“I have some, thank you very much! Accusing me-”

“Before you throw the whole english language at me, how about I’ll explain myself first.”

“Fine, go on.”

“As you know, Sheriff tends to keep information from other towns to themselves and to people who can keep their mouth shut.”

“Oh! So you’re only telling Dwight because his only friend is me!”

“MS. MOREL!?”

“Exactly, can’t tell anyone if you don’t have anyone to tell.”

“MS. THOMAS!?”

“Then it’s a good thing I'm his only friend.”

“CAN YOU TWO BE SERIOUS AND NOT TALK ILLY OF MY SOCIAL HABIT!?”

“*Giggle* the same things always makes you upset, Dwight. Anyways, back to the reason. A few towns over there was a sudden shoot out. Apparently, Smokey King was dining in their as a group of men surrounded him.”

“Smokey King?” Claudette asked.

“A childish name if you ask me, whoever refer to himself of high nobility like that are idiots and most likely insane.” Dwight said but Meg rolled her eyes and continued the story.

“Surprisingly, he was minding his own business. The men questioned him about something, then he told the servers to hide as he attacked the men who tried to kill him. He defeated them, and rescue the real servers who were tied up under the floorboards.”

“Nice story, but you still haven’t told us who he is?” Meg handed him a wanted poster and Claudette went over to look for herself.

“It’s just a dark image of a man with a question mark.”

“Exactly, no one knows what he looks like. Whoever seen him always dies somehow.”

“But you say he rescued the servers of the inn?”

“They told the sheriff they didn’t know what he looked like, purely out of respect.”

“Idiocy if you ask me.”

“And we’re not, no one wants the opinion of a cranky middle-aged man who bickers at everything.”

“Errr! Remember, you come to the bank that I work at!”

“First cranky, now a tyrant too?” Meg threw back at him, Dwight started to heat up but Claudette calmed him down.

“Anyways, he rode off in the direction leading to our town.”

“Do we have any clue on his appearance?”

“Only that he’s a tall male.”

“If that’s all then I'm heading to the station, I have to be at the bank in the town over to handle an upcoming transfer. Good day.” Dwight left out, leaving the women behind as he heads to the station. Claudette waved her goodbye as she ran to catch up to Dwight.

“Hey, don’t you think you were overreacting a bit?”

“I was cer-”

“DWIGHT! You know of your condition, if you keep making yourself angry and stressed you’ll end up fainting!” she shouted at him. Dwight have a rare condition where his heart beats at an abnormally high rate where it can cause him to faint, the less stress he give to himself the better his health will be.

“Eh...well, I guess my behavior did change suddenly. I’m not really a morning person, I’ll make sure to apologize for my behavior before the day ends.” Claudette smiled but in reality, he only really chose to say that because he’s afraid of Claudette’s father. They approach the station and they saw the train approaching the station.

“Do you really have to leave now? You haven’t even ate breakfast yet, won’t you get hungry?”

“The trip won’t be long, i’ll be back before the sun even thinks of setting.”

“You better, still got your surprise!” Dwight nodded as the train arrived, he board it and sat in his seat as he waved goodbye to Claudette. She waves back as the train pulls off, Dwight watch her become out of sight as the train travels to the next destination. He looked out the window, watching the sun rise higher and higher with each minute. He thought what Meg said, about his tone and attitude getting in the way of his social life, he shrugged it off and decided to get some sleep since he was woken up early. He woke up because the train came to a sudden halt and followed with gunshots and screaming. Several bodies with bullet holes fell to the ground, their blood soaking the floor and flowing to their feet. Bandits are train robbing.

“LISTEN UP! TAKE OFF EVERYTHING YOU HAVE AND HAND IT OVER, UNLESS YOU WANT TO END UP LIKE THEM!” a man shouted, the passenger did what they said, except one. One refuse and even attempt to fight back, the men shot at him and the man fell but Dwight used that little distraction to slip out of the train. He looked around to see where can he go, he was out in the open. He was in the middle of an open terrain next to a crayon.

“HEY, ONE OF THEM IS TRYING TO LEAVE!” one of them shouted, Dwight ran to the crayon as the men unleashed bullets at him. Luckily they all missed but he wasn’t watching his footing as he trip down the cliffside. His shirt tore in some places and dirt got all over him, but he had to brush it off. The men were on him and no doubt they are on horses. He started to run in the crayon before the men catch up. As that went down, Claudette goes to the town inn, she was still a bit hungry. She walks inside and saw they place was empty except for one man in dark clothing, the servers were preparing for the day so she decided to sit with the man.

“Seat taken?”

“No, by all means, sit!”

“Thank you, sorry if i’m bothering your morning.”

“No, i’m actually thankful. Was getting a bit dull here, expected much since the chicken themselves are still asleep.”

“I’m only up because the sheriff wanted to speak to me and a friend.”

“Hope it wasn’t anything dangerous. Anyways, you hungry?”

“Oh you do-”

“No, my pleasure, think of it as a way of me saying thanks for sitting with me.” He places a meal order and the server got it done quickly, they talked as they eat and both were amused.

“Serious? He really talks like that?”

“Yeah, he really need to change it if he wants more friends. Anyways, I never caught your name.”

“Let’s go with King for now, yours?”

“Claudette, hopefu-”

“Excuse me, Ms. Morel. Have you seen Dwight?” an elderly man asks her.”

“He left for the other bank, he should be there by now.”

“Oh dear! I got a call from the bank. Apparently there’s a train hoist going on, Dwight most likely in danger!”

“Have you told the sheriff!?”

“There won’t be any need for them.” the dark dressed man said, he left money on the table and started to walk out.”

“What do your friend look like?”

“Uhh...short brown hair slicked to the side with a beard and round glasses, if he throws the entire english language at you, you found him.” The man nodded, he walked through the doors, hopped on his horse and rode off. Following the train tracks to stop the hoist, he rushed to the scene and saw the men. He wasted no time taking out his revolver and shooting a bullet in the men's heads, they fell over one by one then worked his way inside. He shoots the window and threw himself inside the train, the men were caught off guard of his sudden intrusion but were met with the same end like the men outside.

“Everyone ok?”

“Y-yes, we lost some but most of us are fine.” one of the passengers told him.

“I’m looking for a man, Dwight Fairfield? Brown hair and round glasses?”

“I seen him, he snuck out and the men saw him and chased him. He ran into the crayon over there, but some time has passed. I don’t know if he’s alive or not.”

“Thank you, hopefully I can get to him in time.” The man ran out and rode his horse to the crayon cliffside, he then slid down to the bottom and saw old footprints. He loaded up his gun and followed the footprints. The sun hangs high as Dwight continues to run, he was sweaty and exhausted but he can’t stop now. The men were right behind him, he could even hear them. He followed the crayon to a mining sight, he decided to hide inside one of the mine karts halfway filled with coal. The men finally caught up to him. They fan out and but not far, he was trapped and wasn’t hiding in a good spot. He peeked his head a bit and saw the men approaching the kart he was in, he continued to hide, praying for something to save him. Then he heard it, bullets being shot at the men. Some of them fought back but their efforts were in vain, they all fell to a single man dressed in dark clothing.

“(Ok, that takes care of them. They were some sorry ass excuse for bandits). HEYYYY, DWIGHT FAIRFIELD!?” Dwight slowly raises his head out the kart and question the man.

“H-how you know my names?”

“Your lady friend told me, you match the appearance she described...do you use fancy words?”

“Oh, I'm assuming that woman was spilling out rubbish with false accusations again!?”

“Yup, you’re him. Come on, my horse is th-(huh!?)” Dwight was brushing the coal dust off his clothing, he turned around and David noticed something. The backside of Dwight’s shirt had some tears, it exposed his back a bit but the man saw it, a large tattoo.

“Damn that Claudette, what else has she said abo- WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” The man pointed his gun at Dwight and gave an evil glare.

“Your shirt, take it off.”

“What!? This is ab-”

“TAKE IT OFF!” he screamed, it frightened Dwight. He started to shake, he been so careful for years. Him defending his life is what ruined it, he started to walk back as the man walks forward.

“What you got hiding?”

“N-n-nothing!”

“Have you heard of the rumor? About the Fairfield treasure?”

“...”

“I’ll give the short version. A man buried his riches in a certain spot somewhere, his only hint was a detailed tattooed map on his son’s back.”

“B-but Fairfield is a pretty common name!”

“If so common then why are you so against taking off your shirt?” Dwight throat became dry, his sweat started to drench his shirt. He fell to the ground, the man kept his gun pointed at Dwight’s face. He demanded Dwight to take his shirt off but he still refused. Dwight felt something soft on his hands, coal dust. He hatched an idea, he started to take off his shirt. As the man watches, he lowered his guard as Dwight threw a fist full of coal dust at him. It blinded the man for a bit but it was enough for him to run and hide. The man recovered his vision and went looking for Dwight. As the man looked for him, Dwight tried to figure out how to escape. He looked around and saw bundles of dynamite, this gave him another idea. The man continued his search until he heard Dwight above above him shouting.

“HEY!”

“Hmmm?” The man looked up and saw Dwight throw a stick of dynamite at him and expecting him to shoot at it, the man didn’t as it landed it behind a kart.

“You really thought I was going to shoot that?”

“No! I was hoping you wouldn’t!” Dwight smiled, the man turned around and saw a small light. Then he heard it, lit dynamite ready to go off. The one Dwight threw was merely a distraction, the explosion went off. A large smoke cloud filled the area, Dwight didn’t care. He left the scene, not caring if the man survived or not. The man rises from the rubble, covered in coal dust as he coughs his heart out.

“(We could of did this nice and fucking easy, now you’re just trying to get on my nerves me!)” he presses his fingers on his lips and made a loud whistle, his horse answered the call and he rode it to follow Dwight. Dwight walked his way home, the sky started to turn dark. Dwight’s day has been terrible, he just wanted to relax and sleep, take a nice hot bath well he’s at it. After some time, he made it back to his home but was greeted by Claudette. She panicked when she saw him but he told her he’ll explain himself once he cleans himself. He took his sweet time and redress himself.

“Are you ready for your surprise Dwight?” Claudette shouted from his table.

“After today, I don’t think anything will surprise me.” he said as he left his room.

“Oh! Dwight, the friend I made is here too! Come meet him!”

“Can it just be us two- (OH NO!)” Dwight came to the table but saw the man from earlier in his home, his still had some coal dust on his clothing as Claudette went out of her way and brush some of it off of him. He took a seat at one end of the table well Dwight sat at the other end. Claudette sat and the middle and revealed her surprise.

“TADA! It an apple pie made with my family secret recipe!”

“My, that does look mighty tasty. What’s the occasion?”

“(Claudette, please do-)”

“It’s Dwight’s birthday!”

“(Dammit Claudette!)”

“Oh really? Tell me, how old ya gonna be?”

“31 right, Dwight?”

“...right.” he answered, Claudette went to cut a slice for them. The man stared at Dwight as Claudette gave them their slice, the man and Claudette enjoyed their dessert but Dwight didn’t eat. He started to sweat again, he didn’t want to move.

“Hmmm? You ok Dwight? Huh?”

“...”

“(He’s...tapping the table? No, it’s morse code. ...you...need...too-)”

“Ok, I think we wasted enough time.” The man walked over to Dwight with some rope and leaned down to Dwight’s ear.

“(Trying to use morse code huh? Nice try).” The man pinned Dwight, tied his arms behind his back, tied of feet and picked him up. Dwight tried to wiggle free but it was useless, he brought him outside to his horse as Claudette chase after them.

“W-wait! What are you doing, Mr. King!?”

“Sorry little Miss, this guy owes me something. I'm gonna need him for a bit.”

“Need him for what!? Please, don’t take him!”

“Don’t worry, as long as he does what I say, he’ll be back in like...a few months?”

“FEW MONTHS!?”

“When I come back, mind making me that pie again?”

“I-I-I”

“Until next time, Little Miss.” The man rode his horse, becoming out of sight as Claudette fell to her knees. Her friend was kidnapped but by who, was his name really King? Then she saw it a wanted poster fly down, she looked at it and saw that its the same one Meg showed her. Then Meg came into her head, she rushed to sheriff office. The place was empty, she sat in one of the chairs. Waiting for her to return to tell her what happened.

Chapter Text

Dwight was dreaming, or should say experiencing another nightmare. It was causing him to sweat intensely, it even got to the point where he started to mutter in his sleep. Then he saw it, flashes of his mother. Her face was covered in blood, her eyes were blackened with tears streaming down. He heard her speak, but each word filled him with dread as her voice sounded like she was in pain.

“Dwi...ght, ho..w cou...ld you?” she said as he woke up in a cold sweat, he looked around. He was in front of a fire in an open field, the sky was dark with some clouds covering the moon. He tried to move but couldn’t, his hands and feet tied with rope.

“You ok?” the dark dressed man asked him.

“...where am I?”

“Somewhere, you were out for a while.”

“For how long exactly?”

“Hmmm...two days.”

“TWO DAYS!?”

“Yup, you were really exhausted from the train hoist. Guessing you’re not used to that type of stuff.”

“Nevermind that! Untie me!”

“Ok.”

“Huh?” the man went over and took off the ropes binding Dwight.

“W-why?”

“Because I know you won’t get far. We’re far from you town and you don’t look like you travel a lot so I doubt you’ll find your way back. Then I'll hunt you down, kill you, skin you back and leave your body for the vultures.” Dwight saw the evil glare in the man’s eyes, he was serious. He was lucky that he was able to get away last time but this time he won’t.

“That was smart what you did though.”

“Huh?”

 

“With the stick of dynamite. There wasn’t a single thing to light it, so you used your glasses to magnetized the sunlight to burn it right?”

“...was it easy to find out?”

“Not really, I doubt it at first until I took a look at your glasses. You some special lens.” Dwight did answer him, even if he was right.He sat back down down near the fire, the horse came over to Dwight and laid down behind him.

“She wants you to use her as a pillow to lay on. Be grateful, she doesn’t do that for just anyone.” He said as he tosses Dwight a canteen of water.

“You did woke up in a sweat, bet your mouth is dry.” Dwight opened the canteen but clenched his stomach, he hadn’t eaten in two days. Not to mention him not eating before departing for the train.

“Here, looked hungry.”

“T-this is just a can of beans!”

“All I got, deal with it.”

“I rather starve than eat something straight from a can like an unintelligible neanderthal.”

“Man you really do throw the entire english language. Ok, die of starvation and i’ll skin ya.” the man reminded him. Dwight jumped again, he doesn’t want to starve nor wanted to be skinned. He began to eat the beans and each bite made his face turn sour, it amused the man.

“Here’s what will happen. Once morning comes, we’ll go to the nearest town and rest properly. We’ll resupply and start heading to the far west to meet up with someone. If you play along nicely, I’ll take you back home and let you go and you won’t see me again. But if you even try to escape from me-”

“Y-you’ll hunt me down and skin me…”

“Good boy. Now, get some sleep.” the man tilt his hat over his face and went to sleep, Dwight laid on the horse and started to cry.

“(Dammit! I...was so careful…)” The two tried to sleep the night away, but someone somewhere couldn’t. Claudette stared out her window and looked at the sky. Did the man really meant what he said? Will Dwight be gone for a few months, why? What did Dwight have or know that the man needed to take him for months? She needed answers, or at least some type of explanation. She left her home and went to the sheriff's office again, but she was met with the same results as last time, empty. She sat down on one of the chairs and waited again, time passes and she started to get sleepy. She drifted in and out, eyes shutting and opening repeatedly. As her eyes almost shut for good, she heard a door open. She rubbed her eyes and expected to see Meg, but she saw blonde locks instead of red hair. A woman walked inside with a man next to her. She was slightly taller than Claudette, eyes so blue that it looked like it trapped the sky itself inside. She was wearing a brown button-up with the sleeves rolled up, exposing her flower tattoos on her left arm. Brown pants, leather boots with spurs and a red scarf around her neck with a cowboy hat on top of her head. The man next to her was taller than the both of them, he dressed a bit more professional than them. He wore a long sleeve white button up with a dark red vest over it, his pants matching the same color of the woman next to him. His hair was bushy with a flat top, white gloves and monocle on his left eye.

“H-hello?”

“Howdy, I saw that you keep coming here. Assuming you’re here for the sheriff?”

“Y-yes! Something happened a while ago and I need to tell her!” the blonde woman and the man look at each other then back at Claudette. The woman asked her what happened and Claudette explained bit by bit what happened, the woman smiled.

“Bingo, where was he last headed?”

“U-umm...from the looks of it, he ran west. Just behind his home…”

“Got it, let’s go Adam.”

“Wait! Where are you going?”

“Simple, to get your friend and to kill that man. I have a personal score to settle. Plus, this is my territory. From plants to people, nothing is allowed to be taken from me.”

“You know the person who took him!?”

“Yes, the Smokey King. He knows better than to take from me, I’ll hunt his ass down.”

“Then at-”

“No! You’ll only get in the way, come on, Adam.” The two left the office and walked off, leaving Claudette behind in the office as she waits for Meg to return. She ended up falling asleep, only to be woken up by Meg. She jumped up and started to talk to fast for Meg to understand, she slowed down and started over.

“Damn, first the train heist and now Dwight getting kidnapped by Smokey King. One crazy thing after another.”

“So what can we do!?”

“Nothing.”

“...WHAT!?”

“You heard me, I been gone for way too long. His trail is gone by now. I don’t have the faintest clue where he can possibly be.” Claudette went on about how could give up so easily, Meg argued back as another person entered the building. She was wearing similar clothing to the blonde woman Claudette encountered last night, but this one was carrying something large on her back and have a happy go lucky aura around her. If Claudette kindness couldn’t brighten up the room, her’s did.

“Excuse me!”

“Yes?” Meg answered.

“I’m looking for a man named Dwight Fairfield?”

“Geez, he’s just the talk of everyone! Sorry Miss, I don’t want to give out his information at this time.” Meg gave, the woman stared at her, her happy go lucky presence became cold. She turned the heat that the summer rays gave into a cold chill that only the winter can give. The two sweat a bit as Meg nodded her head to one of her deputies in office. The deputy went behind her and pointed his revolver at her.

“Oh? So you are saying you’ll refuse to give me the information regarding to him?” she asks.

“(Claudette, get behind me). Listen, I won’t hand out anything leading to Dwight to a complete stranger carrying an unknown object. Especially since I have never seen your face!” Meg shouted, the woman sighed as she removes the cloth surround the object. It was a long blade in its sheath, the woman took it out and in a flash put it back in. They all stood in silence, what did she do? Did she even move? Then in an instant the deputy revolver fell in pieces like it was cut into bread slices, then the deputy arm started to bleed. He had cut wounds covering his arm, they couldn’t believe it. Something that seemed to be in fairytales was performed in front of them. She puts it back in the carrying cloth and ask again.

“W-wait! I’ll show where he lives, ok?”

“...ok!” Her presence went back to happy and warm, Claudette let out a sigh as Meg went to check on the deputy.

“(You sure about this Claudette?)”

“(I rather not have us turn into slices bread!) You ready...errr”

“Oh! I never introduced myself, I’m Rin Yamaoka.”

“Rin Yamaoka? That’s Japanese right? What you’re doing all the way over here?”

“I was hired by my employer to protect Dwight.”

“Who is the employer?” Claudette questioned.

“I’m sorry, but my employer told me to not give out their name.” Claudette sighed once again, she leads her out the building and towards Dwight’s home. They arrived at his home but found no one inside.

“I don’t understand, you said he lives here correct?”

“Y-yes but he recently got kidnapped by Smokey King, I don’t know why he took him though…”

“Hmmmm… where did they run off to?”

“West, just behind this house.” she answered, Rin smiled and started to walk in the direction Claudette pointed to.

“W-wait! I know you said this, but who really sent you?”

“...*sigh* well, he didn’t say to withhold his name, only to be careful who to tell it. My employer is his father. Like I said, I'm tasked to protect him to a certain extent.”

“(Dwight did said he didn’t really know his dad). Why does he want Dwight to be protected all of a sudden?”

“(...She doesn’t look like she knows that much about the story.) Sorry, can’t give that out at the moment. Anyways, I should take my leave.”

“...I-if it’s ok, may I come with you?”

“No!” she said with a cheery voice and smile.

“You didn’t have to answer that fast!”

“I’m sorry, how can I say this? You’ll only get in my way and I don’t want to watch over someone so weak!”

“(How can someone say that so bluntly and with a positive attitude!?)” The woman walked away, leaving Claudette at Dwight’s empty home. She decided to head home herself, the past few days were stressful for her. She went to her room and laid in her bed, she wondered what could she done to save Dwight. Maybe she should have followed, but why? Just for her to get lost or kidnapped herself? She buried her head in her pillow as the day turn to night, cooling the outside air as the sun rays hide from the people’s eyes once again. She heard her telephone ring, she went to her living room to answer and it was her mother.

“Hey honey, how you been?”

“Pretty stress if i’m being honest, how’s dad?”

“Suffering from another concussion, though he did won his match. He’s going to be disappointed when he’s going to lose all teeth if he keeps up his recklessly style of fighting. Why are you’re feeling stressed?”

“Dwight got kidnapped by a bounty hunter, the sheriff isn’t going to bother to look for him because his trail is cold since she has been gone for days.”

“Dwight? The banker in your town? What could anyone want with a bland man like him?”

“*Giggle* mom, he’s not that bland.”

“Honey, he throws the entire english language whenever you teases him about anything. He gave me a lecture when I told him he needed to explore his social life, almost like our ages were swapped.”

“You get used to them after the 50th time.”

“Anyways, what you’re going to do?”

“I don’t know… may-”

“Shit, they need me. I’ll be sure to call you another time.”

“Ok, bye.” She hung up and went to her room. She looked out the window and saw the open night sky and the stars trapped in it. So many people are after Dwight and the only person who can help him refuses to, or was the sheriff was the only person who can help? She took in a deep breathe and went to her closet and took out a rucksack, she filled it up with one other pair of clothing, food, and a canteen of water. After she went to the doctor’s office in the morning and left a note on the door, and went to the bank to withdraw some money. Then she went to one of the nearby farms and “borrowed” a horse and headed in the direction of the man who kidnapped Dwight.

“(If no one is going to bother to save Dwight then I will!)” she made the horse move but it bucked uncontrollably, knocking her off as it rode into the wild. Claudette never learned to ride a horse, she only assumed it was easy since she watched a lot of people ride them. She picked herself and brushed off the dirt on her pants and started walking, her start was slow but she still went on. But that determination turned bitter when she encounters a dense forest, the forest stolen her time as she walks aimlessly around it. She was lost, she was in there for days. The forest halt her travel as she tries to determine where to go next. Her supplies were low and doesn’t know where the nearest town is, she sat down on a log but leaves fell on top of her head. Then she heard rustling from above, she looked up and saw someone. It was a woman who seemed to be stuck in some branches.

“Dammit! I been stuck for way to long...I hope they at least alright…”

“HEEEEEYYYY, YOU OK?” Claudette screamed from below to alert the woman, she looked at Claudette and asked for her help. She climbed up the tree went used all her strength to pull the woman out. She broke her free from the branches but ended up causing them to fall to the ground, the impact was hard and painful since they didn’t have anything to cushion their fall.

“Owwwwww, wish I landed on something softer…”

“Augh, my head is spinning. Anyways, are you alright?”

“Y-yeah, thanks for the help.” Claudette helped her up and looked at her, Claudette found her clothing odd. It was almost like she was traveling in a jungle than the wild lands. She wears a greyish tan cargo shirt, shorts with traveling boots. Her outfit seemed like it was from another time to Claudette, her hair was in a short ponytail with small bangs in front. A small rucksack on her back and a pair of binoculars around her neck.

“Uh…”

“Oh i’m sorry, where are my manners? My name is Feng Min!”

“Chinese correct?”

“Yes, but I was born and raised here in America. I’m a traveling archaeologist, I been around the world discovering mysteries and other phenomena of the past”

“Oh, I heard of archaeologists”

“You have?”

“Yeah, my father said they’re basically grave robbers and trespassers disguised with a fancy title.”

“I’M NOT A GRAVE ROBBER DAMMIT!”

“*Giggle* sorry. Anyways, how did you ended up in this forest or should I say in that tree.”

“Well I was with some people in a carriage going to the nearest town but we got held up by some bandits. We try to fight them off but we separated, some chased after me because they thought I had loads of money on me thanks to my clothes. I ran into this forest to lose them, I did...but lost myself in the process. I was trapped on that tree because that’s where I hid, didn’t think I was gonna get myself stuck there. What brings you here?” Claudette explained to her what had happened to her friend and her reasoning for being out here.

“Oh, it could be due to the treasure.”

“Treasure? Like the bank or something?”

“Wait, you seriously don’t know? I can explain if it’s ok?” Claudette nodded as they sat on a nearby log.

“It’s a legend about the most famous bounty hunter that ever existed, Douglas Fairfield.”

“...”

“Years ago, he traveled all over the land. He knew every corner of America, nothing was hidden for him. Every secret that was there, he found. People always say he claimed everything that walks on this land, but he always denies it.”

“Why?”

“ “Can’t claim something when the original owners are still alive, I have no reason to take what’s left that was already stolen.” from what I heard.”

“That’s right, America originally belonged to the Natives before it was stolen.”

“You certainly know your history.”

“I’m a very studious person but continue.”

“Anyways, he robbed banks, stole from the rich. Each passing day, his bounty with higher and higher to a point where he started to cover up his appearances. Didn’t really matter, information about him kept being spread and he kept being found. He stopped covering himself up. From what I heard, he was very handsome. Both men and women fell for his charm and he didn’t mind either one. He kept up his robbery and hunting for twenty years, he had enough riches where he can buy an entire continent if he wanted to but he didn’t. He eventually settled down with a woman, loved her with all his heart, even to a point where he made a son with her. Like I said, he loved her and his son but he knew if she found out who he was, she’ll try to take everything from him and his son. So during the first eight years of having his son, he took many trips to a certain spot only he knows. He took every last bit of his riches and buried it deep underneath a mine that no one but him know it exists, he only made one map of the area and put it on the only person he can trust, his son. One night, he drugged his son with something to put him into a deep sleep then tattoo the map on his son’s back himself. After the son woke up, he vanished. The next thing everyone knew what a group of sheriff’s went to investigate the home, but only to find the mother with a stab wound in her neck and the son missing. That’s the story, no one even knows if the son is still alive or not. Until now.” Claudette was amazed about the story but many things about it puzzled her.

“I get the story but it can’t be Dwight.”

“Why so?”

“Fairfield is a pretty common name, the only similarity the story has with the Dwight is his father leaving them but his mother died from an illness when he was eighteen. Even went to her funeral from what Meg told me, if it was him then he would of told me...I think.”

“Then why else would a bounty hunter would kidnap a banker? Think about it, let's say it was him. Would you really think he’ll tell a single soul that he holds the very needs to find the rumored treasure, I sure the hell wouldn’t. Now, let's say you still don’t think it’s him, did the person who kidnapped him say anything odd around you?”

“... “Sorry little Miss, this guy owes me something. I gonna need him for a bit. Don’t worry, as long as he does what I say, he’ll be back in like...a few months?” he said that before he left…”

“See, it gotta be him!”

“...Feng, are you after him to…?”

“Hmmmm, yes and no. Yes, I do need him for something. But no, I want to make a replica of the map. I don’t care for riches, I want to make an existence of the map without skinning your friend.”

“Well...as long you’re not going to really harm him I guess it’s fine, but we’re stuck in this forest.”

“No worries, I know the way out but I’ll do it under one condition.”

“Hmmm?”

“You have to allow me to travel with you, we’re basically looking for the same thing. How about it?”

“Sure! I’m very new to this and I could use some help.”

“Then it’s settled, we’ll go to the town where I was coming from since that was the direction you were heading, this way!” Feng took the lead and within a few hours they made it out, now there next stop is the town Feng came from. Hoping to find another clue leading to Dwight and hopefully catch up to him.

Chapter Text

“...”

What’s wrong sweetie? my mom always says whenever I make a pouty face, I remember what she was doing that day. She was cooking my birthday dinner, It was going to be a large one.

Dad still isn’t back, you sure he’ll be here for my birthday?”

Of course, you know he takes his trips from time to time. Did he ever missed a single one of your birthdays yet?”

No...but”

Be patient, i’m sure he’ll be here.So I did what she said, she was right. Dad couldn’t possibly miss my birthday. He never missed the last seven times, so how can he miss my eighth one? Then he came through the door, I remember running up to him. I remember me being picked up by him...only if I remembered what he looked like. My deep grudge against him made it difficult to remember his face, like it’ll matter. That day, my life became hell. I spent the whole day with him, laughing, playing, eating. But something was off about him, his smile seemed forced and I know why. My mom went to town to do something like she usually does, remember it always taking her hours to get back. Dad took me to the shack behind our house, he said it was a surprise. The rest was a blur, the last thing I knew was my dad tears falling on my face and him saying “I’m sorry, Dwight”

“Hey! Wake up!” Someone screamed at him, Dwight awaken from his dream and saw himself in the forest. He questioned at first then remember the Smokey King suggested they’ll sleep here for the night instead in the open field.

“Here, try not to drink too much, we’re kind of low.”

“How far is this town, I thought you said the town was close?”

“It is, but close doesn’t always equal two steps and we’re there.”

“The faster we get there the better! My clothes aren’t exactly smelling the best at the moment.”

“My problem how?”

“HOW!? IT WAS BECAUSE OF YOU TH-eugh!” Dwight clenched his chest a bit, he felt a slight pain in his chest. He has to calm himself, he doesn’t want to risk fainting again.

“Hmmm?”

“I-it’s nothing, I’m just irritated that this faux of a man is dragging me around let an animal on a rope!”

“Man, you really do use fancy words a lot, don’t you?”

“Just because you lack the knowledge of the words doesn’t consider them fancy, you just continue to use that monkey brain which holds you ba-”

“I may not know why you continue to use these false accusations on me, but they are highly incorrect. You going around, listening to any type of slander riddling my name without even acknowledging my previous actions. If you paid attention, you know they I was minding my business enjoying my meal when the ruffons came and intrude my personal time. It was impertinent of them, but I refuse to take the tomfoolery of their actions or your misconstruction of me. Now, we can stay here all day and throw insults to each other or we can get a move on.”

“..., I have to admit. Being talked to like that is…”

“Degrading and condescending? Yeah, there’s a reason why the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” exist. You gotta cut that out.”

“...”

“Come on, if we leave now we’ll be here by noon hopefully.” Dwight nodded and the two hopped on the horse as it traveled out the forest and to the open plains. It was a prairie field, a nice change of scenery for the duo instead of seeing nothing but crayon grounds. Dwight wanted to go home, he doesn’t have time first this, to be tugged around like a dog on a leash. As time passes, they made it to the next town within noon. It was another small town similar to Dwight’s, Smokey King hitched his horse to a stand and the two walked inside an inn and sat at a table. Like the one in Dwight’s town, it was quiet and busy place. The servers were friendly and the food they served made both men stomach growl.

“Finally, actually food and not canned atrocities.”

“From what I saw in your home, you sure lived the pampered life.”

“I earned it through hardship, something you didn’t do I’m assuming?” The man rolled his eyes as he let out a sigh. A server came to their table.

“What will you two will be having?”

“Give me this house special, ma’am”

“One house special, just telling you that it’s on the costly side.”

“It’s ok, my friend is going to pay for it, right?” Dwight turned to him but man gave him another evil look that made him jump.

“Y-yes, i’ll be paying for it (even though I barely have any money on me).” The woman put down the order and went to the back, she returned with the food for the bounty hunter. Dwight didn’t order anything, he paid for both the room for them and the food. He couldn’t really buy anything for himself as he watches the bounty hunter demolish his food in front of him. He finished his plate in a flash, almost like the food was never there in the first place.

“My, that’s the fastest thing I ever seen to be done with someone's mouth.” said a woman as she and her friend came to him, the man and the woman stood in front of him impressed how he can devour such a large meal so easily.

“Food isn’t the only my mouth can devour fast.” he responded, giving the pair filthful wink.

“Oh, is that so? Hope you don’t mind if my...buddy here join us?”

“By all means, what’s the fun sticking to one side? Best to get a taste of both worlds” he got up off his sit and turned to Dwight.

“Be a good boy and stay put.” The man lead to the two into his room as Dwight stood put. Not to long after, loud banging and moaning noises were being made in one of the rooms. Dwight covered his ears to block the noise but it grew louder and louder, the moaning turned to begging pleasure. It caught the attention of the others in the inn, the two voices begging for more made everyone uncomfortable as a lot of the customers stopped eating due to the sexual noises. The server that came earlier came again to Dwight’s table.

“I never heard those two...be THAT loud before, people around here don’t satisfy those two. Whatever your friend is doing, it must be pretty intense.”

“He’s more of a parasite than a friend. How about you join him, I'm sooooo sure he wouldn’t mind.” Dwight mocking threw back.

“Happily married. Anyways, I'm just here to tell you that it sound like things are moving up there. If anything breaks then you gonna have to pay for it.” She told him as they heard something break upstairs, it caught their attention as the woman raised her brow at Dwight. He sighed as he waited till the hunter was done to see what broke and see how much he’ll owe the inn. Dwight looked at his clothes, covered in sweat and dirt as the man upside clothes almost look clean. Then he remembers that his clothes are made for the wild, his aren’t. He let out saddened sigh but turned his head to a group of men.

“Damn, she got another one?”

“Yeah, crazy how easy she can defeat such a large group with just her and her friend. Hmm?” one of the men noticed Dwight listening in on them, he quickly turned away but the men didn’t mind him listening.

“Curious ey? Come on over.” Dwight went over to them and sat with them.

“Sorry for the intrusion…”

“It’s no problem, we’re talking about Lady Viper.”

“Lady Viper?”

“You never heard of her? Well you’re in for a treat. Lady Viper is another highly known bounty hunter, she rivals the Smokey King.

“Rival him how?”

“Like the Smokey King, she can kill anyone in a flash. She can show no mercy to anyone dumb enough to stop her in her path. She travels with her companion, she only trust him and him alone. But apparently, she’s on the move again and this one's for her rival. Apparently, he took someone from her territory, something she isn’t very fond of.”

“Territory?”

“Some bounty hunters travels a lot well some just stay within their home radius, she’s a bit of both. See, Lady Viper has a lot of territory all over the U.S. Whenever someone takes anything, rather it be plant, animal, human, she hunts whoever took it and kill them. Then she takes back what was stolen and put it back where it belonged, doesn’t matter if it comes back dead or alive.” Dwight continued to listen to the story and hearing what she’s capable of made him sweat. As he waits for the man upstairs fun to end, someone far was approaching the town they’re in. The fury they’re bringing burns hotter than the sun.

“From the information ma’am, he was heading in this town. A little pit stop I believe.”

“Adam, you don’t have to be formal with me you know?”

“Oh I know, it’s fun because it bothers you.”

“*Giggle* you big log, keep it up and i’ll sink you beneath the ground faster than a boat full of holes.”

“*Giggle* Sooooo scarrryyy, you really think he’ll be there?”

“Of course, bet he’s whoring himself to some tart. Let’s go.” the two continued to ride their horses. The noises upstairs stopped, the pair that went to the room with the hunter came back downstairs, oddly walking out the inn doors. Almost like they didn’t know how to walk. The man came downstairs himself, smoking a cigar as he buttons up his shirt and zipping up his pants. The server nodded at Dwight to follow her and he did, they look at what broke and discussed what he needed to pay. They went back downstairs and he paid with what little money he had left, he sighed and went back to the table where the man was now have a bottle of snake oil.

“*Sigh* Well, that was all that I had left on me. Anyways, didn’t know you whore yourself to both men and women.”

“No fun only sticking to one side.”

“Ugh, i’m going to la-” his stomach growled, causing him to clench his stomach again.

“Don’t you want to eat?”

“I would. If you didn’t act like an ape upstairs, I wouldn’t have to waste the remaining money I had for replacements for the inn! Now, i’m going to lay down and hopefully the room doesn’t smell like sex.” He went upstairs and his stomach continued to growl, for once the man felt sorry and went to one of the servers. He had an order placed and then took it to his room, he went inside and saw that Dwight haven’t slept yet.

“Hey uh...sorry. Here, at least eat something before you take a nap.”

“Seriously, I'm fine. I don’t want it…”

“Then you wouldn’t mind if I have it then?” a voice said as the door was kicked opened and in came Lady Viper herself with her Companion Adam, the hunter rolled over to grab his revolver but was too slow. She shot the gun out of his hand, having no way of defending himself.

“Tch, pathetic. Cuff them Adam.” Adam went over and cuffed Dwight and the man together.

“The hell you want Kate!?”

“You know damn well that it’s never a good idea than to take something from my territory, I’m taking this one back home, turning you in then make sure I'll be your executioner. Come on!” They took their belongings and waited outside for Kate, she whistled for a carriage and put the two inside. They rode out of town, they heard Kate chuckling about how easy it was to capture Smokey King.

“What was it this time King? Gambling? Intoxication?”

“Whoring himself, not to mention him causing a lot of noise well at it!” Dwight said out loud.

“Thank asshole.” Kate laughed at his sad excuse for letting his guard down, the carriage continues to go as it started to rock. They passed the prairie land the pair crossed during the morning and now on the rocky crayon terrain. Kate wanted to take a detour, she was going to turn him in first before taking Dwight home. Dwight would think that the Smokey King would be panicking, but when he turned to see him, he was calm. How? He was about to be turned in and possibly killed on the spot. Who can possibly be calm when death is about to meet him?

“(You seem calm…)”

“(That’s because I am, this usually happens. Follow my lead and don’t fuck anything up!)” Dwight didn’t understand, what did he mean by usually? Does this frequently happen between the two? He wonders but saw the man doing something, he shifted his arm that was behind his back to his front side by moving them under his legs. Dwight tried to mimic what he did but he fell down and tugging the hunter down a bit.

“Hey, knock it off you two! (I swear, men these days can’t stay put!)”

“(*Giggle* you’re never going to find a spouse with that heated mind of yours.)”

“(And you never get one yourself if you keep making snarky comments like that.)” they both shared a laugh as Dwight picks himself back up.

“I don’t know why you took this man King, it isn’t like you. Does he own you something?”

“...”

“Well doesn’t matter, count your hours jackass.” she threw back at his silence. Dwight did another attempt and succeed, the hunter nodded to his left and saw the keys. Dwight caught on to his idea, they both started to move slowly to the key and slowly started reaching for them.

“Really thought you were slick, huh?” Kate turned and punches Dwight clear in his face, sending him back and falling on the floor. Dwight landed and saw an extra pair of cuffs. Kate put her revolver under the man’s chin.

“You thought you can get away again huh? Not this time!”

“What can I say, maybe I can off-whoa hold on!” Kate pointed the gun at his crotch.

“Watch your mouth! I don’t got time for your flirting King! Once we’re through this crayon, you’re finished! Now say pu- huh?” Kate felt something on her wrist, then felt a hard tug then found herself cuff to Adam’s wrist. This made the carriage sway a bit due to Adam starting to lose control of the horses, they have to be careful because they are treading on a cliffside of the crayon.

“THE HELL YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING!?”

“THIS!” Dwight panicked and threw the key off the carriage, thinking he did something smart but he turned his head to see three faces heated and giving off steam. Dwight threw the only key for both the cuffs, Kate in a blinding anger started shooting at him. She missed all her shots, her blindly shooting frightened the horses. It rock the carriage violently, causing the horses to break free and the carriage to ride uncontrollably with no way of stopping it. The unstableness of the carriage threw Dwight and the man out and they descend down the cliffside of the crayon, Kate and Adam continued to ride on the cliffside as Kate curses fate for getting in her way yet again. The two continue to fall to their deaths, but the chain to their cuff caught on a branch hanging on the cliff wall. The men were now hanging off on the branch.

“Great, FUCKING GREAT! I knew I should of shot your ass right then and there, why the fuck you thought throwing the key was a good idea!?”

“I-I panicked, i’m sorry, really!”

“OH YOU’RE GOING TO BE SORRY ALRIGHT!” he shouted as he pointed his revolver at Dwight, the sudden shift in movement made the branch break a bit and lowering them, it’ll only be a matter of time before the branch breaks and causes them to fall again. The pair looked below them, the drop was deep. They saw a river going along the crayon but from their spot it looked too narrow and small, the man put his fingers in his mouth and let out a loud whistle that echoed throughout the crayon. Within minutes, his trusty horse came to his call. It stood at the top of the cliff they fell as it neigh in confusion.

“HEY, TRY TO FIND A WAY DOWN THE CLIFF, OK?” The horse left the cliff and the two men continued to hang. Time passed and the sun had already set, night took over again and covered the clear sky with stars again. The branch made another cracking noise, it was lowering the two again.

“Listen to me, whatever you do, don’t frail.” he said, he then pointed his gun at the cuffs chains and shot it. It broke the chain the pairs cuff and they began falling to the bottom of the crayon. Dwight ended up frailing and panicking, something the man told him not to do. He sighed again and pulled in Dwight and held him in his arms. As they descend, the river size grew bigger and bigger. He took himself and Dwight and dived into the river, breaking their fall and causing less injuries for the pair. The impact made a huge splash, wetting anything that was near the radius of the river. The two emerged from the water and walked on dry land. Dwight went to the cliff wall to sit and catch his breath, he couldn’t believe that he survived that. But before he even get a chance to dry him, he was met kick to his stomach, pinning him to the wall as he looked up to see the man holding his revolver in his face again.

Chapter Text

Dwight was pinned, he had nowhere to run or hide, the gun was pointed at his face as his heart pumps vigorously. Sweat covered his face as he desperately tries to weasel his way out of this.

“W-w-w-wait! Y-you-”

“SHUT UP! I’M DONE WITH YOUR SHIT!”

“B-but wait! T-there’s a key!”

“CUT THE SHIT, I DIDN’T HEAR ANYTHING ABOUT A KEY!”

“B-But of course, I-I’m his son after all. I would on-” He stopped, the man cocked his gun. Dwight world slowed down, he saw the man’s finger reaching for the trigger. In mere seconds, his life was about to end. His heart pumped and pumped, then his vision blurred. His mouth began to dry and his breathing became irregular. Then it happened, he fainted in front of the man. He didn’t move as his glasses slipped off his face due to the sweat.

“Oh that trick isn’t going to work on me! …, hmmmm?” He took his foot of Dwight’s body and saw that it instantly dropped without any type of resistance.

“(Hmm, he passed out. Like it matter, done with this bullshit!)” He readied his aim but then he heard something coming his way, his horse. The horse went in front of the man to block him from Dwight.

“Move it!”

“*Disagreeing neigh*”

“I’m taking this, we could of done this easy but he didn’t want to!”

“*Arguing neigh*”

“So what? If he listened-”

“*Arguing neigh*”

“I am not mad, plus he doesn’t have any friends. No one is going to miss this man.”

“*Questionable neigh*”

“I don’t need friends, these lands you can’t trust anyone.”

“*Convincing neigh*”

“M-maybe… I-I am a little heated. (He said a key, was he lying?)” The man put away his gun and waited for Dwight to wake up. After about an hour, he finally woke up, but from another nightmare. He was surprised to find himself alive and not turned into swiss cheese. Then he felt the tongue of the horse licking his face to calm him down. Then he turned to the man who was emitting a lot of heat, he wasn’t happy with Dwight at the moment.

“...”

“..., you said a key right? Is there really one?” Dwight panicked again, but that same panicked mind is what continued him to use the lie.

“Y-yes! But we need to find the spot first.” he told

“...”

“...”

“I’m going to make this clear, If I get the slightest hint that you’re lying, I’ll fucking kill you!”

“O-ok…” the man looked at his surroundings as Dwight couldn’t believe he dug himself deeper into the hole that he couldn’t get out in the first place. The man recognized where they are and told Dwight to follow him, they followed up the river and stopped at a sloped cliffside. He told his horse to search for a way up as the men climb the wall. By the time they made it up, their hands were roughed up and Dwight’s clothes were beyond dirty. He knew his clothes weren’t made for the wild but now you couldn’t even call them clothes. The horse find her way to them and they rode in a direction to a town he knew was nearby. Once in town, they went to the inn, David paid for the rooms and sat at the table with Dwight. He threw his hat off, exposing his buzzcut hair around his head except the top which was greyish brown. The man buried his face in his hand and took in a deep breath. Dwight sat in silence, he looked away like he was a child who’s about to receive punishment from their parents. The man removed his hands from his face, removed his trench coat and place it over his chair and faced Dwight.

“Ok, since you have a FUCKING problem with listening to the most simpliest shit, I have to lay down some harsh ground rules. Rule one, no me fucking running away from me, do I make myself CLEAR!” he shouted as he slammed his hands on the table, spooking the customers and frightening Dwight as he answers him.

“Y-yes…”

“Rule two, whatever I say goes. No ifs, no buts, no maybes. My say only matters, not yours, got it!?”

“Yes…”

“Rule three, no more fancy language. People are observant, Dwight. If a spec of dust is out of line, they’ll know.” Dwight remember being watched from others whenever he talks, the man was right. They’re two distinct people, someone can tell that something is up if he continued to talk like that.

“Ok…” he said as he lowers his head, the man took in another deep breath. A server came over to them to take their order.

“What will you two be having?”

“I-I will ha-”

“YOU GET SHIT!” The man shouted as he slammed his hands again, it scared the two and catching the attention of the other customers again.

“I-I’m sorry, i’m just a little over the edge. Two house special, a bottle of snake oil for me and something citus to drink for him.” The server wrote it down and left the table. Dwight needed some air and went outside. He saw the horse tied down to the stable, he went over to rub her heads as the man leaned on a beam.

“You know, I was going to kill you when you passed out, but she was the one you block me from you. She isn’t as heartless as me, she really must like you.” he said, Dwight turned back to the horse and smiled.

“I would of been dead if it wasn’t for you, thank you...errrr. What’s her name?”

“Ask her yourself .”

“You’re not going to tell me that she can talk, are you?”

“No, she’s a special horse.”

“Special how?”

“She understands everything we’re saying right now. I can usually tell what she’s saying by her jesters and neighs.”

“Then how am I supposed to get an answer from her?” The man nodded his head to her hooves, Dwight looked and saw the horse doing a stepping motion with one of her legs.

“Stomping…? Wait, no! Morse code? ...H-E-Y. She said hey to me!”

“Animals are a whole lot smarter than humans, especially this one here. She learned morse code around the same time as me, so only those who learned it can communicate with her. So, go ahead and ask for her name.”

“Ok! I’m Dwight Fairfield, what is your name?” the horse neighed and did the stepping motion again.

“B-U-M-B-L-E-L-Y, Bumblely hmmm, nice to meet you.” Bumblely licked his face again and caused Dwight to laugh, the man went inside as the two continued to talk.

“You really are a special horse huh? Hey...I don’t know if this is ok but...what’s his name?” the horse did it stepping motion again.

“Not...real, huh? What do you mean, does he not have a name?” the horse neighed in disappointment, it did it stepping motion again.

“D-A-V-I-D K-I-N-G, David King? Ok, probably shouldn’t let him know I know his name.” He headed back inside, ate their food and went to their room. Dwight took off his dirty clothes and stepped into the washroom to clean himself. After he was done, he saw David in his bed. Dwight went to his and laid down himself. Silence filled the room, but Dwight ended up breaking it.

“Hey...sorry.”

“..., go to sleep Dwight.”

“This is normally the part where you say you forgive me.”

“If the world can forgive on a simple sorry, then we wouldn’t have a history of bloodshed.” Dwight felt horrible, he cover himself with the blanket. David was right, a sorry doesn’t equal forgiveness.

“...*sigh*, I know what you said but...I really am sorry. I panicked and I don’t really work well under pressure. I wasn’t trying to get you killed. Again, sorry and...goodnight.”

“..., thank you, really. Goodnight.” the pair went to sleep but one thing still lingered inn his mind. What did Bumblely meant but “not real”? What isn’t real about David? As he continues to figure out what she meant, the carriage from earlier was still in the crayon. A fist came through the cloth then a woman filled with fury rises out of it. Her face red as the setting sun and heat hotter than a campfire.

“GOD DAMMIT! Every Time I have King on the ropes, something comes and get in my way!”

“Maybe if you didn't just started shooting blindly, maybe we wouldn’t end up like this.”

“Oh can it, you giant! I swear, I hate that shit! Especially that Banker, hell’s his problem throwing the key!?” she shouted as she shoots the cuff off her and Adam.

“Think that’s not the biggest issue here, i’m sure you know what I mean.” Adam said as he brushes the dirt of his clothing.

“Of course, it isn’t for King to just come out of nowhere and takes someone from their home, let alone a Banker from backwater town.”

“Whatever it is, we won’t know now. South of here is a town we can rest in, it’s best if we go there.”

“You’re right, come on. (Seriously King, why did you take a Banker with you? What do you know that involves him?)” she thought to herself. The two begone their walk to the nearest town. The event that happened to them wasn't nearly as unexpected compared to somewhere else. A few days before hand, Claudette and Feng made it to another town but night fell on their arrival. The forest they left brought them to another crayon but before the venture it, they chose to resupply with the money they have and properly rest. The night was still young for them, they set at a table and discuss their next step.

“We’re low on money…, how much you have Feng?”

“Not a lot, I didn’t think I would need much but the countryside is just as costly as the city. Maybe we should do a bounty?”

“I thought about it but I get self-conscious and remember what Dwight tells me.”

“What did he say?”

“He said I’m too unaware, that I'm oblivious to danger.” she explained as she puffs her cheeks and crosses her arms.

“I get that a lot too from some of my traveling companions, I ignored them. Can’t go traveling if I don’t have a sense of danger.”

“Anyways, maybe we shouldn’t do something as dangerous as bounty hunting. We should resupply though.”

“True, we better take a look around town.” the pair left the inn they were and went outside, the lamp posts were on to light the area. It was a small town yet it holds so much beauty, some carriages were being pushed, some men were talking to the local prostitutes around. Some people set out some desserts for the night air to cool off, the was clear and they saw how the stars blanket the night sky once again. They went to the general store to see what they could get, the store was small and cramped but that what you should expect from a small town. They looked around and found some items useful for them, but the prices on them made the pair back off. In the end, they couldn’t really get anything useful but a camping tent. Feng had a tent of her, but it was in the carriage that got raided days ago. They wave the store keep goodbye and stepped back outside. As they started to walk back, Claudette bumped into someone. She apologized to him instantly but the man didn’t mind, would be pointless and rude to get upset for bumping into someone. Especially at night where you can’t see well. The man was older than both of them combined. His hair was white as snow confirming that he’s at least in his sixties, eyes blue like clean ocean water. His face was riddled with a white bushy beard with a cigar in his mouth. He wore a simple tan shirt tucked in his brown pants with an empty holster on his hip. His body stuck out the most, his body was in prime shape for his hold age.

“You two seems...odd, clearly aren’t from these parts of the country.” he said with an old, rugged voice.

“No, I'm from a small town in Maryland, but I was born in New York.”

“A city girl living in the countryside, you don’t hear that everyday. Most people would kill to live in the city. Must make good money?”

“Yes, I'm a nurse for my town.”

“Hmmmm, well the countryside could always use more nurses and doctors, what about you little Miss?”

“I'm a traveling archaeologist, I travel from place to place and learning about history and possible unknown occurrences.”

“So, we have a nurse and a graverobber. Odd combo”

“I AM NOT A GRAVE-” The old man gripped her head and started to squeeze it, causing a bit of a pain for Feng as she tries to loosen his grip on her head.

“Shut it brat, no need to be so damn loud, especially at night!” He let go of her head and she ran and hid behind Claudette.

“Anyways, it’s dangerous at night. You know how some people be at night, especially men.”

“We will...uh…”

“Just call me Bill for now.”

“Claudette Morel!”

“Feng Min…”

“Well I wish you ladies a good night.” The man walked away and the pair went back into the inn, ate then sleep. Morning soon arrived and the pair went out of the room, they’re stomachs growled. They were hungry but they don't have too much money to eat, let alone spend another night. They walked down the stairs of the inn and someone called for them, Bill. He was sipping on black coffee by himself at a table. The pair went to him and sat with the elderly man.

“Bill! What are you doing here?”

“Didn’t feel like making my own breakfast, so I came here and the sound of your stomachs mean you two must be starving.”

“Oh Bill, you don’t have to.”

“No worries, passing travelers gotta stay strong.” He said, the server came to get their orders and left their table. They chatted with the old man and even told them why they were traveling as he finishes his coffee, Bill sweated but kept a smile to disguise his worry. Their order was taking a bit too long, so Bill went to the bar counter to speak to them. As Bill walks to the counter, the server came with their food. Claudette called for him, he saw their food but since he was already at the bar, he decided to get a drink to bring back. As he what’s for his drink, he looked around in the inn. It was packed with customers, which is unusual for the town. Then a man came to the counter next to him.

“Lots of people here.”

“Yeah, that’s because of a bounty. Apparently the person is here.” Bill started to sweat again, he took a sip of his drink as he watches the pair enjoy their pancakes.

“Bounty huh? Who’s the guy?”

“The Becker.”

“Heard of him, he was a member of a gang. Really high up in the ranks back that was years ago, shouldn’t his bounty be gone?”

“Bounties are like skin, always on you, no matter how much time passes. From someone who was well acquainted with him, he goes by a nickname name of Bill.” Bill continue to drink without showing any signs of worry. The man started to get closer to him, Bill took in a deep breath and finished the rest of his drink.

“You know, I just wanted a peaceful and relaxing morning but I guess that’s out the window.” Bill slammed the glass into the man’s face, he scream, catching everyone's attention.

“IT’S BECKER, GET HIM!”

“OH HELL!” Bill looked at the pair but saw they were still eating without a care in the world. He turned to see four men running after him, he punched one in the stomach then picked him up and threw him at the other one but he dodged it. Then a burly man came with a knife and started swinging on him, he grabbed an ashtray, threw the cigar in the air and used the tray to block the knife attacks. Another man was coming from behind. So Bill blocked another knife attack, caught the cigar out the air, took in a drag, blew the smoke at the man behind him to blind him. As the man rub the smoke out his eyes, Bill smacks the other one in his face with the tray then punched him with the tray. It shattered and the man fell back. Bill turned to the one behind him and kicked him straight in the face, sending the man across the inn and into a wall. As Bill let out a sigh, he remembered that there were four men. He turned but the fourth man gripped Bill throats and pushes them to the pairs table.

“Bill! Wondering when you was gonna get back, our food here!” Claudette said but he couldn’t talk properly.

“Hurry up Bill, your food is getting cold!”

“F..k! Y.ur f.rk!”

“My what?”

“I think he wants your fork, Claudette.” He looked at looked Bill who was turning purple and gave him her fork, Bill went to stab the man with it but he blocked it with his hand and went back to choking Bill. Bill got a hold of the pairs plates, tosses the pancakes in the air. The pair let out a saddened sigh as Bill slammed the plates into the man's head, letting him go and making Bill be able to catch his breath. He then took Feng’s fork and stabbed the man in the head, killing him instantly. Bill grabbed two new plates and forks from another table, caught the pancakes in the air and set them for Claudette and Feng. As they let out a cheerful sound, they continued to eat as three more people came up to him. Two men and one woman. The woman seemed to be the leader of the three, Bill took another drag and threw the cigar into one of the men’s eye. The other man ran up with a knife of his own, he landed some cuts on Bill, forcing him to back up. He noticed a large shard of the plate he shattered on the man and picked it up, he went over to Feng to ask her for something.

“FENG! A SCARF, A LONG ONE. DO YOU HAPPEN TO HAVE ONE!?”

“Ummm...I think in my bag, it’s a long red one.” Bill ran up to the stairs but the man ran in front of him, Bill kicked up a chair and kicked it to the man. The man pushed the chair but Bill stabbed his side with the plate shard, grabbed his head and pulled the man face to his knee. It caved in his face and caused him to faint with bleed running from his nose and his teeth now broken. Bill ran up to the women's room and went in Feng’s bag, he pulled out the red scarf. He exits the room but he was pulled to the railing of the stairs, he punches Bill a few times and kicked him to the bar counter from above. He landed on the counter and shattered some glasses filled with alcohol but Bill rolled off and stood in front of the man, the man ran to him but slipped on the alcohol that was spilled on the floor thanks to the glasses shattering on his back. The man banged his head on the ground and made himself pass out.

“Well that was anticlimactic…”

“Tch, useless idiots! Get ready old man, i’m not as easy as them!”

“You do seem more skilled than them but.” Bill took the red scarf and took the man’s knife, he wigde the knife in the scarf and swung it around like a whip. Bill showed off his skills with his swinging, it impressed the woman but she wasn’t afraid. She charges towards Bill but like the other man, she also slipped on the alcohol on the floor and banged her head to the floor. She passed out as well and Bill sighed.

“Guess you were no different from the other two.” he said, he did some stretches but stopped when he heard a scream. A man pushes him back into the inns kitchen, the man grabbed one of the kitchen knives. Bill grabbed whatever he could and grabbed a pot lid, and a ladel. The man swung furiously as Bill blocks and attacks back. The man kicked Bill in his stomach and pushes him back, Bill dropped his weapon and saw the man coming at him again. He took the nearest object which was a frying pan and smack the man across his face with it. The man spun and knocked into a shelf, some of the items fell on the kitchen burner and Bill walked out. So far he defeated eight people so far. He walked out the kitchen door but panicked, two men were approaching Claudette and Feng who were still eating. The men tried to grab them but they ducked down because Feng saw something on the floor and told Claudette to look. The men went back trying to grab them, but Bill picked up the scarf, roped it to a support beam and swung towards them. He kicked one of the men in the face, sending him out the inn doors as he swings back to the bar counter. He landed and pulled the scarf off the beam and threw it to the other man, it roped his arm and Bill pulled him forward towards him. Bill took the knife out and stabbed the man in the throat, his blood glosses the bar stand as he falls to the floor bleeding out. Bill was tired and it was still morning, but he wasn’t finished. More and more people started to walk to him, ready to take him down and claim his bounty. As he prepares himself, he smelled something burning. He turned his head to the kitchen doors and saw a fire started in the kitchen.

“HEY UH YOU TWO, HOW ABOUT WE EAT OUTSIDE!? IT A FRESH MORNING AIR CAN DO US GOOD!?”

“Hey Claudette, that doesn't sound too bad of an idea.”

“Ok, let’s do it! Come on Bill!” the pair went out of the doors and were outside waiting on Bill, Bill needed a plan to get out of this problem but it didn’t matter. The inn had an explosion and the place burned and crumbled down. The only thing left standing was the entrance to the building and the pairs baggages.

“OH NO! ...we didn’t get our drink!” Claudette shouted.”

“Guess we’re sticking to water…hey where’s Bill?” Feng asked, they turned around to see Bill walking out of the doors of once was the inn, covered in ash, making his entire body look grey. He looked at the two but he didn’t say a word, until Feng made a comment about him abandoning breakfast.

“WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU TWO!?”

“Why are you yelling Mr. Bill?”

“DIDN’T YOU TWO SEE HAT MESS THAT HAPPENED HERE!?”

“Yeah, we didn’t get our drinks. Talk about quality service…”

“Oh don’t be like that Feng, i’m sure they were busy. Anyways, thanks for the breakfast Bill, hope we can meet again!” the two set down their plates, unexpectedly found their bags and walked northward. The general store owner and his wife came by to look at the wreckage.

“I see you made some new friends, Bill.” the wife joked as she looks at the remains of the inn.

“I don’t want to ever meet those two again, how can two people be that oblivious to danger!?”

“You say that Bill, but you’re definitely the type who’s keen on watching people. Regardless if they asked or not.”

“Oh yeah? Watch this, i’m going home.” Bill started to walk his way home until.

“Hey, aren’t that the road that leads to the dead man gorg?” the wife said. In an instant, Bill run home, quickly cleaned himself, packed whatever he can then zipped pass the owner and his wife to catch up to the others. They shared a laugh but glad that Bill is watching over the two, and may he protect them from any type of danger heading their way. As they watch Bill run to the women, another woman came across them.

“Excuse me?”

“Oh, a foreigner?”

“Yes, I arrived two days ago. I was in the town south from here and I was pointed here. I’m looking for someone, have you by chance seen anyone odd?” she asked, the wife explained to her what had just happened but it didn’t help in the slightest.

“Hmmmmm, doesn’t exactly helps me. I’m looking for a male, he was last seen with a man in dark clothing.”

“Hmmmm, know that you mention it. A few days ago, there was a man passing by in dark clothing with another man who seemed unconscious. I believed he was heading west. I’ll hurry if I was you, I saw some dark clouds coming, might be storming soon.” The woman nodded and thanked the wife for the information and headed west.

“Hmm…”

“What is it?” the husband asked.

“She said she came from the town from the south right? That’s a week and a half trip by horse alone, but she arrived to America a few days ago?” The husband realized that too but when they turn to look at the woman again, she vanished.

Chapter Text

Somewhere far, it was a cold and rainy day. Numerous children played in what seemed to be a manor. It was quite large, it was big enough to play a number of children's games. The adults in the house were either cooking, cleaning, repairing, anything you typically see an adult do. The children laugh and play to their heart's content, except one. He was a very small boy, possibly around the age of four. He was a new addition of the house, the house of the King 's. He was taking in at the age of two, or so what he was told but did it matter? The adults that came to get him only came to do the same thing to him that they been doing the past week, to say his new name. A servant of the manor took him into a room, it was dark with dim lighting, cold and dirty. The boy was shaking, he didn’t want to repeat this, is this the day where he finally cracks? As the thought crosses his mind, a fist came into the boy’s stomach. The child fell instantly, crying for his mother and father, his real one’s. Why did these people want him to have this name? What’s wrong with the one he has now? He couldn’t come up with an answer as a fury of fist and belt lashes out on him. If he wanted it to stop, he’ll have to accept the name.

SAY IT! WHAT IS YOUR NAME!?” A server shouted at him.

“*Whimper* I-I don’t g-get it, w-what wro-

NO! THAT’S IS NOT WHAT I ASKED FOR!” The server lashes out attacks on the boy again.

AUAUUHHGHHEHE, P-please...stop. Mommy...daddy…, p-please h-help m-me…

WHAT IS YOUR NAME DAMMIT!”

D-D-David...K-King…” the boy whimpered as crawls and shields himself in a corner, shaking in fear of being attacked again.

Good, was it so hard? If you haven’t resist then you wouldn’t be so damage. Burn that name in your mind, you are David King.” the servant said, the man closes the door. As the door shut, thunder clapped. David woke up in a cold sweat, he looked around the room he was in. He heard nothing but the heavy rain outside and it thundering friend making even louder noise in the sky. He turned to Dwight who was still sleeping soundly in his bed, it must still be night. It was difficult to tell with the dark clouds in the sky when he looked out the window. He also looked out to see how Bumblely was doing. She was fine and dry, one of the inns keeps put a cover over her to keep her warm. He went back to bed and fell back to sleep, hopefully he wouldn’t relive that nightmare. Time passed and morning came, but the dark clouds were still hanging in the sky as the roaring thunder and pouring rain continued to make obnoxious noises. David woke up to Dwight screaming in the room.

“Fairfield, the hell you screaming for you!?”

“HER!” he screamed, David turned his head and saw her. A woman was standing in the middle of the room as the thunder clapped with the flashes of lightning making her appearance more frightening and ominous. She had a smile on her face, David screamed as well as Dwight jumped from his bed and hid behind David. David grabbed his gun and pointed it at the mysterious woman.

“Hey! I’m Rin!” she said with a cheery voice.

“...”

“...”

“I’m looking for a man, his name is Dwight Fairfield! He was last seen with a man in dark clothing heading west! Could it be you two?” she asks the duo.

“I ain’t telling you anything regarding him!”

“P-plus you can’t just appear in someone’s room l-like that unannounced!” Dwight shouted at her. The woman stared at them, her cheerful presence ceased as she filled the room with cold dread. The pair looked at her eyes, dead as a fish. The two swayed left and right, but her eyes watched them, like a predator watching their prey.

“So, you two refuse to give out the information regarding to Dwight Fairfield?” she said, her voice gave them chills, she sounded like she wasn’t even human.

“Yeah, so what?”

“You acknowledge that I’m looking for him, have information leading to him but refuses to answer. Those who steps on my path to prevent my task are considered threats.” she answered, her eyes shifted again and this time she was analyzing David.

“Male, height? Tall, caucasian, greyish brown hair on top well the rest of his head is shaven. Two tattoos, a rose on the neck behind his left ear and lion on his right forearm, a brand mark of a crown below the neck. Body type, athletic, proving he takes extreme care of his body physical capabilities. His Achilles tendencies healed improperly yet still able to walk. Weapon of choice, six rounds revolver. Threat level, high-intermediate.” Her inhuman analysis freaked the duo out, David understand how she got such an accurate analysis from only a frontal view. The woman went to look at Dwight who was still hiding behind David.

“Male, height? slightly above average, caucasian, short brown hair slicked to the side. Round glasses with special lens with a thin beard. Body frame, slightly skinny with body hair. Possibly be malnourished, threat level, low but could be a potential threat in the future.” She said, what is she? She couldn’t possibly be human, David didn’t want her getting near Dwight. He grabbed a chair, kicked it towards her and fired three rounds at her. She smiled as she removed the cloth from the object she was carrying and unleashed her blade. In a flash, she sliced the chair in pieces as six holes were in the room’s wall. The two was stunned, they didn’t even see her move, all they saw was a long white blade being put back in its case.

“(DID YOU SEE THAT!? SHE TURNED THE CHAIR INTO PIECES! Hey!? Didn’t you hear me!?)”

“(I heard you, but that isn’t my concerned.)”

“(What is more concerning than a woman who did that to a chair that easily!?)”

“(Dwight, there’s six holes in the wall…)”

“(S-so?)”

“(I only fired three…)” Dwight remembers now, he did only fired three times. The woman somehow cut through each bullet, she must have inhuman like reaction time, who is she? How can someone have the reaction time to cut not just one, but all three of the bullets. The woman looked back up and stared at them again with her dead eyes.

“Threats turned into hostiles, preparing termination.”

“(Listen, i’ll distract her. Take Bumblely and run!)”

“(What!? Are you insane!?)”

“(What did I tell you last night!? Whatever I say goes!)” David reminded him, Dwight took in a deep breath and ignored what he said and went in front of him.

“W-w-wait! You said you’re looking for Dwight Fairfield, right? I’m here...it’s me.”

“(WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?)”

“(TRYING NOT TO GET US TO TURN INTO SLICED BREAD!)”

“Dwight Fairfield? What the name of your father?”

“Douglas Fairfield.”

“What’s your occupation?”

“Banker for a small town in central Maryland.”

“...Show me your back.” Dwight heart rate increased again, but he rather stay alive right now. David gripped his shoulder, telling him it's the wrong move. Dwight ignored him and started to take his shirt off, he turned around and showed her the tattooed map on his back. The woman inspected the map as she puts away her blade as life came back into her eyes.

“S-so what? Are you going to kill us?”

“Why would I do that? I did say I was looking for you. It’s better if we talk this out. I’ll be waiting downstairs.” She exits out of the room, the men had no choice but to get dressed and head downstairs. David stopped Dwight and handed him another pair of clothing.

“It’s better that you change your appearance, people are getting shifty eyes when they see a banker with a bounty hunter. Plus, you clothes are beyond repair and weren't made for the wild lands.” With no other clothing options, he put on the outfit he gave him. It matched the outfit David wears usually minus the coat and a smaller hat.

“How is it?”

“Bland, what’s with the boring colors?”

“Oh quit your whining, let’s go.” They went downstairs and saw the woman with a cheery smile at one of the tables, they sat down with her as she already ordered drinks for everyone.

“Let me properly introduce myself. I’m Rin Yamaoka, sorry for the scare I gave you guys.”

“L-let’s just forget that...haha.”

“Anyways, why the hell were you in our room?”

“I asked around if anyone seen a man in dark clothing and the inn keep pointed me to the room.”

“Ok...but why are you here?” She handed them a piece of paper, Dwight leaned his head over as David read what was on it.

To whoever my son be with, rather it be friend, foe, lover, please hear my request. Please help guide my son to the west, there you’ll find an artist who I'm well acquainted. He’s the only one with the replica of the map and knows the location. I know what you’re thinking but he has no desire of my riches. The main focus of going there is to get the replica because I know my son will have back injuries that’ll damage the tattoo, but I want my son to get to it first. May his decision to what will happen to my riches be the important one out of everyone he’s with. I sent a swordsman from the east to be his guardian, I pray you all a safe journey. Signed by Douglas Fairfield.”

“H-he wants me to determine what will happen?”

“Yes, he paid me in advance to be your guardian. I’m tasked to protect you on your way to the spot”

“(*sigh* I-I don’t want to do this, honestly I just want to go home…)”

“(Regardless, I’m not exactly going to let you go in general, even if that woman can turn me into sliced meat.) Well, i’m looking for the treasure myself. Welcome aboard, Rin. You can call me King.”

“Thank you Mr. King!”

“(I’m surrounded by psychopaths!)”

“Anyways, that blade of yours. Pretty shiny, what can of material it’s made of?”

“It’s quite the story. Dwight, you look studious, have you heard of the story of the “blessed blade”?”

“A bit, had someone translate it for me since it was in another language.”

“Blessed blade?”

“It’s a japanese fairy tale told to children. The starts with a woman who was the granddaughter of a blacksmith, she was stargazing one day. During that night, a star from the night lost it way and fell in front of her. The star was shining with pure white radiance with it rocky like texture. She went to get her grandfather to show him. He was awestruck of the size and the glow it gave off, they wanted to break it down and see what they can do with it. But the village elders forbid it, saying that it’s a gift from the heavens and they shouldn’t anger the gods. The woman ignored what the elders said. So every night, she goes out with her tools and tries to excavate it. Her tools broke and she was only able to get small bits of the star, but she didn’t stop. After many nights, she had enough material from the star and with days of hard work and lack of sleep. She was able to make two things from the materials she gathered, a samurai blade that beams with white radiance and a black case for it to conceal the light. The blade couldn’t be broken by any means and can cut through solid object if in the right hands but there is a twist. An illness befalls the woman. As a last ditch effort, she prayed her spirit into the blade. Only those who soul resonate with her can wield the blade, if not, the blade weighs too much for anyone to hold thanks to the material it was made with.”

“Ok...but what’s the point of the story?” David asked them.

“I think the message was if you’re determined enough, keep continuing regardless of what others tell you.”

“Ok, but can a blade like that possibly exist?”

“It does and I can show you! Excuse me, you have any spare tables?” Rin asked the server.

“Eh...yes?” Rin gave her some money, stood up and grabbed her sword case on the table. The table immediately got crushed by the blade and into the floor, causing a dirt cloud to puff up from the impact. Everyone in the inn jaw dropped as Dwight hid behind David again, David went to pick the blade but it wouldn’t budge. Then others came to try but all failed, then Rin came and picked up the blade with ease. They moved to another table as the story of the blade is true.

“I-I can’t believe this…”

“Told you! It’s true!”

“How can you even move that thing?”

“Like the story Dwight told, my soul resonate with the spirit in this blade. So I can swing it how much I want. As long as it stays on me, it’ll remain light but-”

“But?” he pair said together.

“Remember what happened to the floor? I can do that if i’m holding the blade, it’s only light in my hands, but its heavy when it comes into contact with anything else.” she explained.

“Oh I get it.”

“I sure the hell don’t!”

“Because you can’t open your mind, I told you it’s the west, expect the unexpected. Anyways, the chair I threw at her was pretty sturdy, even an ordinary blade couldn’t cut it like that. But since the weight of the blade is heavy when something other than Rin touches it, and with Rin swinging it with such speed. It can cut through thick object like it was paper.” David explained, Rin nodded confirming what he just said was correct.

“Well, since she’ll be tagging along, we’re going now.”

“W-what!?”

“You read the note, your dad wants you to get to his riches first. I want to get it first as well and Rin here is going to help us since she’s your bodyguard.”

“HOLD ON A DAMN MINUT-” The man stood in front of Dwight, his presence was intense and unnerving, the devil himself would of thought twice. He gripped Dwight by his shirt and pulled himself forward.

“I told you, WHATEVER I SAY GOES!” He shouted at him, he would of continued but Rin pointed her blade at David. Her eyes went cold and voided like how she was upstairs.

“My primary task is to protect Douglas son, anyone who threatens his life meets the tip of my blade in their throat.”

“Put that blade away, i’m not a threat. We’re all after the same thing!”

“You don’t get to decide if you’re a threat or not, he does. So Dwight, is he a threat or not?”

“Yes, Dwight. Am I a threat?”

“Choose!” both of them said with a threatening voice, he knew his answer. of course, David was a threat. But why, why didn’t those words come out of his mouth, why were they so difficult to say. Then he looked at him, his eyes piercing his mind like a bullet was fired straight in his head, it made his heart race again. Then he turned to Rin who stared at him with her eyes, so dead and lifeless, like staring right in the void. He felt himself being sucked into her cold dark void and even felt it choking him, the pressure both of them made his mind spiral as his irrational thoughts infested his head.

“R-R-Rin?”

“Yes.”

“King...is...not a threat, lower your weapon.”

“Glad we’re on board.” David went outside to check on the horse as Rin put her blade back in the case but Dwight remain standing. He was ashamed of himself, he could of picked the answer that could have ended this travel with David, but he panicked. Like in the carriage, he couldn’t handle the pressure and went with what his body made him do.

“(DAMMIT FAIRFIELD, h-how can you be afraid of a man if a woman who can cut anything with ease is in front of you. Stupid, SO FUCKING STUPID!)” He wanted to cry but he rather not cause another scene in the inn. David came back inside and looked at the two, he saw Dwight’s defeated face as Rin was cheery as before.

“Listen up, we took a little too long so we’re going to pick up the pace. No stops until we’re two states across.”

“Two states!? That’ll take us at least two months alone on horse!”

“Which is why we’re not doing any real stops except sleeping. Am I clear with you two?”

“I’m with it!”

“...yes.”

“Then let’s go.” the three left out the end, squeezed on Bumbely and set off. Like Dwight said, it was a couple month, whatever David said goes. The only real stop was when they either was doing a quick bounty or resting outside, Dwight sits out on the bounty hunt. He wasn’t fit for fighting or killing but those two were. He swore that he saw some sort of pleasure from those two when they get into a fight, or a kill. Many days and nights past, they hardly slept in inns. They kept traveling through crayons, forests and prairie fields. Dwight did learned some things about his companions, David is very intelligent in both the wild and academics, he just chooses not to show it off so he won’t catch anyone’s attention. He also found out he isn’t american, he’s a foreigner like Rin but you couldn’t tell because he doesn’t have an accent. As for Rin, her mother admired the american lifestyle and always wanted to visit America. She even studied english and taught what she knew to Rin, they knew a foreigner that came to their area to help with some of their pronunciations. Morning rises and they were resting in another forest, they all woke up but held their noses, they all smell.

“Yikes, didn’t think we smell this bad.”

“If we were in an inn instead of a forest, maybe we can clean ourselves!” Dwight barked at David.

“We don’t need an inn to clean ourselves, give me a moment.” David went in his belongings and pulled out bars of soap and a washboard.

“We can use the river bed here to clean our clothes.”

“S-so we just going to…”

“Yup, we’re taking off everything, even our bridges. Rin, you can go first if you want.” she did went first and went to the far end of the bed where the pair couldn’t see her. After hours of her doing her clothing and cleaning, she returned smelling and looking fresh. She handed them the washboard and they stripped down all their clothes, except Dwight who was embarrassed and kept his underwear on.

“Come on, take them off.”

“I-I not comfortable…”

“I’ll turn one and you turn the other. Easy, remember what I said.” Dwight went the suggestions, he turned around as David threw him the washboard. David told him he knows how to clean without one. As they clean, Dwight did peaked over a bit to look at David. David back was towards him and was completely unaware of Dwight looking at him. He couldn’t help but stare at David’s body frame, he was built like a brick house. He had numerous scars and bullet wounds on him going up and down his torso with some scars on his arms, he saw the tattoos and the brand marking Rin spoke of. The one with the rose and the one with a lion and the brand mark of a crown, but his heels disturbed him. His achilles tendons was scarred, almost like it was cut. Then he saw the scar go up his from his heel to his calf. The way how the scar looked, it didn’t heal quite well when it happened. He remembered what Claudette told him. When the achilles heel is cut, it needs extreme medical treatment. Very rare that it can heal on its own. But the scar was old, when could this possibly happened? As much that thought ran in his mind, he went back to looking at David’s body but he wanted him to turn more. Dwight always wanted to see another man’s body, but his trust issues always get in his way. David continued to wash himself but his body was turning, Dwight continued his staring.

“(Come on...just a little more…)”

“Hey Dwight!” Rin said as she appears in front of him, Dwight jumped as he fell into the water and covered his manhood.

“Hey, quit the horseplaying, and don’t lose that soap either!” David shouted as he finished up himself.

“(So close…), what is it Rin?” he asks, already irritated for being spooked.

“I just wanted to give you this.” she handed him a small containment of something.

“It’s a special type of ointment I brought from my country, I'm giving it to you since King looks like he can handle his wounds. I have one myself as well.”

“Special how?” Rin demonstrated but giving herself a cut and applying some of the ointment

“It can heal small wounds and bruises very quickly, but if the wound is deep or the bruise is very large, you have to use the whole containment. Just keep that in mind and use it for emergencies.” Dwight didn’t question how such a thing exist, they have snake oil but even that couldn’t heal wounds quickly as the ointment. Dwight finished up and got out of the water, hours passed and their clothes were dry. They put them back on but the sun was already setting, David decided that they’ll stay put as he went out to find something edible to go with the fish Rin got for them.

“Another night in the woods, great. I can’t believe I have been with this man for two months now. Hope Claudette doing alright.”

“I’m sure she’s fine, but…”

“But?” he questioned, drinking water from the canteen.

“Well, King isn’t here so I can say this. Dwight, why were you staring at King when you two were cleaning yourself?” Dwight choked and spit out the water, his face turned red as he started to stutter his wording.

“I-I-I WASN’T S-STARING AT HIM!”

“Yes you were, he was turned around and I saw you staring at him. You kept turning your head hoping he turn to his front.” she said, answering with her usual cheery and blunt voice.

“Getting a thing for your kidnapper?”

“THAT’S STOCKHOLM SYNDROME! I don’t have a thing for him, I...just never seen another man’s body like that, especially someone with his frame.”

“Yeah, that would be weird to fall in love with someone who kidnapped you. But you should try dating if you can.”

“Easier said than done. As long this tattoo is on my back, I can never feel I can trust someone to be a close friend, let alone a lover and I rather not have a large amount of skin to be removed. I’m better off alone...no matter how much I hate it.”

“You hate being alone?”

“When you spend the majority of your life in fear of someone betraying you for greed, you grow tired of loneliness. But for me to live, I had to avoid people.

“Well, maybe you can trust King?”

“WHY HIM!”

“Because he doesn’t act like a kidnapper mostly? He’s just...determined” Dwight was confused, what did she meant by that.

“If someone was your kidnapper, they wouldn’t give a damn about you. You came across death numerous times these past couple of months, why did he protect you?”

“...” Dwight was quiet, they saw David coming back and Rin got up to see what he has, she turned to Dwight and smiled again.

“Remember Dwight, there’s a difference between determination and obsession.”

“A-ain’t they’re the same thing?”

“Didn’t King said open your mind, not everything is painted black and white.” She walked away and Dwight thought about what she said. After their meal, they all slept but Dwight who was still up. He thought about what Rin said, she did made some points. David wanted the treasure, but why did he tried so hard to make sure Dwight lives? He could die and he could just skin him, so why? Why did he feed him when he’s hungry? Why did he patch his wounds up when he gets hurt? Why he’s showing kindness to him whenever he gets down? He couldn’t get it out of his head but he had to, it’ll only keep him up. The next day came and they were well on their travel again, they encounter a farmland, a large one. They tread on the trail near the farm until they heard a gunshot, they turned their heads and saw in the distance a man wielding a rifle and a well dressed man running to his horse. David lead the horse nearer to them as they were able to hear their conversations.

“CURSE YOU, YOU DAMN FARMER! I’LL BE BACK WITH ARM FORCES!” the well dressed man said as he hopped on the horse and rode off.

“LET THEM COME, I’LL HAVE A BULLET IN ALL THEIR HEADS!” The other man said, the group came up to the and and saw a woman with three teens behind her.

“Fucking goverment officals, thinking they can come in and take whatever they want! My apologies, I didn’t mean to alert you folks.” the man said. The grouped looked at them, he was a dark-skinned dressed in overalls, boots and a tan button up, like a typical farmer would wear.

“No need. If anything, we should be apologizing for intruding on your business.”

“It’s ok, If you excuse me, I have to prepare for later.

“Let us help, I’m sure you could use some extra hands.”

“Oh no, I can’t.”

“It’s ok, it doesn’t mind us. If it’s one thing I love, it’s messing with the government.”

“If it’s one thing I know, is that the government will try to claim anything if they wanted it badly.”

“If they’re in then so am I!” They got off the horse and offer their hands for a handshake.

“You can call me King.”

“Dwight Fairfield.”

“Rin Yamaoka!”

“Pleasure to meet you all, you can call me Farmer Johnson, that’s my wife Jesse.”

“Pleasure to meet you all.” She said, she was wearing a standard house wife outfit as the teens behind her came to introduce themselves. They were the same outfits as Johnson, one dark-skinned boy and two girls, one taller well the other one has the rare hair color of pink..

“Julie.” the tall one said

“Susie.” the pinked haired one answered.

“And I'm Joey!”

“Joey, you’re sure the hell tall.” David said as he taps Joey’s shoulders.

“Taller than dad too!”

“Yeah you damn giant, take a couple inches off so I can at least wrap my arms around ya neck.”

“*Giggle* dad…” Johnson embarrassing his son reminded Dwight of him with his dad, even with his grudge, a part of him still misses him. He is his only family that is alive after all. They brought them inside and he explained what had happened and why he was so upset at johanson.

“Should of figured, that’s what government men do. Don’t worry, me and Rin can help, Dwight think you can watch the kids? I know you’re not really a fighter.”

“*Sigh* I know, I can watch the kids at least.”

“What’s the plan, Johnson?”

“Simple, we go in the front well Jesse go upstairs and use a rifle to support us. Understood?” they all nodded and got themselves ready, day turned to night as Rin, David and Johnson got ready for themselves. Jesse and Dwight were upstairs well the kids hid in the master bedroom.

“If you don’t mind me asking, is Susie and Julie adopted?”

“Yes, you can clearly tell that we’re Joey’s parents but those two parents were family friends. We actually own this farm together before they passed away.” she answered him.

“I’m sorry, I know how it feels to lose your parents…”

“It’s fine, all we can do is raise them ourselves. Come on, we need to stay focused.” Time passed and they saw them, a group of ten men were heading their way and they were already shooting. Johnson and David ducked and shot back as Rin ran up to them, serving as a distracting and deflecting the bullets. But she has to be careful, if it was one or three men she’ll be fine but dealing with more than that could be a problem. Jesse did her job and shot from the roof but unlike her husband, she wasn’t exactly well with shooting. She ended up being shot in her shoulder, forcing her to drop the rifle and grip her right arm. Then from the distance, ten more men were coming, this became a problem. The kids came in to help with the wounds as David and Johnson retreated into the house, Rin stood outside but the focus fire on her started to get to her. Dwight looked at the rifle and started having flashbacks, he got sweaty and his hands shook but he looked at the kids. They needed help but these men are preventing that and pinning the others down, they need another pair of hands. He stopped his trembling, took in a deep breath and grabbed the rifle.

“RIN! THREW YOUR SWORD UP AND DON’T CATCH IT!” he shouted at her. She didn’t hesitate, she threw her sword up and it took the men attention oddly enough.

“(You don’t need to kill them, let the others do that. Just incapitacte them.)” he told himself. The two downstairs went outside saw Dwight holding the rifle.

“Does your friend know how to use that?”

“I don’t know, but if it’s in his hands then Jesse must of been injured.” David looked up to the sky and saw Rin sword in the air, he knew instantly what the plan was as they all watch it falls down.

“B-be careful, we don’t know what she’s doing!”

“Oh come on, it’s just metal on a stick. What can possibly-” and then it happened, the blade fell and the impact created a large dirt cloud that blinded the men. The sound spooked the horses as the men turned to settle them down but they already fell into Dwight’s plan. The horses being scared threw the men to the ground, they started to panic and moved around. But the more they move, the easier it became to aim at them. Dwight started to shoot the men in the dirt cloud, one round after the other. The men were shot in their arms and legs, locking them in place and making it easier for the others to hit. David or the others didn’t understand why he wasn’t going for the kill but it didn’t matter. David and Johnson took the kill as Rin ran in to get her blade and kill the remaining men in the cloud. As the cloud disappeared, the other men saw the aftermath. Their fellow companions either cut into pieces or a bullet hole in their bodies. The corpses frightened them to a point where they retreated, they didn’t want to end up like them. They won their battle, they went upstairs to see Jesse wound but they saw Dwight and the teens already patched her up. The husband and wife kissed each other as the others wipe the sweat off their faces.

“The bullet went through her arm but passed the bone, as long she doesn’t over do it, she'll be fine.” he said. After relaxing themselves and everyone having a conversation in the living room, Dwight stepped out to the back porch of the house, he set on the steps of the porch as he pulls out a wrinkled up paper from his pocket, it been drenched numerous times from the sweat of his other pants. He stared into it and cried.

“You drew that?” David asked as he leans on the door frame.

“Y-yes, I made it for my dad when I was six…”

“Is... it alright if I can take a look?” Dwight handed him the drawing and inspected it, he saw that Dwight spelled daddy with an “I” at the end instead of “y”

“*chuckle* spelled daddy wrong.”

“Haha, I know, I know.”

“Still better than mine, here.” The man pulled out a wrinkled piece of paper out of his pocket and handed it to him. Dwight looked at it, he saw that he drew his parents and saw that David wasn’t as nearly as close to spelling daddy as Dwight but something stuck out. The faces were blank, Dwight’s wasn’t.

“Hey...why are your parents faces blank?”

“...I never really got to remember their faces.” he answered, is this what Bumbely meant by “not real”?

“Were...you adopted or something?”

“Yeah...let’s go with that. Anyways, didn’t know you knew how to use a rifle, your accuracy was amazing.”

“My dad taught, said one day I'm gonna have to learn to defend myself. Didn’t think it’ll be used in a little feud.”

“Well feud or not, you saved us, thank you but I have to ask, why didn’t you kill them?”

“I…” he paused, the flashbacks came back but he got over them.

“I don’t want to dirty my hands, never have and never will.” David looked at him, he knew he was lying but he didn’t pry.

“Anyways, they’re letting us rest for the night. In the morning, we head back out.”

“*Sigh* the faster we find this treasure, the better. We better be careful, don’t want anyone to listen to us.”

“No worries, everyone is in the living room. Come on, we gotta sleep.”

“Wait!”

“Hmm?”

“I...been meaning to ask you this. Why are you being so kind to me? Most kidnappers wouldn’t give a damn if their hostage die, especially you don’t technically need me to be alive.” David looked at him, lit up a cigar Johnson gave him and took in a drag.

“Don’t confuse my determination for the treasure to obsession. Yes I want the treasure, but that doesn’t mean I can do whatever I want to you. I know the rumors about me being this ruthless and dangerous guy, but I don’t care, they’re just rumors. I know how I am, I treat people who I wanted to be treated. Why you think I was so aggressive with you at the beginning?”

“I was a bit on the negative side…”

“But you stopped, when you showed some respect, I gave me some back.”

“You stopped treating me like a hostage and more like an actual human being.”

“Anyways, come on. Let’s sleep.” The two went back in the home, but they didn’t know that someone was listening, Joey. Morning came and the group had already left before anyone else woke up, they continued their journey to the west. As their tread the path away from the farm, new people were arriving in Dwight’s small town. There were five of them, they were foreign clothing well three of them had their faces absurd by masks and one with make-up on his face. One rabbit mask being worn by a tall and muscular woman, one with twisted smile with jagged teeth. The last mask was odd, it was made out of human flesh, particular another person's face. People looked at them and hid in any building they could find, their combined presence shook the town with fear. Few of Meg’s deputies told them to halt, they kept walking and ignored what they said. The man demanded it again but was met with a crimson hatchet in each head, the men fell and the townsfolk ran around in a panic.

“Did you have to kill them Anna?”

“Evan, you know as much as I do that they’ll keep going unless stopped. Plus, you heard master Yamaoka orders.”

“We already killed a few people and he did said kill any possible threats so-” the tall man revved up a crimson piece of equipment that has never been seen before, there was another one exactly the same in another one’s hand. Once ready, they went on a killing spree. Men, women, child, none were safe from them, all were threat. Blood spread everywhere, making the town a small red dot from a birds eye view. They didn’t stop there, they want to be known, they want the country to now a new threat arrived. They set the entire town on fire, every building were scorched by flames. People who were heading in the buildings burned to death, the screams of pain were music and elegant melodies to their ears. One of the men stopped and sniffed the air.

“Which way Kenneth?”

“This way, it’s cold though.” he said, they followed the large man and came across Dwight’s home.

“The trail starts here but like I said, it’s cold, very cold. Actually *sniffs* the trail splits.”

“How so?” the woman asked.

“One is going west, one going south west and one’s going north.”

“HOLD IT!” Meg shouted as her in other sheriffs pointed their guns at them. She demanded answers but all she got were the men around him being taken down by these unknown people until it was only her left. She pointed her revolver at them once again ready to fire, but the woman threw a hatchet at her hand. It knocked the gun in the air and as the hatchet boomerangs into the gun and cut it in half. Meg watched in horror, it was just like the woman from before but their weapons were red, not white.

“You probably never seen this type of material in your life huh? It’s from a star that fell from the sky, it was white and shined but it has a twist. It absorbs blood, like they feed off of it. Once it collected enough, the white weapons turn crimson, almost like blood itself. We call it “iridescent.” The twisted smile mask man said. In the end, she was defeated, easily. She was beaten to a point where she couldn’t move but they weren’t going to let her off easy. The tall man pressed the unknown device on her torso, he then revved it up and the device went inside her body and out the other end. Then he slowly pulling it upwards, making sure she feels every ounce of pain before she dies. After the man was finished, for a split second, Meg was able to look in two directions before death claimed her.

“Hope she enjoys her ride to hell, sorry excuse for a sheriff.”

“What’s the plan Max?” the very large man with makeup asks.

“We split, we know they’re heading to the far west from what got out of Douglas. But like Kenneth said, there’s three trails. We’ll split up. Bubba, you and me are going north. Anna and Kenneth, you head south west well Evan goes to west.” They all understood and started go to their assigned directions.

“(Prepare yourself, Dwight Fairfield. We’re coming!)” he said to himself as he cracks a hysterical smile. Rin felt something, David noticed it and questioned her.

“Rin?”

“The wind, it changed…”

“Changed?”

“It was calm and peaceful. Now, it’s mixed with malice, so much that it’s suffocating me. We need to keep moving.” she said, Kate felt the same presence from where she’s at.

“!?”

“You felt it too?” Adam asks her.

“Yes, hate to say it but we might need some more people with us. Adam, we’re taking another route, we’re going north.” Adam didn’t question it as they turn their horses towards north.

“!?”

“Bill?”

“You ok?”

“..Yes, come on. As long we keep heading this way we’ll reach the next town to rest.” The women nodded and continued their chat, but Bill felt it. This land is going to be corrupted soon, but the question is, by what?.

Chapter Text

Kate and Adam rode north, but why north? Kate felt something coming their way, she knew her and Adam wouldn’t be able to take it on. Asking the Smokey King for help was out of the question, especially since she doesn’t know where exactly he’s heading to nor figured out why the banker was with him. Night fell on their travel, but thankfully a town was nearby. The town was quite known for its gambling. Kate has no interest with gambling, it never suited her as she saw it as a waste of time. They made it to the town and saw what they expected, people walking about, wasting or gaining money. Men and women in fancy clothing, food being thrown at the floor like it was nothing. Even children were seen here, but this wasn’t a place for them. They were mostly here for thievery, hoping to snag something good well avoid getting caught. The town was lit up, nearly impossible to get lost in the dark with some many lights illuminating the town. It shines like a beacon, impossible to miss from afar. They went inside the building that was in the center of the town, the inside was grand. Decorations from different countries hung on the walls as different types of games were being played at different spots. Some of them weren’t even games you typically see for gambling, but Kate didn’t come to observe them, so was looking for someone and she saw him. He wore similar clothing like the men around him, the only difference is his grey hair and his silver tongue. The smooth talking con artist, Ace Visconti.

“My, my, my! Isn’t it Lady Viper herself, what do I owe the pleasure of having you here?” his words were smooth, almost like they were silk gliding across someone’s face.

“You really want to talk to me like that? I can turn that silver tongue of yours into dented copper if you keep it up!”

“Oh don’t be like that. Come on, tell me what ya like to do to men like me?”

“Castrate!” she said as she stabbed her large knife on the table, Ace and the other men covered their manhood and started to sweat.

“W-what about you big guy, sometimes only a man can satisfy another man.” Ace winked at Adam.

“I’m the one strapping you to the table for the castrate operation.” Ace sweated more, he stopped with his flirting with the two and wiped his sweat off his head.

“So, what can I do you for?”

“I’m looking for someone, some threats are heading our way and I'm going to need his help. But I have heard the forest he lived in was torn down for new town and farms, I don’t have the faintest clue where could he be. Your someone who tends to have information on everyone, I have no doubt you know where he’s at.”

“I might, I might not but you’re in this town. You want something, gotta win a game against me.”

“Tch, figured as much. What’s the game?”

“You’re the one who wants the information, you pick.” Kate pulled Adam aside and discussed what game they were going to play.

“(Ok, I know he's good at games, so we should avoid gambling games.)”

“(I heard that he got very good luck, but luck always runs out.)”

“(Looks like you know what game we’re going to play Adam?)”

“(More me than we.)” He sat down across from Ace and smiled.

“Figured out the game?”

“Yes, a simple game of chess.” Ace nodded and snapped his fingers, one of the game masters brought out a chessboard. He set it down and gave them the pieces. Ace smiled, even if it’s not a gamble like game, he wasn’t going to lose. He believed is luck and is an avid player, he beat people with ease with the amount he earns and holds in his pocket. He earned the name “the gambler” for his stupid luck, but Adam was smiling. Adam looked confident but Ace saw it as cockiness, which he saw as his soon to be downfall. Adam was so confident that he even let Ace have the first move, that irritated Ace a bit. Ace accepted the offered and move, he moved his pawn two spaces. He looked at Adam but he still have his smile, he was up to something but what? What was he planning, was he going to cheat? You can’t really cheat at chess, especially with numerous people staring at them. Adam moved one of his pawns and ended his turn, Ace didn’t understand why he ended it so quickly. Was Ace overthinking it? No, he was calm and collected.

“You seem...calm.”

“It is chess, there’s no need to stress. Especially when nothing is exactly on the line. Your turn.”

“I’ll...move this pawn here and end my turn, I just want to let you know that-”

“Checkmate.”

“Huh?”

“Check and mate.” Ace looked at the board and saw what he did, Adam did cheat but not in the way Ace expected it to be. Ace moved his pawns in the order of leaving his King exposed, Adam moved his pawns in an order that gave his queen freedom to move diagonally and attack the king. Like Adam said, it was checkmate.

“Dammit, filthy cheater…”

“I didn’t cheat, I just simply allowed you to go first.”

“I know that tactic, you play a weird mind game by allowing me to go first and I left myself open.”

“Weird? I let you go first right? But won’t that mean the game didn’t start until you move a piece then, How could that be cheating? To me, you’re just being a sore loser.” Adam taunted him with but he was right. Ace did loss because of him overthinking.

“Deals a deal Ace.”

“*Sigh* fine, what do you want?”

“I’m looking for an old friend of mine, Jake Park. the woods he lived in got torn down, so do you have anything leading to him?”

“*Sigh* Yeah I heard of him, he was going somewhere.”

“What’s somewhere?”

“Sorry, that’s all i’m giving you.” Kate gripped his short and pulled him forward, she stabbed her knife near his hand to immediate him.

“The fuck is this!? We won somewhat fair and square.”

“I’m aware but you said any information, meaning I get to choose what I can give out. When you make a deal with someone, make sure you have it airtight!”

“ONLY THING THAT’S GOING BE TIGHT IS MY KNIFE WEDGED IN YOUR HEAD!” Ace pushes her hand off of him, he wasn’t scared. He went against plenty of people who gave him death threats.

“The Smokey King nor the Viper will scare me, if you are going to be throwing me threats, do them! Now if you excuse me, I have business to take care off.” Ace straightened out clothing and got up but something fell off him, a photo. He tried to pick it up but Kate swiped it off the ground before he got a chance. She saw a younger Ace with another man.

“Hmmm, this photo is old.” Ace tried to snatch it out of her hands but he failed again and again, Kate looked at the photo again and saw that it was slightly folded. It was like the fold was made to block someone out, she opened it and a beautiful woman with the two men in the photo.

“Why did you folded her out?”

“...”

“It almost feels like you wanted her out, am I right?”

“...” Ace started to get irritated as he clenches his fist.

“This man, this is The Becker. You seem go-”

“JUST GIVE IT BACK!” Ace shouted, Kate frowned. She pointed her gun at the photo and it made Ace panicked.

“I don’t know nor care about your relationship of you two, but I want my information. Now spill it!”

“FINE! He was recently in this town earlier today, he was heading to the sawmill a not too far from here, I don’t know why, honest! Can I please get the photo back?” Kate threw the photo back at him, he held it close to his chest and put it back in his pocket. As Kate and Adam was going to leave the place but they all overheard a conversation regarding The Becker. Apparently a bad bar fight broke out because of his bounty he still had, someone sold him out. He was last seen traveling north then west with a pair of women. Ace got worried, Kate saw it but she didn’t ask. She doesn’t care what he is thinking of, but as she walks, she stopped. She felt something in the air, it was far but also close..

“Kate…”

“Yeah, I felt it. They’re somewhere near us. We better get moving.”

“W-wait! Where are you going?”

“You already told me, we’re going to the sawmill.” She answered, Ace went on his hands and knees and begged in front of them.

“Please! I-I know I made you upset, but please. Look for the-”

“No.”

“B-but-”

“I’m not someone you can ask to look for people, want to find him, do it yourself.”

“But...i’m not really a fighter.”

“Not my problem, con your way to him. He ain’t my business, if anything, he’s dead weight.” The two left the building towards the direction of the sawmill, Ace remained on his knees as the other gambling players ignore the man who was in pain. Kate and Adam didn’t waste any time with their horse, they rushed their horses to the sawmill to hopefully catch up to the person she's looking for. They made it to the sawmill but it was empty, not a single worker was around. It was odd, the equipment wasn’t even touched in a while, almost like it was abandoned. Kate felt the air, it changed. They walked to the door of the sawmill, Adam touched her shoulder and pointed at the water in the channel beside the building. They saw bits of red streaming with the water, blood. Kate readied her revolver and slowly walked to the door, she knocked on it but got nothing in response. She pushes the door open and walked inside, but something dropped on her face from above. She looked up and saw something horrific, there was a man with his face removed and lodged between the works of the building. The place was riddled with the stench of blood, Adam came inside and saw the horror himself.

“My god, his face…”

“That’s not the only one, look.” They looked up and saw a number of bodies with no faces littered across the ceiling thanks to the pale moonlight shining through, their fresh running blood created indoor rain for the mill.

“What can of sick motherfucker who do such a thing!?”

“I don’t like this, Kate.”

“Me either, this place is fucked up and stinks of blood. My problem is that the blood is fresh, this just happened...” They walked around, watching their steps to avoid slipping on the blood. Kate heard a creaking noise, she instantly turned around and fired. Whoever was behind them ducked and covered as the bullet misses them. The person stood up and it was shown to be revealed to be Ace who followed them.

“Now why the hell did you follow me!? I could of put a bullet in her head!”

“I-I wanted to play you again so- the hell is that smell!?” Ace looked up and he saw them, the dead faceless bodies across the ceiling.

“What the fuck!? W-what happened!?”

“I was trying to figure that out but your ass is here, seriously get out of-” She stopped, she heard footsteps, heavy footsteps. The others heard them too, but they stopped. Then they heard humming like someone was mimicking a lullaby. Even with the moonlight shining through, Adam lit up a lantern he found and they all followed the sound of the humming. The next thing they saw was a large man in foreign clothing stitching something together, his hands were covered in blood as he started to lick them. The smile he made when he tasted it creeped the group out as Kate pointed her gun at him.

“Do, do-da-do, do-do! Finished, I hope Anna like it!” He said with such an enthusiastic voice.

“You know damn well she ain’t, you dumb idiot!”

“I’m not an idiot, Anna said so!” The large man started to cry, then he told the other man in front of him that he’s going to tell on him to Anna. At first, the man stuttered and shook a bit. Who was this Anna person, why are these men here, they’re most likely the ones who killed these people.

“Hmm? Oh, Max we got friends!”

“Friends huh? Hmmm, old one, are you Dwight Fairfield? He’s a banker and I know they dress fancy like yourself.” The man's voice was deep and rugged, he reeked of alcohol as his height was as tall as the other one, the two looked far from each other. Well both wore foreign clothing, one was tall with a round belly and curly hair. He wore a mask made of flesh as he cracked a large smile for his new friends. The other was tall but more fit, his short black hair thinning with a scar going across his face.

“Do I look like my name is that!?” Ace shouted at him.

“Tall one, you?”

“No I'm not.”

“Girly?”

“Girly!? You better watch what you say to me or the only thing girly is going to be you screaming after I fire my revolver in your ass!”

“Oooooh, I see. We got a fighter, sadly it’s a woman that isn’t Anna…” Kate got frustrated at the man, she a vain was popping out as Adam tried to calm her down.

“Max, you made her angry…”

“Expected as much fro-”

“THAT’S IT! I DON’T GIVE A FUCKING DAMN WHY YOU LOOKING FOR THIS PERSON, BUT YOU GONE AND GOT ON MY LAST NERVES!” Max smiled, he took out his crimson weapon and revved it. Kate stopped her outrage and looked at it, what was it? None of them had never seen such a thing nor what it’s capable of.

“M-Max, Anna said-”

“Forgot what she said, I'm the leader of this group and when I fight, you fight! You don’t want to disappoint Anna do you?” The other man nodded his head and revved his crimson weapon, Max took in a deep breath and charges after them relentlessly, the weapon he was dragging was cutting through the wooden floor like a hot knife through butter. Kate didn’t frat, she shoots some rounds at him, thinking it’ll stop his running, but she was wrong. The man kept going, the group separated to dodge the attack but Max wanted Kate, he showed his power but cut her revolver in half. As he chases her, the other man chases after Adam and Ace but attacked differently. He was swinging left and right, doesn’t matter what was hit, just as long as something was hitting. The two watches as the weapon was cutting the beams supporting the building as it started to shake a bit.

“DAMMIT! WHY WON’T YOU GO DOWN!?”

“Max is very special, he gets this type of ecstasy when he fights. It makes him immune to pain!”

“FOR FUCKSAKES BUBBA, DON’T GO AND TELL THEM!! OH GOT DAMMIT, I DON’T GOT TIME FOR THIS!” Max stopped his chasing and started to cut the remaining beams of the building, he screamed at Bubba to do the same and he listened to him. Kate tried to stop them by firing at Bubba with her other revolver but he saw what she was doing. He forcefully removed some sawblade and threw them at her. She was forced to ducked but one boomerang towards her, she shot it to stop it from hitting her. Adam and Ace tried to stop Bubba as well but they backed up when Max ran across them. He was like a shark as he kept attacking in different angles but that wasn’t his plan. He wasn’t trying to attack them, he was trying to make the building unstable and it was working. The sawmill started to crumble in on itself, the wood and metal works of the building started to drop on them. Before they know it, the building collapsed on itself, Max and Bubba got out beforehand and started to walk before the authorities show up.

“Tch, like I said, she wasn’t Anna so I knew she wasn’t gonna be much of a fight!”

“Ahhhhh, Anna said we shouldn’t cause any trouble Max!”

“THEN SHUT UP ABOUT IT, DAMN TATTLETALE!”

“Eeeeeek, a-anyways, what we do know?” Bubba asks.

“Well, Fairfield didn’t come this way so we keep moving to the spot and wait like we planned.” The two started to walk away from the rubble. After some time, a fist punched through the rubble and Kate dragged herself out and was covered in sawdust. Ace and Adam were coming out of the rubble as well and wiped the dust off themselves.

“THE HELL WAS WRONG WITH THEM!? WHO THE HELL WOULD THINK DESTROYING AN ENTIRE BUILDING WOULD BE A SMART IDEA!?”

“Kate, we got bigger things to worry about. My concern were those crimson weapons of theirs, both the weapon and the material I never saw before in my life.”

“Not to mention they were wearing foreign clothing but they looked like they were from this country.”

“I seen those outfits before, they’re commonly worn in japan.” Ace told them, coughing out the dust in his mouth.

“Japan or not, It doesn’t matter. They’re a threat an-”

“FREEZE!” The town sheriff and his deputies came and saw the destroyed sawmill.

“Oh for the love of, don’t tell me you idiots think we did this!?”

“Sorry to burst your bubble, but we idiots only see you three here. You’re under arrest until further notice! Resisting arrest will result in death.” the sheriff and the deputies tied up the group and put them on the horses then rode back into the nearest town.

“GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOODDDDDDAAAMMMMMIIIITTTT!”

Chapter Text

Bill, Claudette and Feng were resting in a town but they decided to make a quick store trip, they have been traveling for a couple of months now. But Bill still question one thing, why did he continue to travel? These women don’t have an ounce of awareness inside them, maybe that’s why? Maybe he knew they’ll eventually died with their luck, or maybe it was his fatherly nature, like he did with the boy he met years ago. As Claudette and Feng talks to the store keep, Bill found a weapon of his favor, a lengthy leather whip. He purchased it with some other supplies for their travels. After they did what they had to do, Bill lead the women to an open field to out the whip. He performed vicious swings and even made loud noises as the whip smacks the air itself.

“Yup, still got it.”

“Bill, that was amazing!” Claudette said.

“You looked like a professional!”

“In my younger years, I always preferred the a thick whip than a gun. If you use it well, you can match the speed of a bullet.”

“Have you ever beat a bullet?” Feng asked.

“Even with my skills when I was younger, I couldn’t beat a bullet. I have inflicted deep wounds into people, I also like to attach a blade at the end. I chopped someone's arm off before.”

“Can you teach us how to use it!?” Claudette asks, the two eyes lit up, practically begging the elderly man to teach them.

“Hmmm, I guess I can.” Bill handed Claudette the whip first, he carefully explained to them how to use it.

“Also, it can hurt you and the people around you if you’re not careful, got it?”

“Got it! Ok, If I swing like this, then lik-OOPS!”

“AAHHH!” Claudette made a mistake and the whip hit his bottom, he snatched the whip of her hands and tried to rub the pain out.

“Maybe whips aren’t meant to be in your hands!” the old man scolded her.

“Hey, hey! Let me try. If I go like this, swing this way then that way, do a lit- I’M SORRY!”

 

“AAAAHH!” Feng’s mistake was worse, she hit Bill bottom three times. He snatched it out of her hands and scolded her too.

“It’s not for you eit- wait what!?”

“Let me try again Bill!” Claudette went again but failed and hit Bill again.

“CUT IT OUT!” he screamed as he snatches it out of her hands again, Feng took it from his hands and went again too.

Let me try again!”

“AHH! I’M SERIOUS!”

“My turn! ok , like this!”:

“STOP!”

“No, like this!”

“CUT THE HORSEPLAY!” The pair kept taking their turn with each failure, in addition to hitting Bill with each mistake. In a rage, Bill took the whip from them, grabbed their heads and slammed them together.

“WAIT THE FUCK DID YOU TWO DIDN’T GET WHEN I SAID STOP!? NO INN FOOD, UNFLAVORED PORRIDGE FOR DINNER AND BEDTIME AT 8!”

“B-but!”

“NO BUTS, TO THE INN, THE BOTH OF YOU!” The two weighed their head down as they started to walk back to the inn. Like Bill said, their dinner was unflavored porridge with water as they watched the other customers eat something more flavorful and mouth-watering. They’ll both remember to listen to Bill if they want a tasty meal next time. The morning sun came soon after and the pair woke up to Bill being gone, They went downstairs to see him at the table with a cup of black coffee and flavorful food on the table this time.

“Felt a little guilty making you two eat something I would hate to eat, (even if I my ass was too sore to sit).” The two eagerly sat down and ate the food to rid the pain they felt from eating the porridge. After they were finished, they picked up their things and resumed their travel but a heavy mist befell them. Why so sudden, it was clear skies yesterday so why was this mist so thick? As they transverse and questioned the appearances of the fog, a boy couldn’t help but get lost in it. He was wearing a farmer outfit and was carrying an empty sack. His stomach growled as he ran out of food since he left his home and decided to from the treasure that Dwight and David spoke of. Who could of heard them? Obviously it was Joey, but he’s struggling. Ever since he left his farm, he was often chased and ran into dead ends. He been at his travel for a couple of months, but his supplies ran low before hand. He tried to do bounties and requests but they were either too much and dangerous for him, or too small that he hardly got paid for. His stomach growled again, he was really hungry. His last meal was a few pieces of bread he earned for a reward, but he finished it a few days ago. He already misses his mom home cooked meals and sitting at the table with everyone else, but just the smallest bit of that treasure can help his farm and get the government of his dad’s back. He laid down on the ground and watches as the mist gets thicker and thicker, he misses his family, he wished he wasn’t alone. He wasn’t the type who likes getting lonely, he tried to sleep his loneliness away but the hunger pain made it difficult. Bill and the others continued their walk, he was being extremely mindful of his surroundings, a mist this thick can make anyone a professional stealth killer.

“This mist is really thick…”

“Yeah, I have been to numerous places. You only see these types of fogs in like tropical forests, not in woodlands.”

“Well let’s keep our eyes pe- SHIT!” Bill fell over something, he picked himself up and brush the dirt off.

“The hell I tripped over?”

“Hmmm? More like you over someone, is that a boy?” Bill went over and started to poke the body.

“Hey, are you ok kid?”

“...”

“Is he dead?” Feng asked as she poked the body with a stick..

“His body is fresh…, hey, say something!”

“...*stomach growls* hungry…” the boy said, crawling up his body as he went back trying to sleep. Bill sighed and smiled as he told the two they’ll wait out the mist, they set up camp by the boy and relax themselves. Bill handed the boy some food and some water and he scarfed it down like he never eaten anything in years.

“*Sigh* thank you, I’ve been hungry for a while now. Thank you...um…”

“Bill Overbeck.”

“Claudette Morel!”

“Feng Min.”

“Thank you everyone, I’m Joey! I really appreciate the food!”

“It’s no problem. Now, mind telling me why a child like you is wondering on their own?”

“I’m looking for Douglas Fairfield treasure, I heard it exist but it’s on his son’s back.” Bill raised a brow and so did the others.

“It could be fake of all you know, where you heard that?”

“It’s more like I overheard it. His son and a man were talking about it! Think his name was Dwight?”

“YOU SEEN HIM!?” Claudette asked as she pushes Bill out of the way.

“Yes, though it was a couple of months ago. He and two others helped my dad protect the farm against some government men. Unfortunately, when we woke up, he and his companions were already gone. I took a wild guess and headed west… but it was a struggle for me.”

“I’ll say, a farm boy traveling by himself with no real leads. That’s pretty reckless of you, I'm sure you have your folks worrying about you.” Bill told him as he picks himself up.

“I-I know...but I was the only one who heard them. These government men wants our farm that we worked hard on. I heard the smallest bit of the treasure can set you for life, so if I can get some of it, I can pay them off and they’ll leave us alone.” Joey was determined, he wasn’t going to turn back, even if it’s difficult for him. The two went to Bill and asked them what they’ll do with Joey.

“Bill?”

“Well, we can exactly leave him by himself. We can’t just dumped him in the next town either with no supervision…”

“Then what we’ll do with him?”

“..., hey kid?”

“Yes?”

“Are you planning on killing Dwight?”

“N-no! If anything, I want to ask if I can join him.”

“Well, these two ladies are looking for him two and I'm basically just watching over them. You don’t look you’re going to turn back anytime soon, want to tag along with us?”

“R-really!? Are you sure you want someone as young as me with you?”

“We can’t exactly leave you by yourself, (plus you won’t be as annoying as these two, i hope).” He thought to himself, Joey jumped with excitement. He told them that he hated traveling alone and how frightening it was for him. He told more about himself as he talked the day away for the group, they didn’t mind it. They were glad they can watch over him, especially with the things he encountered so far. After their chat, Bill told everyone to sleep since they’re leaving when morning arrives. Bill kept watch and slept when the coast was clear enough. As he closes his heavy eyes, he couldn’t help but wonder. Is Dwight alright and safe, and how much it has been since he last saw him, The morning came but the mist still remained, if anything, it became thicker. Something didn’t sit right with Bill, the fog consumed everything around him. Unless something was inches in his face, he couldn’t see a thing.

“(I’m not liking this.) Hey, wake up now!” Bill didn’t get a response, he shouted again and again. He looked around and saw all of their equipment was gone, even his whip. He rubbed his eyes and ventured in the fog to find his companions, but the fog was becoming thicker with each step, almost like it was pushing him back. He walked aimlessly in the forest to find his friends but stumbled into something he wouldn’t expect to see, a village. Bill been around the country and never seen this village before, the fog lifted a bit and he was able to look around. The place had burned down huts and dead carcasses littered around on top of fresh mud, from the looks of it, this village is in a swamp. But before he took another step, his head started to ache as his vision started to blur. He fell to his knees and was about to pass out, the last thing he heard was the words “the witch’s curse”. He woke up to find himself in a large cauldron tied up with hot water with a fire right below it, his skin already red from the heat as he looked to see numerous vegetables floating in the water.

“Ahhhh, you’re awake. Good, they always taste better when they are awake well being boiled!” a voice said. The voice was old and snaggly, like someone was constantly being choke as they talk. He turned to see a woman with the skin that mimics the color of mud outside, boney to a point that her skin was basically a glove and jagged teeth that could rip off flesh off, eyes blacker than the void and claws that could pierce flesh. She wore a torn green dress with one of her breast exposed.

“What the fuck!? Who the hell are you!?”

“Oh someone, but don’t worry. You seen get to know me better when you’re in my belly, hehe. Now, be good and wait well I get more stuff for my meal.” The woman walked into another room as Bill sat in the water and tries to untie himself.

“Come on, come on...FUCK! *sigh* I hope the others are-”

“BILL!” three voices cheerfully called for him, it was the others and were tied up just like him. He asked if they were alright, they said and told them they had been here for a while, but why weren’t they worried. They were being cooked alive, slowly too. No one sane enough would be calm, until he remembered of Claudette and Feng’s lack of awareness.

“(Come on Joey, have some type of brain?)” Bill stared at Joey, hoping he’ll realize how serious the situation is.

“Man, I'm hungry again, you guys think she’ll share?” Bill couldn’t believe what he just heard, Joey’s awareness level is just like the others. He thought someone who was raised on a farm would have some logic running in his head but he was wrong.

“Hmmm, this vegetable looks edible.” Feng said as she starts to eat them, scooping them with her mouth and then chewing like a duck eating bugs. Claudette and Joey did the same as Bill watches in disappointment. The woman came back but became confused, where did her vegetables go? She look at Bill but he gave her a bland face as he continue to turn red and boil, then she turned to the other three and gave her a suspicious smile. She put her thoughts aside, went back into the cupboards and chopped some more inside the cauldron. She left the room and came back but the vegetables disappeared again, she looked at the three again and this time their eyes looked away as they continued to smile. She chopped more into the cauldron once again, left the room but quickly poked her head in. This time, she saw the three cheeks were puffed, like they were holding something in their mouths. She caught them eating her vegetables, she took a broom and began swinging it at them.

“YOU DAMN KIDS, STOP EATING MY FOOD!” she shouted with her scratchy voice, the three dodge the swings easily, how could the woman be missing if they’re stationary?

“We’re sorry!”

“W-we got hungry, we didn’t have breakfast!” Joey apologetically told.

“YEAH, NOR HAVE I!” As the others distracted the boney woman, Bill climbed out. Thankfully he didn’t caused any noise, he went to the counter and grabbed a knife. He cut himself free, but the woman saw him and went to stop him. She smacked the knife of his hand but he grabbed the broom from her hand beat it over her head, she fell down and passed out well Bill free his companions. Once freed, Bill tried to escort them out of the pantry but the floor gave way. They fell below but more correctly, on top of Bill to cushion their fall.

“Sorry Bill!”

“Forget about that, we need to get out of here before that boney walking pile of sticks in a cloth comes back!” Bill pushes them forward in the pantry, he took the lead but something unexpected happened. The woman came back, but this time there’s five of them.

“What the hell… there’s more of you!?” The women didn’t answer, they just stared at him with their void like eyes.

“Ugh, doesn’t matter! Everyone, stay sharp and stick together, ...guys? Uh...guys?” Bill turned around and saw all of them surrounding a small pink pig, it was shaking in fear. Everyone was comforting them hoping to calm it down, leaving Bill to deal with the five clones of the woman. One of the tapped his shoulder, Bill slowly turned his head just to see all five of her smiled and exposing their jagged teeth.

“So, what about me being a boney walking pile of sticks in a cloth?”

“I-I mean, y-you ladies seem s-single. H-how about a date instead?”

“Oh, a date?”

“Sure, we’ll go on a date with you.”

“We’ll be together until dinner!”

“W-what we’re having for d-dinner?”

“Old man.”

“Named Bill.”

“And we like our food”

“Very bloody.”

“AND RAW!” They all launched on top of Bill and attacked him, as Bill desperately fights of the five women, the others continued to comfort the pig.

“Awww it’s so cute! Joey, you know these types?
(HEY, WATCH WHERE YOU’RE BITING!)”.

“Yes Feng, I know these types of pigs, this is a cross breed. It made to be small”
(Quit your whining and take it like the man!)”

“How did something as cute as this ended up here?
(HEY, THAT HURTS!)”

“I don’t know. I have been to many places in the world but haven’t encountered anything as cute as this pig!
(Trust me, it could have been a whole like worse!)”

“Awww, huh? What’s wrong?” The small pig watches as Bill was struggling to fight back the women, the pig panicked and tried to get the attention of others. It attempts failed but it didn’t give up, it got out of Claudette’s arms and ran to Bill and started to frantically jump.

“*Panic squealing*”

“Hmmm? What’s wrong little one?” the pig was pointing it’s head to point.

“Bill!” the woman clones and Bill all stopped and looked at Claudette, Bill was covered in bite marks and his clothes slightly torn.

“What would be a good name for this little guy?”

“MY MORNING BREAKFAST!” He shouted as the clones attacks him again, the pig got scared by that comment but it knew Bill said that because he’s in danger. The pig looked around and saw something lit, it tug Claudette over to it. It was a totem, she called over Feng and Joey to show them.

“This is a totem, it was used a lot in witchcraft many many years in some European countries and still being practiced in other foreign lands. It’s normally help with curses and causes other abnormalities to happen” Feng explained to them.

“Hmmm, I wonder what Bill think, Hey Bi-”

“JUST BREAK THE FUCKING THING ALREADY!” Joey went and kicked the totem, the clones began to crumble down into the ground and faded into the fresh mud below Bill. They all walked to Bill who front side was covered in mud.

“Bill, where your friends go?” Bill didn’t answer, he hoped his silence will tell them how frustrated he was with them, but it didn’t. They all left out the pantry and back into the village, Bill looked down and saw the pig still with him.

“I can’t believe that the only person with any type of awareness...is a walking piece of bacon and ham.” He picked up the pig and held it close to his face, it shook. It didn’t forget what Bill say but Bill smiled at it to call it down.

“Claudette asked what should your name be. Normally pigs like these are cross breeds but, let’s go with...Potty? You like it?”

“*Happy oinking*”

“Potty it is then, come on. We both know they’ll die without us.” They caught up with the others and walked around the town. They didn’t find anything as they tried to leave the village, but they fog absurd their vision as they were brought back to the village.

“Dammit! We’re just walking walking in circle and always coming back here!”

“This is like the story of one of the seven wonders of this country.”

“Seven wonders?” Joey asked.

“Yes, but only four interested me. Of course, one being the treasure. This is about the town consumed by the fog.”

“Make it quick, never know when that bag of literally bones will come.”

“Well, this is just the short version. There was a village that reside in a forest, it was heavily populated and the place always had something exciting happening. One day, a dense fog came swallowed the place. The fog was so thick, it felt like they were being choked but that’s what happened. One by one, they fell and died, gasping for air as the fog suffocated every last one of them except one. A lone woman was the survivor of the village, her only friend was loneliness and solitude. She did fine on her own, but only up to a certain point. Her nice, home cooked seasons meals turned to eating animals raw and bloody. She struggled, she couldn’t handle the taste of raw animal meat. She starved herself to a point where her skin tightened around her bones. She didn’t want rotten animal corpses for a meal and the vegetables weren’t enough. One day, the fog consumed a family and brought them to the village. With no food around, she relied on the family. She slaughtered them all and feast on their inners. The taste of human flesh pleased her than animal flesh, so she waits until what the fog brings her, her next meal. The thing is, it never said how to get out the village. Those who lived never understood how it happened. Possibly if we-”

“HEY GUYS, I FOUND ANOTHER LIT TOTEM!” Joey shouted from afar.

“BREAKING THE FUCKING THING!” Bill demanded the boy, Joey kicked it and instantly the fog started to fade away and so did the village. In a blink of an eye, the swampy village disappeared and they found themselves back at their camp spot with all their equipment. They all felt the morning sunlight hitting their face as Bill was finally glad to leave that cursed place. But they weren’t the only one’s so was the woman, she didn’t move, she only cried.

“I’m...free, I been in that place for so long. I forgot how the sunlight felt on my skin, it’s...refreshing. And the air, fresh and crisp, it feels...amazing.”

“Awww, I’m happy you get to feel this again uh…”

“Lisa.”

“Ms. Lisa!”

“So what will you do now Lisa?” Feng asked the boney woman.

“Finished what I started.” she answered, Bill had a chill go down his spine as he started to pick up their things.

“Oh, what could that be?”

“My morning meal!” she licked her lips and exposed her teeth again, Bill handed Potty to Joey and picked up Claudette and Feng.

“WELL LOOK AT THAT, WE COULD TALK ALL DAY BUT WE’RE A LITTLE BE- JOEY RUN!”

“Why are we ru-”

“JUST DO WHAT I SAY!”

“Come back, I just want a BITE!” Bill rushes them out the forest as Lisa chases them. He hopes by the end of this, this would be the last time he’ll she this woman. Unfortunately, Lisa wasn’t planning to let them go, not until she had her meal.

Chapter Text

“Errrr…”

“Uhh… you ok, Dwight?”

“We sleep in the woods and for months and now all of sudden he decided we’re going to sleep in an inn!? Rubbish! It’s-”

“Dwight, you saying fancy words again…”

“I’m sorry, it’s just...irritating!” Dwight complained, he looked at David who was looking at a bounty board.

“Look at him, already ready to go hunt down another bounty…”

“You don’t like going on the bounty with us?” Dwight gripped his rifle and shook a bit.

“I...don’t want to soil my hands. Anyways, enough about me. Don’t you get homesick Rin? You are pretty far.”

“I would be lying if I said I wasn’t, but it’s a bit...complicated.”

“Complicated?”

“Yes. for starters, I'm actually the daughter of clan of highly trained assassins and warriors. My clan established many unique equipment and machinery that looks out of place, almost like we jumped several years in the future. My clan was known for its bloodshed, unfortunately, to a point where needed to be more feared. My father made a gr-”

“Rin, Dwight. We gonna take care of another bounty.” David said, handing the two the wanted poster. As Rin read, Dwight caught David glancing over and giving one of the women behind the bar stand flirtful wink. Dwight got irritated again, he already knew why he chose to do this bounty with no reward.

“I don’t see a reward, Mr. King.”

“The reward is a free night at the inn with food, I say-”

“I’m not going.” Dwight told him, David raised as brow and questioned.

“Excuse me?”

“I saw you eyeing that woman, you just trying to stick your willy into something again. If you want to get with her, do it without my help. I’ll stay here.” he told, David rubbed his chin and nodded, he didn’t have a problem with him not going. Rin picked up her blade and went outside with David to do the personal requested bounty. Dwight caught a glimpse of the outside, it was raining lightly as saw fresh mud on the ground before the door closes. Some of the inn servers walked to his table as they watch the door close.

“Been a while since I met a man as fine as him.”

“I heard he plays with both sides, bet he has men begging for him as well. Hey, you travel with him right?”

“M-me?”

“Who else? So, tell us, how is he?” Dwight turned red as he didn’t understand what they meant.

“H-huh!?”

“Come on, a man as rugged and handsome as him, who wouldn’t want a piece of that.”

“We saw those glances you make at him, secret lovers? Had a piece of him and you want mo-”

“I DON’T NEED ANYTHING OF HIM NOR CARE OF HIS WELL BEING, WE’RE JUST TRAVELING COMPANIONS. NOTHING MORE, NOTHING LESS! Now if you excuse, I need some air.” Dwight left his table in a hurry, face flushed red as he couldn’t believe the women dared to ask him those questions. Of course he doesn’t have a thing for David, even if he doesn’t act like a typical kidnapper, he still took him. He sat down on the steps leading to the inn, the roof protecting him from the rain. He sat in confusion and frustration, but from what the women said and David in general. How could he ever get close to someone who took his life away, continue him to use a weapon when he’s not a fighter but their was another side. The side that he tried to suppress but failed again and again, a friendship with him. The things he felt when he praises Dwight or gives him a pat on the head, was it cause of David or he never really knew how it felt to be touched and acknowledged by a man. Dwight did agree to what the women said, he was a handsome man, probably the most handsome guy he met in his life. But yet again, Dwight violently rubbed his head, he couldn’t believe those thoughts came again. He didn’t understand it or himself. He sighed as the wind blew the rain towards him, Bumbley walked over to him and licked his face, cheering him up.

“*giggle* never understood why your licks always cheer me up, but I’m glad they do.”

“Questioning neigh*”

“...sorry, I don’t understand you with your neighs like David can…” Bumbley moved her hooves and spoke in morse code.

 

“Seem...stressed. Kinda, i’m...just confused. Hey Bumbley, is...it weird to think I could be friends with David? I know I shouldn’t but…” Bumbley started tapping again and Dwight read out what she said. This time it wasn’t broken up words, it was an actual sentence.

“Friendships are odd, some start with a simple light talk well others starts from fights. You can never predict how you can meet someone, you can only control the way you speak to each other. Yes, David did took you, but has he really done anything wrong with you? Ask yourself Dwight, it’s not if you think you could be friends, but rather would you allow yourself to be friends?”

“...I can’t believe I got life advice from a horse.” Bumbley looked at him aggressively and he instantly apologized. After her advice, he waited inside the inn till his companions returns. They eventually returned and like the reward said, they were offered a free meal and a night at the end. As they enjoy their reward, Dwight stared at his food, his thoughts were disorganized and it messed with his appietate.

“You ok, Dwight?”

“It’s a free meal, gotta be stupid not to-”

“Sorry...i’m not hungry. I’m just going to lay down…”

“It’s early, the sun just started to set. You sure?”

“Yeah…” Dwight started walking up the stairs into their room, David and Rin looked at each other and wondered what happened to him that would make him sleep so early. Dwight entered the room they were staying in, it was a simple room with three beds oddly enough. There was an additional room leading into a seperate bedroom with a single bed. Dwight went to the bed near a wall and drifted off to sleep, even if his stomach told him to eat something but it also told him to no. Many hours passed as he slept, by the time he woke up, the sky was already dark. It must be at the point where the inn stopped taking in customers. He rubbed his eyes and looked to his side, he saw Rin soundly sleeping in her bed but when he looked at the one in the middle, he saw only the blankets tossed over. Then he heard some creaking noises, like a bed was being rocked. The door leading into the other room was cracked opened with a light peeking through, someone is in there and must of forgot to close the door. Then he heard moaning, a woman moaning in pleasure. Curious, he got up from his bed and slowly approached the door but he held his nose. A heavy stench of alcohol was flowing out from the room, whoever is in there is heavily intoxicated. He made it to the door and looked inside, he saw a woman, naked and on top of someone making sexual body movement on top of someone, David. He saw her face, she was greatly enjoying herself as the bed creaking noise became more clear. He saw David lifted himself up and thrust faster into her, her moans became louder as she begged for him to go deeper inside her. David laid her down in the direction of the door, Dwight know this is wrong. To watch someone perform sexual acts like this, it’s invading their privacy, but he wasn’t looking away. David wild hip movements stung Dwight in a certain way, then David stopped and went a slower motion. His sweat glossing his muscles as he rubs the woman’s breast, making sure she feels more satisfied than himself. Dwight wants to see a bit more, he tried to lean closer but the floor made a creaking noise. David heard it, he looked at the door and saw him. Dwight quickly hid next to the wall, what is he going to do? David caught him lurking, his heart was racing but his mind was craving more. He wanted to watch more, he tried to tell himself he doesn’t but his erection told the truth. He wants to watch, but not for the woman, but for David. He crept around the wall and peeked in the crack again, David was still looking. He saw Dwight being curious, he thought to himself that Dwight must think he’s drunk because of the stench of alcohol. Unfortunately for him, it takes a lot to get David wasted. He was fully aware of Dwight looking at him, so he did what he did best, giving a show. He smiled at the lurking man, he thrust inside the woman again and again. Crying and begging with her tongue sticking out, his hips, the kissing, the intense movement his body David’s making. Dwight wanted it, he want to try it for himself. But even if he was drunk, it was too risky. Dwight found himself pulling down his pants, exposing his erect cock and began to stroke himself as he continued to watch. David liked the attention, pleasuring two people at once was a skill he excelled at. David felt it, both the woman and Dwight were reaching their climax. Dwight fell to his knees, mouth drooling as he wanted a taste of what the woman is having. Then it happened, David made the woman orgasim and so did Dwight, Dwight hot milky substance fell all over the floor. It kept going and going, how much were inside him, was he really that turned on from watching? He wanted to clean it up but he heard the bed move, David was walking over. Even if he’s drunk, he rather not explain himself so he left the cum on the floor, hoping neither of them steps on it. He hid in his blankets and didn’t move.

“I’m sorry I didn’t manage to get you off, Mr. King.” The woman said as she puts back on her clothing.

“All good Miss, i’m more on making sure my partner gets off than me getting off.”

“You’re such a gentlemen, anyone would kill for a man like that. Anyways, I should go. Until next time.” The woman left both the rooms and went on her way home, David put back on his underwear and carried his clothes to the other room but he stepped on something. He looked down and saw it, Dwight’s cum. He pressed his fingers against it then walked to his bed, he looked at Dwight who’s back was turned and hiding under the blankets.

“(So, first the river when I was cleaning myself and now watching me having sex. Poor bastard, he must of thought I was drunk. It was a lot on the floor, did I excited you that much simply from watching? Hmm, this is going to be fun.)” David grew a twisted smile, as he lays down in his bed well Dwight shakes underneath his blanket. The next morning came and they left the inn and continued their travel, days pass and they went back sleeping in the wilderness. Dwight didn’t realized he wasted a good night from being a pervert and watch two people have sex, he felt ashame and restless. Within a week, they made it to a lone store outside from the nearest town. Dwight looked at the sign, they went south instead of west.

“Huh? Why did we go south? Dad’s note said we should be going west.”

“Yes, but…”

“But?”

“There’s a path that can get us there easier, but it’s blocked by the Romero gang.” David explained.

“The Romero’s?”

“From what I acquired well I was trying to find you. It’s a highly known gang that was formerly ran by The Becker. Their current leader, Jane Romero, climbed her ranks and took control. She control several states with how large her gang gotten. Unless you pay their toll, you’re not allowed to traverse on her land. If you do, you’re killed on the spot!” Rin explained, but Dwight’s mind was on someone else, The Becker.

“(William...I hope you’re ok.)”

“Yeah and lets just say, me and the gang don’t meet eye to eye anymore…”

“What did you do?”

“Blew up a shit ton of their hideouts, drank their alcohol and smoke their imported cigars, slept with a good chunk of them and break some hearts when I rejected them. Yeah, I’m died on sight.”

“So basically, you were a freeloader and a man whore.”

“Whore’s get paid, i’m more of...a sex thief. Anyways, we can go but you need a special insignia, fortunately I know a guy.” Dwight couldn’t believe what he heard, couldn’t believe himself for thinking sexual fantasies of this man. They got off the horse as David gave Rin some instructions.

“They nearest town here is quite large, almost city like. It’s a real fancy place, so if we go in there with our current get-up, they’ll probably alert the authorities in an instant. So, it’s best we look the part. Rin, go inside and get us some fancy wear.”

“Got it!” She ran inside the store and tried to find some clothes, Dwight and David stood outside, grooming Bumbley as they wait. Rin returned with clothing in her hands. They rode Bumbley near the town limits, they changed their clothing before they entered the city.

“Ahhh, it feels refreshing to be back in actually good clothing. Also, Rin, you look great in men clothing.”

“I never really enjoyed dresses, despite the leg room, they weren’t made for combat. Let alone assassionation jobs.”

“Ugh, easy for you two. I feel like i’m being fucking choked. Rin, wasn’t anything bigger?”

“I asked the store keep, but he said the clothing inside were for the people near the town. Apparently, there isn’t anyone with your body frame Mr. King. There are some overweight people but they’re mostly visitors who only stay for a day or two…” she said, Dwight laughed, this is the first time he had seen David uncomfortable. They rode into town, Dwight was stunned. It was like David said, it's more like the city in the northern states. Everyone around wore clothing matching theirs, but they were getting shifty eyes pointed at them. David told everyone to get off, them riding on a horse is why so many are staring. Normally, people use carriages to get around, only authorities ride horses and they didn’t look like them. They walked until they reached a bar. They entered it and sat at a table well David went to gather information on the person who can help them. As they sit, Dwight were overheard a group of men talking about his town.

“Excuse me, what’s the fuss about my town?”

“Haven’t you heard? It burned down!” The duo's eyes widened.

“W-what do you mean!? How did it burn down!?”

“Consider yourself lucky. A band of foreigners came into the town, they were holding strange weapons, it matched the color of blood. Their clothes told they weren’t from America but…”

“Their skin were Caucasians. Anyways, they struck fear into the town to a point when a few deputies had to stop them.”

“They all fell, one by one. Then just for the hell of it, they went on a murder spree.”

“B-but what about the sheriff!?”

“When the other town sheriffs came, they found Meg Thomas corpse on the ground. Her mid section was completely split in two. From the survivors of the town said, they were looking for a man named Dwight Fairfield. Poor bastard, he unknowingly got his town killed.” Dwight hearing was deafening, his heart started to race as his vision blurred again. His breathing became irregular and began to clench his chest. Rin watched him, trying to calm him down but deep inside, she had an idea who is looking for him. He felt himself beginning to pass out, but someone tapped him shoulder, David.

“...”

“I heard everything, best we can do is keep moving. The more we stay in one spot, the faster they’ll catch us. Come on, I got the information.” Dwight wiped his sweat off, Rin was that he somehow calmed himself down, was it because of David? As they went out, they show a couple of kids rubbing Bumbley. Both their skin matched each other, a boy and a girl. One was older, possibly a teenager well the other one was a child. The girl had short-medium black hair tied into a small ponytail with small bangs in the front, eyes a brown as Dwight’s but her body language said she isn’t someone to mess with. The boy was smaller than her, the color of his hair and eyes matches the girl’s, the only difference is his age and hair length. Maybe brother and sister?

“Charlotte, look how big it is!” the small one shouted with such excitement.

“Thomas, it could belong to someone. We shouldn-”

“Hmmm?” the boy looked at the group and grew a smile, he rushed to them and questioned them.

“Neato! Is this horse is yours Mister?” he directed to Dwight.

“U-uh no, it’s actually his.”

“Oh wow! Mister, what’s its name!?”

“Bumbley, she’s very friendly with children”

“Ok! Hey Bumbley, I’m-” The girl took the boy’s hand and tugged him forward a bit.

“Thomas, if we don’t hurry, we’ll get caught. Let’s avoid that.”

“O-ok…, see you later everyone!” The boy and the girl left the group, the got on Bumbley as David rode it to their next destination. They reached a large manor southward of the town, the windows were broken, the plants and trees around were rotten and wilted. Dark clouds hung above the manor alone, which was ominous considering the sky is clear everywhere else. They heard an organ being played inside, like they belonged in a horror film.

“King, Uh...your friend live here?”

“I wouldn’t say friend...I actually never met him, only heard of him. I have to admit, this place is a bit...unsettling.”

“Which part!? The organ being played inside that can be heard out here, or the dark storm clouds directly above the place!?” At that moment, a sour note of the organ was played and the doors of the manor opened. Dwight instantly hid behind David, fearing for his life that the door opened.

“Aww, you sure do hide behind me a lot.”

“Errr, I can tell Rin to dismember you.”

“Oh no, please. Dwight i’m sooooo sorry, i’m so scared. Come on, everyone.” David took the lead and Rin followed.

“(Come on, everyone), asshole…” Dwight ran up to them, but this time he hid behind Rin. The inside was horrendous, broken furniture was everywhere, dry blood splatter on the walls. Sounds of electricity could be heard alongside the organ playing. The more they ventured in the , the louder and clear the organ played. They passed through some large doors leading down, maybe a basement? That’s what they thought until they reached the bottom of the stairs. The walls went from blood-stained walls to metallic ones, they saw medical beds with blood on them. They looked around and say weird cylinder-like containments with green fluid flowing inside them, each containment held something twisted inside.

“What is this place?”

“I haven’t seen anything in my country like this…”

“I heard about this stuff from Claudette, it’s known as a laboratory. Generally, it is used for science experiments and medical development but...none of these looks like either…”

“Yeah, not the mention the organ play is a lot louder here. Stay sharp!” They walked and walked, eventually they reached a hallway with large double doors. David swallowed his spit and pushed them open. They saw it a large organ at the end of the large room, large nods that shocked electricity. Flashes of light flickered the room, the man at the organ played the last note but it was once again sour. The man raises up, his voice echoed in the room, he can be heard even if he isn’t near them.

“Smokey King, Mr. Fairfield, Ms. Yamaoka, a pleasure.” His echoed voice said.

“You know us?”

“Of course, I know a lot of things. But where’s my manners, I should introduce myself. I’m Herman Crater, otherwise known as-”

“The mad doctor…” David finished for him.

“You know, you could let me finish that myself, rude. I see you weren’t taught manners.”

“S-sorry. Anyways, I’m here for a request.”

“Hmmm?”

“We’re traveling west but a section I want to get to is patrolled by the Romero’s, I want to you to craft their insignia if possible?”

“Hmmm, I can but you know what you have to do, right?”

“What did he mean by that, Mr. King?”

“From what I learned, if you want to request his service, you have to do some requests of his own.”

“Understandable, an eye for an eye. It’s common in my country.”

“Yeah but there’s a catch…”

“Oh god, is nothing easy in this world?”

“You have to complete a number of requests until he sees fit. It can range from one to like ten.”

“O-oh… well, what request you have in mind for us?”

“There’s an orphanage a few hours from here, there’s some documents taken from me by some kids. I’m assuming some dare or some sorts, get it back.”

“Seem easy enough.” Dwight expressed with relief.

“Yes, it's easy. Wish I could say the same for the place.”

“What do you mean?”

“Place hasn’t been the same when the new workers came along, unless you’re a good child, that place is basically hell for children” Those words echoed in David’s head, his memories of his past stabbed his head, causing a headache and forces him to rub it out. Rin and Dwight caught him do so.

“Mr. King?”

“I’m fine. Let’s go, faster we do these requests, the better.” The group left the lab and the manor in a hurry to the orphanage. It took them a few hours, the sun was setting by the time they got their. They went to it but they were immediately denied access to the place, they tried to explain themselves but they were ignored. They were forced to leave before the place alerts the authorities. The group was stumped, how they’re going to finish the request? As they stood in place and think, a familiar voice spoke to them.

“Hello everyone!” it was the young boy and girl from earlier.

“...”

“Howdy kid, what you’re doing all the way out here?”

“We live here!” the boy shouted with a smile.

“*Sigh* but it’s past curfew, we’re in big trouble again…”

“Were you kids walking all the way here?” Dwight asked.

“Yes, we weren’t supposed to be out in general.” the girl told them.

“Thomas was dare to go to the old manor and take something from their as proof, he went again today to take more things…” David rubbed his chin and asked them what did he exactly took.

“What exactly did you take?”

“Just some papers, I can’t read any of it though.”

“That’s because it was made by some smarty pants, of course you can’t read it.”

“Where are these papers?”

“In our room, I can get it!”

“But the gates are shut…” the two told them to follow them, they hugged the wall until they reached a certain point. They removed some leaves and showed a dugged hole.

“Us “bad” kids use the hole to sneak out.” The girl explained, what did she mean by bad? Herman did said this place was hell for kids that aren’t good children.

“The hole is quite big and night is approaching so it’ll be easy for us to sneak around. Should we all go?”

“No, you and Rin can stay out here, I’ll go.” David said, something was odd when he said it. It wasn’t smooth and casual, it was a bit rough and sounded painful. They went to the hole and crawled to the over side, they opened up a window and the kids lead David to their room. They had to be immersed, there were some people patrolling to check if anyone were out of their rooms. After avoiding for so long, they made it to their rooms. It was small with two bed, one fine well the other one was broken. As Thomas search for the papers, David looked around the room. It was beaten up badly, no source of life exist in the room other than the stable bed.

“What happened here?”

“About two years ago, when the new workers came, they kicked the nun that ran this place out. They replace her with some slumlords, they changed a lot of things here. Follow their rules and it’ll be fine but… it didn’t feel right. They wanted us to become them, some of us didn’t want to. So we were deemed as the “bad children”, so they do whatever they can to make our lives miserable.” She told, David held in place, then he touched his brand mark and took in a deep breath. He knows their pain.

“Have...they done anything to you two?”

“Me? Yes, but Thomas no. I won’t let them. Whenever they come looking for us, I hide and endure it for the both of us. We lost our family when we’re younger, I seen and felt how they handle us. If they attack Thomas like that…” The girl look away, she was scared for her brother. Thomas found the papers and handed them to David. He thanked him but there were footsteps approaching, the girl took David’s hand and hid him in the closet. A man came inside, scolding at the two because he was waiting for the two to return because of them sneaking out. The man gripped and squeezed her hand. She resisted but it ended with a swift punch to her face, the man looked at Thomas. He tried to make his way to him but the girl stood in front of them. The man went and tried to attack her again, but David burst out of the closet and shot a bullet in the man’s head. The sound of gunfire echo inside and out, Rin and Dwight looked at each other, what’s going on inside? Thomas hid his face in the girl’s as she looked at the fresh corpse laying in their room, but that was the least of her concerns. She was sure that the others heard the shot and it’ll only be a matter of time before they get here.

“You two, come on!”

“W-where ar-”

“COME ON!” David helped them up and they ran out the room, the other men came running other them. David fired at them to keep the men at bay, he disabled some of them by shooting their leg. They made it out and crawled through the hole, Rin and Dwight helped them out.

“W-what’s going on King!?”

“I’ll explained later!” David blew a loud whistle, Bumbley came running to them. David propped Thomas in front of him and set the girl behind him, they rode Bumbley relentlessly back to the manor. Thankfully they weren’t followed nor couldn’t be recognized due to the darkness of the night. The group went into Herman’s lab and handed him the papers.

“Here!”

“That was quicker than expected, thank you. That should be enough for today, I know this manor is old but the bedrooms are usable. Get some sleep.” Herman went back to his work, Rin took care of the kids well Dwight turned to David.

“King, what are you’re doing!?”

“...”

“We can’t take kids with us, it’s too dangerous!”

“...”

“KING!”

“...what did I do?”

“W-what? King, you took these kids from the orphanage…”

“Oh...sorry, my body just kind of acted on its own. I-I going to rest.” David walked off to the stairs leading to the upper floors.

“(What was that all about?)” Dwight went to sit on of the beds around the lab, Rin came to sit next to him as she stretches her arms.

“I don’t know how I feel King taking those kids with us…”

“Me either, what the hell was he thinking?”

“Charlotte told me that when she was explaining herself, King touched the brand marking on his neck.”

“Charlotte?”

“It’s the girl, they’re brother and sister.”

“Oh ok, that’s right though. King has a brand mark of crown below his neck, he must of belonged to a gang or something…” Dwight turned to see Rin staring at him, he got nervous. Whenever she does that, she asks him a question.

“R-Rin, is something the matter?”

“Well...it’s just us two. Dwight, are you sure you don’t have something towards King?”

“What d-do you mean?”

“Well, King was clearly was having sexual intercourse in the other room, you were watching him as you processed to ejaculate to it. You even left a mess on the floor.” Dwight turned red, he jumped off the bed and he immediately started to stutter. Herman yelled at them to be careful.

“I WASN’T!”

“You were! You even fell to your knees, you made a very erotic face too!”

“N-N-N-N-NO!”

“Dwight, it’s perfectly fine.”

“...is it?”

“No, it’s not. I was trying to cheer you up. Invading one space when performing such an intimate and romantic action is deemed quite perverted and rude.”

“THEN WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU SAY IT!? UGH, I’M GOING TO BED, GOODNIGHT!” Dwight rushed out and headed upstairs to a random bedroom, but when he turned, he saw David shirtless and taking off his pants.

“..., want the room?”

“I-I AM FINE! I’LL GO SOMEWHERE ELSE!”

“I wouldn’t recommend it, I already checked all the rooms here. Unless you like sleeping with roaches, I say staying here would be best.” Dwight denied the offered and ran out of the room, he ran to another room but like David said, it was trashed. The next day came but the group had to lay low, they were sure the authorities were looking for them. David stood in his room cleaning his gun and sharpening his knife with Rin, the kids ran around Herman’s lab and looking at the experiments. Night approached, Herman sent the kids to get the rest and bring him to his lab.

“Good evening everyone.”

“What’s the next request?”

“My, just ready to go right at it I see. My next request is simple, there’s a man with a ring with a special gemstone on it. He holds them dear to him, but there’s a catch. He like young males, he a sucker for them to a point when he gives them away like it’s candy because he has so many. He’s attending a party east of the town, you can reach it by train. It’s hosted in the building in the middle of nowhere, you’ll see it.”

“Hmmm, young males?” The group all looked at Dwight, he started to sweat with the attention glued to him.

“M-me!?” he questioned.

“Thomas is wayyy too young to flirt with an old man. Even if I shave my thin beard, my age will still be noticeable.”

“B-but I have one too!”

“Yes, but something tells me you’ll look ten times younger without one.” David pulled Dwight into a room upstairs and set him down in front of a mirror, he pulled a shaver and held him still.

“Stay still, these things are really sharp. One false move and your neck can be cut open.”

“T-thanks for the warning!” David started shaving Dwight’s face, he felt the cold steel gliding across and removing his facial hair well at it.

“And...there! Holy shit!” Dwight looked in the mirror, he did look a lot younger but it didn’t please him. The others came in to see the results. They praised the two but Dwight’s face was still pouty.

“Calm down, it’s just a beard. It’ll grow back.”

“It’s...not the beard, I just don’t think I should be the one doing this. I may be a banker but talking in your job and talking socially are to completely different things…”

“Don’t worry, stay calm and you’ll get through it. Just think happy thoughts.”

“(Hard to think happy thoughts if an old man wants to stick his tongue in me)” They left the kids with Herman as they went to the station and boarded the train. After a while, it stopped at a specific spot. They saw a grand building with dazzling lights and large windows where you can clearly see what’s going on. David and Rin put on different clothing to disguise themselves as one of the waiters.

“We’re going to pose as waiters, we’ll keep watch. Just don’t fuck anything up, got it?”

“...got it.” Rin and David went in first then Dwight. Dwight sat at a table by himself, he already saw the two hard at work serving people. Dwight looked around, he was the only young-looking person in the party, he even stuck out like a sore thumb. Him sticking out did catch the attention of someone, an older balding man. He was dressed in clothing that Dwight can only wear in his dreams but when he looked at his hand, it had a ring with a gemstone on it. Dwight was nervous, the only person he had a real conversation with was Claudette. He sweated as the man talked to him.

“My, tell me, why such a young man like yourself doing at a gathering of older folks?”

“O-oh, I w-was trying t-to see if anyone was a p-potential mate.”

“Oh, you’re looking for a lover?” the balding man grew a smile, he moved closer to Dwight.

“Men your age don’t really try to find a mate, they mostly like to play around.”

“Well m-mom always said I wasn’t l-like most people.” David and Rin were watching as they serve, Rin eyes became dull again. She saw how uncomfortable Dwight was becoming.

“(Target, balding elderly man. Poss-)”

“(No Rin, I know he’s uncomfortable but we can’t risk it. He needs to calm him down though.)” The man’s hand was now on Dwight’s thigh, he rubbed it to arouse him but it only made him more nervous.

“You know, I like to spoil people, especially ones I find...appetizing” he said, moving his hand to Dwight crutch. The man lean forwards, staring into Dwight’s eyes as he tried to steal a kiss. Dwight lost it, his heart raced and he jumped from his seat and knocked himself into a waiter. The water the waiter was carrying spilled on Dwight, soaking his shirt and exposing his body underneath.

“I'm so sorry, I did- (huh!?)” Dwight turned around and his tattoo was exposed to the man.

“I-t’s fine, sorry for the mess. I ju- hey, y-you ok?”

“What is that on your back!?” he shouted, catching everyone's attention.

“I-it’s…”

“I heard rumors, but this!? This proves it! YOU’RE DOUGLAS FAIRFIELD’S SON! IT’S REAL!”

“(SHIT, DAMMIT DWIGHT!)” Everyone crowded around Dwight and stared at him as they smiled. Dwight recognized those eyes, they were filled with greed, eyes filled with greed that are willing to kill him for the treasure. They weren’t going to let him leave, some of them held him well some grabbed knives to skin him right there. David clench his hands and closes his eyes.

“Rin…”

“...”

“They’re threats, all of them. Don’t leave a single one alive…” Rin nodded her head and went to work. Like David requested, she didn’t leave a single person alive. They were threats, if one gets out knowing what happened, it’ll be over for Dwight. What was once an elegant party was nothing more but a slaughterhouse masked with blood. The stench of blood filled the air, Dwight sat in the middle, a flower that survived a battlefield. His eyes were widened and drowned in horror, his slip up got many people killed, just like before. David forcefully picked him up by his shirt and made him walk, Rin went to the balding man’s corpse and took off the ring off his finger. When they got outside, David made a loud whistle that could be heard throughout the entire land. Bumbley came to them and rode them back in the manor. They were all silent, not of them didn’t want any of that to happen. After some time, they returned to the manor to give herman the ring. He questioned why all of them were so bloody. David turned to Dwight, Dwight forced himself to look at his face. Nothing but boiling anger riddled his face as he pulls Dwight forward.

“WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU!? IT WAS SIMPLE, YOU TALK THEN WE TAKE!”

“*Whimper*” Dwight was shaking, his heart was racing well images of the corpses came back in his head. He started to tear up as he could feel the heat David was emitting.

“THERE COULD OF BEEN NO CASUALTIES, WHAT CAN’T YOU LISTEN. ALL THOSE PEOPLE WE KILLED, JUST BECAUSE-”

“FUCK YOU!” Dwight screamed, smacking the David’s hand off of him.

“You… YOU TRY LIVING WITH THIS FUCKING TATTOO ON YOUR BACK, BEING HUNTING DOWN LIKE A WILD ANIMAL FOR YEARS!” Dwight face was riddled with tears. He ran out of the lab and the manor. The others looked at David with worry, David punched one of the containments and went outside to smoke. The group watch the liquid fall on the floor and watch whatever was in it crawl around. David sat on the steps of the manor, taking long drags of his cigar, trying to calm himself down. He even brought some snake oil to get intoxicated a bit. As he started to drink, Thomas sat nice to him with a glass of liquid in his hands.

“Mr. King!” he said with his usual cheery voice.

“Yes little one?”

“Are you ok? You were really angry at Dwight…”

“*Sigh* I'm...somewhat ok, what are you drinking?”

“Herman said he thinks it’s apple juice!” He answered, David took the glass and threw it away from him.

“I rather not have you drink some he “thinks” is apple juice.”

“Hmmm, I guess that true. Hope sis is ok, he gave her and Rin bread, I think it was screaming?”

“S-screaming?”

“Yeah!”

“(This is really is some kind of mad house.)”

“King?”

“Hmmm?”

“Was...Dwight hurt when you yelled at him?”

“...”

“Did he do something bad?”

“In a way. Look, he has something I want and if he plays along, neither of us will get hurt but he doesn’t listen. He messes up a lot and it gets us in trouble to a point where people can…you know.”

“But...was yelling really the way? He looked really hurt…”

“Sometimes you need to be mean to get the point across.” Thomas pouted, he grabbed David’s arm and dragged him to the tree. He pulled one of the branches and started doodling in the dirt.

“Before mom and dad went to the market-”

“The market?”

“Yeah, Charlotte told me they got taken into work when they went to the market. They took a really long time, so we had to go to the orphanage.”

“(Poor kid, she lied to him so he wouldn’t get hurt.)”

“My dad told me “People can be raised the same, but grow up different. Those differences can impact them in the future, to a point where they’re not accepted by anyone. Instead of yelling and being negative towards their action, we should help them sort them out and quell them. People who ended up different from the rest are drawn together, to heal and quell their pain.” uhhh David, what does quell means?”

“It means to get rid of something with time, rather it be fast or slow.”

“Ok! Quell, quell, quell! Do I sound like a grown up now!?”

“*giggle* yeah, you do.”

“So what you’re going to do?”

“*Sigh* You already said it, people who are different from the rest should heal each other.”

“Do you know where he has gone to?”

“The place where all emotional bas- uh I mean, where all people go when they’re sad.”

“A brothel house?”

“WHO TAUGHT YOU THAT WORD!? A-anyways, that’s not where’s he at. Go to bed.”

“Ok, good luck King! I’m going to try some of the screaming bread!”

“Wait, don’t go and ea- and he’s gone.” Thomas ran back into the manor as David calls Bumbley over and rode her to the nearest bar. He came into it and asked the bartender if he seen a man matching the description he told. The bartender pointed at a table and he saw Dwight drinking his pain and frustration away. David picked him and carried him to Bumbley and rode back into the manor. To Dwight, the whole thing was a blur as he blacks out. He woke up in the dead of night on a bed, his head was throbbing as nausea infested his stomach. He reeked of alcohol well his vision blur, even with him putting his glasses on. He looked across the room and saw that David was on a bed as well. His back was turned to Dwight, but he hasn’t forgotten. Dwight remembered what he said, he reached in his pocket and pulled out a syringe. It had the label “paralysis agent” taped to it. He wobbly walks across the room, holding his stomach and trying not to vomit. He got near his bed, but David wasn’t a sleep. He kept one eye open and listen to Dwight’s actions, he was plotting something but he didn’t do anything. If Dwight actually tries something, he’ll attack him. Dwight lifted the syringe in the air, ready to stab and inject David with the fluids inside but stopped. There was a broken mirror on the wall, Dwight stared at himself. What was he doing? He wouldn’t be here if it was for David, he could have ended this travel if he inject him, but he’ll leave himself vulnerable to others, even with Rin. She wasn’t enough, they got this far with both of them. He put the syringe back in his pocket, but he fell unconscious and landed on the floor. David turned around and saw him, he sighed and put him back on the bed and went back to sleep. As they sleep, a new threat were approaching them from the distance.

“Anna, here.” Kenneth said, sniffing the air.

“How many we’re dealing with?”

“Five, Dwight, another man with a battle hungry stench, Rin and two kids.”

“From what we gathered, Dwight isn’t a fighter. So it’ll be two versus two, this we’ll be easy.”

“Remember, Dwight needs to be alive.”

“I know, let’s go.” the two walked off in the direction of the town to complete their mission. The morning came and the group woke up early and went to the lab, except for Dwight. He woke up with an intense hangover, his head throbbed in pain as every movement made it worse. He looked at the stand where the mirror stood, he saw some bread and water with a note.

“Eat and drink these, it’ll help.” it said, must of been from David, he is the only one who drinks. He did what was on the note, but as soon as he took a bite, the bread screamed. Dwight screamed in fear and ran out the room, down the stairs and into Herman’s lab. He bumped into David large body.

“Happen to you?” David asked as he helped him up.

“Bread, *pants* screaming!” he answered as David was holding a loaf of bread.

“Yeah...I know.” he said, tossing it across the room.

“I have more than that loaf if you want some?” Dwight hid behind David when he was offered more.

“Herman…, come on. It seems we still got work to do.”

“Lucky for you lots, it my last one. Actually, it’s beneficial to you. The insignia material the Romero gang uses is a special type of mineral and metal. I have the metal but not the mineral. Fortunately enough, the mines not far from here has them in quantities. The hard part is that it’s deep inside the mine. The mining shifts is very intricate, almost like it’s a labyrinth. Its a clear mineral, crystal like, can’t miss it.” The group nodded their heads, the three changed back into their regular clothes with David coat closed for once and left on Bumbley, David didn’t want the kids to stay with Herman so he took them with them. It didn’t take them long to reach the mines, but they didn’t arrive until noon. David slowed down Bumbley as they approached the mines, the sky is clear without a single cloud to cover the sun. The heat baked the group as they reached their destination. Thomas saw something, a shadow speed the ground but it was casted from the sky.

“Hmmm?”

“Thomas?”

“Hey Charlotte? I thought you said there’s no birds here?” he asked her.

“There shouldn’t be, King?”

“There shouldn’t, birds should heading more southward because Fall is approaching. Where you see a bird?”

“There!” David stopped the Bumbley and looked where Thomas pointed.

“..., THAT’S NOT A BIRD!” He shouted, David pulled out his revolver and shot whatever was in the sky. A hatchet with a crimson red head fell.

“Hmmm, the man seem skilled with a gun.” Kenneth said.

“No matter, do it now Kenneth.” He nodded and pulled out a small bottle of tonic, he threw the bottle with great accuracy and landed it in front of the group. A small gas cloud formed and Bumbley sniffed it, she bucked wildly and threw everyone off and ran away.

“HEY! WHERE YOU’RE GOING!? Dammit, where the hell that thing came from!?” Everyone looked as the kids hide behind Rin, Dwight looked at a clifftop and saw them.

“UP THERE!” They turned their heads to the clifftop, they saw a muscular woman with a rabbit mask and a large man with make-up on his face. Rin sweated, not for the man but from the woman. The two slid down the cliffside, the man threw another bottle. Dwight took out the rifle and shot the bottle, creating the gas cloud again as two hatchets flew out. Rin took out her blade and deflecting one and tried for the other, but she missed but thankfully David shot it out the sky again. The woman received her hatchets and smiled at the group.

“It has been a while, Rin.”

“Who would've thought you be here in all places. Kenneth, is this them?” The large man sniffed the air, David watched him as he confirmed the identities of the group.

“Yes, the scrawnier one with the rifle, that’s Dwight Fairfield. I can smell his father on him.”

“(Shit! Dwight, kids, get behind me! Rin, who are they!?)”

“(The man is Kennth Chase, he has the nose of a bloodhound and can find anyone just by smelling the air. Don’t underestimate him with his size, he’s faster than me. The woman is Anna, she hurl hatchets with such accuracy but her strong suit is her monstrous strength. Nothing but pure raw power, be careful King!)”

“Now, it can be simple. You could just hand Dwight over and we’ll be about out way.”

“But something tells us that you rather put up a fight than handing him over.”

“You fucking guessed right!”

“My mission is to protect Dwight, If you two stand in my way, then I’ll be forced to cut you down!” Rin said, the four stared at each other. A gust of wind blew passed them, all their eyes spelled death. The air was heavy and thick as Dwight and the kids watch. David tried to take the first shot but he was stopped by Kenneth, Rin was lying about his speed. How could a man move that fast, almost inhuman like Rin. Kenneth threw David in the air but it didn’t stop him from unloading his gun in the air. Kenneth threw a bottle to absurd his vision, the next thing he saw was hatchets flying over to him. Rin jumped and grabbed David out of the way but the hatchets curved their way back to them. Rin deflecting them but the force of the hatchets pushed her back.

“Tch, it could of been anyone else! I...can’t even beat her on by herself, there’s no way I could with Kenneth…”

“Hey, you’re not alone in this. I may not be some superhuman but I’m hell to kill!” he said, he offered her his hand and she accepted it as she rises back up.

“Now, how do we beat them?”

“We’re in open spaces, as long they have room, they’ll can constantly pin us down.”

“..., got it! EVERYONE, IN THE MINES!” the group ran into one of the entrances of the mines.

“Hmph, let them run. With you Kenneth, they’ll won’t escape.” Anna received her hatchets and followed them with Kenneth. The group made it into the mines as they follow the hanging lights inside. David took out a cigar and smoked it, Dwight assumed he smoking it to relieve stress but being inside a mine made it intolerable.

“D-do you really have to be smoking in here, rather be able to breathe well being chase!?”

“Shut up! We got two psychos after us, I like to calm down a bit but…” David paused, he turned and removed his coat and his hat and put it on Dwight. David had a two belts of bullets going across his torso.

“There some rifle rounds inside, but listen. Me and Rin going to fight those two head on, you and kids will hide. If me and Rin fall, take the kids and run. Trust me, they’ll won’t find you.” He told him. He didn’t respond. The group continues to venture deeper into the mine, went lower and lower but they did have lights on the walls to guide them. At some point, there was a big open space. It held many stalagmites, maybe there is some water source running in the mine. David has noticed some moisture on the walls but didn’t think much of it. There was a wall and the other side held the same thing. On top of it was a ledge with a walkway leading elsewhere, David told Dwight and the kids to hide up there. They climbed up as David and Rin waited for their enemies. They eventually caught up to them.

“Just you two?”

“Yeah, just us. We’re more than enough.”

“As much I want to play with some new toys, we don’t have time for you. Kenneth, where is he?”

“*Sniffs* huh? *sniffs*”

“Nice try. Before Rin even told me, I noticed you relied on smell, you exposed yourself by telling your friend which one of us was Dwight.” he told them.

“(I get it now, that’s why he smoked, he was blinding his sense of smell. He’s...really is amazing sometimes, ...glad I'm not his enemy.)” Dwight continued to observe from the spot.

“*Sigh* guess i’m really am going to break some TOYS!” Anna rushed over, grabbed David and threw him to the other side. Kenneth took out his crimson knife and dashes towards Rin.

“I’M YOUR OPPONENTS, RIN!” Dwight sweated nervously, he watching both David and Rin fight for their lives right now. He wanted to help but his task is to protect the kids, He knew Rin should stand on her own so he watched David instead. Unfortunately, David’s fight wasn’t going as well for him. He unleashed rounds left and right, reloading at breakneck speeds that seemed unreal. But they we’re all blocked, almost like Anna could see the speed of the bullet like Rin. David has to play smart, even if he did dodge some of Anna attacks, the ones she landed damaged him greatly. Anna suffered some damage of her own, David wasn’t inexperience with combat. She was getting excited but she can’t get too happy, she is on a mission. Before he made another move, David attention went to the wall when he saw Rin got thrown through it. She wasn’t handling her fight well either. Anna jumped into the air and slammed her fist into the ground, she shattered the ground a bit and it lifted David up. Anna smiled and clench her fit, veins covered her arm as she approaches David.

“(Shit, I'm going to have to endure this one.)” he said as he braced himself, Rin looked over and saw what he was he was doing, a foolish decision.

“KING, NO! SHE’S-”

“Huh!?” David delivered a devastating blow into David’s midsection. David mind went blank, the punch felt like it was piercing him, his ribcage heavily shattered, his body burning and throbbing in pain. He flew across the ground like a skipping stone on a lake. He held himself as he let out a cry of pain, coughing violently and blood running out his mouth. Anna was amazed that he was alive, Rin wanted to help but Kenneth was tossing her around like she was nothing.

“I have to hand it to you, no one could survive that attack, you’re the first that ever did.” She said, she picked David up by his head and brought him closer to her.

“Let’s continue our play time!” Anna beaten David mercilessly, the more he survived her strength, the happier and stronger she became. She picked him up once again, David body only twitch as she threw him back on the ground. David stood back up but it was a struggle.

“I’m impressed with your fighting spirit, but you need to learn to stay in your place and stay down!” Anna said as she rushed over to give David the killing blow but something clicked in his head, her words echoed inside. Then he heard it, him younger self crying as he was beaten into submission, forcing to obey what he was told. Then he felt it, a rush of adrenaline surging throughout his body. He weaves his body to dodge the attack, Anna was stunned by the sudden movements he made. David gripped her arm and with all his strength from the adrenaline boost, flipped Anna to the ground. Dwight and the rest were awestruck, David’s body is still in pain but he has to continue. Anna got right back up went back to him. Left and right, David dodges her attacks and countered each one with his own. For once, Anna felt pain but it wasn’t a pleasant feeling. David went to give another blow to her but stopped, his body went brought back the pain the adrenaline blocked to him. Anna noticed it and took advantage of it by knocking him down and pinning him to the ground with her foot. Dwight body was struck with fear, both his companions were losing their fights. He wanted to help, he didn’t want either of them to die. They’re doing this to protect him, he looked at the kids, Thomas was clinging onto his sister as she stroked his head.

“(DAMMIT! I..want to help...but I...I! But what can I do, WHAT DAMMIT!?)” Dwight was conflicted, he glances over to David’s side. Anna was still stepping on him.

“(Please...David, TELL ME SOMETHING! ..huh?)” He saw that David was looking at him with one of his eyes, he was tapping his finger on the ground, morse code.

“Coins...pockets...throw…” he said, Dwight searched the pockets of the coat and found a heavy sack, he opened them and found numerous coins inside. He didn’t understand why they were heavy but it wasn’t important. He shouted to catch the woman’s attention and throws the coins. Well she was distracted, David used whatever strength he had and fire some rounds at the coins. The bullets ricochet off the coins and bounces all round Anna, she couldn’t keep up with movement. The bullets lodged inside her, forcing her to kneel as Dwight slid down from his spot and attacked the woman with the butt of the rifle. This angered the woman, he went to fire a shot at her but she took out a large axe with a crimson head matching her hatchets. It cut the rifle clean in half, leaving Dwight defenseless. The woman tried to move with her wounds but stopped again. This time, the kids came sliding down and attacked the woman with a broken stalagmites and ran over to the others. Anna had enough, she slammed her axe into the ground and strike upward. The shockwave forces the group back. The kids hit against the wall, David and Dwight’s body was flung across the ground.

“Shit! Kids, are yo- ARUGH!” Anna grabbed Dwight’s head and squeezed it as she brought her over.

“IN REALITY, WE DON’T NEED YOU ALIVE! I CAN JUST RIP THE MAP OFF YOUR BACK AFTER I CRUSH YOUR HEAD!” Anna ripped the back of Dwight shirt as she continued to crush his head. Dwight took something out of his pocket, a syringe as he stabbed and injected the fluid inside her.

“I don’t know what that was but...bu-but (I CAN’T MOVE!)”

“Hope you enjoy being paralyzed!” Dwight shouted as he kick her off of him, she fell down and laid motionless. Rin flew across from them with her sword landing and creating a crater in the ground, she was beaten as badly as David, leaving Dwight the only one who can fight back.

“Kids, come on. I get King, you guys get Rin!” The kids did their best to carry when Rin well Dwight carries David.

“Anna! Wha-”

“DOESN’T MATTER WHAT HAPPENED TO ME, DON’T LOSE THEM!” Kenneth looked at the group, Dwight saw him. What could he do? His rifle is destroyed, David’s revolver has no ammo, leaving only Rin’s sword. With no option, Dwight went to pick it up but it was heavy, he couldn’t pick it up. Kenneth prepared to go after them, time was running short. Even with his skinny body, he used every bit of muscle in his body to lift it up and slammed it into the ground. He cause a collapse in the mines as the floor gave way, the groups descended down into the darkness, not knowing what awaits below them. They fell into running water that flowed inside the mine, the darkness consume their vision as the water threw them all around. After being in the mercy of the water, they fell out a hole with the water into a river bed. They all floated to dry land and crawl their way back. They looked up to the sky and saw that night already took over the sky again.

“Jesus, how long were we in there?”

“I don’t know, but are you kids alright?”

“We’re alright, nothing too serious. But… we didn’t get the mineral.”

“Yes we did, here!” Thomas pulled out a chunk of the mineral Herman needed.

“I found some when we were walking!”

“*Pants* way to *pants* go little buddy.” David told him, Dwight rubbed Thomas head but walked off on his own. The group watched him, why did he leave? Shouldn’t he be happy that they lived? The kids were going to follow him but David stopped them, he went instead. He limped over to where Dwight was sitting at.

“Hey.”

“...”

“You...really saved our asses. If it was- SHIT!” David clenches his chest, his breathing got heavy as his body felt nothing but pain. Dwight snapped out of it and laid him down. He removed his shirt and rubbed his hands on his chest. David’s body was covered in bruises and even felt his ribcage shattered in many places, possible that it may pierced his lunge. He needed emergency medical attention but he won’t make it to town before he dies, except for one thing, the ointment Rin gave him. He reached in his pocket and pulled it out and stared at it.

“(when applied to larger wounds and bruises, it’ll heal to a certain point right? If it can do that then...can it heal his bones!? How do I even apply it? Do I just rub it!?)” Out of a desperate attempt, he rubbed the ointment on David’s body.

“(Come on! if...IF SWORDS WITH SPIRITS AND SCREAMING BREAD CAN EXIST, THEN THIS SHOULD HEAL HIM!)” He screamed to himself. Dwight watches David’s body, he wasn’t moving. He shook his body violently to wake him up. Then at the moment, David took in a deep breath. He leaned up and started choking.

“W-what!? I-i’m alive!? How!?”

“Oh..my god, it worked…”

“*Deep sigh* I really thought I was a goner.”

“I’m...really glad you’re alive.” Dwight curled up and started to shake.

“Dwight…?” David reach his hand out for him but Dwight smacked it, he lifted up his face and exposed is face. Dwight was at his limit, this wasn’t like how he was before. You can tell his mind is breaking down. The others came to see his tear stained face.

“I-it’s h-happening again….”

“Dwight? Are you ok?” Thomas went over to wipe his face, but he was pushed. Dwight panicked as his eyes showed fear to his companions, his flashbacks of his past came by and he curled up again. This didn’t stop him, Thomas went over and hugged him from behind. Charlotte went to stop him but halted, it was working. Dwight’s heavy breathing ceased well his tears stopped.

“T-thank you, Thomas. I-I'm sorry for pushing you…”

“It’s ok, Dwight! I’m glad it helped! My mom did it to us whenever we were sad. but...Dwight? What did you mean by “again”?”

“Thomas! You can’t just-”

“No, it’s ok. I...did wanted to explain myself, just didn’t think it would be now. *Sigh* sit down everyone, ...it’s long.” they all sat around him, David moved a little closer to Dwight and patted his head. It did calm him down, to a point where his heart wasn’t racing anymore.

“It was my eighth birthday when it all started, mom went into town for something and we knew she’ll be gone long. So, dad took my to the shed at the back of our house, but I don't know what happened. All I remember was him apologizing to me then I blacked out. I woke up hours later and my back was in pain, I didn’t know why. I tried to search for my dad but he vanished, like he was never there. I searched by the lake and my mom find me, I told her what happened and why I was in pain. She looked at my back but didn’t say a word, she stood there. I turned around to see what was wrong but that’s when I saw them, her eyes filled with nothing but personal greed. Remember when I said I never killed anyone? I lied, I have, many times...and it started with my mother. Next thing she did was punch me, over and over. I didn’t know what I did, she never laid a hand on me, I-I was scared. Why did she suddenly harmed m-me? She then proceeded to choke me, or to be more accurate, trying snap my neck. I was only a boy, I have no type of strength to fight back anyone! I was begging her to stop but she didn’t, she laughed. She laughed as I was gasping for air, laughing that her son was in pain and on the verge of death. As a last ditch effort, I deseparely moved my hands to find anything and I did. I found a thick rock with a sharp edge, it rammed it into her neck and got her off of me. I felt her warm and thick blood dripped on my face, turning it red.

“Dwight...how could you?” she said, I was scared, scared to the point I continued. I took the rock and repeatedly slammed it on her head over and over. Her head was red mush, I couldn’t believe what I did. I screamed, I kicked, I bawled my eyes out. Dad was gone and mom was killed. If my mom looked at my back and harmed me, so will others. I took whatever I can and ran into the woods. I didn’t know where, just away from people. I ran out of everything I brought, my clothes were torn, my shoes were falling apart to a point where I wandered bare foot. I endured numerous people chasing me, cutting, poisoning, beating, hunting me down like a wild animal. This went on for a whole year, but at that point, I had enough. I couldn’t take it, if they wanted what was on my back then they could have it. One night, in the middle of the woods, I found another sharp rock. I couldn’t bear being hunted like that. So, I thrusted the rock into my neck, or at least tried. Someone stopped me, I looked at him. He was clearly in his older than me, he snatched the rock out my hands and threw it away.

“Kid, I don’t know the fuck happened to you, but you must went through hell if someone your age is considering suicide.”

“...”

“Who are you? Where’s your parents?”

“...,gone.” I told him, my stomach growled and he heard it. He told me to stay put as he went off somewhere, he came back with some branches, made a clearing and light it up. He made a small fire as he handed me some rations. Of course, I ate it because I thought it’ll be poisoned but it wasn’t, it was flavorful and I couldn’t control myself. He gave me more and I couldn’t help but eat and cry, it has been so long since someone helped me. He gave me his name, it was William. He...was a kind old man.

“I saw your back, you’re Douglas son?”

“..., you know my dad?”

“We worked together from time to time, we didn’t always meet eye to eye but he’s a decent guy. Don’t worry, I have no need for his shit. Anyways, when was the last time you had a cooked meal or an actual bath?”

“...”

“Well that answered those questions. Alright, come on.” he put out the fire and lead me to his horse, he rode me to a building hidden in a crayon with his other gangmates. He hid me behind his coat so no one inside would see my back. He lead me into his room, was quite large. He ran some water for me and actually cleaned me, I never felt so fresh. Then a woman came in, her hair was crimson as that woman's weapon. She was a very beautiful woman and the man seemed to trust and there was another person, a man that he also seemed to trust but he never showed them my back. The woman fed me nice meals well the other man told bad jokes that somehow made me laugh. It was nice, it felt like I had another home...but it didn’t last. William left out for a bit. Not long after, a bunch of men who were apart of the gang he was in came and took me. I didn’t know why, they threw me on a table and took my shirt off. They saw the map on my back, but how did they know, William didn’t even show the other two, we must of been watched. They didn’t waste no time, some of them held me down well one of the pulled out a knife and was ready to skin me. I cried out for William, I was afraid, I thought I was able to live peacefully again. Then the door opened and he came in, he didn’t let a single person live. I crawled under a table as he went berserk on his own gang mates, spreading their blood all over the walls… to protect me. He rather slaughter his own companions than let me get skinned. The red-haired woman came in to see the bloodshed, William looked at her and questioned her, she admitted. She was the one who mentioned my tattoo, so he killed her, if one person lived then my life will forever be in danger. I ran over to him and held him tight but knocked me off, I couldn’t stay with him. Once the others see the mess, they’ll know it’ll be him and come after him, even will place a bounty on his head. A large one.

“W-William?”

“Dwight...you need to get out of here!”

“B-b-but Wi-”

“NOW! THEY WILL KILL ME THEN GO AFTER YOU IF YOU STAY! I can’t put your life in danger.”

“NO! W-W-WILLIAM...i’m scared. I DON’T WANT TO GO, I CAN’T DO LIVE...like that a-again.”

“THEN FIGHT!”

“H-huh?”

“IF YOU HATE THE LIFE YOU’RE FORCED TO LIVE, FIGHT IT BACK. DON’T CRY, FIGHT. You endured many hardships that grown men haven’t even experienced. You’re strong Dwight Fairfield, just like your father. But remember, you’re not him. You’re you! LIVE DWIGHT! KEEP LIVING, DON’T GIVE UP, NOW GO!” He picked me up and threw me, so I ran. I ran again, I couldn’t believe I lost my home, I lost my family again. William’s words echoed in my head, I clenched my fist. I was done running, I wanted to live dammit. So, I gathered whatever books I could, took any jobs I could do at my age. Studied day and night, becoming a better me, but also a worse me. I couldn’t trust a single person, so I kept people at bay. Avoided social events to simple lunch breaks with people...all because I was scared of being found out and go back to being hunted. Eventually, with my many years of studying and connection, I landed my banking job and...that’s it. But here I am...living the nightmare I swore to leave behind again…” Everyone was stunned, they were at a loss of words, no one knew or can compare his years of pain. David took up and deep breath and turned to Dwight.

“Dwight...if you want to leave...then I won’t stop you.”

“H-huh?”

“You said it yourself, you dug your way out of hell to earn where you are now...and I ruined it. So, if you really want to, i’ll take you home…”

“King…”

“We already know a spare exist and know the location. You don’t have to continue this, if anything? I owe you, you could of ran and left us behind, you could have not used whatever you used to save me but you did. So, I won’t stop you if you really want to stop.” David was serious, Dwight stared at his reflection in the river. He drew in a deep breath.

“I want to, I want to go home so much and end all of this...but I can’t. The people are still looking for me and the treasure. I...don’t want them to get it, I don’t trust them with it! So honestly, it’ll only be a waste of time and a risk to take me back home. We made it this far, we might as well keep moving.” He told, David lifted his hand and placed it in front of Dwight.

“You know what this means right? We’re partners, we’re in this together. And the faster we get to it, the better, I can’t keep doing this type of stuff forever.”

“Boooo, yeah you can King!. You can keep going!” Thomas encouraged.

“*Giggle* yeah, you're right. I haven’t hit my sixties yet.”

“Yeah, you hav- WAIT WHAT!? YOUR SIXTIES!?”

“Oh yeah, I guess my younger appearances must of threw you guys off.” the group looked at each other and had to ask him.

“David...how old are you?”

“Me? I’m 54, well 55 now. My birthday was a while ago, why you think we stood in the inn? Treated everyone by staying there.” None of them couldn’t believe what he just said.

“Haha, you guys think my hair always looked this, greyish brown? Nope, my hair and beard was just as brown as yours Dwight. Anyways, enough jaw dropping.” David put his fingers in his mouth and made a loud whistle noise, Bumbely came over to their location with ease. Rin picked up her blade and climbed on with the others. As they rode off, two more bodies were drifting in the river as they reached land. Kenneth and Anna survived their fall as well, but failed their objective.

“Dammit, Kenneth! Go-”

“Stop it Anna, neither of us are in no condition to fight, let alone to follow them. We have to hide and wait out the paralysis.”

“Tch!”

“It’s fine, I have their scent now. They’ll be ahead but we’ll catch up. But for now, we rest.”

“Y-yes, I have to say this. Rin seem to improved on her skills, she certainly did some damage on you.”

“Yeah, but she’s still green around the ears. I better find us a spot to hide.” Kenneth picked her up and started walking to find a spot to hide. The group made it back to the manor, Rin treated the kids as Herman treated David in another.

“And...finished! You guys are all better!”

“Thank you, Rin!” the kids said as they laid down.

“Hey Rin, I didn’t know the ointment can heal bone. It completely fixed David’s lunge and ribcage. Why didn’t you tell me it could do that?”

“Speaking of healing, I see you used some your wounds.”

“(...) yeah, I did!”

“(What was with that pause?)”

“Anyways, If I’m being honest, I didn’t know it could do that. There even things I don’t know, I guess if we immediately apply it then it’ll heal.” she theorized, Herman came into their room, pretending to be exhausted.

“Phew, that took a bit. David’s all patched up but it’ll be a bit before he could move again.”

“You’re amazing Herman, I’ll go ch-”

“Actually Rin, you think you can let me do?”

“O-oh, sure!” Dwight thanked her and walked to the room David was in. As he entered, Herman and Rin couldn’t help but put their ear against the door and eavesdrop. Dwight pulled up a chair and sat it next to the bed. David was underneath a blanket and covered in bandages.

“How you’re feeling?”

“Arugh, like hell! My body is still bruised and burns! I rather take a kick straight to the teeth than deal with this! How you’re feeling?”

“I’m ok, I didn’t suffer as much damage as you and Rin. You...were pretty amazing in your fight.”

“Had to keep you all safe, but man, that woman was a powerhouse but anything to keep y’all alive.”

“That’s what partners for right?”

“...no, I don’t like using the word “partner” for you and Rin. how about “friends” instead?” Dwight eyes lit up as he formed an awkward smile.

“You...trust us enough to consider us that?”

“Yeah, especially since you didn’t inject the syringe into me last night.”

“Y-you knew!?”

“I told you, I’m very observant but you didn’t go with it so I could trust you. So...friends right?”

“Yeah, we’re friends!”

“Hey look at that, this the first time I saw you smile like that to me. Have my charm gotten to you?”

“A fool, old and a perverted. This is who I'm friends with now?”

“(He’s calling me the pervert when he literally watched me have sex to a point where he masturbated just from watching?) Yeah yeah.”

“That’s right, what we going to do with the kids?”

“Shit, forgot about them! Hmmm… I don’t want to leave them with Herman, I don’t need them to turn into goo-”

“Or the next loaf of screaming bread.”

“And we can’t just drop them off, they’ll be sent back! *Sigh* I hate to say this but, they’re sticking with us. We probably going to take it slow, not to mention we probably need to start sleeping in inns since it’ll be safer for them. Anyways, I only trust us with them and no one else but…”

“It means I have t-to fight…”

“I’ll get you a new rifle but don’t worry about killing them. Just did what you did at the farm well me and Rin do the killing blow.”

“...no, there’s going to be a point where you and Rin won’t be around and it’ll only be me around to protect them, I have to to kill to keep them alive David.” his face was filled with determination but David’s mind was questioning something.

“Huh? How you know my name was David?”

“(Shit!) h-haha, l-lucky guess…?”

“...”

“*Sigh* I asked Bumbley a while back...sorry.”

“That damn horse can never keep her mouth...well hooves shut. What else she told you?”

“(Probably shouldn’t mention the “not real” part) nothing, that’s all she gave me.”

“Ugh! Anyways, as soon I can move again, we’re leaving. Better get going before Viper gets here.”

“Speaking of, what’s her deal with you?”

“Slept with her parents, most of her family, even Adam. then blew up a lot of her land to add salt to the wounds.”

“You slept with that many!?”

“Yeah, I go with one and like a week or two later i’m with another one. Just tossing them aside and hopping all over, haha.” David found it funny just sleeping and fooling around like a horn dog, but not Dwight. That made him worry, will David just toss him aside if they ever get to that point? That thought made him second guess his thoughts towards him and David noticed it.

“(Shit! Did I say something wrong? Did it offend him?) Anyways, rest up, we’re gonna be here for a while.”

“Y-you right, goodnight.”

“Goodnight.” Dwight exited out the room and left David alone.

“(Dwight Fairfield, you really a strong guy. ...Hope one day, we can get close.)”

Chapter Text

Hey, have you heard about the rumored library?” Charlotte asked as she cleans Thomas, it has been a day since they left the lab but David wasn’t exactly healed. They have to take it slow for a bit to avoid any future injuries or wounds reopening. They were now resting at another inn due to their slow pacing with the kids with them.

“The rumored library?” Dwight asked, continuing to dress David wounds again.

“From my knowledge-”

“It’s a library that come out of nowhere, you know it’s near when you hear a bell sound similar to a clocktower.” Feng explained to her group, they were resting in the wilderness around a campfire. Joey and Claudette close to Feng as they want to hear more, Bill rolled his eyes to the story.

“A bell?” the old man questioned.

“Yeah, those who hears the bell’s call-”

“Are bound to meet the library soon after.” Adam explained.

“...”

“Kate? Were you listening or are you still upset that you were arrested?”

“ARRESTED FOR BULLSHIT, NOT TO MENTION THIS BAG OF DUST TRAVELING WITH US!” she shouted at the top of her lungs.

“I AIN’T THAT OLD!”

“I DON’T CARE, YOU SHOULDN’T EVEN BE TRAVELING WITH US! Ugh, anyways, what about this bell?”

“Basically, those hearing it will come in contact with the library. At least what the rumors said. Apparently, one man came out of it but spoke of a friend. When he mentioned him, the townsfolk never heard of the man even those the guy told he was born in that town. When he was asked what happened inside the place, he couldn’t recall a single thing.”

“I can smell horse shit a mile away, how the hell someone went inside the place can’t recall a single thing inside it?”

“Beats me, I just remembered our dad telling us that story whenever we been bad. That we’ll be taken away by it.” Charlotte continued.

“It’s just a rumor, nothing can appear out of thin air- ouch! Watch what you’re doing!”

“Shut up and I’ll finish up! Anyways, spirit swords is one thing but I agree with David, that’s just too unrealistic. Anyways, come on kids, time to sleep.” Dwight laid them down and turned off the lights and went to sleep. The night sky was covered by dark clouds, thunder clapped and the heavy rain pelted the ground, turning it into mud. As the storm continues, David heard screaming, he turned to see Thomas playing with the loaf of screaming bread Herman gave him as a gift.

“Thomas! Stop playing wi- wait, why are you up?”

“Can’t you hear it?”

“Hear wh- (huh? A bell?)” A loud bell toll rang in the air, waking up anyone who heard its call. Dwight and Rin both woke up to the sound, they rub their eyes and looked out the window. No lights were on nor were there people waking up to see what was the noise. The bell ringing trumps the storm as David started to pack their belongings.

“Everyone, pack up!”

“But David, I'm still a bit *yawns* tired…”

“We can sleep somewhere else soon little buddy, but right now we need to go!”

“David, put so-”

“Not now Dwight, put on whatever and let’s go!” Dwight flush red when David only wore his coat and his underwear, exposing his bare chest again. After they gathered their things, they left and hopped on Bumbley as she treads through the rain and mud. Though they tried, they couldn’t escape. Lighting flashed it light and showed a building with a large bell at the top, David turned Bumbley around but the result was the same. Every turn showed the building over and over, the doors opened wide for them, calling for the group to walk inside.

“I-I can’t believe it… it’s real.”

“David...i’m scared.”

“Don’t worry little buddy, I got you. Hmmmm, *sigh* we’ll get sick if we stay in the rain. Come on, Bumbley, you be ok in the rain?”

“Confident neigh*”

“Ok, stay safe. Everyone, come on.” The group got off Bumbley, they took their weapons and walked in. The door closed behind them, now darkness surrounds them. At the end was a dot of light, with nowhere to go, they walk towards it. They came into it and found themselves at a desk inside an office like room but noticed something, their clothes were on them. When did they change, or how did they? David turned his head to the desk and found a man sleeping into an open book. He had short fuzzy brown hair, bags under his eyes that told he never caught a good night's rest. He was wearing a white button up long sleeve with a black vest over it with pants and shoes matching the vest.

“*snores*”

“Hey.”

“*snores*”

“HEY!” David shouted, slamming his fist on the desk and waking the man up. He woke up with a shocked facial expression as he stretches and yawns.

“*Yawns* hmmm? Oh, the remaining participants.”

“Participants?” Dwight asks the sleepy man.

“Yes, those who heard the bell. You few were the remaining participants before the trial starts *yawn*.”

“We don’t ha-”

“I advise not to reject, *yawns* this way.” His voice was cold, like he never felt a single emotion in his life. The man got from the desk and walk to another set of doors, the group followed the man to the door and into the room. They walked inside and saw a massive library that didn’t match the building structure from outside.

“Dwight!?” Claudette shouted, the group looked and saw numerous people, people they know. Kate, Adam, Ace, Bill, Claudette, Joey, but they didn’t know the last person is.

“Claudette?”

“Dwight!”

“Smokey King!”

“Viper…”

“David?”

“Bill!”

“Joey?”

“Dwight, King!”

“William…!”

“Dwight, been a while.”

“Becker!?”

“Thomas!” He shouted with glee, make a happy jester that caught their attention.

“...sorry, I wanted to be involved…” David rubbed the child’s head, the sleepy man let another yawn and began talking again.

“All the participants are here, so they trial will commence.”

“Cut it, I don’t care about the trial!” Kate took out her gun and pointed it at David, she tried to shoot but nothing came out.

“What!? My rounds are still inside!”

“Ha! What you go- *coughs*” Kate wrapped her hands around David’s neck and started to choke him, David took her gun and beat it over her head to get her off.

“QUIET!” the sleepy man screamed, causing the two to stop. His voice echoed throughout the building, showing how grand it was inside.

“Unnecessary violent action are prohibited, continue and you'll be automatically disqualified.”

“Disqualified how?”

“Allow me to explain. For starters, My name is Quentin Smith. I’m the servant of the library and the only one and I only have one task. To judge those who heard the call of the bell with the library, your task will be simple. Explore the library up until a certain period. After a certain amount of time passes, you’ll hear a bell toll. There will be three, but if you’re not back by the entrance before the last bell toll, you’ll become another being lost and consumed..”

“W-what do you mean by that?”

“The library takes your existence and add it to the collections of those who also lost theirs.” At first, the group didn’t believe him, until he pulled up a book and sped through the pages.

“I had already reached half a million, but one more thing about the task. If you don’t meet the library expectations well exploring, the same result will happen.”

“Hold on, you can’t make us-”

“Correct, I can’t. You’re free to not participate but it’ll result in an automatic disqualification.” David throat went dry, he realized the kids life were in danger. If he wanted them out, he has the play by the rules.

“Clearly each participant acts as their own, regardless how many of you work together, you’re graded on your performance alone.”

“David, we better keep an eye on everyone...David? HUH!?” Dwight turn to see only Feng and Claudette with them, everyone else disappeared. The doors vanished as the structure of the inside changed as well.

“What is this place…”

“I don’t know but...Dwight!” Claudette ran to him and gave him a hug and let go.

“I been looking for you for months, i’m so glad you’re ok! This is Feng, she been wanting to meet you! Once we get out of here, we can go home away from that guy!”

“...well Claudette?” Dwight told them of his partnership with David and what happened with David, he also told them of their fight with unknown people not too long ago.

“Wait, you’re really are his son? Why you never told me…?”

“Can you blame him? Having something like that on him, anyone would kill him than be friends.”

“That’s true...also, you know Bill?”

“Is that what he’s calling himself? His name is William Overbeck, he helped me when I was really young, haven’t forgotten him and it seemed he hadn’t with me either.”

“Still, odd of you to work with the Smokey K- I mean David.”

“Well, yo-”

“HE HAS A SPECIAL INTEREST FOR HIM!” Rin shouted from above, she ducked with a devilish smirk. Dwight turned red and instantly denied it, but Feng and Claudette smiled at each other. They knew it was true just by his reaction and how red he became, they left it alone and started walking in the library. Rin walks down a hallway, being amazed with the numerous books on the shelves. She bumped into David who were looking for the kids.

“Sorry there Rin, you seen Charlotte or Thomas?”

“No, I saw Dwight and the others but when I looked back down, they disappeared.”

“Hmmmm, he can handle his own, provened it many times.”

“I see you trust in his skills”

“You can say, though his stealth skills aren’t the best. Caught him doing something a while back.”

“..., Was it at the inn before we met Herman?”

“Figured you knew, and he has the nerve to call me the pervert!”

“*Giggle* so...what you’re going to do?”

“Take things slow, I don’t know if it’s me he likes exactly or he never seen sex. But i’ll play dumb and take my time, he is cute though. I always wanted to settle down with someone, just didn’t know wh-” A bell toll rang, it shook the building as the ringing pierces everyone's ears.

“We just got here, why the bell rang!?”

“Because time isn’t consistent here, one minute is a day well one day is a one minute.” Quentin said, appearing out of nowhere. David stared at him, was he even human?

“Quentin was it? What are you?”

“You want to be asking questions knowing time isn’t exactly on your side?”

“...answer me this one thing first.” Quentin raises a brow and listen to David’s question. Kate wonder about, up and down, trying to find Adam and get out. It didn’t help that Ace was tagging along.

“Dammit! All I wanted to do is find Jake and what I get? A old man tailing me, pyschos with crimson weapons and a fucking libraby that changes everyone two minutes!” She complained.

“And why the hell did you hide from Bill, William, whatever! Make it fast because that’s was the first bell toll a few minutes ago.”

“...it’s-”

“Fascinating, these books should be lost! It document history that even current historians haven’t learned! All this knowledge an- OW, KATE!”

“No way i’m going to sit here and watch you drool on each page bookworm!” Kate pulled Adam, he dropped a number of books but a heavy one fell in front of them. It opened up and the pages started flipping, a blinding light surrounded them as they covered their eyes. When the light went away, Kate and Adam found themselves in a gambling hall. They were surrounded by gamblers left and right, but one gambler stood out, Ace. He was defeated in a match and a crowd of people around him, they had a matching design on their clothing like Ace’s, possibly gangmates? His appearance was younger compared to now, but he was shaking which turned to begging. Kate and Adam were confused, they walked closer to him and heard his pleading words.

“Is it true, is the boy really under our noses?”

“Y-yes, I eavesdropped on them by chance. The boy has a tattoo on his back, William is leaving tonight. That’s the best time to do it, I swear…”

“Can’t believe Becker trusted a gambling rat like you, feel bad for him and Sally.” The men left him and Ace was left crying, the flash of light came back and blinded the pair. They now found themselves outside in the wildlands, it was night with a gentle breeze flowing. Ace was crying and being comforted by a woman with crimson hair.

“I’M DISGUSTING, I can’t believe...I SOLD OUT THE KID TO SAVE MY OWN SKIN! I-I KILLED THE CHILD SALLY!” he cried, the woman wiped his tears and looked at him.

“William...means a lot to you...doesn’t he?”

“W-what?”

“You love him, don’t you.”

“I...didn’t want to say a-anything because-”

“You knew he was with me. Ace listen, I’ll go and get the boy before they do hopefully. I’ll tell William it was me who told them.”

“Sally no! Y-you-”

“Sssssh, just promise me one thing. Watch William, no matter what.” the woman asked, the light came again and blinded the duo once again. They found themselves back at the library, but when Ace asked what happened, Kate pinned him on the shelf with her foot. He looked up and saw her face with disgust and anger.

“You FUCKING SCUMBAG! HOW DARE YOU SOLD THAT CHILD OUT TO SAVE YOUR ASS! He could of been safe with William, BUT YOU RUINED IT! NOT TO MENTION YOU GOT YOUR FRIEND KILLED TOO!” Kate lifted her foot off of Ace as he falls down with pain and guilt.

“What will you do, Kate?”

“I kill sons of bitches like him and I would of killed him now if my gun would work. In the end, it’s not my business. Let’s just get out of here!” the duo went off as Ace got up and followed them, but kept his head low. Bill and Joey were wondering in the many halls of the building, Joey held Potty as Bill looked for an exit.

“Damn, I'm too old for this shit! How could this stuff even exist?”

“Yeah, wish I could my family thi- oof!” Joey bumped into someone, knocking each other down. Bill helped picked Joey up and went to the other person.

“You ok ma- ooooohhhh shit!”

“Hello you two.” It was Lisa, she somehow got inside the place and exposed her sharp teeth again. Bill knows the upcoming song and dance, so he picked up Joey and Potty and ran away from Lisa. Thomas was by himself, calling out for his friends and his sister.

“CHARLOTTE!? RIN!? DAVID!? DWIGGGGHHHTTT!? Where is everyone? They all went poof! Hmmm?” He stopped and saw a door between two shelves, then he heard the second bell toll and got a bit afraid as he looked back at the door.

“That was bell ringy number two, Mr. sleepy raccoon guy said we have to leave by the third toll. … I guess I go through this door super fast then try to find the exit!” Thomas went inside the door and closed it. It was dark, he wasn’t afraid of the dark, but he was afraid of the noises being made. It sounded like sobbing, who was crying? He wandered in the dark, following the sounds of someone wiping. The sound grew louder and clearer, then a flash of light blinded the boy. He found himself at a graveyard, the sky was covered with clouds with heavy gusts of wind blowing at his face. He looked at the tombstones, they were all blank except for two that were right next to them. Thomas fell to his knees and started to ball his eyes, he read the names of the tombstones, his and Charlotte's parents tombstone. Dwight ventured in the halls of the and came across a door, he went through it and saw David and Rin at the desk near the entrance.

“Dwight Fairfield, you completed the condition and passed the trial.” Quentin congratulated.

“Oh! Hmmm… I was hoping to get a chance to talk to William again…”

“Dwight, have you seen Charlotte or Thomas!?”

“No, I was looking for them with Claudette and Feng, but we couldn’t find them. Furthermore, I lost Claudette and Feng too!”

“Oh too hell with this!” David over to the door, but they wouldn’t open, almost like it was nailed shut.

“Their trial isn’t complete yet, those who completed their trial cannot return.”

“But the second bell toll rang already!”

“Then by the rules of the library, they’ll lose their existence if they fail. Try if you want, you’ll won’t get in.”

“(Come on you two, I know you can make it out of this!)” David believed, Charlotte was running throughout the halls trying to find her lost brother. She heard the second bell toll and it’ll only be a matter of time before the third one will ring. She ended up finding a door in between two shelves, just like her brother did. She went inside and it closed, engulfing her in darkness. She heard the sound of crying and followed the sound that lead her to a graveyard. She saw that all the tombstones were blank except for two with her parent’s name on them. She turned to see her brother but something was around him, a dark aura was consuming him. His eyes deprived of joy, he walked sickly toward his sister as he fell into her arms.

“THOMAS!”

“Char...lotte, I...feel sick…”

“THOMAS! NO, WHAT’S HAPPENING!?”

“The library decided that he didn’t meet its expectations. As for the penalty, his existence is forfeited.” Quentin explained, appearing out of thin air.

“BUT HE’S A CHILD! HE HASN’T EVEN HAD A FULL LEFT YET!”

“Regardless if he had a full life or not, he still failed. He’ll become one of the lost of-”

“NO! WHY!? Some of these people you took could of been innocent! You have to have some type of sympathy!?” Charlotte shouted with angst in her heart.

“Listen child. I have no beginning, no middle or no end, I just suddenly existed. Whenever there is peace, I judge their harmony in their hearts before it turns to malice. Whenever there's bloodshed, I judge their bloodlust before it turns to sympathy. My role is to judge, not to feel sorry or angry at something. I feel no sorrow, I feel no anger, I feel no compassion. To make a clear judgement with the library, I must remain emotionless.” Quentin explained, Charlotte looked at the dark aura and saw that it gotten thicker.

“WAIT! ...if Thomas failed, then I passed right? Then...what if!” Quentin raised his brow and listened to the woman's request. David and the others were doing everything they could to break the door down. The door stood against Rin’s blade, David’s brute force and shots from Dwight’s rifle. As a last effort, Dwight and David took hold of Rin’s blade and all three were going to use it as a battery ram. The door opened and the group stopped, Thomas walked out with Quentin as the door closes behind them.

“Thomas!” they all ran to him and hugged the boy.

“Thomas here made it out before the third bell toll.” Quentin told them.

“What about the others?”

“They too completed their trial, but they will return to where they were taken from. If you may, Dwight, recall the names of the group that came in here.”

“Huh? Uh, ok. It was me, David, Rin and...Thomas. Only the four of us were here from our group.” he answered for the tired man. For some reason, only speaking four names felt odd for the group but they pushed it aside. Quentin recalled the event before bringing Thomas back.

“What...what if we swap!?”

“Swap?”

“If...we say that Thomas did pass, but I failed, would it work?” Quentin stared at her.

“You will willingly give your life for him?”

“He’s all I have, I'll do anything to keep him alive. Even if it involves death.”

“Yes, if one is willingly allowing themselves to lose their existence in exchange for someone to meet the expectation, then the one losing it can live. Is this really what you want?”

“Yes… but can I say a few things first?”

“Of course.”

“Char...lotte?”

“T-Thomas, you’ll g-grow big and strong. You will b-be a big as David and as s-smart as Dwight, make sure to eat h-h-healthy, go to bed on time but more importantly. Stay close to Dwight and David, ok?”

“...”

“Ok, i’m ready…” the dark aura that was surrounding Thomas was now on Charlotte, she didn’t fight it, only smiled. She smiled that her brother will live and be in good hands well she disappears, becoming another chapter in the book of those who failed in the library.

“(As told, those who fail lose their existence). You four, something tells me we’ll meet again. Until then, I wish you all good luck on your journey.” Quentin opened the doors leading outside, Bumbley was waiting for them to return so she could take them back to the inn. Thomas stopped, he heard something in his ear.

“I’ll miss you thomas.” He heard.

“You ok little buddy?”

“Yeah, come on. I’m hungry!”

“Ok! Back to the inn we go!” David rode Bumbely back to the inn, but Thomas had this weird feeling, like they forgot something important in the library.

Chapter Text

RUNNNNN! IT’S COMING!”

“*Pants* WHERE!? I-I CAN’T SEE IT!”

“WHO CARES!?” the men ran in the woods at the dead of night, fleeing from the unknown. Who is this murderous being tearing men apart like savage beast, only seeing flashes of red streaks in the night. It body radiating with malice as it leaped from tree to tree, it smile piercing the night and brewing fear into the men’s mind. The men ran into a clearing, with nothing but the rustling of the trees and the cold autumn wind blowing. The howling cold wind concealing the being tree leaping well abusing the men hearing. Sweat ran down their faces, their eyes widening as the chilling fear ran its fingers down their spines. Then in an instant, another streak of red dashes forward and took one of the men into the bushes. He screamed for help but his voice immediately went silent, then the sound of bone shattering and splatter like noise was heard. The men slowly walked over to the bush and moved it around, what they found was horrifying. Their fellow companion elbow and knee joints inverted with a gaping hole in his chest, exposing his inside and saw his missing heart. His face was completely caved in, if the being wanted to, he could have put a hole straight through. Then two more men will pulled across, they screamed in fear as the others turned only to see the red streak pulling them in another set of bushes. The same bone cracking sound was heard, it was louder, like the sadistic being took pleasure into making their work being known. There were only two men left, their backs hugging each other but it was pointless. One of the men felt something wet dripping on his back, he turn and saw a knife lodged into the other man’s face. Before he could react, he met his end with the same result. All the men we now dead as a teenage boy walks out in the clearing, standing under the moonlight and holding one of their hearts.

“*Sigh* she’s always sending me other the weak ones. Well, I guess since they were weak it didn’t take long.” the boy said. The moon shined brighter and revealed his appearance. He was a teen with fuzzy short red hair, emerald green eyes and freckles going across his face. He wore his favorite outfit of a pink long-sleeve button up and black pants with suspenders and dress shoes. He yawned in boredom and rubbed his eyes as he squeezed the heart until it popped.

“*Whistle* damn, you’re one dangerous child. Glad I'm not your enemy.” a man said walking into the moonlight himself. He was an older man with right hand being a prosthetic made of iron, black combed hair with grey streaks going around. He wore a blue button up with brown slacks, he reeked of alcohol and sweat with a mix of some fruit like fragrance to mask it.

“I didn’t that shirt use white? Pink does suit you a bit more than white.”

“Ashley, are you trying to be another stain on my shirt?”

“Noooo, thank you. Anyways, it seems you’re job was easy?”

“Our job! Next time you leave to be some whore then I’ll personally rip your pecker off and shove it somewhere it shouldn’t be!” Ashley sweated and shook a bit.

“S-sorry Charlie, next time I won’t. We should head back, we don’t want to upset Jane.” Charlie nodded and the pair left the forest and traveled to the town near the forest. The town light posts brighten the streets as the people roam about, the two took another route away from the people and found themselves in front of a large building, possibly the largest in the town. They went inside and saw numerous people inside with a special insignia, they made their way into the top floor and went inside a room. They closed the door and saw a chair turned around with a woman with a cigar in her mouth. She was an older woman with her hair tied into a top bun, her skin fair and smooth, masking her age well her suit told that she ran the place and doesn’t talk no for an answer. She turned around and looked at the pair.

“Charlie, I assume you took care of them men? Thank you, they were some rats running around and I rather not have them be free.” she praised with smooth and charismatic voice.

“Hey! What about me!?”

“Ash? Oh yes, I heard of your work!” her voice went harsh as she quickly pulled out her gun and fired a round, the bullet grazed Ashley’s face as he started to sweat.

“Next time if you decided to whore yourself instead doing what I asked, I’ll turn you into swiss cheese!”

“Y-yes ma’am.”

“Ignore the idiot, what’s my next task?”

“As of right now, nothing. I know you’re looking for him but I have nothing so far. All I know is that he is travelling with some women. For now, rest, I’ll request you when needed. Charlie left the office and Ashley followed the boy and caught up to him outside.

“Hey, waIt up!”

“What do you want, Tart?”

“Tart!? Could of called me something nicer…?”

“Anyways, don’t you want to hang at the bar to get intoxicated or something? You already smell the part.”

“You just came to this town, don’t you want to explore?”

“No, I rat-” Charlie didn’t get a chance to answer as Ash took the boy’s hand and took him around the town. He showed him bars despite being underage, candy shops, weapons hops and other interests in the town. He brought boy some food and they sat on bench to eat.

“... ok, what do you want?”

“Huh?”

“Why are you being nice? People only do nice things when they want something in return, so what do you want?”

“Nothing, I understand that is some people's intentions, but I just doing this for an apology and i’m just a nice guy at times. So what you think, tastes good huh?”

“...I can’t lie, the sweetness of the sauce and the juices of the meat does compliment each other.”

“Plenty of things like that is here, try some from times of time.” the cheery old man suggested

“Anyways, those some fancy moves you did back there.”

“It’s the Crimson ravine.”

“Huh?”

“The name came from the man who created it, when he first used it, he threw the bodies of his dead enemies into a gorge, thus naming the style after that. It’s a deadly form of martial arts that focus on harnessing the aura of the earth and use it to deliver devastating blows and perform inhuman like abilities. At least that’s half.”

“What’s the other half?”

“It also focus on hitting certain pressure points to disrupt blood flow to form air pockets in the veins and arteries to burst, and cause nerves to endew paralysis and numbness. Studying the human body is a major requirement and extreme precision on your hits is necessary. I learned it when I was younger, a traveling foreigner taught me. He taught me the style and it took me th-” Charlie stopped when Ash gripped the boy’s are and examine it, he took his arm out his grip glared at the old man.

“THE HELL ARE YOU DOING!?”

“You said you trained under the traveler, but ya all limpy looking.”

“The alcohol must’ve killed your last brain cells! If you were paying attention, it’s not from body strength, but the energy of the earth. I’m basically channeling it at will, but it can be draining at times.” The teen told the Ash.

“Channel the earth and uses it, like plants with the sun?”

“Uhhhh… no. Anyways since we’re...sharing? Why did you join the Romero’s?”

“Revenge, the Becker took someone dear from me and i’ll never see her again. She was killed many years ago, I went after him a few years after but not only did I lose horribly, i lost my right hand to him. One day, i’ll find him and i’ll make him pay.”

“I’m after him too, my parents were killed by him a few days before I met the traveler. I was full of vengeance and angst, the only thing that’ll quell it is his heart in my hands.”

“Then that make us partners then!”

“Acquaintances at best, *sigh* I rather not have people think i’m friends with a drunk…” Ash laughs as he rubbed the teen’s head and walked off, leaving the boy to himself in the cold night. The night progressed to day and Jane requested Charlie again for his services again. As usual, he went to the top for and went into the large room. Other than Ash, he saw a dark-skinned bald man who was dressed in similar clothing.

“Philip!?”

“Charlie, so good to see you again!” he went over to him and rubbed his head, unlike with Ash, Charlie actually smiled.

“I see you two know each other?” Jane asked.

“We have, about three years ago. I see you’re still adorable Charlie.”

“D-don’t say that! It’s embarrassing…” Charlie blushed and turned red as Philip rubbed the boy’s head. Ash grew a bit bitter and jealous, but it’s his own fault why the boy dislikes him.

“Anyways, I have work for you three. A few towns over, there a pair of men wearing foreign like clothing. They been causing a mess with each place they pass, with blood and destruction. A lot of it being my property. Apparently, they carry around weapons made out of the same material as Philip’s.” Philip pulled out his weapon, it was a blunt object that resembles a skull with the spinal cord. It had crimson blades attached in the front of it.

“I see you still carry around that…”

“Got to emit fear as I bash my enemy skull in!”

“So positive and yet frightening. Anyways, it’s a few towns over correct? If we leave now, we can be there by sun down.”

“Whooooaaa, we don’t need to rush kid.”

“Ms. Romero, do I need to have this perverted old man with me? I’m fine with just Philip.”

“I know Ash vulgarness is...unsettling but he is a skilled fighter, repeat back once finish and don’t make me wait.” The three nodded their heads and headed out the building. The three packed what’s necessary and left the town. The three traveled for many hours, Ash tried numerous attempts to take a break in the towns they pass, but they knew if they did he’ll get wasted at a bar. They reached the town Jane wanted them at by night fall, their weren’t any trouble nor saw anyone in foreign clothing.

“It looks like we got here before them...I hope.”

“Uggghh, finally. Since it seems like we got first, we can relax and hit the bar.”

“I seriously wish you just have a stroke already!”

“Actually, it might be good for us to head to a bar. We be less suspicious and we can look for them easier.”

“That actually is a good idea, nice Philip!”

“Er…” Ash stared with bitterness, they went inside the bar and of course, Ash started drinking. Philip laughed as Charlie ignored him. Charlie kept his eyes lurking as he scans the bar but again found nothing. Everyone continued to enjoy themselves and get intoxicated, Charlie looked at Philip’s weapon and saw that it’s wrapped in a cloth.

“How you been Charlie, really had been a bit.”

“I’m fine, I haven’t found who I have been looking for. What about you? Never thought you were a part of the Romero’s.”

“I have been a part of them for a while now. I don’t really have anywhere to go so I don’t mind it. Seriously though, i’m glad you’re ok. I figured that it’ll be you when they referred to the “child assassin.”

“Yes, I did earn a reputation over the years. Anyways, I don’t see anything or anyone suspicious…”

“Nor do I see any crimson weapons, guess we have to play the waiting game...and play babysitter for Ashley…” the pair looked at Ash as he was surrounded by women and bottles of snake oil and whiskey. Charlie wanted to beat his head with one of the bottles but he held in his anger and waited for the men in foreign clothing. Time passes by and a woman covered in blood ran into the bar seeking help, her left arm was completely severed as she held her wound to stop the blood from running. She fell to the floor, creating a small pool of blood around as the three ran to her for questions.

“Who did this to you!?” Charlie demanded, but the woman struggle to speak as her life was slowing fading.

“Men...in...for…eign...farm…” The woman eyes closed as her body turned cold.

“Men, foreign, farm. That’s all I could hear from her…” Philip repeated to the others.

“We did past by a farm on our way here, guess we know where our next destination is.”

“Happy to be going back to your home Ash? Oops! I mean the farm?”

“Err….” The three left the bar and headed to the outskirts of the town where the farm was at, it didn’t take them long to reach the place but they felt the same thing, pure malice. Charlie told everyone to be careful as they investigate the farm. They started with the house, it reeked of blood as they found children limbs scattered, some had bite marks like someone was eating bits of it. They checked the upstairs and found the same results but with adult body parts, as they look away from the gruesome sight, the barn animals started to cry. Something is spooking them, meaning whoever did this is still nearby. They rushed outside and saw that the barn animals were let out, in front of them was a large barn house with two floors but the door was wide open. Whoever is inside wanted themselves to be known, they went inside and it was dark for them, but they were able to see two men in foreign clothing with the pale moonlight from above. Like the description that was given to them, they had foreign like clothing as one of them was smiling like he was itching for a fight.

“Tch, nothing but weaklings, and what’s with the kid?”

“I don’t know Max, but look! Hey Philip!” Max focused his eyes and saw that one of them was Philip.

“Well looky here, been a while since you left!” Max told as he stood up.

“You know them?”

“Yes, the loud one is Max well the other one is Bubba.”

“LOUD!?”

“You can be very loud Max, that’s why Anna doesn’t like being around you.”

“Fuck her and fuck you!” The three awkwardly stared at Max as they couldn’t take him seriously.

“To hell with this! If you all are here th-” Charlie immediately jumped up to the second floor to Max, somersault into a heel kick to attack Max but he reacted in time to dodge it. Charlie kick crushed the wood of the floor, Max smiled in excitement as he met someone interesting.

“Well I be damned, that kick probably could of took my head off. You’ll be fun then!” Max pulled out his mysterious weapon and grew a crooked smile as he revs it and turned to Bubba.

“Stay out of this, I want this kid!”

“Philip, keep an eye on these two, I’ll handle this man!” Charlie went after Max as Bubba went down the ladder and sat next to other men.

“Y-you’re ok with this...Bubba was it?” Ash asked.

“There’s a chance he could die.”

“It’s ok, If he dies, he dies. I don’t really like him anyways, Anna’s the same way so your friend will be doing us a favor.” Max swung wildly at Charlie but even with his speed, Charlie had no problem dodging his attacks. Charlie took out a small knife and inflicted stab and cut wounds on Max, hoping to lower his relentless swings so he can land a cleaner hit. But Max smiled, he didn’t feel a thing as he took out another weapon, it was hammer like weapon with a crimson head with a long handle. He pulled down the weapon with an almighty force to where the floor started to collapse. Charlie and Max jumped down and took it outside the barn. Max fierouscly swung both the crimson weapons at Charlie, it started to prove difficult for the boy. Cut marks and craters were created from Max’s weapons, but Charlie was smart, he knew his game. Charlie strike at specific spots on Max’s body, even if he did suffered some damage in the end.

“HAHAHAHAHAHA, FINALLY. YOU KNOW WHAT KID!? I’LL ACTUALLY MISS YOU WHEN YOU DIE, THIS IS THE MOST FUN I HAD!” He screamed with such excitement vibing with each word.

“Shame, wish I could say the same to you.” Charlie went in again and strike at Max’s body again, jumping and dodging Max’s attacks. Charlie messed up his footing and Max’s saw it and took advantage of it, he too his revving weapon and swung it again at the boy.

“CHARLIE, CATCH!” Philip threw his weapon at the boy, Charlie caught it and clashed with the revving crimson weapon. Sparks flew in front of the two, Max was impressed that the boy’s small body can handle his brute force. Charlie forced himself away from the insane man, giving him and Max space as Max let out another hysterical laugh. Max went right back at him but Charlie didn’t move, he stood completely still as Max raises his hammer and lowered it to Charlie but stopped. Max’s body stopped moving, his hammer inches away from Charlie’s face. Then right there, Max threw up a dangerous amount of blood on the boy’s shirt, staining it again as it keeps running out of his mouth. His eyes became red as his heart raced, Charlie pushed his body and he fell flat on his back and his body twitching violently.

“*Sigh* shame, if you had any brain cells in that head of yours, you would've noticed what I was doing.” Charlie went over and grabbed the sledgehammer and slammed it into Max’s face, the bonely cracking sound echoed in the quiet night, even the wind couldn’t mask it. Charlie lifted up the hammer as saw Max’s freshly caved in face. The others walked over to him and saw Max’s dead body bleeding out his cratered face.

“Thanks for the help Philip, I probably would of died without it.”

“It’s no problem but…”

“How did you beat him? He looked like he had a high pain tolerance.” Ash asked.

“I figured out that his body must release some type of numbness whenever he gets excited, hence why he was “happy” to go against someone like me. Unfortunately, his excitement was his downfall. Like I said, his body releases some type of numbing agent throughout his body whenever he gets excited. But just because you can’t feel that your arm is broken doesn’t mean you can still move it. So, I strike at specific spots to disrupt his blood flow to form the air pockets , then all I had to do was to wait a bit before his body reacts and him keeling over. If he could feel pain, he would have felt it and made it more difficult for me to strike but he didn’t. Anyways, we did our job, Bubba correct? You don’t mind if we take these from him?”

“Not at all!”

“From the looks of it, was he the one causing all the town in other towns?” Charlie asks the large man.

“Mmmhmm! Anna told me to be on my best behavior, no killing unless we have to but Max does it anyway. But he is gone now, so I better head to the regrouping spot!” He answered, Charlie had an itching feeling, why did a bunch of people from the east came to the west? He stopped Bubba one more time to ask.

“Bubba, why did and the others come here? Clearly it isn’t for sightseeing…”

“Oh, that’s an easy one! We’re looking for Douglas Fairfield treasure but to find it, we need his son! He has a tattoo on his back that can lead to it! He goes by the name of Dwight Fairfield!” the three looked at each other, they obviously knew of the treasure. It’s a famous rumor that even newborn children knew about.

“(Wait, it’s real!?)” Ash questionably asked.

“(They say just the smallest amount can set you for life!)”

“(...) Bubba, where did your other companions went?”

“Well...we started over at Maryland, me and Max headed north, Anna and Kennth went south west well Evan went west.”

“Which one would you think would be closer to his son?”

“Hm....Kenneth and Anna, Kenneth sense of smell is very strong, he can find anyone!” he answered.

“(He said they were southwest, so if his son went the direction I think he did…) got it, thank you.” Charlie started to walk off on his own until Ash stopped him.

“Hey, where are you going?”

“I have an idea where his son might be at.”

“But you heard Jane, we shou-”

“Don’t forget, I’m not a part of your gang. You can report to her, i’m going on a little hunt.”

“But you don’t even want the gold.”

“I know, but if I can get his son, I can draw him out.” the boy said, smiling as he planned something devious in the future.

Chapter Text

“And...there! All bundled up and ready for the cold.” David said as he let go of Thomas.

“Uh… David? I think you put a little too much on him…” Dwight said, David looked at Thomas and saw that he did put him in multiple layers of clothing. Thomas didn’t mind it but the poor boy could barely move his arms.

“ ...Maybe I did put a little too much on him.”

“I don’t mind it David, really!”

“I know little buddy, but it’s still too much. I just didn’t want you catching a cold…”

“(Just like an overprotective father to their son, huh Dwight?)” Rin whispered.

“(At this point, might as well consider him his father.)” Dwight answered. As David changes Thomas, the group looked around the shop they were. The autumn winds already swept the country as the leaves on the trees were brown and falling off. The group wore their weather appropriate clothing. They wore different colored leather jackets with animal fur covering the inside, David’s being black, Rin’s white, Dwight’s dark red with Thomas having a small coats. The group left out the store and went back to traveling, the sound of leaves crushing under Bumbely hooves, the soft wind blowing in their faces. Thomas enjoying the weather well the other wishes they were inside. After many hours of treading, the reach another town, a rather large one. A lot of wealthy looking people roamed the streets. They hopped off the horse and inspected the town.

“This place is rather fancy compared to the other places we been to…” Rin said.

“Yeah, we’re in a northern state which tends to hold the wealthy people. Unfortunately, it’s very...costly here.”

“...”

“Hmmm? Dwight, are you ok?” Thomas asks well the others looks at him.

“...I don’t know, this place just seems a bit familiar…” he answered, his chest ached as he looks away. As they walk around the place to find the inn, they encountered an entrance to a large graveyard. Dwight stopped as the rest walked. Thomas noticed him going into the area and ran after him, the others noticed him and followed the boy. Thomas searched the place trying to Dwight, he found him in front of a tombstone but his face was sour. It was riddled with angst and hate as he spit on the grave as the others saw from a distance. He was fed up to a point he even knocked it down. He looked away as Thomas read out the name.

“Marianne Fairfield, was this your mom Dwight?”

“Yes...AND SHE CAN ROT IN HELL!” he shouted as he spit on the grave again and walked back to the entrance. David went to the tombstone and put it back in place, he gave a prayer along side Rin and Thomas.

“Have to respect the dead, even if they were evil beings. Come on, lets get Dwight and find the inn before you catch a cold Thomas.” They left to the entrance where Dwight waited for them, they left the graveyard and into a housing area with rows of houses decently spaced from each other.

“Why are we here, I thought we’re supposed to look for the inn?” Dwight questioned.

“This town works a little different. This place is the inn, that main building in the center is like the lobby. You go in and pay upfront for how many nights you’re planning to stay, Then they give you a key to one of the houses. It’s like renting a home for a few days. Inside you’ll find what you see in any other homes, it’s just a bit costly but we got plenty on us.” David answered, they went to the middle building to pay for their home and went to the one the key belonged to. Once inside, they saw everything David mentioned. There were two room with two beds in each, Thomas and Rin shared a room well Dwight and David shared the other. They met up at the table in the kitchen, Thomas held in his stomach as it growl in front of them.

“Sounds like someone’s hungry, how anything in mind?”

“Hmmmm, I haven’t had home cooking in a while.”

“Hmmmm, ok, I can do that. What did you want?”

“Hmmmm, I want anything but I want try something from Rin’s home!” he asked.

“Is it possible for us Rin?”

“Yes! We used common ingredients like you all, I'm pretty sure I can make something from my country with the stuff here!”

“Then it’s settled, let’s get some shopping done before it gets dark. Dwight, can you watch Thomas?”

“Sure, be safe you two.” David and Rin left out to get what they needed well Dwight played with Thomas, after a while, the two returned and started to cook for them. The aroma of the cooking filled Thomas’s nose as he was getting excited to try the food.

“Here you go Thomas, omelette rice and vegetables and some meat inside.”

“And here’s just some pork and vegetables, mine isn’t fancy looking like Rin’s.” they set down there meals and began eating, Thomas enjoyed every bite from his food as Dwight complimented both David and Rin on their cooking skills.

“Alright Rin, think you got some explaining to do. Who the hell are those people who attacked us at the mines?”

“Very well, I’m from a clan called the Yamaokas. The clan is made up of highly skilled warriors and assassins, but there were a few that sticks out. My father is the current head of the clan and he form an elite group of assassins and warriors. Two of us left, so it remains five. Max, Anna, Bubba, Evan and Kenneth. You already know what Anna and Kenneth do so I’ll skip them. Bubba and Max uses what we call a chainsaw, Bubba swings wildly well Max is a bit different. His body releases some type of ecstasy that numbs his body, making him unable to feel pain. Evan gives of a presence that breaks the mind and subcom to fear and sickness. My father must have sent them to get the treasure, he wants to expand the clan to an empire. But I must be honest, I’m after it too back for different reasons…”

“No need to tell us, as long you’re still on our side, we shouldn’t worry.” David told her. She smiles and continued with their meal. As they eat, Thomas looked at Dwight and started to sweat because whenever someone looks at him, they ask him a question.

“Dwight?”

“Yes?”

“Ya pretty old yourself, don’t you have a wife?”

“Well...it’s… a bit complicated. I don’t really...like women.” he said, Dwight glances to his side to she Rin giving him a playful grin to him as she eats.

“Dwight here is gay, he doesn’t find women attractive, he like men. So if anything, he’ll probably get a husband in the future.” David explained.

“Ohhhh, ok, he likes guys. So...do you like David!?” he asked with such curiosity but resulted in Dwight choking on his food and David laughing to a point he fell off his chair.Thomas started to panic as Rin tried to calm him down to prevent him from crying. After cleaning up their mess and dishes, Rin took Thomas and washed him up before bed. Dwight did the same and headed bed himself but he had trouble sleeping. Him seeing his mother grave did threw his mind into a loop, remembering what she tried to do to him. After many attempts to sleep, he got up from his bed, grabbed his jacket and went outside to get some air. He walked outside to the porch of the house and saw David outside sitting around an extra table he found. His revolver was disassemble on the table well he was sharpening his knife with a sharpening stone, he offered Dwight a seat and he accepted. He sat across from him and remained silent for a bit.

“Trouble sleeping?”

“...yeah, i’m just still a bit heated.”

“From the dinner table?”

“No! My mom’s grave…, my home is near here, a few towns over. They all shared one graveyard, this one. I knocked over her grave in a fit of rage…”

“I know, I picked it back in place. Have to respect the dead Dwight…”

“...”

“Let’s forget about that. Let just talk, the two of us. Rin forsure is asleep, so she won’t be eavesdropping. I can tell you want to know a bit more about me?”

“Well.. kinda.”

“Before that, here. I’m sure you know how to clean a rifle?”

“Yeah, dad taught me but...what’s this?”

“It’s a bottle of lubrication, it’s universal, so it has many uses.”

“Many uses?” Dwight asked but all David did was raised a brow and he understood what he meant.

“O-oh…, well I wanted to say...how can you just have sex with somone. Don’t you want to...settle with someone?”

“I only do that because I can’t find someone to trust, similar to you. I have a large bounty on my head, I can’t tell you how many times someone tried to sleep with me and then tried to turn me in. I’m being honest right now, it been a long time since I called someone a friend beside Bumbely. I really do trust you and Rin.”

“(There’s that) Have you ever worked with my dad?”

“A few times, not going to lie, he was a handsome man. If I gotten closer to him, I might of settled with him. How it feels about me almost becoming your dad?” he asked as he winks.

“Thanking God everyday that it didn’t happen, you really do just flirt don’t you?”

“Let me bag a kiss from you, maybe we’ll find the answer.” Dwight instantly turned red and looked away as he became irritated, David laughed as he went back to sharpening his knife.

“Errrr, ...well. There is one thing I wanted to ask. When I asked Bumbely what was your name, she said “not real” before telling me, what did she meant by that?” David stopped what he was doing, he looked and galred at Dwight as he stabbed his knife into the table and yanked it out. Tearing a part of the table. Dwight jumped in fear, he hung his head low and looked away.

“S-sorry...I wasn’t trying to upset you…” David snapped out of it and rubbed his head.

“N-no sorry, I wasn’t trying to scare you, it’s just a natural reaction for me. Look, I...just had a rough past and I like to leave it behind. Anyways, are you sure you’re ok? I can tell you’re still a bit heated. Don’t you mi-”

“I don’t miss either of them! How can I care for a mother who was willing to kill her own son or a father that put something on his son that makes anyone a madman!? If anything, I should be cursing their names! ...look at me, I...sound like a child but...it just wasn’t fair. I know the world isn’t cakes and rainbows...but living like that…” Dwight felt a heavy cloud above his head, David could see it. His past will forever haunt him...just like his. As he put his gun back together, he saw a piece of paper. He went to it pick it up and brought it back.

“It’s blank…”

“Yeah, but this isn’t ordinary paper though. It does feel a bit weird...maybe if I…” David held the paper against the light, detailed markings like a map was on it with a spot marked with an X.

“It’s a map?”

“Yeah, from the X marking, it’s telling us the graveyard. It’s was clearly for us, I better go check it out.”

“I’ll come too!”

“Wait.” David finish putting the gun back together and gave it to Dwight.

“W-what will you use?”

“My knife, better leave the marksman with the firearms. Like I said, I trust you, even if you don’t trust me. Come on.” David rubbed Dwight’s head before walking off, Dwight turned red again but not from irritation, but from affection towards him. For once towards the old man, he felt feelings for him. The two traveled to the graveyard and searched all around, behind a tombstone was another note. David picked it up and read it out loud.

“If you found the note, then I would like to make a request. I’m aware you’re the Smokey King, so I know something like this will be easy for you. There will be an event tomorrow evening, In the morning, go to the clothing shop east of the graveyard. I arranged a meeting for you and your companions and paid the owner in advance. He’ll help you with the outfits. He’ll give you another note with further instructions”

“Well...what’s the plan?”

“Better safe than sorry, this person knows I'm here. Better do what the note said, let’s go back.” The pair left to their home, David headed in the room first ad started to get undressed as Dwight was cleaning up the living space a bit but noticed something. Rin’s sword was still unsheathed, he looked back at David who was still preparing his bed. He looked back at the sword and hesitated, he remembered what Rin said and reached his out to it.

“Dwight.” an unknown whispered called for him as the sword glowed in front of him, he quickly rubbed his eyes and looked back but the sword was sheathed. David called for him to sleep and as he questioned what happened, he went back into the room and slept the night away. The morning came and David did what the night said and took the group to the clothing shop near the graveyard. Inside they told the owner of the note and he took the group sizes and got them the proper clothing for the event.

“Also, take these!” the owner handed them some masks and the note.

“Do I have to wear a dress? I can’t fight anyone in this…”

“Yes, a beautiful woman like you needs to be in one!, Also, the event is a masquerade-themed.” the owner told them.

“David, what does he mean?”

“Masquerade theme event involves masks to hide someone's identity, not really my thing but the note said it wants us there. Speaking of notes. Your job is to find an assassin attending the event, word has it that he planned to intrude it at some point. Bodyguards...great, *sigh* we already come this far, might as well go with it. We got some time before the event, everyone, be back at the inn before sundown.” David left out on his own, Rin took Thomas to do some exploring, leaving Dwight alone with his thoughts. As he ventures around the town, memories of his family were brought up. He remembers his mom taking him here once in a while and shop at the bakery, or his dad winning arm wrestling bets. But those memories only brought pain, not nostalgia. But one thing did bring him joy, thinking of David. His chest yearns instead of aching.

“I-I know I watched him, and he’s so annoying and irritating! Not to mention perverted and rude..but, but I like when he talks to me, treats me like his friends, those small touches on me. Maybe...maybe I do like him...AHHHHH Fairfield, you’re talking out loud again! Claudette told me to stop do-”

“So, you finally admit it?” Dwight froze, he recognized the voice, Rin. He turned around and she was giving the same grin from last night as he looks done and saw Thomas eyes lighting up and a large smile going across his face.

“DWIGHT! YOU LIKE DAVI- *muffled noises*”

“(SSSHHHHHH! Thomas, pleeeassee! Not so loud!)” he let go of the boy but his smile still remain.

“I won’t tell him but David’s really great Dwight!”

“L-look, let j-just go h-home!” Dwight face turned red they walk back to the house. After many hours of preparation, Evening came and the group was heading into a large building, Rin somehow managed to hide her sword under her dress. They looked around to see many others attending the event, men, women and children. As they entered, the light’s illuminated the building inside as servants offered food to the guest inside. Thomas being excited and almost ran off on his own, David grabbed him and told him and Rin what to do. The two sat at a table. David and Dwight wandered through the crowd, trying to find anyone suspicious without alerting anyone else. But no one showed any signs of being an assassin, they all looked like ordinary people.

“(How we’re supposed to find this assassin?)”

“(I don’t know, whoever they are, they’re good at hiding themselves. Huh?)” David noticed that the lights were dimming and the crowd was moving away from them, they both were exposed as the lights around them were the only ones on. The music played for them to dance.

“(W-what’s going on!?)”

“(Crowd asking us to dance, follow my lead.)” David immediately grabbed Dwight and pulled him forward. Dwight was flustering and becoming red again as he tried to follow David’s lead, but he failed. Dwight never learned how to dance and constantly messed up his footing, it even messed up David’s.

“(Dammit, you got two left feet! You’re making this difficult!)”

“(I-I’m trying, honest!)” Dwight was telling the truth, but his footing only drew suspicion to the pair.

“(Shit, we’ll get caught by the assassin if we keep messing up! Time for a last-ditch effort!)”

“(W-what!?)” David looked into his face as he leaned in, he was trying to kiss Dwight avoid being even more exposed. Dwight panicked, his heart beat rapidly as the yearning turned into painful aches. He turned red as he started to sweat, he remembered what David said, about how he can easily do this stuff without a care in the world, He didn’t want his first kiss to be meaningless.

“S-STOP!” He screamed as he shoves David off of him, whispers of the other guest was heard as Thomas and Rin watches from a table of the unfortunate event. Everyone watched the two sweat as the attention was on them harder, especially from someone above them.

“Wow, didn't think that’ll happen. Time to get this show on the road.” a boy said as he falls from above and hid in the darkness, he ran through the crowd and gently hitting pressure points to paralyze them. Dwight stood up and looked away, he started to get teary-eyed, this was the second time he messed up on something easy. Before David could say something to ease Dwight’s troubled mind, something struck him, Dwight it too. They couldn’t move as a flash of red came to view.

“To think you fell for something so simple, you disappoint me Smokey King.” The red-haired boy told, David looked at him and sweated.

“Shit! Of all things, had to be you!”

“Dav- I mean King, who is h-he?”

“The youngest assassin known to man, Charlie. Dammit, how you know we were here!?”

“Simple deduction from the information I attained, *sigh* but again, you disappointed me.” the boy said as he got closer to David.

“W-what are you going to do to him!?”

“Kill him, of course. He caused a lot of trouble for Jane, so I thought I just...help out.” he answered, Dwight didn’t want him to die, not now or ever. He panicked more with each step towards David.

“RIN! HE’S A THREAT, ELIMINATE!” Dwight screamed. In an instant, Rin rushed in and caught the boy off guard. He looked into her eyes and saw how voided they were, eyes of a killer. She gave him a fierce kick that flew the boy back.

“Target, teenager. Height? Medium, red hair with freckles. Body frame, small. Method of fighting, a form of martial arts. Threat level? High! Eliminate!” Rin dashes forward again and threw a punch, but the boy caught it. Rin was shocked, who was this boy? How he was able to hold against her attack? Charlie swung Rin out a window and follow her, taking the fight outside. After a bit, David regained his body and was able to move again and so did Dwight.

“That boy isn’t normal, i’m going to help Rin!”

“David, wait!” David ran out of the building as he whistles for Bumbley, she came to his call and he followed Rin with her.

“Dwight, what we’re going to do!?”

“...(they went south, eventually they’ll head to a certain point. If so…) got it. Thomas, follow me!” Rin and Charlie exchanges blows to each others in the air as they hop from building to building. David followed them but couldn’t help but be amazed, the unbelievable force the two were using could kill him in an instant. He remembers his fight with Anna and was lucky to still be alive. Fortunately, Rin was winning the fight. Rin wasn’t like Max, she was smart and her style of fighting wasn’t relentless like Max’s. Rin kneed the boy in his stomach as she threw from the air and into the ground. His impact created a cloud of debris as the boy lay in pain, Rin took out her sword under her dress and tried to strike the boy but he took out his own weapon. It was a lengthy knife with a crimson head, how did he get an iridescent weapon and collided with Rin’s.

“Judging from your weapon, it must be made from the same material?”

“...”

“(Not much of a talker when she’s trying to kill someone.)” The boy launches her back into the air and continued their airborne fight, the fight lead to the graveyard as they. They both landed on tombstones, standing on top of them as they stare each other down. Both damage and slightly exhausted.

“I knew you weren’t going to be like Max, but getting me like this? I have to praise you.”

“Your style, the crimson ravine. Such a deadly form of martial arts being used by someone as young as you. Regardless, I must-”

“Rin!” David caught up to them readied himself, Charlie doesn’t have a problem with a two versus one, even if he was losing against Rin. But when he dashes forward towards them, he heard a gunshot. He moved away from the shot and looked where it was shot. A top of a building was Dwight with Thomas, his rifle readied and aimed at the boy.

“Think you got a little too cocky kid!”

“Damn! This might be troublesome… huh?” On top of another building was another man, Philip. He brought out a crimson bell, Rin noticed him as she saw what he was about to do.

“DWIGHT, COVER THOMAS EARS!” Without a single thought, Dwight ran over and covered the boy’s ears. Philip rang the bell and a large ear piercing bell like noise echoed the graveyard, Dwight and the others fell victim of the noise and subcom to the ringing. Their ears and nose bleed as their vision became distorted. Charlie, who was covering his ears, fled the scene with Philip. After the noise stopped, Dwight took himself and Thomas down the ladder they climbed from and sat on the walkways as they wait for the others. David and Rin came to get them on Bumbely and rode them back to the inn. Once inside, they changed their clothing, David cleaned up Thomas and put him to sleep, Rin watched him as she relaxes herself but David didn’t see Dwight anywhere. He had a hunch and followed his instincts to the graveyard. He walked inside and saw Dwight in front of his mother’s tombstone. He was holding a bouquet of flowers as he sets them down and walked away. David followed him, he wandered into a park and sat on a bench. David sat next to but Dwight’s head was still hanging down.

“...”

“You really saved, trying to be my knight in shining armor?” he flirted to get him to talk, but it failed.

“..., if anything? You two were just fine without me…”

“Oh listen, doesn’t matter who handled what. Having an extra pair of hands is always nice to have, thank you for having our backs Dwight..” David rubbed the man’s back, once again his aching turned back to yearning.’

“..., i’m sorry…”

“For what?”

“What I did at the event…, I messed up again. This time, it almost got you killed…”

“We had Rin, Dwight.”

“She only came because I panicked and screamed…, sometimes I think I'm better of-”

“SHUT UP! Don’t you dare say that! We wouldn’t be here right now if it wasn’t for you, don’t you forget that. Also, I'm the one who should be sorry. I was stupid to think kissing was the best idea to avert attention, I wasn’t trying to scare you or put any ideas in your head. Let’s be glad this is over, always hated fancy gatherings.”

“...David? What did you mean when you said I had two left feet?”

“It means you don’t know how to dance.”

“Oh… (h-here goes), mind if you teach me?”

“Sure, better be quick before the cold air freezes us.” David pulled Dwight up and away from the bench, he pulled the man closer his body as it makes contact with each other. Dwight tried not to get flustered again, but he couldn’t help it. He’s this close to David, the man he has feelings for now.

“First things first, you need to keep eye contact.”

“E-easier for you!”

“Don’t worry, we not gonna be hugging our bodies like this. ...there, we’re decently spaced.”

“We only moved a few inches!”

“Calm down, just look at me.” Dwight battle with himself as he tried to turn his red face to David. He eventually did and was embraced with David’s smile, but it was different. It wasn’t a sly smirk or a flirty one. It was wholesome and warm, so desirable where he wish his lips on David’s. His heart didn’t race, it was calm. His firm grip around his back, holding him ever so gently as he stares into Dwight eyes as he stared into David’s. Rich brown eyes, glamourous as amber and rich as honey. His thin beard matching Dwight’s, keeping his rugged face warm. If he had the courage, he would have leaned closer to the man’s face, probably would of stole a kiss off him.

“Your left is my right and vice versa, take it slow and follow me.” At that moment, Dwight read David’s every move. He didn’t need to speak, they were connected. They danced under the moonlight, the wind moved their bodies as they sway and twirl with the falling leaves that was blown off of the tree.. Both of them laughing as they dance over and over, each step connecting them closer to each other, almost like they were actual lovers. They eventually stop but they still held on to each other.

“And there you go, next time we go to a gathering, you can show off your skills.”

“Yeah, thank you David. Never thought you of all people would teach me how to dance” he said, giving the old man a loving hug, burying his head in his chest.

“Like I said, I trust you, even if you don’t trust me.” He said, but something was tight around David. Dwight’s hug got tighter and tighter.

“H-hey, you’re hugging a bit too...huh?” his tight hug turned into shaking, violent shaking.

“I-I…”

“You what?”

“I-i miss t-them, I m-miss them b-both! I a-always h-have!” Dwight lifted his head up and saw David his crying face.

“I d-don’t even k-know if my d-dad is e-even alive!” David put the crying man head back into his chest and stroked his head.

“Hey now, I seen what your father can do. He’s tough as iron, i’m sure he’s alive.” He said, continuing to caress Dwight but he wondered, is he alive?

“(No, I'm sure he is. Please be, please be alive for Dwight…)”

Chapter Text

Bill, Claudette, Feng and Joey were released from the library and back to the forest they. In a blink of an eye, the building disappeared right in front of them. Confused, the grouped looked at Claudette, she didn’t know what to do.

“Claudette…”

“Are you ok?” Joey asked her.

“I…”

“So, Dwight is working with his kidnapper. What will you do? You only traveled to rescue him.” Bill asked, she didn’t know, what can she do? She isn’t a fighter, the person she’s looking for doesn’t want to come with her. Then one thing did came to her mind.

“I...i’m still going! Just because he’s working with him doesn’t mean he doesn't need help in the future! I’m sure there’s more to it! Bill, can you still accompany us?”

“Of course! (god knows you all would die without me…)”

“That’s fine and all, but where do we go now?” Joey asked them. Claudette pulled out a handkerchief and gave it to potty.

“I took this from Dwight’s home, give it a whiff Potty!”

“Claudette, he’s a pig, not a dog. He ca-” Bill got cut off when Potty pointed his body west.

“That looks like west!” Feng shouted, looking at her compass as Joey picks Potty back up.

“(I won’t even question it), if it’s west then I have a pretty good idea where they’re heading to but are you guys sure about this?”

“Yes, I want to help Dwight in any way I can!”

“Alright, come on. We’re going west.” The group slept for the remainder of the night until dawn approach. Months passed as the group traveled a group distance, they came across many folks that helped them along the way, inns that offered small bounties for them as well. The cold air made their travels a bit difficult for them, but again, they were prepared. Bill even made a sweater for Potty so he wouldn’t get cold either. The group stopped to catch their breath, Feng played with Potty, Claudette sat by a tree well Joey practiced with the whip.

“Bill! You think i'm getting better!?”

“Well, you certainly doing better than those two. You still have a ways to go though, at least you’re not hitting my ass.” Bill let Joey continue his practice as he walks over to Claudette and sat next to her.

“You ok?”

“Yeah, just hoping Dwight’s ok…”

“He’s with the Smokey King, he’s fine.”

“How is the Smokey King?”

“He used to be a young horny dumbass, now...he isn’t a dumbass but he’s still horny. Anyways, he’s a skilled person, if anyone can protect him, it would be him. He has been through hell and back, there’s still things I don’t know about him. But there’s one thing for sure, he trusts Dwight.”

“How so?”

“Smo- oh fuck it, David doesn’t really do partnerships with anyone because he has trust issues.”

“Dwight’s the same way but I just never knew the reason why…”

“Like I said, Dwight must trust him and he trusts Dwight. I don't know what happened between them, but it must of bonded them. Like I said, he’s in good hands, trust me.”

“Ok...it just I have a bad feeling that something bad is coming his way…”

“Lets not worry about that now. Come on, we better get town before sundown and the night air freezes us to death.” Bill called the others and they resumed their travels. Shortly after, they reached the nearest town but something didn’t sit right, the town felt somberful. The air was filled with some type of dread as the townsfolk shifts their eyes on the group. Violent coughs could be heard at every corner, people vomiting, children in pain as they hold their stomachs well the healthy ones stood away. They would rather not get infected with what they have, to a point where they became selfish but who would be helpful with an unknown epidemic floating around. The group went to a healthy shop owner and questioned what is going on.

“If I were you folks, I’ll leave!” said the owner as he took a drag of his pipe.

“What’s going on here, why are there so many sick people here!?” Bill questioned.

“It started about a month ago, an unknown epidemic swept the town. It spread and no one knows if it’s in the air or pass from person to person. That’s why you see the ones who isn’t infected being selfish and staying away from them. I tried giving them food but they just vomit it right back up!”

“Isn’t there any doctors or nurses?”

“They left. They tried to figure it out but living in a small town, your resources are limited. So they went to the north with whatever they gathered to try and find a solution with better equipment. In the meantime, the ones who are infected must endure this.”

“T-there must be someone who can still help! I’m a nurse myself, is there anyone who I might still assist?” Claudette quickly asked.

“Hmmmm, actually there might. A little up of here is a large church, there’s a nun named Adiris. She pretty much run the place and made some remedies before and is actually trying to stop the sickness. She’s the tallest one at the building, you can’t miss her.” She thanks the owner and immediately made their way to the church. It took them a while, but they made it to the church. As the owner said, it was large. It was made of stone and wood, they walked inside and saw many rooms residing on the second and third floor. The first floor host the actual church. There was an organ at the back and above was a stained glass with the image of Jesus christ. A red carpet laid directly in the middle of the floor with the rows of seats on both sides. There was a woman at the at the end of the carpet, praying and reciting a scripture of the bible well holding a cross with prayer beads around it in her hands. The group walked to her to see if it’s the woman they were looking for.

“Excuse me, Adiris?” Claudette said, the woman stopped her reciting and stood up. The woman was taller than both Joey and Bill on top of each other. Aside from her typical nun attire, her skin was nice, smooth as caramel as her eyes were as golden as honey.

“Yes?”

“(T-tall!) S-sorry for interrupting, but we were told you were in need of some type of assistance with the sickness?”

“Not exactly in need, but any help is greatly appreciated.”

“I can! I’m a nurse myself and a botanist! We know so far that it started about a month ago?”

“Yes. All the symptoms I’ve seen so far are high fevers, bloody vomiting, sores and violent coughing. I tried the remedy I created but it doesn’t seem to be working...i’m thankful the town folks agreed to stay in town to prevent spreading it.”

“Hmmm…”

“Got something Claudette?”

“Maybe...Adiris,who was the first person who caught the disease?”

“It was an old couple, though they have already died, they were at the lake not too far from here. The next day they became sick.”

“If you know where it started, why haven’t you investigate it yourself?” Bill questioned.

“With the amount of sick people here and the remedy i’m producing, I simply don’t have the time…” She answered.

“Then I better inspect that place then!”

“I wouldn’t recommend it, the Romero gang just claimed that portion of the forest that surrounds the lake. Two of her top men are patrolling the place right now, not to mention night is approaching. I know this place isn’t luxurious but you all are welcome to stay.” They all accepted her offer and saw let them use the spare rooms of the church. Claudette, Joey and Feng helped with the chores along side with the other nuns, Bill used Feng’s binoculars to scope the area. All he found in the distance was Lisa staring right back out him with her own pair alongside with her 4 other mud clones. They all smiled and waved at Bill as he immediately closes the window. The day soon ended and morning came, Bill woke up brought and early and went to the kitchen of church and helped Adiris with the food. As they cook, another woman sneaked in. She was trying not to get caught by them as she tries to pass by.

“And where do you think you’re going, Nea?” Adiris asked without even turning around to the young woman in men's clothing. Bill turned around to see that she was fairly young, possibly around Claudette and Feng’s age. Her eyes just as bright as Bill’s, hair black but covered with a small hat, sweat rolled down her face as she tried to make up an excuse.

“U-uh...just woke up early to-”

“You? Waking up early on purpose? You could of at least came up with something better.”

“Shoot…”

“Who’s this?”

“This is Nea, practically raised her since her parents died. She’s a bit of a troublemaker though…”

“I’m not that much…”

“You raided the mayor's office with eggs…”

“Hehe, yeah I did. Who’s the old timer?”

“This Bill, he and his companions stood a night here and they’re going to help with the sickness that’s going around.”

“He doesn’t look like any doctor, he looks like someone who slurps unflavored oatmeal like he’s drinking whiskey.” Bill squinted his eyes at her, he projected his passive agner to the young woman and she smiled as she felt it. Adiris scolded her for a bit as the others walks in to see what’s going on. Once breakfast was made, they all sat at the table with the other nuns. Once they were done, the other nuns went about their day as Nea and Adiris talk with the others.

“Like I said, the lake the couple were at is north of here in the woods. There’s a passage behind here that can lead you near it, but the patrollers are there…”

“I seen them too, they circled the place in under 30 minutes. Patrolling a large forest like this with only two people is at least a four hour job.” Nea told.

“I’m surprised a brat like you didn’t get caught by them.”

“What can I say, stealth is my strong suit.” She said with such confidence.

“Anyways, there is another way. Follow me!” Nea got from the table and exit out the room with the others, they reached a part of the church that was completely made out of stone. She lead them inside and down some stairs and walked to a dead end. Nea then push her hand on a wall and the dead end opened up to a cave. The cave was filled with crystals that emitted some light that lit up the cave.

“Woooow, nothing on the farm comes close to this!”

“I found it a while back, it’s an underground cave and one of the exits is near the lake. We cut so much more time and we won’t get caught by the patrollers.” Claudette went to one of the crystals and rubbed her finger on it, some type of powder like substance was on it.

“(This is...)”

“Claudette?”

“It’s nothing, Nea, can you show us the way?”

“Adiris?”

“As long you come back, you got a lot of chores to do for sneaking out! Be careful everyone, I’ll pray for your safe return.” Adiris left as the group venture in the cave. As they travel, Joey and Potty check the crystals, Feng took out some map paper and a notepad to doucement the cave. Bill kept a look out for Lisa as he knows she’s somewhere near them. It didn’t take them long to reach the other side but once they reached the other side, the forest was covered in a mist.

“Weird, there was some dark clouds in the sky but I didn’t think a fog would come.” Nea said.

“(Please god, not another Lisa thing!)”

“Anyways, it’s this way!” They followed her until they reached the lake, it was quite large but something wasn’t right. It was murky, like when someone kicks up sand or dirt in water.

“Feng, you have any containers with you?”

“One second.” Feng dug in her bag and handed Claudette a jar, Claudette used the jar to collect some of the water to examine it later. As they got up to leave, they heard a bell. It started with light ringing then a hard bell ringing. It echoed in the fog, resonating with the ripples in the water wind blew on it. It affected everyone ears except for Bill’s and Potty’s. The group fell to the floor as they held their ears, they started to bleed as the bell noise came louder and louder until two figures came out. One was a dark skinned man with a crimson bell well the other one held a mysterious weapon attached to his right hand.

“WHO ARE YOU!? WHY AREN’T I AFFECTED BY THAT NOISE!?” Bill screamed at them.

“I can choose who can become affected by the bell. Due to a request, I only inflicted the sound to your companions.”

“But they’re in pain!”

“I’m aware but once this is done, they will be fine.” the bell wielding man said, the other one looked at Bill and started laughing hysterically.

“I searched HIGH AND LOW FOR YOU! NOW, YOU’LL FINALLY GET WHAT’S COMING TO YOU!”

“..., who are you?”

“Huh? W-what do you mean?”

“Did I stutter? Who are you?” The man was stunned, but soon became red with anger.

“IT’S ME, ASH!”

“Ash?”

“STOP PLAYING GAMES!”

“Ash...I think he’s telling the truth.”

“No way Philip, he’s…” Ash looked at Bill, he has no idea who is.”

“W-well, it doesn’t matter! You killed Sally, as long her blood is in your hands, you’ll be hunted by me!”

“Sally…, for once, I really did think the past wouldn’t catch up to me. But first my bounty being brought up again and now being reminded of Sally, I can never escape it huh? Listen, I cut you a deal. Let my companions go and I go against you, hell even both of you at once. We’re trying to cure a sickness, but we won’t be able to if they keep being affected by the ringing. Please!” Ash looked at him, Bill does care for him team. Ash looked at Philip and nodded at him, Philip ceased the ringing as the others stood right back up. They were a bit disoriented, Bill told them what’s going on.

“Bill, are you sure? They seem dangerous…”

“Don’t worry Claudette, i’ll right behind you guys.”

“Please be careful Bill! I’ll watch Potty until you come back!”

“Then he’s in good hands if it’s you Joey.”

“Don’t keel over, old man.”

“I’m starting to not like you!” He muttered under his breath, Nea heard it and giggled as she escorted the others back to the cave. Now it was just Bill against two of the Romero’s top men.

“You’re kinda stupid for doing this solo.”

“If i’m being honest, they’ll only get in my way. Since they’re gone, I don’t have to worry about one of them dying. Now, tell me why you know Sally?”

“Hehe, oh Bill. That...WASN’T A PART OF THE AGREEMENT!” Ash revved his weapon and ran towards Bill, Bill jumped back and threw his whip at the man. The whip cracked the air as it zips to Ash, Ash dodges it as Bill was preparing to evade but Philip rang his bell again. This time, it affected him as he suffered the same thing that was inflicted on the others. He kneel on one knee as he struggles to endure the ear piercing ringing. Even with the ringing, he still managed to get up and move out the way. Ash collided with the ground, shattering it and creating a shockwave that messed up Bill’s footing. Philip rang his bell again, this time, it distorted his vision. Soon the pair split into four then into six and so on, this is becoming a problem as both his vision and hearing is against him. Ash wasted no time turning to sever Bill’s body with his weapon as Philip continuing to impair his sensory skills. Bill had enough, even with his impaired senses, he took a guess and threw his whip and latched it on the bell. Bill threw it in the lake to cease the ringing, now Ash is still a problem. A whip isn’t exactly a weapon to use against whatever Ash was using. Once again, he jumped and collided with the ground again as the dirt cloud mixed with fog, making it harder to see in it. Bill hid behind some logs as the two men searched for Bill.

“(Damm! Once he gets that bell i’m finished! What am I...is something chewing on my arm?)” Bill looks to see Lisa softly chewing on his arm, he snacthed it out of her mouth before beating her over the head with a stick.

“(BAD BONEY MONSTER!)”

“(I WOULDN’T BE SO BONEY AND YOU LET ME HAVE MY MEAL!)”

“(I’M NOT LETTING YOU EAT ME! I already got a problem with the others! ...wait, Lisa? Your clones are made from mud from the earth right?)”

“(Huh? Oh! Yes, it’s a collection of the ground and mud from earth.)”

“(If you help me, I'll make sure you’ll get ya food, deal?)”

“(Deal!)”

“(Ok, here’s a plan.)” Ash and looked around for Bill well Philip fishes his bell out of the lake. Then out of nowhere, a clone of Lisa. He cut it down as another one came out in it place, then another and more. Philip rang his bell to inflicted the same affect on them but it didn’t work, the vibration of the ringing made activated more clone to pop up. The two found themselves surrounded by hundreds of clones of some boney montrousty, Philip rang his bell one more but that was a grave mistake. The vibration of the ringing bell made the ground beneath them crumble as it gave, creating a hole that they fell down as the water from the lake fell with them.. Only the screams of Ash and Philip was heard as they descend into the darkened unknown below them. Lisa mud clones faded back into the ground as her and Bill looks in the hole.

“Phew, that took a lot out of me. What exactly did you do?”

“There’s a cave underneath of here, meaning the ground beneath is hollowed out. If you weaken the top layer of something hollow, it’ll eventually collapse in on itself. When you used a lot of your clones, you were weakening the top layer. That Philip guy ringing that bell was was the trigger, the bell gives off vibrations in the air whenever it rang. I noticed it from my ears drums. The ground gave way and down they go.”

“Wow, that’s actually really amazing! Now, about my meal!”

“Oh yeah…” Lisa smiled at the old man, Bill picked her up and threw the Lisa down the hole without a single hesitation.

“I FIGURED SOMETHING LIKE THIS WOULD HAPPEEEEENNNNNNNNNNNNNNN....”

“*Sigh* I know that fall ain’t going to kill any of them, I better get back to the other.” Bill went through the cave and arrived back at the church where the others were waiting for him.

“Sorry for the wait, extra luggage appeared and made the situation somewhat worse.”

“No problem, but I think I figured it out!” Claudette brought him closer to a microscope.

“Wait, why is a microscope is in a church? I thought you christians don’t believe in science and crap.”

“Sometimes we can’t wait on God to give us a miracle, we have to take action and deliver the miracle ourselves. I wouldn’t be able to make my remedies without science in general, it’s a reason why I’m not treated seriously by other nuns and priests at other churches. I’m grateful that the ones who are here to support me in any way they can.” Adiris told them.

“Well i’m here so we both can tackle this! Anyways, Bill look! You see this?”

“Uhhhh, I just see a bunch of squirmy things…”

“Those things are highly aggressive bacteria that’s roaming in the lake, but watch this.” Claudette put in Adiris remedies she been giving to the sick.

“I-it grew! That’s bad right!?”

“Very, I know you didn’t mean to, but your remedy actually accelerated the growth of the bacteria and made the sickness worse-”

“Oh dear, this wasn’t intentions at all!”

“Let me finish! It accelerated it but look what happens when I put in the same remedy with something I added from the cave.”

“..., the bacteria disappeared!”

“It didn’t disappear, it was eaten. The crystals in the cave was covered in some powder like substance that helps brighten the glow, I collected some on our way back. When mixed with Adiris remedy, it creates another form of bacteria that eats the aggressive bacteria. Thus ridding it out the human body.”

“Then what happens to the remaining bacteria?”

“The white blood cells in the body will do its job and get rid of the bacteria despite the purpose of it isn’t to harm the body. Adiris, collect the powder on the crystals, make your remedy and use it on the sick.”

“Thank you! You all help me so much, how can I ever repay you?”

“You can tell us about Fairfiled’s treasure!” Joey asked, Bill lump one on his head for asking a direct question like that.

“Ow! Sorry, I thought we can trust her!”

“Fairfield? As in Douglas Fairfield?”

“You know him?”

“Yes, he actually gave me the funding for my church many years ago. I pray everyday that his son is ok. Anyways, at the far west, there’s a man who lives in the woods that can help you all. That’s all Douglas told and I haven’t told a soul besides you lots.”

“Thank you, that really helps us.” Bill said, he walks over to Claudette and patted her head.

“You’re really amazing, making a cure and potential saving a town and prevented a disease from spreading. I can see why Dwight like you so much, good to know good people like you are looking out for him.” Claudette blushed when the older man complimented her.

“It’ll be alright if we stay another night, that fight I had exhausted me.”

“Of course! Again, thank you all!” The others left with Claudette as Adiris went back to the church floor. She sat and prayed again as Bill sat next to her and joined.

“You know, you’re quite the odd one. Believing in religion and science when both battle each other to the death.”

“*Giggle* I know, but I was offering a prayer to spirits.”

“I’m not the who doesn’t believe in the unknown considering that I seen things myself, but does prayers actually matter?”

“Yes, you see. Once a person dies, their spirit remains in our realm. Regardless if they were evil or innocent, they roam until they feel like it’s right for them to pass on. Some wonder, well others attach themselves to the living. Well attached, they feed on the living’s emotion. The stronger the emotion, the stronger the spirit becomes, regardless if the emotion is negative or positive. Prayers offered to spirits ease them and help them move on, which is why I do it so much.” Bill stared at her then went back to praying, praying that Sally is resting, even if her blood is still on his hands.

Chapter Text

“* Violent cough* David, I said I was fine!”

“With how hard you’re coughing, I highly doubt it. Well doc?”

“Hmmmm? His head is very warm, his skin seems to be sensitive too. Looks like a fever, he’ll probably be like this for a couple of days.” The doctor told them.

“We’re doing a bit of traveling, so I guess we’re not moving now until Dwight gets better.”

“Even with his sickness, I wouldn’t recommend traveling. There’s a fog sweeping across the state at the moment, but there’s something far more worse about it.”

“How so?”

“Apparently, there’s some type of unnerving presence inside it. People felt like they were being watched and starts to feel nauseous, some people even got killed because there’s a maniac traveling with it. At least from what I heard, it’s bound to hit here within an hour or so. Talk about a great morning huh?” Dwight put back on his clothes and the group left the doctors office, it has been a few days since Charlie attacked them. David wanted to let Rin wounds heal but in exchange, Dwight ended up getting sick. They went back to the inn as Dwight went in his room to rest, Thomas took it upon himself to watch him, leaving David and Rin by themselves. They sat at the table as Rin wanted to speak to David.

“Damn, I didn’t expect Dwight to get sick…”

“It is rather unfortunate, but Thomas seems to be enjoying taking care of him. Anyway, before I get to what I want to say, how was dancing with Dwight?” She asked with a wide smirk going across her face.

“Man, you just watch everything huh?”

“I was patrolling to see if Charlie was still around, but I found two men dancing under the moonlight, just like secret lovers.”

“Haha, ok, ok. Anyways, what do you want to talk about?” Rin took out three little black containments of the ointment she been carrying.

“Ain’t that the ointment Dwight used on me months ago?”

“Yes, the one I gave to him was supposed to be for him, but he used it to save you. I’m giving you these two, the last one is for me. You remember the instructions I gave Dwight? I’m sure he must of told you.”

“Yeah, apply on the wound or bruise and it’ll immediately starts to heal. If it’s a large wound or bruise, apply the majority or all of it, but it’ll only heal to an extent.

“Yes, that is all I want to discuss.”

“Ok, the fog seems to be here already judging from the window. Not to mention the doctor said there’s some maniac…”

“It...possibly be Evan, the unnerving presence people gets already told me it could be him…”

“Then I’ll better scope out the area, the path we’re taking next is a crayon. Can’t have us being watched if we-”

“No!” was shouted, they turned their heads to see Dwight leaning against the door frames, struggling to keep himself up.

“Are you insane!? You can’t go out there by yourself!”

“I’m just scoping the area, don’t worry about me.”

“Dav *violent coughing* id, y-you just can’t!” David went over to help Dwight stay on his feet, he rubbed Dwight’s head and gave him a flirthful wink and hoped it calmed him down.

“Ayy, don’t worry. With someone as fine as-”

“CAN YOU CUT OUT THE FLIRTHING!? I’m...just worried that something might happen to you…”

“(...)” David wrapped his arms around Dwight, giving the sick man a hug.

“I’ll be fine, i’ll be back. But if I don’t come back, there’s a path southwest of here that leads into the forest. If I don’t come back by the morning, take it. I’ll be right behind you all, I promise.” He told him, Dwight was shaking. He constantly raised and lower his arms, battling himself if he should give one back to David, to show his actual feelings to the old man. In the end, he became a coward and continued to hide it, he lowered his arms and nodded to David’s suggestion. David put back on his jacket and rode off in the mist with Bumbley, Rin and Thomas looked at Dwight. They could tell he’s frustrated with himself for not taking his chance and told David how he felt. Many hours passed as David rode the crayon side in the fog. He wished to go faster but with the fog clouding his vision, he has to take it slow. If not, he could fall off a cliff and it’ll be over for him. The thought of him dying and making both Dwight and Thomas cry made him sick, he wants to get this down and over to go back to them. The whiteness of the fog started to turn dark, so he decided to go back but he felt sick, real sick. He started to sweat like he was baking in an oven, it couldn’t be from Dwight, he didn’t have any real contact with him other than the hug. He felt dizzy, like something was choking him. He got off of Bumbley but fell to his needs, then he started to hear footsteps. He fired in the direction of the footsteps, but it didn’t stop. Then it sound like it was coming from all sides, the darkening of the fog and his body feeling sick, he kept firing as he panic. What was wrong with him, why is here firing like he’s pinned in a corner? Him and Bumbley walked aimlessly, not knowing where.

“You should of left when you had a chance.” a voice whispered, David couldn’t react in time as something stab into the ground, shattering the ground attached to a cliff. David and Bumbley descended into the fogged crayon, only his hat and his knife was left near the unknown man’s feet. The man stabbed the knife into the hat and left, heading towards the town the others were at. Night came and Dwight watched the window, waiting for David’s return. Thomas was already fast asleep, Rin standing behind Dwight, urging him to sleep.

“Dwight…”

“I-I know I should rest but-” There was a knock on the door, Dwight rushed to the door, opening it and hoping it was David but it wasn’t. It was a man holding David’s hat with the knife still inside.

“I saw your friend wearing this, but I couldn’t find him when I was patrolling the crayon…” The man handed them the hat and wished them a goodnight. The man closes the door, but all there was was silence. When reached her hand to Dwight but stop, she saw his body shaking. He turned around to see that he was about to cry, she came and hugged him to comfort the man.

“Come on Dwight, do you really think he’s dead?”

“N-no b-but-”

“But nothing, he’ll be back. He promised, we all know he keeps them!” He believed her, but he won’t stop until David come back. The night turned to dawn, but the fog still remained. Dwight woke up Thomas and put on his clothes, he asked where was David. Dwight told him he’ll be behind them but they needed to go. The group packed their things and headed to the southwest like David instructed. With the morning still fresh and the fog only getting thicker, they stuck together to avoid losing each other. Time passed as a great shadow was shown in the distance, it was the forest David told Dwight before he left. But they stopped, a presence was near them. Dwight pushed Thomas behind him, Rin readied herself as Dwight loaded the rifle. They heard footsteps near them but where? Rin told them to stay put as she dashes into the fog, and like that, she vanished. Soon after, they heard clashing blades as bits of light were shown in the fog. The clashing stopped, Dwight waited as he hope that Rin would come back to them. Thomas was shaking, he scared, David wasn’t here and Rin vanished. Dwight’s hand shook too, he was afraid as well, but he bit the bullet. He has to protect Thomas, even if he gets killed in the end. After a bit, something was thrown in front of them, Rin’s sword shealth. Thomas screamed, burying his face into Dwight’s jacket. The footsteps continued to be heard, Dwight took Thomas and ran into the forest. They traveled deep into the forest, but it was as dense as the fog. Once again, the footsteps followed them. Dwight had no choice, he has to fight whoever’s following them to protect Thomas. Dwight hid him in some bushes and gave him David’s hat.

“(D-Dwight!?)”

“(Shhhh, I have to protect you Thomas. Just be quiet and let me handle this.)”

“(*Sniffle* i-i’m scared Dwight…)”

“(I am too, but we just have to hold out until David get here.)” Dwight left Thomas and stood in place as he waits for whoever is following them. David woke up at the bottom of the crayon, he lost his hat as he looks around him. The fog was thicker than he remembers, Bumbley woke up herself and struggled to stand back up.

“Damn, the hell am I? Are you ok Bumbley?”

“*Questionable neigh*”

“Can you still run?”

“*Nods*”

“Alright, come on! The others will be in danger soon!” David hopped on and rode around the crayon and back to the inn, but when he arrived to the home, no one was inside. They must of did what he said and went southwest, but when? How long or how far are they? David wasted no time as he rushed through the town and towards the forest. As he approaches it, he heard gunfire.

“Eh! That was a rifle shot! Bumbley, hurry!” She neigh courageously as she charges with all her might into the forest. Dwight lowered his rifle as he squints his eyes in the direction he fired.

“You missed!” a voice said in his ear, Dwight was met with a punch in his gut and flew across. Dwight regained him stance and rolled on the ground them fired again. The man dodged it easily.

“Dwight Fairfield, son of Douglas Fairfield. Hmm, a disappointment.”

“Errrr…”

“Son of the legendary bounty hunter and he is trembling in fear with his weapon shaking in his hands.” The bald man said, Dwight fired out of anger but Evan blocked it with his crimson weapon. A machete made of crimson material, iridescent, but he didn’t need it. The bald man went in with hand to hand combat, he mercilessly beaten Dwight. Dwight did his best to defend himself, but his lack of combat put him at a disadvantage. David made it to the forest, once again, he heard another shot. David rushed through the forest, trying to find them but the fog is against him. He searches frantically but Bumbley stopped, Rin’s blade stood in front of them. He got down and examined it.

“(Why is her sword here? Did something happen!?” He heard a third shot, Dwight and Thomas are still in danger.)”

“(I better take this with me.) Bumbley, we got a heavy load!” David used all his strength to pick up the sword, he picked it up and struggled to hopped back on Bumbley as she rushes in the forest again. The man held up Dwight’s rifle as soon as he fired, then he continued with the beating. Dwight was in pain, he was exhausted, bruised but he can’t stop. He won’t as long he Thomas is in danger. Evan gave him a devastating blow to Dwight’s stomach, he flung across again, losing his rifle as he coughs and struggles to get up. Dwight couldn’t win, he’s still sick and he lacks in hand to hand combat.

“*Sigh* again, disappointing. Hmmm?” He felt something hitting his leg, it was Thomas with a stick hitting him.”

“YOU! LEAVE! HIM! ALONE!”

“Hmph!” Evan kicked Thomas as he collided with a tree, tears filled the boy’s eyes, wishing that David was here to help them. He looked up to see Dwight’s rifle with a bullet next to it, he rushed over to it and mimicked what Dwight does whenever he reloads it. Evan stepped on Dwight’s head, pinning him down. Then it happened, the fourth shot. The kick of the rifle flung Thomas back as the bullet hit Evan at the left side of his face, taking off some of his face and his ear. This angered the man, he kicked Dwight in his stomach to hold him down as he rushes towards Thomas.

“NO! DON’T HURT HIM, PLEASE! I’LL GO WITH YOU, SKIN ME, I DON’T CARE! JUST LEAVE HIM ALONE!”

“*Whimper* D-D-D”

“YOU LITTLE BRAT, SHOULD OF STAYED HIDDEN!” Evan shouted as he raises his machete, he slashes down to the boy, blood splattered as the sound of the blade cut through the air. But it wasn’t Thomas’s blood, it was Dwight’s. Dwight rushed over to shield the child, allowing the blade to cut across his back. In the midst of confusion, Dwight bashes his body against Evan’s. Pushing him away as he picked up his rifle and smacked Evan clear across the face, Evan snapped out of it and cut the rifle in half with ease. Dwight grabbed one of the halves and stabbed it into Evan’s arm. Afterwards, he grabbed Thomas and carried him as they run deeper into the forest but they can’t outrun the man. Dwight ran in the forest, not knowing where he’s going, all he knows is that he got to get away from this man. Thomas cried in his arms, fearing for his life and watching Dwight getting hurt to protect him.

“*Pants* Don’t worry Thomas, we’ll get out of *pants* this!” He told him but can they? He isn’t David, David would of easily found a way out of this. Dwight even wished it was him protecting Thomas, he knows he’ll do a better job than him. He doubted in his skill, doubted he’ll escape the man, doubted that he could protect Thomas. He self doubted himself for too long, another devastating blow was inflicted on Dwight. It flew Dwight across again, causing him to drop Thomas as Evan rushes to Dwight. Dwight had no choice but to get up and poorly evade the swings of the machete. Deep cut wounds was inflicted on Dwight’s body, he was shaking with fear. He watches as his blood paints the ground beneath his feet, Evan took joy on slowly inflicting pain on him. Blood soaked Dwight’s clothes, Evan went for a full swing. Dwight blocked it with his hand, but all it did was gash his hands open. He fell and cried in pain, completely defenseless. Evan didn’t care for the map, he just wanted these two dead. Evan stared at Thomas, he ran towards the boy. He went to swing at the boy, but he hit Dwight’s back again. Dwight will do anything to protect Thomas, Evan saw to this and began hacking away on his back. Thomas begged the man to stop, he couldn’t take watching Dwight’s blood being spread. Evan raised his bade, ready to stab through him. A devil like smile was the last thing he saw as Evan lowers the blade, Thomas cried out the name he could only think of to save them.

 

“DDDAAAAVVVVIIDDDDDD!” the boy cried throughout the fog. Evan froze, it felt like something pierced him. He looked down and saw Rin’s blade hurled into his chest, it slid down his body. Cutting his midsection to his lower parts in half, his inners hung as the man fell over. The white blade absorbed the blood leaked onto it, finally turning it into a crimson color.

“THOMAS, DWIGHT!” David cried out.

“DAVID!” Thomas got from under Dwight and ran to David. David covered the boy’s eyes so he wouldn’t look at the gruesome corpse. As he comforts the child, he went to check on Dwight. He was losing blood quickly, he even fell unconscious from blood loss.

“*Sniffle* h-he didn’t want me to get c-cut, so he- so he-he”

“Sssssh, it’s ok. The bad man can’t hurt you two now. I know a place where we can go but we need to hurry!” He called for Bumbley and placed Thomas on first, then picked up Dwight. He propped the bleeding man in front of him as he rushes the horse deeper into the forest. David took them to a cabin hidden in the woods, but Thomas was asleep by the time they arrived. Evening arrived and Thomas woke up in a soft bed, his back still hurt a bit but he was still able to move freely. He exited the room he was in and saw another bed near a window, there was a fire place near the door he exit from, keeping the place warm as the sturdy cabin protected them from the violent winds being heard outside. Thomas walked to the bed to see Dwight all bandaged up, he was now resting. Thomas was relieved that they were safe, the door leading outside opened as David came inside and pushed the door close.

“Hey there little buddy, you sleep well?”

“Kinda, my back kinda still hurts… what were you doing out there David?”

“I was looking for Rin since the fog cleared up, I was hoping she would be around but I can’t find her. Not to mention her sword straight up disappeared.” David took off his jacket and boots and pulled up a chair next to the bed. He picked up Thomas and sat him on his leg as they both look at Dwight.

“*Sniffle*”

“Hey, it’s alright, we are safe.”

“I-I know...but why would he do so much for me? It had to hurt to get hit like that!”

“When you have someone you deeply care about, you do anything to protect them. Dwight cares for you, so he’ll do anything to keep you safe.”

“He...did said he’ll let the scary man skin him just to get him to stop coming to me. Uhh David, what does skin mean?”

“It’s… a pretty nasty word, so we’ll leave it at that. But the fact he was willing to means he wanted you alive. Like a parent to their child.”

“...David? Can I be honest?”

“Sure, what’s on your mind?”

“I...already knew my parents died…”

“O-oh?”

“But before that, they...weren’t great. That thing I said back at the Herman’s place...I got it from a shop owner. My parents...hated me, they purposely leave me home alone a lot. We were poor too, so food was hard to get. But I didn’t want them to hate me, I tried really really hard...but it didn’t work. One day, they stole something important and were caught. They were shot in front of me...after that, I was taken to the orphanages. When I saw there graves again in the library, I fell into a dark place. Even with all of that, I smiled. That’s all I could think to do… until I met you guys. I...see you and Dwight’s as my actual parents, the parents I wished I had. That’s why *sniffle* I get scared when I think about what will happen once we’re done this. I...don-”

“Hey, hey, hey. When did I ever said I was gonna leave ya when we get the treasure? I surely didn’t, you think I'm gonna leave you with someone I don’t know? Haha, get out of here! Technically, I DID took you from an orphanage. So by the rules they go by, you’re technically my son.”

“R-REALLY!?”

“Yeah, How does Thomas King sound?”

“Hmmmm, I think Fairfield has a better sound.” David squinted his eyes as he grabs Thomas’s nose playfully.

“Heeeyyy, don’t make your dad ground you already!”

“Hehe, sorry Dav- I mean dad!”

“David, dad, either is fine. Anyways, it’s ok to feel sad Thomas, it’s natural. Bottling emotions will only harm you, they’ll burst out and you won’t control your actions afterwards. It’s ok to speak your mind, it’s ok to tell me your hurt by something.”

“Hmmmm, if it’s ok. You feet stinks a lot when you take your boots off, and you get really stinky when you sweat too!

“HEY!”

“Dwight sometimes snores loudly and drools too much when he sleeps. You also-”

“Whoa ok, (this turned south real fast.) Thomas, do you know what the word “sugarcoat” means?”

“Sugarcoat?”

“It means you tell the truth or speak your mind, but say nicer words so it won’t hurt the other person you are speaking to.”

“Oh, ok! Sugar *yawns* coat…”

“Looks like someone’s tired.”

“But I'm a bit hungry… and I want to be here when Dwight wakes up…”

“It’s a bit too late for dinner, but here. Nibble on this and then go to sleep. When morning comes, I make you something big, promise.”

“Ok…, goodnight dad!”

“Goodnight son.” Thomas got off his lap and went to his room, leaving David with Dwight.

Soon. Soon we will connect, now rise Dwight. Our time together will be soon.” The voice told inside his head, Dwight eyes finally opens to find himself on a bed. His body felt numb as he saw bandages wrapped around him. Only in his underwear, his glasses removed. He lifted up his body up and looked around, he removed some of the bandages before hearing someone.

“You’re awake!”

“David? Where am I? Where’s Thomas?”

“He’s asleep, he wanted to wait till you wake up but he got tired.”

“Oh…and the man?”

“Dead, it won’t bother us anymore.”

“..., my body feels numb.”

“I used some snake oil after I used the ointment, unfortunately, you had a lot of wounds. So I had to apply small amounts of it, I used the snake oil to numb the pain so you wouldn’t have a rude awakening. It should be wearing off about now but you shouldn’t be in pain but…” Dwight looked at the window and saw his reflection of his back, it had numerous scars, ruining the map on his back.

“I-I’m sorry! Didn’t mean to get it ruined...I just wanted to protect Thomas…”

“I’m not mad and I'm thankful for you protecting him.” He said, David continued putting some more wood in the fireplace. He removed his gloves and used the poker to shuffle the wood around, Dwight went next to him but scolded the old man.

“David, I told you it was a bad idea to go out by yourself!”

“*Sigh* I'm sorry, I-”

“A-and we don’t know where Rin is, nor do we know where to look! *Sigh* no...I shouldn’t be yelling at you, I wouldn’t be alive without you.”

“...”

“Sorry…”

“(*Sigh* if he’s not going to then…) Dwight.”

“Hmmm?”

“I’m going to be forward with you, I do trust you, a lot.”

“I-I already know that, I do with you too.”

“..., Dwight. You wanted to hug back at the inn.” he said, David stop picking at the wood. Dwight heart started to race, how did he know? He knew that he’s observant but was he watching him?

“I-I don’t know what you mean…” David put the poker back and looked at the burning wood.

“You see that piece right there, that long crack that looks like a river? Reminds me when we bathe in the river, with the sun-”

“I-I wasn’t staring!” He instantly shouted as he covered his mouth afterwards.

“Funny, I didn't say anything about staring but since the subject is brought up. Did you had fun watching me have sex?” Dwight jumped, sweat covered his body, soaking the remaining bandages.

“I DIDN’T!”

“Oh? Then the conversations me and Rin had were just lies coming out of our mouths? We both saw you, you thought I was drunk because of the stench of alcohol huh? Well, it takes a lot to get me drunk. Anyways, it’s ok that you won’t admit it. As I said, it’s fine if you don’t trust me, because I will still trust you.” David got up and took off his clothes shirt and pants and sat on Dwight’s bed, Dwight sweating became less as he got up as well.

“...”

“Calm down, i’m not going to do anything.”

“...”

“Your reason is yours alone, I can’t do nothing but respect it.” He said. What was Dwight going to do? David knows what he did, he can’t lie his way out.He was shaking, even when David said he didn’t mind it. Dwight took a deep breath and slowly walks to the bed, he sat down next to David but he was looking down.

“You know, I always wanted to settle down. I know I already said that before but I'm serious, doing this stuff can be tiresome and I'm getting too old for this bounty hunting.” David was trying to break the silence and it was working, just talking was calming down Dwight as he looks at David.

“W-why haven’t you?

“Too much money is under my name, too many people rather kill me than have me as a lover of any sorts. Let alone a friend, been a lonely life for me…”

“Yeah...I can relate to your struggle.” Once again, the silence came back but one thing still stuck in his mind.

“..., David? I...know it angered you the last time but...what did Bumbley meant by not real?” David stared at the floor, the silence turned to violent rage but he calmed himself.

“I-I’m sorry… i’ll leave it al-”

“My name.”

“Huh?”

“My name...isn’t David King…”

“What? What do you mean?”

“It’s...not my real name.”

“T-then what is it!?”

“...I don’t know. *Sigh* give me a second.” David went to his bag and take out the bottle of snake oil, he came back to the bed and chugged some straight from the bottle.

“Sorry, this story...hurts whenever it’s brought back to my mind. Sit tight, it’s long. I came from a poor family, very poor. My parents would sometimes forget I needed to eat or in need of things, we lived in alleyways, sometimes sewers. One day, a carriage stopped in front of us, they were clearly wealthy, they were a part of the family called “The Kings”. They didn’t care about my parents, they wanted me. They offered a handsome amount and my parents took it without a single thought. I was taken from my real parents and went far, so far from where I was. I soon found myself in front of a large manor, far larger than Herman’s. The first two years were ok, but after that it was hell. One day, one of the servants told me I have to go by a new name, David King. I didn’t understand why I needed it, my name was fine but they didn’t think so. Everyone who was taken there was given a new name, I rejected it, that didn’t end well. For a week, they beat me endlessly, I cried. I begged for my mother and father to find me and save me, but they didn’t, because they were the reason why I was here. One day, I gave in. I couldn’t handle it anymore, I accept it and forced myself to forget my real one. In the family, if you do what you’re told and do it well, you’re given luxury. But that meant changing yourself into something they want, not what you wanted. I didn’t follow them, not a single time. I got rebellious very young, probably around ten. I didn’t care what they want, I'm not going to be brainwashed to be their little pawns. There was a lot of kids adopted into the family, they all gave up their wills for money and luxury. They didn’t care what they’ll become, who would when money was easily handed to you at the drop of a hat? So if money were that easy for them to get, it was easy for me to take and give. I took the money, lots of it and gave it to the poor at nearby towns. We shouldn’t only be the ones with money, I brought joy and wealth to the misfortune...but my family caught what I was doing and punished me.” David touched the brand mark on his neck, he rubbed it gently as he took another gulp of the snake oil.

“They waited for me to return one day when I went out to give more money to the poor, the servant wasted no time grabbing me and dragged me into a dark room with a dim light. They chained me down, they knew i’ll resist, I fought them before. Then I saw it, a heated rod with the end in the shape of a crown, it was red, steam was coming off it. The man holding it came behind me, then he forced it on my neck. My skin burned, I cried, I swear I heard my scream echoed throughout the manor. They removed the chains and I fell, my body twitched in pain. I threw my neck against the wall to cool it down, but they knew i’ll do something like that. They made sure the room was warm so nothing would be cool, they left me in the room as I cried in pain. Even with that, I didn’t give up, I didn’t listen, I still fought them. But one day I had enough. When I was fourteen, I tried escaping them. I couldn’t take it, the abuse, the mistreatment! So during the night, I packed some things and I left. ...I didn’t get far, I timed my leaving poorly and they noticed me missing. The sent hounds after me and pinned me down, didn’t take them long to catch me as they brought me back. They threw me in the dark room again, I didn’t care, I can take getting branded or beaten again, no. They were plotting something different. They pinned me down to the floor, well someone else held my legs.” David paused as this time, he rubbed his achilles heels.

“The last one came behind me with something sharp, ...he cut my heels. I felt my skin rolled up to my calf, then they did it to the other one. When your heels are cut, you need extreme medical care to repair them, elsewise you have to be lucky for them to repair itself. So much blood spilled on the floor, I couldn’t walk anymore, it was over for me. The servants left me in the dark room, leaving me bleeding. I gave up, I can’t win against them. I felt light from the blood loss, tears fell down my face. What could I do, it’s a small boy against numerous men and women. I had no one on my side...it was only me. I...clenched my fist, I wasn’t done, I have to leave. I’ll died here and i’ll be damn if I did. I ripped my shirt and wrapped my heels to stop the bleeding a bit, I crawled to the door and found it unlocked. They must of thought I wouldn’t try to leave the room, they were almost right. At that time, everyone was asleep, it was the dead of night after all. I crawled throughout the manor and to the exit, I know I was leaving a blood trail but if I could escape, I wouldn’t get caught again and that I did. I made it outside, it was raining that day, I remember crawling through the mud. It was getting stuck in my wounds and my clothes were soaked to my bones. Lucky for me, one of the nearest towns has a port. I crawled for hours, I had to leave, I wasn’t safe in my country. Hell, in my own continent, so I had to leave far from here. I made it to the port, the town was still asleep. I saw a boat, I crawled to it and crawled into a barrel and closed the lead and sleep. I felt the boat moved, whenever it’ll stop, i’ll get out and figure something out. The boat move for days on end, I was thirsty, I was starving, I smelled and my wound wasn’t infected, at least to me, it started to heal. Thank god it did, I was getting worried. The boat stopped, I pushed the lid off and tried to stand. I fell, not being able to walk well having no energy to stand made it difficult but I got back up. I slipped by the workers in the body and walked on the docks, someone noticed me literally starving and brought me food out of kindness. When I looked at it, I can tell it wasn’t European. I asked what it was and he explained to me, it was something really popular to eat in America. Of all places, America wasn’t exactly what I had in mind but anything was better than there. I had to learn quickly about the country, I had fight, be aware and observe. Years went by but I never felt free, how could I? I was living a life without my real name, only under my fake one…, it felt terrible. So I had to play as David King, because it’s the only name I could remember whenever I asked myself.” The bottle of snake oil was empty by the time David was finished with his story. All this time, Dwight thought he couldn’t meet someone with a life as rough as his. But there was someone, of all people, it was David.

“David...I-i’m so sorry. Here I am, thinking I had it worse than anyone. You...didn’t say anything…”

“It’s because I wasn’t trying to make it a comparison contest or something, that’s why I haven’t said anything. I left my past and I have no intention of going back.”

“Well...if you told me this I ha-”

“No! Dwight, don’t tell me anything because I told you this. I didn’t tell you this because I wanted you to be obligated to me, I told you this because I trust you.” David smiled and patted his head, but Dwight gripped David’s wrist and lowered it down on the bed.

“No...NO! IT’S NOT FAIR FOR YOU TO BE THIS HONEST TO ME...well i’m not returning it.” Dwight turned red, he was ready. If David was ready to this truthful to Dwight, then he could do the same.

“David! When we danced a few days ago, when...you was that close to me, I wanted to steal a kiss off of you. I..always have. I know we started our relationship on the wrong foot, yes you treated me badly but it was because of me. I was rude, condescending, an ass when you was trying to treat me like an actual person. Yes, I did watched you at the river. Yes, I..watched you have sex, I know it was wrong, really wrong. I just couldn’t turn away, other than from William and Claudette, no one has ever treated me like this. Your warm, amazing, handsome, skillful. I wanted what the others had but I wanted for myself, I wanted no one else to have you but I got scared. You just sleeping with people and tossing them for the next, it scared me. I didn’t want to be tossed, I wanted it to be real. That’s why I been trying to convince myself to move on, not even try to get you but I couldn’t. I keep getting drawn to you...i’m sorry that I couldn’t tell you before…” Dwight slowly moved his hand to David’s, locking fingers as he shakes. David was touched, he saw Dwight struggled as he spoke the truth. He smiled as he locked his fingers with Dwight’s.

“Are you...really fine with having an old man like me?”

“Are you...fine with having a coward like me?”

“You’re definitely no coward to me, Dwight.”

“Ha, wish I could say something for you but I can’t deny your age.”

“Oh haha, very funny.” They shared a laugh, but now David’s red. This never happen to him, even during sex with other, he never turned red. David gotten closer to Dwight’s face, he could smell the snake oil under David’s breath but he was getting aroused by the aroma.

Hey...still want to steal a kiss off of me?

“If anything, you’re stealing mine.”

“And what you’re gonna do about it?”

“...nothing, but I guess it’s not stealing if I'm willing to let it happen, huh?”

“No, it’s not.” They kissed, a long awaited kiss that Dwight wanted for months. His mixture of the snake oil and ash turned him on. He thought he would be disgusted, but he wasn’t, he didn’t want it to stop. Their tongues locked on to each other, David’s wild tongue movement made Dwight’s erection harder than it already was. David was the same, precum leaked through their underwear, David pulled Dwight body closer to his. He wrapped his arms around Dwight, locking him in place but Dwight didn’t resist. He wanted to be this close for the longest time, the two parted their lips and stared into each other red faces.

“Well...how was it?”

“I-I can’t believe this, I-I actually kissed someone. I n-never thought i’ll get close to someone to do it! It f-felt great!” Dwight jumped right back into it, locking himself again and catching David off guard.

“Whoa, slow down!”

“S-sorry!”

“No, it’s fine. I’m glad you’re enjoying it, ...let me show you a bit more.” David sat on his knee in front of Dwight, he went in closer between Dwight’s legs. Dwight stared at the old man as David slowly pulled down his underwear, exposing his erect cock. David grip it as his rubbed his tongue up and down, staring at Dwight as he moans under his breath, trying to hide it but David heard it clear. David move his tongue to the head, he felt Dwight’s cock throb and twitch the longer his tongue stay on it. After a bit of teasing, he put it in his mouth, all of it. David’s warm mouth wrapping around Dwight’s cock made him breathe heavy. Kissing was one thing, but getting to have sex was a fantasy Dwight thought that could never happen. David stroke Dwight’s cock as he continue to suck him off, Dwight covered his mouth to hide his moans again, but he gave in. He let them out, his body was sweating. It was too good for him not to, this what the others were getting, but now it all his.

“D-D-David?”

“Hmm?”

“I-if it’s o-ok with you, mind i-if try?” David stopped and released Dwight’s cock from his mouth, he stood back up and front of Dwight and smiled, but it wasn’t warm, it was fierce and cocky. He pushed Dwight’s face on to his underwear. Why was he being forceful but more importantly, why is Dwight liking it, being shoved face first to his cock. Dwight was eager to see David’s cock, but even with his eagerness, he started licking it with the underwear still on. He couldn’t stop, being teased so much to a point his mouth was drooling for it. Finally, David stopped and removed his underwear, letting his erect cock rest on Dwight’s face. Dwight opened his mouth and slowly put it in. He struggled, David is on the larger side. He could only do half of it.

“(It’s so big, but I...I can’t stop, I like it too much.)” He told himself, he really couldn’t do anything as his jaw started to hurt.

“Ok, let’s move on to something...a bit more serious.” David went over to his bag and pulled out the bottle of lubrication. He gently pushed Dwight down and he applied the lube on Dwight’s cock then applied some on his back end.

“I was thinking, how about you go first then I can handle the rest afterwards.”

“O-ok, i’m fine w-with that.” he answered, David got on top of him. David lowered himself onto Dwight’s hot throbbing cock, it slowly travel inside David as he started to sweat as well. Even with the lube, it did sting a bit for the old man.

“D-David, are you ok!?”

“I-I’m fine, trust me. I-I prefer sizes l-like yours, b-big cocks a-aren’t exactly f-fun, at least f-for me.” After he adjusted to Dwight’s cock and the pain, he starts to ride Dwight. Like at the inn, David move wildly, taking control over Dwight’s cock as sweat rolled down David’s body. Dwight felt amazing, the senstaion he was feeling drove his mind into an erotic daze, but he wanted control. He flipped over David, he was on his back this time as Dwight thrust repeatedly into him. Once again, this took David by surprise as David bent his toes, clinging onto Dwight’s body as the thrusting rocks the bed. Dwight’s cock was twitching again inside David, telling the man he wasn’t too far off from releasing. As much as he enjoyed being pounded like this, David stopped him, it was his turn. Dwight pulled his cock out of David, David took some lube and applied it to Dwight. He leaned Dwight down as he came in and give him another kiss.

“I know I’m on the larger side, it may get uncomfortable for you. If it does, i’ll stop, ok?”

“O-ok…”

“I know this is your first time, i’ll go slow.” David slowly push his cock inside Dwight, even with the tip, it felt it being too much. David slowly put more inside, Dwight felt himself being expanded, his sweat increased as he clings on David’s body.

“Breathe Dwight, you have to get adjusted to it, if you can’t then it’ll continue to hurt. Don’t be afraid to tell me to stop.” Dwight tried doing what David said but it didn’t seem to be working.

“Slow, deep breaths Dwight. You have to relax yourself, heavy panting won’t help.” Dwight listened, his took in deep breaths and within a few moments, the pain became less and less. His body got used to the pain, so now he can continue. David started slow, but Dwight wanted the pace to pick up. He started to bite David, trying to tell him to be rough.

“H-hey, I don’t mind some biting but if keep it up, I might be a bit rough with you.”

“*pants* then I guess you have to rough me up then huh?” David smiled, as he said, David went from being slow to rough. The bed couldn’t handle the intensity of their love making, both of them feeling each other's body heat, the sweat rolling off. David stroking Dwight, there breathing and moaning becoming louder with each minute. Telling each other they’re both going to climax soon. Then they did, David came inside Dwight as Dwight shot his load onto David’s chest. Both now exhausted for making love for that like, Dwight experiencing his first time well David having true intimacy.

*Pants* shit *pants* this had to be the best feeling I’d ever had, what about you Dwight?

“...”

“D-Dwight?”

“...”

“DWIGHT!?” Dwight heart raced through his enjoyment, he clenched his chest again as he ended up passing out again.

“Huh? Where am i?”

“Dwight.”

“W-who’s there?”

“Such a sweet boy, but such negativity in your heart. Your tragedy will be soon.” A voice said before he woke up, only to find himself alone in bed. David walked out of the room Thomas was in and shut the door.

“Is he ok?”

“Yeah, After I clean ya up a bit I popped in to see if he’s asleep, we did make a lot of noise.” David went to bed and laid down with Dwight, tossing the blanket over them as they cuddle under the blankets.

“How long I was out?”

“About an hour I think, I cleaned you up in the meantime before I checked on Thomas. How you’re feeling? I didn’t go too far did I?”

“No! You didn’t, I enjoyed it, especially with you. Plus, I was the one who asked for it rough haha.”

“Glad to hear it, but I like to ask something else. Do...you have some kind of condition? You always clench your chest and and pass out whenever you panic too much.”

“I have a rare heart condition, whenever I get excited or frightened, my heart rate beats abnormally to a point my body can’t handle it. Which causes me to pass out, which is also why I wanted to be alone. To avoid this from happening.”

“You’re not going to die are you?”

“The doctor said it’s only in extreme rare cases…”

“Doesn’t mean you’re exactly safe either!”

“I know… sorry for not telling you.”

“Hey now, it’s your business, I have no right prying into it. Once we rest, i’ll go around looking for anything that could lead us to Rin, find her, get you to your dad’s treasure and get out of this mess. I have a feeling the next threat of ours will be a unicorn.”

“*Giggle* at least if we get killed by one it’ll be pretty.”

“That’s one way of saying it. Anyways, let’s get to sleep before your heart pops.” David kissed his forehead and wrapped his arm around Dwight, Dwight turned red again before the two fell asleep. The night progresses as the heavy winds rustled the leaves of the forest, but even with the heavy sounds, a voice called Dwight again.

“Come sweet boy, seek me.” It said, waking him up. Who is talking to him, is he the only one who can hear it? He looked at David, he was fast asleep, must be enjoying holding onto someone he loves. The voice called again, why, why only him? He slowly moved David’s arm off of him and went to the door, he opened it as the wind forced the rest. The wind blew inside, blowing out the fire, but Dwight wasn’t cold. He couldn’t feel a thing despite being in his underwear. The noise nor the cold wind didn’t wake up David or Thomas, Dwight stepped outside, following the voice as he wanders the forest. He still wasn’t cold, his body nor his feet. The voice became louder and louder the more he venture.

“Mmmm, Dwight, shut the window...Dwight?” David woke up to the door wide open, Dwight missing and the fire ceasing. First he checked on Thomas, then grabbed his jacket and boots and went outside. Dwight stopped, the voice told him to, he looked down and saw Rin’s now crimson blade. Dwight stuck his hand out for it, it glowed for him, like it did back at the inn. The radianting red light filled his eyes, calling for him to use it to his will.

“Dwight...Dwight…”

“DWIGHT!” David shouted, Dwight snapped out of the trance and turned around to see David. He was shivering for wearing only his underwear, jacket and boots.

“Aren’t you’re cold?”

“I-I...not exactly.”

“Why you left the cabin?”

“I thought I heard someone out here, but I only found Rin’s sword…”

“..., well come on. It’s too cold for us to stay out here with the wind like this. Help me with Rin’s sword.” The two went to the blade, Dwight held the blade side as David gripped the hilt.

“(What!?)”

“Dwight?”

“N-nothing, come on.” The two picked it up and carried it back to the cabin, they laid back into the bed and went to sleep. David fell fast asleep again but Dwight was still up a bit, he looked at the blade and once again, it glowed. He turned away and started to close his eyes.

“(Why...was the sword light!?)” He questioned before drifting to sleep. Morning arrived and as promised, David made Thomas a big meal before heading out to look for Rin. Thomas ate then right up to Dwight’s lap.

“Dwight, you’re awake!”

“Good morning Thomas, i’m glad you’re not hurt.”

“I could say the same to you! Oh guess what!?”

“Yes Thomas?”

“I’m David’s son now!” he told, eyes brighter than any stars in the night sky.

“O-oh, then I guess you’re my son too since I'm with him.” Thomas eyes lit up again, if it they weren’t bright already, they were certainly now. David came back to the cabin as he pushes the door close against the wind.

“Anything?”

“No...can’t find anything. Dammit!” David scratches his chin, trying to figure out how to find her. Dwight looked at her sword then came up with something.

“Didn’t Rin said that the sword glows to whoever it connects to or whatever.”

“She did say something like that.”

“If it glows for her, you think we can use it?”

“Like a beacon?”

“A beacon and a compass, think about it.”

“..., i get it. If we turn the blade to which where Rin is located, then it’ll glow because she’s in that direction.”

“Exactly, come on. The two picked up the blade and slowly spun it around, it glowed and they stopped their spinning.

“That’s north, she’s somewhere up there. Everyone, get dressed, we’re finding her now!” Everyone put back on their clothing, David called for Bumbley and they rode northward. They traveled a great distance and the more they went, the better the sword glowed. Rin woke up and found herself tied up in some hideout. She was surrounded by a group of men and women, they had an insignia on their clothing, the one that told that they were a part of the Romero gang. She wasn’t afraid, but she was for her friends. Where are they, how long have she been out? She saw some of the men approaching her, their faces filled with sexual desires. One got close enough but perished, Rin struck a man so fast, she pierced her foot into his stomach. Just because she can’t use her hand doesn’t mean she couldn’t use her feet as a weapon. She was trained for situations like this. She pushed the dead man towards the others as she got herself up with ease and got herself ready for the rest. The group ride into the crayon side again, they heard gunfire from the distance and travelled to the sound. The sword glowed brighter when they followed the sound. They reached a hideout, but the first thing they saw was several people being thrown out some windows. Then it was followed by screaming, they opened the door but a bunch of people ran out, fearing their lives as their companions were being killed. They walked inside to see Rin walking down some stairs, covered in blood with her dead eyes.

“RIN!” Thomas shouted as he ran to her and gave her a hug.

“I should of figured it was you causing them to run.”

“They said they’ll be back within five minutes, four already passed so...they’ll be here soon.” She said, Rin went to her sword to cut herself free. Then she picked back up and put it in her sheath.

“Luckily they took my case with them, we be-”

“Excuuuuuse me!” They all turned to see Bubba at the door.

“Rinnnnn!” The large man went and brought her in for a bear hug.

“Bubba! Funny not seeing Anna around you.”

“She was supposed to meet up at the spot, but I was the only one there. Evan wasn’t there either…”

“Rin, shouldn’t we be a little more cautious?”

“Out of everyone, not him. Bubba is very friendly and relies on being told what to do, he’s harmless Dwight.”

“Hmmm? Dwight?”

“Y-yes?”

“Hmmmm, Max told me to do something if I by chance meet you. What was it...what was it…, oh!” Bubba went in a bag and pulled out another mask made from flesh. David covered Thomas’s eyes as Bubba removes the mask was currently wearing and put on the one from his bag.

“Tada! This is what he wanted me to show you, what do you think?” Dwight stared into the mask, his eyes widened as he covered his mouth as tears started to form. David and Rin couldn’t believe it either, Bubba was wearing Douglas’s face. Dwight’s father was dead and his face is being worn, it was Dwight’s tragedy.

“I worked extra hard on it! I even made him into a snack afterwards, no one wanted some though so I ate it all.” Bubba excitingly told, Dwight became silent, each heartbeat brought pain into his chest.

“(This is your tragedy, what will you do? Will you leave it be or crave revenge?)” the voice said, Rin hand shook, the blade was becoming heavy for her.

“Rin, what’s wrong!?”

“I-I don’t know, the sword, it’s!” Rin let go, the weight of the blade became too much for her to hold. She dropped it, making a crater on the floor as Dwight clenched his chest again, the pain grew and didn’t stop, his mind started to go blank. He killed his mother and his father was killed and turned into a mask. He couldn’t take it, Rin head darted to Dwight. She felt malice, pure malice leaking from Dwight’s body.

“(Good, take me. Use me, we’ll make them pay, we’ll make them all pay!)”

“AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” Dwight let out a horrifying scream before falling on his back. Everyone stared at the body, then suddenly, his body raised up on it own. All their hearts beat as they wait to see what happens next.

“..., Hmm. Didn’t think his body would be this frail but it’ll do. But these glasses? No.” Dwight took off his glasses and stomped on them. Something wasn’t right, Thomas felt that Dwight wasn’t himself. The boy hid behind his father as Dwight walks over and picked up the blade, then he immediately looked at Bubba and dashed to him at an inhuman speed. He would of got hurt if it wasn’t for Rin using Bubbba’s chainsaw to block, She throw Dwight away to get him away.

“Dwight! What are you doing!?” David screamed at him.

“Dwight? Oh no, I’m definitely not him. The name Sayaka, Sayaka Yamaoka.” He said, Rin covered her mouth. The other gang members came with weapons and firearms, they pointed their weapons. Dwight swung the blade into the ground, creating a large shockwave as it pushes the members against a wall as the derby impaled them. Their body dangling on the stone wall as their blood oozes down, like the stone itself was crying. In the midst of the dirt clouds and derny, Dwight was gone. Where? How far? Why is this happening?

“FUCK! Where is here!?”

“D-David...what is going on with Dwight?”

“I don’t know little buddy, but i’ll get to the bottom of this.” David whistled for Bumbley and backtrack himself.

“DAVID!”

“RIN, WATCH THOMAS!” He shouted before disappearing into the horizon, Bubba disappeared as well, as he got scared of the shockwave.

“Damn! Thomas, come on! There should be some horses our!” David rode in the crayon without even having a clue where Dwight went, the sun was setting and the cold was string his face. He came across a large open crater with a lake covering a good portion of the bottom, someone was down below, like they were waiting for him. David stopped Bumbley and slid down into the crater and ran to the person in the crater, Dwight.

“Hmmm, I thought I made my trail hard to follow. You’re really are something.”

“Who are you!? Where’s Dwight!?”

“Didn’t I already told you? I’m Sayaka, what’s so hard to understand?”

“What’s so hard!? You took him away, everything was going right for me. We have little to do then we were done, we could be a family, then this shit happened. I’m not gonna let you destroy this!”

“Little to do? Oh, you mean the treasure.”

“Huh!? How do you…”

“I’m a part of him, his memories is shared with me. Funny, all this traveling when he already been told where it was at.”

“I-I don’t understand…”

“When someone goes through traumatic experiences, they try their best to leave their past behind to a point where they will suppress it or even rewrite the memory to be something else. But when you do it to one memory, you do it to the ones connected to them as well. You see, Dwight been told of the location of the treasure but him being hunted and it giving him trauma, caused his mind to suppress and rewrite his memories. One being the location of the treasure, but I know it.”

“AND YOU THINK I’M GOING T-” Dwight dashed to him before he even finished.

“I think you are!” Dwight swung the sword in an upward motion, striking David’s left eye. He then took a hold of David’s right arm and cut it clean, his arm flew in the air, spraying it’s blood in the air. Some of it landing on the ground well some mixed with the lake next to them. Rin and Thomas caught up to David but the action already started, they were too late as Rin covered Thomas’s mouth and eyes. David screamed in pain, why is this happening. Even with his dismemberment, he still find the strength to pick himself up.

“Dwight...please, com ba-”

“Dwight isn’t here anymore.” Sayaka stab the blade straight threw David, she then kick him off into the lake. David floated down into the lake, the sun was moments away from setting as the darkness of the lake started to consume. His light fading as he descends deeper.

“(N-no, please...I have to save him. I...have to pro...tect...Dwig...ht and Tho...mas.)” David couldn’t fight, he failed. David's eyes were becoming heavy. He took one last look and saw something coming down but whoever it was, they or it won’t make it. His legend came to an end.

Chapter Text

Bill and the others were far in the west, hoping to catch up to Dwight’s group. They recently helped with an epidemic that plagued a small town, but thanks to Claudette, the town can rest without the risk of spreading it. Weeks have passed since then, and they were well on their journey.

“Hmmm…”

“What’s wrong Joey?” Feng question.

“Oh it’s nothing, I was just wondering how the farm is going. Julie and Susie do help a lot, but I was the main backbone...well kinda. At least how I see it, my dad taught me first and even Julie and Susie have trouble at times with certain things.”

“You left a note right?”

“...not exactly, I kinda just left. I really hope they’re ok, I just have a feeling that something bad is coming.”

“Don’t worry, I’m sure they’re fine. But I bet your parents got a leather belt waiting for you on your return though.” Bill told as he laughs when Joey got shivers down his spine, the group continue to laugh until something fell from the sky. It was large, it broke several branches on its way down. It landed in some bushes near the group as they rush to see what it is.

“I-it’s a bird?”

“I know this species, it a rare mix breed of a raven and a falcon. Normally they die before adulthood if not taken care of properly, they were bred in a way to become messenger birds.” Feng explained.

“D-do they normally grow this big?”

“Normally no, but this one must be special I guess. It abnormally large for its species.”

“There’s something wrapped around its feet!” Joey pointed out as he grabbed whatever was on the bird.

“It’s a note, it was written to someone named Jake Park. Understood, i’ll make my way to the west. We’ll meet up at the artist's hut like you said. Signed by, Kate Denson. Who?”

“Kate Denson…, now that I think of it. Didn’t the Smokey King referred to the blonde woman in the library to that name?” Claudette asked, they did remember him calling her that.

“So the note was to her, but who is the artist this Kate mentioned?”

“Might have an idea Joey, but first we should tend to the bird.” Bill picked up the bird and carried it to a clearing, Claudette inspected the injured and smiled.

“They aren’t life-threatening, simple medical treatment should help.”

“Can we do the same thing we do to ourselves to animals?” Bill asked.

“Internally no, but externally yes. Animals external wounds can be patched up like humans and most of the visible wounds are external. Ok...and finished, you can still fly but take it easy. This ointment I applied should numb your pain.”

“*Happy screech*”

“Looks like it understood you!” Feng pointed out.

“Is that normal?”

“Yes actually. These birds are highly intelligent, not only do they understand the human language, it has a keen sense of smell like a bloodhound.”

“Really, so you understand what we’re saying big guy?”

“*Agreeing screech*”

“If that’s the case, i’m looking for a man, his name is Jeffery Johanson. Think you can help?” Bill asked the bird, it screech once again as it flops its wings and ascended into the sky. It flew around in a circle as it went in a direction. The group followed it, but the bird flew slowly, it didn’t want to harm itself again. Day and night pass many times for the group, every time they rest, the bird comes down and Claudette checks on its wounds. Making sure they’re healing properly before ascending the next day. Finally, after days of traveling, they found themselves deep in forest mountains. Nothing but trees leading into the nearest town, but even that was blocked by the forest surrounding it. They found themselves in front of a large hut, it was made of sturdy wood and stone. You can tell someone took a long time building it, a very long time. The bird descends in front of the group as it screeches loudly like it was calling for someone. A man with black hair tied in a high ponytail, a thin beard covering his face. He was covered in bandages with bits of blood on them, only in his pants, he called out the bird's name.

“Crow!” the soft voice shouted, he was clearly worried for the bird.

“Are you hurt?”

“*Happy screeching*”

“I see, these people helped you. Thank you, I was worried for her, she was supposed to come back days ago. I thought someone must’ve shot her out the sky and claimed her as a trophy.” The injured man told, taking a seat to reduce the pain he’s experiencing.

“You can understand it?”

“Uh...it might not sound believable if I explain…”

“Trust me, we’ve been through a lot that if we told common folks, we’ll be right inside the looney bin.” Bill scruff as he scopes the area for Lisa.

“If that’s the case. Yes, I can understand her. Animals have a strong connection to the spirit realm, they use that to talk to each other well in the physical realm they are unintelligible. If one is born with a strong spirit, they connect to that realm and can communicate with the animals and spirits. It takes time.” he explained.

“Now that you mention it, David did seem to understand what his horse was saying to him.” Bill mentioned.

“Oh! Can you understand Potty!?” Joey asked as he lifted the pig to the injured man, Potty whispered something to him.

“I am not saying that to them. Watch ya self, you walking piece of ham.” Potty got angry and spaz out.

“Anyways again, thank you for- augh!” The man held himself as his pain became unbearable.

“Jake! I told you that you need to rest, you’re far from recovered! Hmmm?” Another man came out and saw the group. He was completely different from the one sitting. He was burly and tall, almost like a bear, His hair was black with grey streaks tied in a high ponytail, a small streak of hair in front but his hair wasn’t as long as the other man. His beard mightier than the god, but has some greys sticking out as well. His arms were covered in tattoos well he wears a shirt with no sleeves. His formal pants were made from animal pelts but his presence wasn’t threatening, but rather warm and welcoming.

“Bill!” the man shouted with glee.

“Been a while Jeff.”

“I’ll say, at least give a little warning before suddenly appearing. Anyways, come on Jake. Everyone, come inside.” Jeff helped the man up and took him to the main living space. Once sat down, Jeff made tea for everyone to warm up. The group looked around and saw many paintings hung around the hut.

“Sorry about that, this one has a bit of trouble listening whenever I tell him to rest.”

“I told you, you didn’t have to do this.”

“And leave you for dead in the middle of the woods on a cold night? You’re just begging for death to take you away. I didn’t have a problem healing you up, can you please rest.” Jeff asked, placing his hand on top of the injured man’s head. Causing him to turn red as everyone else raised a brow. He turned away to get rid of the embarrassment.

“I-it’s whatever, since we’re like this, we better introduce ourselves. I’m Jake Park, the reason why I'm like this is cause some government officials didn’t like that I sabotage some of their equipment to destroy the forest. This here is Crow, she's my messenger bird and my most trusted ally.”

“*Screech*”

“And I'm Jeffery Johanson, but I mostly go by Jeff. You can clearly see that i’m an artist, I can also communicate with animals like Jake here.”

“I’m Claudette Morel!”

“Joey!”

“Feng Min.”

“William Overbeck, but you can call me Bill.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet all of you, and thank you for helping Crow.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you all as well, but if Bill’s here then I’m pretty sure why you lots are here.” Jeff got up and went into a room and came back out with something rolled up in his hand.

“Here you guys go!”

“..., What is that?” Claudette asked.

“It’s the spare map of Douglas’s treasure, is this not what-”

“SERIOUSLY!? THERE’S ALREADY A COPY!?” Feng shouted as she fell to the floor, face and her dream were crushed.

“Haha...nevermind her, I was looking for his son, Dwight Fairfield.” Bill told.

“Did he not come here?”

“No, besides Jake, only you guys came here. I thought you were looking for his treasure.”

“But…”

“Then it means we got here before Dwight’s group did, which is odd considering we were behind them. (Did something happened?)” Bill wondered, he looked at Claudette and saw she was concerned for them as well.

“What are we going to do now Bill?”

“No choice but to wait, they’ll eventually get here. Jeff, is it alright if we can stay a bit?”

“Not at all, please rest. You guys won’t be the only visitors here.”

“Oh! Mr. Park, this was on Crow.” Joey handed him the note from Kate and he read it, he was relieved that she got his message. As they relax and wait for Dwight’s and Kate’s group, they took a look at Jeff’s painting. Some were beautiful well others were unpleasant to look at.’

“Well...it looks...good?” Joey awkwardly spoke.

“I’m not an artist myself Joey, I don’t really get it myself. Feng?”

“I understand it but sometimes I don’t, huh? Hey, doesn’t this look like…” Feng darted her attention to some other paintings that caught her eye.

“I knew it, look! Wasn’t the village in the swamp?”

“Hey, the one next to it, isn’t this us?” Joey shouted, the other two came over and saw that he was right.

“Hey, this one is us at the church!”

“This one has Dwight in it! The one next to it has the Smokey King against some bunny lady?” Bill noticed what they were doing and took a look himself.

“Jeff, what is this?”

“Well...I get these weird urges to paint something, so I paint and these become the outcomes. I didn’t know it was about you guys. Um...here, does this look familiar?”

“That’s Dwight! He looks like he’s in weather-appropriate clothing, so it must be him now?”

“I can’t tell you, I just get these urges and draw them. I can’t tell you if they are happening now or in the future…”

“Oh…”

“Hey, let’s not panic. I’m sure he’s fine, he got David. Come on, it’s getting late, let’s eat then go to bed.” She smiled, he was right. As long Dwight was with David, nothing couldn’t possibly happen to him. The next day came and the morning was bright as the air chilled itself, it is Fall after all. Claudette woke up first, or so she thought. She walks out to the main living space to see Jake and Jeff awake.

“Morning you two, didn’t think you be a morning person.”

“Comes with age, the more you grow, the more you enjoy the mornings.” Jeff told her as he went back to drawing.

“And you Jake?”

“I just happen to wake up...that’s all.”

“Happen to just wake up huh?” Kate questioned, walking inside with Adam and Ace.

“You of all people hates mornings, why the sudden change of heart?” he couldn’t answer, he only turned red as he looks away from them. Kate noticed Claudette beside her.

“You again? Why are you all the way out here?”

“I-I was looking for Dwight, Bill thought he’ll be here but he’s not…”

“I told you to let me handle it!”

“N-no, it’s not what you think. Dwight is working with the Smokey King, I just want to see if I can help too…”

“Listen, this land is dangerous, I can’t have you be running around just because you want to look for your friend. Dwight was taken off my land, so he’s my-”

“And who are you to decide that for her?” Bill said, yawning his way to everyone. Ace kept his head low with guilt.

“I was just trying to-”

“It's more like a woman who’s too damn nosy and hardheaded, telling someone who made it this far what’s best when she herself is just as inexperienced. It’s her choice to help Dwight, not you. If the shoes were on the other foot, you do the same thing. She’s aware that these lands are dangerous, but she’s willing to traverse on them to help. Not to mention she stopped an epidemic from spreading. Mind your damn business!” Bill looked at Claudette, she was grateful for him defending her, she wouldn’t know what to say without him.

“W-well i’m not that inexperienced! I did plenty over the years but fine, I was only trying to help.” Now Kate’s the one red, Adam laughed as she continues to grow more shades on her skin.

“Finished!” Jeff shouted, it was another painting but this one was worrisome. It was two men, one stabbed the other one with what looks like a sword.

“T-that’s Dwight! What is he doing!?”

“Is he stabbing David!? Jeff!?”

“I told you, I don’t know when these take place. It could be now, before or the future!”

“Bill!?”

“Let me think!” Bill scratches his head, trying to figure out what’s going on. Well he did that, Jake looked at the painting himself.

“Hey, that crater, I think I have seen it before.”

“You have!?”

“Yes, does anyone have a map of the U.S?”

“I do!” Feng ran to her bag and dug around many of her papers, she found the map Jake needed and handed it to him.

“If memory serves me right...that crater is north of here!”

“Bill, isn’t Adiris church below it!?”

“It is, but it’s miles away, but we got a lead. Jeff, where’s the nearest train station? There’s no way we’ll be there fast enough, even with horses.”

“In the next town over, but it’s a day trip. But what will you do when you get there? Not exactly gonna be any horses to rent.”

“Leave that to me.” Jake took out a paper and wrote on it, he attached to Crow and lead her outside to soar in the air.

“I’ll let someone I know that you guys will be in need of horses, leave now so you guys can be there as soon as possible!”

“We’re coming too, the Smokey King is my business and anything involving him involves me.” They didn’t have a problem but Jake has to stay behind due to his injuries. They hopped on the horse, Kate with Claudette, Joey, and Feng with Adam and Bill with Ace. Once again, Ace couldn’t look at Bill as they rode off with the morning wind. Like Jeff claimed, it took them a least a day to reach the town with the station. Fortunately, the trains were running. They knew they weren’t going be there within the hour, so they took their rest on the train ride.

“Hey Bill, why haven’t we taken the trains before?” Joey asked well he grooms Potty.

“I’m.. kinda a wanted man and I could get easily spotted if we use public transportation too much.” he answered. A couple of days pass and they arrived at a town. Once off the train, a man stood before them and offered them horses. They thanked the man and rode into the exit of the train and in the direction of the church. As the cold wind numb their faces, they pass by the church, they wished they could stop and say hello, but time wasn’t exactly on their side. The evening was approaching and they reached the crayon side above the church. They heard a loud noise, it even shook the earth. What could of happened for something like that to happen? They turned their horses in the direction of the sound, by the time they got near, they saw someone on a horse charging to the horizon. It was a woman with a small child clinging onto her, Rin and Thomas.

“Bill! It’s that boy and woman, the one with Dwight and David!”

“Where are they going!? (The hell are you up to Smokey King?)”

“Doesn’t matter, follow her!” The group charged their horses after her, but Rin was far ahead of them. Time passed and David’s demise was already done, he was tossed into the lake as his lifeless body descends into the dark icy waters. Rin became infuriated, she sat Thomas down as she took out a smaller crimson blade from under her shirt. She slid down the cliffside and let out a warrior cry as she rushed with everything she had and collided with her blade with Sayaka’s.


“ どうして!? そんなことないはず!
(HOW COULD YOU!? IT SHOULDN’T BE LIKE THIS!)” she screamed at possessed man in her native tongue.

“りん, こんな素敵な若い女性. でももうあなたはいらない, この男の心は傷ついた感情でいっぱいです. それは... 単においしい.
“(Oh Rin, such a lovely young woman. But I have no need for you anymore, this man’s heart is full of hurt emotions. It’s...simply delicious.)”

“そんな彼のことは話さないで
(DON’T TALK ABOUT HIM LIKE THAT!)” She screamed at her again, Sayaka just laugh as she flipped the blade out of Rin’s hand, grabbed and threw her to the wall with great force. Her impact shook the ground as the dust cloud float up into the air. Rin fell down, such force and pain just from one attack. She has to get up, she has to protect Dwight, she has to protect Thomas. Thomas ran down the cliffside, running in front to protect Rin as she couldn’t move much.

“PLEASE, WHOEVER YOU ARE. GIVE ME BACK MY DAD, PLEASE!” He shouted out, the boy was shaking, he knows he isn’t much. Sayaka looked at the child, her eyes went from brown to red.

“And who are you?”

“T-Thomas, y-you took my dad away, I-I know you’re not him! Give him back or...OR ELSE!” he threatened, Sayaka smiled as she dashes to the behind in a breakneck speed.

“Tough child, so cute. Ok, I TAKE ELSE!” Sayaka raises her sword but backed away from the boy, bullets were shot at her. Kate slides down the hill, shooting at her. Bill came down after Kate, he threw himself into the air and he unleashed wild whip movement to Sayaka. She dodged them but she was impressed by his skills. The other came to help up Rin as Claudette ran in front of them.

“DWIGHT!?”

“*Sigh* this is getting tiresome, I'll take my leave but first.” Sayaka taps her head, Claudette noticed it but it felt odd.

“The name is Sayaka, burn it in!” She said, leaving the sight as they ran to Rin.

“Hey, are you-”

“DAVID, HE’S IN THE LAKE!” She screamed, Bill darted his attention to the water, he dived in and swam down. There he saw something floating down, he swam to it and wrapped his arm to whatever it was and brought it up to the surface. Once he breaches the surface, it was shown to be David but his body was cold. With his arm missing and his eye damaged, he lost too much blood. Adam found David’s arm and brought it to them but they were all silent. Rin ran to David and searched in his jacket and found the ointment she gave him, she took out the one she had as well.

“Rin…”

“The stab wound was through his spinal cord, any attack on it normally leads to instant or almost instantaneous death...Rin i’m-”

“SHUT UP! LISTEN, PRY OPEN HIS WOUND AND POUR IT INSIDE! GIVE ME HIS ARM!” They did what she said without questioning her, Rin applied the ointment on his arm and placed it back as Bill pours the ointment inside the wound.

:N-nothing’s happening!” Kate shouted.

“Dammit, they need to be alive for it to work! DAVID, DON’T YOU GIVE UP, YOU HAVE TO SAVE HIM, YOU HAVE TO SAVE DWIGHT!”

“...”

“No...PLEASE NO!” They remained silent, David died but one still thought he can come through, Thomas.

“(Where am I? It’s so cold...so dark. That’s right, I was killed...I failed. It’s what I deserved...I can’t save anyone. Honestly...it’s not bad, dying. I can’t really leave my past behind, I can-)”

“(DAVID! PLEASE, DON’T LEAVE ME!)” a voice shouted.

“(Huh? How can I hear that…?)”

“DAVID, YOU’RE STRONG! YOU’RE AMAZING, YOU CAME BACK FROM A LOT OF THIS, YOU CAN FROM THIS TOO!”

“(T-Th-)”

“DAVID!”

“(Thom…)”

“DAVVIIID”

“(Tho...mas!)”

“DDDDAAAAAAAAAAAVVVIIIIDDDD!”

“(THOOOMMMAASSS!)” At that moment, David’s body began to heal. His arm was reattaching itself to his body, the stab wound closed to a certain point. His body was still cold but Claudette felt a heartbeat, then David began to violently cough up water that made its way into his body. They couldn’t relax yet, they had to get him somewhere for him to rest. They got him out of the crater and onto the horses, they rode off in the direction of Adiris church. As they rode to it, Sayaka took refugee in an old hideout. She closes her eyes and saw Dwight, his face was covered in tears. He couldn’t believe what happened, David died by his hands. He couldn't cope with that thought. Sayaka walks over to him, stood behind Dwight as she continues to weep.

“Oh sweet boy, why are you weeping?”

“David *whimpers* h-he’s d-dead! I KILLED HIM!”

“Oh no sweet child, we didn’t kill him, they did.”

“They?”

“Yes, the big one with the revving weapon, the woman in the mask and the man in make-up. They caused your tragedy, you want revenge, don’t you?”

“NO! I-I don’t-”

“You do.”

“I DON’T”

“You do, sweet child.”

“I...I do, they did this. My family...David’s death… what are we going to do?” he asked, Dwight’s eyes were dull, no life, just pure emptiness.

“You see, iridescent has more than just absorb blood and turn red. There’s power in it, once the material turns red, that’s when it can happen. When a crimson weapon spreads blood by the wielder, it can give monstrous effects to many things. It doesn’t apply to humans, but it can for animals. She explained, she picked up a spider that crawled onto their body.

“It’s a blow spider…”

“Yes, this thing will begin our little wonderland.” She took the blade and cut open her hand, she squeezes and pours the blood over the bug. She took it outside and let the wind blow the spider away.

“Once again, that will start things up. As for my plan, it’ll involve the treasure but we’re aren’t there yet, but soon we will. Rest Dwight, we’ll soon move.” She said as she fades away, Dwight was alone again. He immediately breakdown, he was scared, this isn’t something he ever thought he’ll encounter. David was dead, the only person who could possibly save him.

Do you think David’s dead?” a voice questioned, Dwight looked around but only saw darkness.

“W-what?”

You heard me, do you think he’s dead?” a voice asked again, a small light floated down in front of him. What was this light, why was it here? Does it belong to Sayaka?

Don’t worry, she can’t hear us. Dwight, you saw what David can do. You think he’ll stay dead?”

“I-I don’t get it, I saw what happened. Of course he’s dead!”

Sometimes our eyes can’t see the future. David was stabbed, that I can’t deny, but we can’t confirm he’s dead without seeing his body!”

“I…”

My time is running out, I’ll hide inside you. She wants your heart, I won’t let her. Again Dwight, do you think he’s dead. Think with your heart, not your mind.” The light faded, Dwight listened to his heart, he didn’t believe he was. But he has to see him, if not, it’ll dead and give into despair.

“...Thank you.” Dwight laid down, laying his head down on his hands, praying to be saved.

“(There’s no need to thank me, it’s a father’s duty to protect their child.)”

Chapter Text

Bubba was far from the others, he ran into a forest, exhausted and frightened from what he witnessed. He was happy that Rin protected him, but it still shocked him. He sat down beside a tree, catching his breath and resting his mind.

“(That was super scary, thank goodness Rin reacted in time but still...I don’t get it. We were told that he isn’t much of the fighter...and how was he able to hold the cursed sword…) huh?” Bubba heard some shuffling, he turned to see his remaining companions.

“ANNA!” the large man shouted, hopping on top of her. She caught him and smiled.

“Thank god you’re alive, I honestly thought you died because of Max stupidity.”

“Nope, I was a good boy and didn’t do anything like you said! Also, hello Kenneth!”

“Nice to see you too Bubba, speaking of, where is Max?”

“He died, someone known as the “teenage assassin” killed him a while back.”

“Then that makes two, we found Evan’s deeper in the forest. Only us three…” Kenneth told Bubba. Bubba stopped them and told what recently happened, it sounds unbelievable but it’s the truth.

“He was able to hold the sword huh? Well, it doesn’t matter...we ran out of time Anna. The lord will send the reinforcements soon…”

“Even with that, we’re still on the job. He said the reinforcements will come after a certain period, it doesn’t release us from the mission. Best for us not to return empty-handed.” She said, the two nodded to her as she took the lead. As they walk into the night, Thomas was well asleep. He wants to forget what just happened to his fathers, it has been days since David got to Adiris’s church. Dwight’s still missing, he cries for him to return, to wake him up from this nightmare and be in his loving arms.

“(Thomas!)” a voice called.

“(Thomas, wake up!)”

“(Huh? Who’s there?)” the boy asked, he couldn’t see anything but a small light in front of him in this dark void.

“(Don’t worry about it, but David is waking up soon! Don’t you want to see him?)”

“(Y-yes!)”

“(Then you gotta wake up, hurry!)” the light said, then it grew brighter and brighter until the boy became blinded by it. He opened his eyes and found himself in a bed, he rubbed his eyes and went to a window. It was a little past dawn, it’s the earliest he ever been up. More importantly, what was that light? Who was talking to him? He put it aside and left his room and into David’s room. He was resting in his bed, he was shirtless with bandages around his eye and his arm. His skin was paler than the fading moon in the sky, must be from the blood. Thomas walked to him, the voice did said he was waking up soon. Then he did, David opened his eyes but was only able to see out of one of them. He raised from his bed. He held his head, it throbbed in pain.

“David!” Thomas screamed, jumping into David and burying his head into his body. He squeezed the man, already wetting his torso with his tears. David hugged him back as he stroked his head to cease his son’s tears. Something was cold, he was cold. Not from his blood loss, but from his presence, he wasn’t himself and Thomas felt it.

“Are you ok, Thomas?” he asked in a dull voice, Thomas softly responded, like he was being scolded. David’s strokes felt rough than gentle, his warmth was as cold as the air outside. The others came into the room to see that David awaken.

“David!” Rin shouted, rushing over to him and checking him.

“Rin...Bill...Kate? Where am I? What happened?”

“You were wounded and lost a tremendous amount of blood, Bill rushed to save you.” Rin told her.

“You were struck in the spinal cord, you should of died...but Thomas screaming must of did something.” Claudette said.

“Yeah, I did heard someone, thank you Thomas.” Again, his voice was dull and empty. Thomas didn’t say anything, he got off of David and went behind Rin.

“Ok, I get that part but why is everyone is here? ...wait, where’s Dwight?” No one answered, they couldn’t look at him. His coldness turned to heat, despite the heat his body emitted, Thomas still felt his coldness.

“WHERE IS HE!?” he shouted, Thomas walked up to him and placed Dwight’s glasses on David’s lap. One of the lenses was shattered well the other len was missing. David gripped and squeezes it, veins popped on his hands, his pale skin turned red. His head played memories of what happened, Dwight uses destructive force to kill multiple people in one swing, then him being possessed and stabbing David. He knew it wasn’t Dwight, it was Sayaka, it was her doing.

“DAMMIT!” he shouted, slamming his fist against a window, causing it to crack and letting bits of wind sneak through. He turned his head to Rin, she felt his frustration. Thomas did too, they all did.

“I WANT ANSWERS RIN! What the hell is with that sword!? Who the hell is Sayaka!?” They all darted their heads to Rin, she had no choice but to answer, she owes it to him.

“*Sigh* i’m so sorry David, I never thought something like this would happen. I owe you this much for what happened. The story I gave you before was the children's version of the tale, this is the true tale, the tale of Sayaka Yamaoka and the cursed blade. I’ll skip the beginning since it’s the exact same, but only up until villagers. Sayaka was told not to mess with the meteorite, but she didn’t listen. Her urge to make something out of the unknown material kept corrupting her mind, so she broke the rule and took pieces of the meteor and made the blade that I used to have but someone found out. They told the village elders and they feared the wrath of their gods, the only way of pleasing them was a sacrifice. Since Sayaka disobeyed, someone of her family must pay, her grandfather. They wanted her to suffer, they wanted her to know what happens when you don’t follow what the elders say. So one night, the villagers stormed into Sayaka's grandfather's home and took both her and her grandfather. They dragged both of them to the shrine and placed her grandfather on sacrifice circle, they held her eyes open as one of the elders chanted well the rest prayed. “Gods, please hear us. We did not wish to displease you, we told this defiant to not defile your gift but she chose not to listen and possibly angered you. We offer you a member of her blood in exchange and as her punishment!” the older shouted, he then took the knife in his hand and repeatedly stabbed him. She begged them to stop but they didn’t, it was her punishment, her tragedy. Once they were done, they left the shrine and she held her lifeless grandfather’s body in her arms. She screamed into the night, her only family left was killed in front of her, she wanted revenge. During the remainder of the night, she went and killed every last one of them. Each killed filled the blade with blood and each kill extended her smile. She became a serial killer for her village then proceed to set it on fire, she wanted nothing of the village standing. As the fire engulf the village, she returned back to her grandfather and grabbed the knife. “My grandfather shouldn’t have died, I should of. Even when I took revenge, it wasn’t enough. I can never be sated, I want everyone to feel what I felt, a tragedy. Gods, if you’re really there, I want to continue to spread despair to others, to make them learn to treasure what they have and create their thirst for vengeance when they’re ready.” After she said that, she took her own life. She laid there, bleeding out next to her beloved grandfather but the gods heard her prayer. They did what she asked, they fused her spirit into the blade. Those who resonate with the blade can wield it but in exchange, they are given a tragedy that is followed by revenge. She’ll then speaks to you, you can either accept her strength and thirst for revenge, or ignore it and continue on with the loss. If you accept, you form a contact like bond. You can use her as much as you want, even if it takes years, she won’t stop lending her power until their vengeance is quench but…”

“But what Rin!?”

“Sayaka feeds on your thirst for vengeance, as long it’s strong, she’s strong. Like how spirits can feed on the emotions of the living. She gives you a lot of power, so as an exchange...she takes the life force of the wielder once they achieve their revenge…” Everyone's silence grew, some covered their mouths well the others stood in disbelief. How can a sword do that, take someone’s life once they’re finished?

“Rin...SO YOU’RE TELLING ME IF HE SUCCEED HE’LL DIE!? Wait, you were going to die as well!? Why would you hold something like that to yourse-”

“David! Think about it, If I wield something like that with such a drawback, I would have kept my mouth shut too. Don’t blame Rin, she was only trying to not make you worry.” Bill interrupted.

“Tch, where’s Dwight!? How long have I been out!?”

“Calm down, please!”

“No! A minute I waste here is a minute more of Sayaka taking him away!”

“You don’t even know he’s at dumbass!”

“Shut up! I was close...we had so little to do then we were done! I could of stop...THEN THIS HAPPENED!” he shouted again, slamming his fist into the window again and letting more air in.

“What’s wrong with you!? You’re never like this, quit acting like a child!”

“Kate, you’re not helping, you’re just feeding his anger!” Adam scolded.

“I’m not wron-”

“HOW LONG!?” David shouted with rage, his heat conquered the cold wind filling the room. Thomas never seen him like this, he was scared. This isn’t the David he knew, or was this how David really is?

“Four days, you’re were unconscious from the blood loss.” Kate answered.

“Anything leading to him!?”

“I did some scooping, apparently a man matching Dwight’s appearance was heading up north.” Bill answered to reduce David’s anger.

“That part belongs to the Romero’s, i’m sure someone must of told Jane already.” a voice from the hallway said, two more men walked inside the room, Ash and Philip.

“Why the hell you two are here!?” Bill questioned.

“When you made that giant hole, it brought the infected water too. So aside from our injuries from the fall, we got sick. Adiris took care of us in the meantime.” Ash told them.

“I don’t care, I'm go-ugh” David fell, he felt light-headed and his head was throbbing again. He felt the wind hit his body despite the heat he created, it felt like snow was dumped on him.

“David please, you loss so much blood! You have to rest, it won’t just magically come back! It takes time!” Claudette told him.

“I’m sorry Claudette but no!”

“At least rest for one more day?”

“No! I’m not letting her take Dwight anymore further from us!” David got up and started putting on his clothes.

“You know, I will contact Jane and let her know you’re going into her territory.” Ash warned him.

“Let her ass know, I don’t fucking care!” David finished putting on his clothes and went outside and whistle for Bumbley, when she came, she could even tell that David wasn’t himself.

“David!” the others shouted, rushing outside and see he was about to ride off.

“Don’t bother, i’m going regard-”

“I know you are but you need someone to watch you. I still have a request to complete which is to protect Dwight.” Rin said, hopping onto the horse with David with Thomas in front of her. Normally, David would be against Thomas going but he didn’t say a word.

“Dwight is my friend, I want to help him too. It’s the only reason why I even travel out here!” She whistles for one of the horses and climbed on it, Joey and Feng hopped on with her. They were willing to help her too, she knows she can’t do it alone.

“*Sigh* I’ll go too, I was watching these kids from the start, better stick to it.” he whistled for the other horse and hopped on it. Ace hopped on with him, he still has to do what he promised Sally. Kate stared at them, she can honestly let go of Dwight since David is after him.

“At this point, I don’t care about Dwight anymore. If you want to handle him, be my guest. But I have a personal thing with the Romero’s, i’ll tag along but don’t expect much from me.”

“I’m not much but I can handle my own, I’ll help both Kate and you guys.” Adam told as he readjusts his monocle.

“Then let's cut the chatter and move!” The horses neighed as they rode north, Adiris and Nea waved goodbye to him and prayed for their safe travel. As they storm north, another person was storming into Jane’s office, Charlie. He came to her desk and slam his hands on her.

“WHAT THE FUCK JANE!? WHY THE HELL DIDN’T YOU TELL ME YOU SENT ASH AND PHILIP AFTER THE BECKER! I did what you said!”

“Oh Charlie, it was your own fault why. You going off on your own to some town to attack the Smokey King? When did I say you could do that?”

“I’M NOT ONE OF YOU PAWNS, fuck this! Ash and Philip aren’t even back, tell me where he is!”

“And who the hell you are telling me what to do? Know your place boy!” Charlie was filled with boiling rage, it wasn’t fair. He did her dirty jobs and this what he gets? No, the boy broke her desk in half to intimidate her. Then he proceeds to strike her but Jane dodged it, she kicked her broke desk towards Charlie and took the gun from under her chair and fired. The boy dodged and grabbed the desk to block the bullets, he rushed over and attack her but Jane caught his fist, how? He’s faster than the wind, how could she catch his fist? He unleashes a number of blows, but Jane just caught and evaded all of them, she then pushed him away.

“Your martial arts is the crimson ravine correct?”

“Tch!”

“Did a little research in case If I have to go against you, make sure to thank Ashley for that.”

“(I knew I couldn’t trust him!)” Charlie went in but stopped, bullets were shot behind him but they missed. One of the bullets grazed Jane’s cheek, the men who fired them. They started to sweat as Jane casually walked over to them.

“Which one of you shot the bullet that grazed my cheek?”

“I-I did m-ma’am…” Jane shot the man in his foot, then again in his arm. The man cried in pain, his blood paints the white carpet in her office red. The man didn’t want to die, he started to kiss her feet and begged for forgiveness for hurting her skin.

“P-please! I p-promise it won’t happen a-again!”

“I know it won’t happen again.” She said as she shot him in his head. The body fell lifelessly as the other man coward and dropped his gun. She told him to dispose of the body and the man instantly did it as soon as she finished, she sat back in her chair and stared at Charlie.

“For someone like you, you should of defeated me easily, but it seems you’re just a child after all. You can only pick on the rats, not the lions. JED, FRANK, I KNOW YOU TWO ARE OUT THERE. COME IN!.” Two men walked inside the office. One was tall and dressed in black robe-like clothing with a hood, his smile was crooked and wide. His eyes had dark circles and the smell of blood and perfume was heavy on him. The other one was shorter, he wore a simple button-up covered with a jacket made from animal pelts. He had a tattoo of a flaming skull on his neck as his face was always sour and angry.

“You made quite a mess Jane, not your usual cup of tea.” Jed said, rubbing his boots with the blood on the floor and purposely spreading it on the carpet.

“I know, this child here was being naughty, had to put him in his place.”

“Regardless, what do you want?” Frank bluntly asked.

“First, take this boy to the cells, he’s no longer an asset for us. Second, Ash contacted me and told me that the Smokey King, Lady Viper and their group are heading north from the church. They are going to need to go through a mining core, take the locomotive, you’ll get there way before they will. Be sure they don’t see the light of day, I don’t need him roaming about, he and Viper cause enough trouble for me.”

“Ooooooh, a group huh? Sounds way from the normal stuff I do.”

“Probably an explosion that’ll cause the mine to collapse on itself should do the trick.” Frank suggested.

“Awwww, that’s boring!”

“Shut up! It’s unrealistic to think the two of us can take on all of them.”

“Anyways, for the last thing I want you to do is to prepare to release Micheal. We’re gonna need him soon.” They nodded, they took Charlie with them and left Jane’s office. After throwing Charlie into one of the cells, they hopped into the locomotive and rode off to the mines. David and the others made to a mining site, it was rundown, nothing but coal dust lives there. David got off Bumbley well the others followed. He took the lead as they head inside the mines, they had dim lights guiding their way as they traverse the dark mines. Thomas looked at David, he was silent and still cold.

“(Don’t worry Thomas, once we get Dwight, he’ll be back to normal.)” Rin said to cheer him up.

“(But he’s so cold right now…)”

“(I know, but it’ll be over soon.)” Thomas didn’t know, will David go back to normal, was Thomas not enough? Like he wasn’t enough for his real parents? As they continue, a loud noise roared in the mines, it shook the floor as rubble fell from above. Explosions was made, causing the mine to cave in on itself. David told the others to run but the way they came in became blocked, then another explosion and another. The rubble was crashing into the ground, trying to crush the group below as they scatter around trying to find a way out. Frank and Jed walked out of the mine and back into the locomotive and drive back to Jane’s office.

“The Smokey King and Lady Viper walked inside so carelessly, who walks somewhere without any caution?” Frank ask.

“Beats me, still boring we couldn’t slaughter than with my hands. I will say this, I feel bad with the child with them.” he said, continuing their drive back home. The rubble became relentless, it was only moments away before they get crushed. Adam and Ace tried to move the rubble in their way, same with Bill and Joey but it was useless. They were trapped and moments away from dying. Thomas held onto Dwight and shook with fear, David did this. His carelessness and desperation got both his companions and his son in an inescapable situation, all because he couldn’t keep his mind straight. David held his son, but Thomas became confused by something.

“D-David!”

“D-don’t worry Thomas, I’ll figure something out!”

“No, t-there’s a door on the floor!” David looked down and so did the others, there was a door. When? Where? How? He couldn’t think as the door opened up and the group descend inside it, escaping the collapse and into a dark void. Where the door leads is a mystery, they are at the mercy of god now.

Chapter Text

David slowly opened his eyes, nothing of him hurts but why? He remembers falling through a door from the mine’s floor, but he wasn’t in pain.

“I see you’re finally awake.” A slumber voice spoke, Quentin. David raised up first out of everyone, he pushes his hair back and put it under his hat. He looked around and saw himself inside the library again, but how? He didn’t hear a bell toll, so why are they here?

“Quentin? How?”

“It’s simple actually, but let's be glad you all made it out alive.”

“...” David was silent, he hasn’t forgotten his mistake. The others eventually woke up and found themselves in the library again.

“The library…”

“H-how, maybe a bell rung and was muffled by the rubble falling?” Feng suggested.

“(Getting too old for this shit), everyone’s alright?” Bill asked, they were all fine but like David, they were confused about how they got here.

“MISTER RACCOON MAN!”

“Tiny human, it has been a while. Everyone, a pleasure to see you again.”

“Cut it! Why the hell we’re here again!?” Kate demanded.

“Simple, the library saw that your deaths was premature. So, we altered your fate.”

“Alter our fate?” Kate questioned, Quentin snapped his fingers and the room changed. The room became a starry void, though their feet were planted, it looked like they were almost floating. The stars illuminated with light, magical from first glance.

“W-what is this place?” Quentin didn’t answer, he snapped his fingers again and multiple images glittered all around them.

“A-are those…”

“You all, yes. Or should I say, the possible you’s.”

“Possible us?”

“Have you heard of the multiverse theory?”

“I have, my mom was kinda into that stuff. It’s the theory that there are multiple versions of world/universes that exist only just from our hands alone.” Joey told.

“Yes, a parallel universe that does the opposite of your current actions. These images I’m showing you all are other worlds based on the decision you didn’t do.” The group was overwhelmed, they look endless as they seen other versions of themselves doing the opposite of what they did like Quentin said.

“It’s...a bit overwhelming… how many versions of us are there?” Claudette asked, Quention snapped his fingers again and some of the images faded.

“At least over a thousand. Each action creates more worlds, more worlds leading to different fates. It can start with a coin flip that spawns two possible outcomes, then those outcomes branches out and the more they do, the more worlds are created solely on the decisions of those branching fates. I lowered the images to the ones more accurate and what could of been based on the now.” Quentin explained, Feng looked at the images but found them odd, some had red outlines, some had blue well others were black.

“Hey, why are some of the outlines are a different color?”

“Each color represents the importance of the event. The blue outline means the outcome has no real impact on your fate, regardless of how peril they may be. Red means the outcome can have an effect depending on your decision, whatever you do creates another branching fate. Black means no matter what you do, this outcome will happen. It cannot be altered by mortals of any means, meaning if you’re destined to die, then you will.” The group followed the images flowing around them, each event was recognizable up until the event in the mine. The outline of the image was black, but they were still alive.

“Hey, I thought you said the ones with the black outlines can’t be changed. I’m sure we were supposed to get crushed, right?”

“Yes, the outcome in the image was that you all were supposed to die from being crushed by rubble, but the library didn’t like that, it thought it was too early for you all to die now. So, we both decided to save you by altering your fate.”

“Wait, didn’t you say you don’t feel emotions?”

“I don’t. But I never said the library couldn’t. It felt sympathy, not me.” he said, snapping his fingers and causing the starry void to fade away back into the library structure. Once again, the group was awestruck and grateful.

“I’m surprised that none of you have notice of the library liking you.”

“Don’t really feel like it, nor do I care.”

“Kate, there’s no need to be that blunt.” Adam threw at her.

“...I get it, our memories!” Feng pointed out.

“That’s right, the rumor was that the man couldn’t remember what happened well inside it.”

“But we kept ours, we know what happened to us from our experience.” Bill continued.

“Exactly, you all have your memories of what happened inside. The library took an interest in you all.”

“Quentin...what are you?”

“I already broke many rules, might as well continue. I’m not human, think of me as some kind of deity.”

“So...god?” Ace asks.

“Maybe deity is an exaggeration. I’m higher than any mortal but less than a god.” he explained.

“You said you broke some rules, right?”

“Yes, quite a bit. I and the library's role is to judge humanity by putting people in trial and observe. We’re not allowed to interact with humans outside of trials, so just me speaking to you all is breaking the rules.”

“Aren’t you scared of getting in trouble?”

“I myself isn’t, especially since I did found a loophole. Anyways, there are limits on what I can do, so I have to be careful of my assistance to you.”

“Assistance?” Bill questioned. Quentin snapped his fingers again and a light appeared in front of them, the light blinded all of them and when they came to, the area they were changed.

“This is Herman’s lab!” Rin pointed out.

“It’s actually a combination of his manor, lab, and the library, this was the best I could do with the memories you all have. Well, this is the actual lab, I should be more accurate in the future.”

“Wait, if this Mr. Herman spooky lab, where’s Herman?” Thomas questioned, Ace felt something drip on his face. He rubbed it off and look at it, it was a green solid and liquid-like substance. Ace looked up and saw a large slime-like blob attached to the ceiling, he pointed it out to the group as it drops and lands in front of them. The blob started moving, the blob then expanded, like something was emerging from it. As the blob continues to rise, something came out, Herman. He was wearing his lab outfit, but for some reason, his clothes evaporated and exposed his naked body to the group. Rin covered Thomas’s eyes, Ace smiled as he was amused of Herman’s body. The rest covered their eyes as Herman picks up a notebook.

“So the slime on inorganic cloth-like matter fades when it comes in contact with oxygen, my hypothesis was right! Huh?” Herman looks and saw the others standing in front of him.

“My, it been a while you three. Though your numbers...increased recently it seems.” he said, none of them didn’t respond.

“Cat got your tongues?”

“NO YOU DENSE MORON! YOU’RE NAKED! WHY THE HELL WERE YOU IN THAT GOO!?” Kate questioned.

“I don’t have any test subjects to work on, so I use my own body to gather the data I need. Oh, excuse me.” Herman taps his ear a few times, then out came out some centipede parasite came out his ear. The entire group besides David screamed and hid behind Kate.

“WHY THE HELL ALL OF YOU BEHIND ME!?”

“Hmmmm, you was supposed to exit out my mouth, not my ear. Better restart this process.” Herman pulled the parasite out of his ear and put it in his rear end, the parasite crawled inside as everyone took a step back. Well everyone found new fear for Herman, Thomas looked at David. David’s face showed distraught, horror, he felt like a failure. Thomas reached for him but David moved from it, Thomas started to tear up. He knew something wasn't right with David, he felt a mixture of things from David’s presence.

“D-David…”

“Not now Thomas…”

“But-”

“I...need to lay down, don’t worry about me…” David said, he walked off from the group, Thomas couldn’t help but cry.

“Oh Thomas, it’s ok! David just needs some alone time, he’s just not feeling well.” Rin said, trying to cheer him up.

“B-but why? D-David was never like this…”

“It’s because this is the first time this has happened to him.” Bill answered.

“Huh?”

“David has done a number of things during his years here, but one thing, true loss. He never had something or someone he deeply cared about that he’ll go out his way to protect. He went through years of never forming a bond with someone, but when he did, he couldn’t let it go.”

“He...was really happy when he was with Dwight…”

“Exactly, when he lost Dwight, he didn’t know how to handle it, which lead to desperation and him acting rash to get him back. Then when we almost died, that's when he realized that he’s becoming a problem.” Bill explained.

“Make sense…”

“I-I know…”

“Don’t worry Thomas, we just need to be patient.” Rin told him, he wiped his tears and did what she said. Well Kate and the others left to explore, Claudette’s group stood behind to talk to Thomas.

“We never introduced ourselves when we met a few months ago, I’m Claudette Morel. I was a nurse and worked at the clinic in Dwight’s town.”

“So...you’re like my aunt?”

“Aunt?”

“Dwight and David are my dads now!”

“Oh, then I am your aunt!”

“I’m Feng Min!”

“Joey!”

“William, but you can call me-”

“Grandpa!”

“Watch it, brat!”

“Hehe, your funny William. I’m Thomas Mclyn...or King...Fairfield? I don’t know, maybe all three?”

“*Giggle* I’m Rin Yamaoka, a pleasure to finally know you guys names.”

“It’s nice to know yours as well.” They shared a laugh as they look around the fused building, Bill and Thomas looked out the window. It was starry like void like just before, it was amazing now like it was before.

“Wooooow, it’s pretty!”

“Yeah, I never imagine myself being swept up and get to see this type of shit.”

“Can I open it!?”

“Hmmm… Quentin?”

“Yes?” he answered, appearing out of nowhere and scaring Bill.

“JESUS!”

“He doesn’t exist.”

“Nevermind that, what happens if we open the window?”

“You get immediately suck out into and endless cold void, you then eventually freeze and become lost within time and space and soon lose your existence.” Bill stared at him, he told Thomas no then immediately screamed at Joey to not to open a window as he saw that he almost did. Afterward, Thomas left Bill and went to find David. After he searched a number of rooms, he found David inside of one. He was still defeated, his face still in distraught and he couldn’t feel either David’s cold or warmth. Thomas was trying to get him to talk, but once again, nothing. Thomas went back and found Kate talking to Claudette, they saw the boy and went to him.

“What’s wrong?”

“David still won’t talk to me…”

“He still needs some time Thomas.”

“I know...but I…” Thomas told them the story of his parents.

“Oh, I’m sorry Thomas but I'm sure David loves you very much!”

“...” for once, Thomas didn’t believe that.

“Ok, that’s it!” Kate picked up her hat and started walking.”

“Where you’re going?”

“David needs a wake-up call, I’ll snap him out of it. I don’t care if I'm the best person to do it, it feels like he’ll only talk to me.” She said, she walked off as Thomas looks at Claudette and asked her to help make him something. Kate found David in the room, she leaned against the door.

“...”

“King.”

“...”

“Dammit King, answer!”

“...fuck off. I’m not in the mood for any fighting Viper.”

“I ain’t giving a rats ass if you aren’t, what you did was stupid! This isn’t like you!”

“Oh really! What do you know about me!?”

“I know you aren’t some dumbass who makes rash decisions and walk into places without the slightest ounce of cautions!?” David stared at her, she was right. He sat back down on the bed and went back to his previous state.

“Dammit...I-I JUST WANTED TO STOP ALL OF THIS! *Whimper* I just want to settle down, but look at me. My mind is fucked up, my lover is possessed and I don’t know where he’s at. I put everyone's lives in danger...and I even almost got my son killed. I...just can’t handle it…”

“*Sigh* King, you earned your name because of the shit you done. You rescued people, claimed the biggest bounties, you fought against these people with crimson heads and in some magical building that teleports or fucking whatever and it’s not going to stop there. I have a feeling we’re going to encounter much more, a whole lot more but more importantly, you want Dwight back. You want him, not me. You want to rescue, save him, you want him to be with his son. You have to pull your head out of your ass and get your head in the game!” She encouraged him, they heard a small creaking noise from the hallways. It was Thomas, since he was caught he went inside. He was eavesdropping on them, David looked at him as the boy walked in.

“Thomas…”

“I’m sorry for listening, I was scared.”

“...”

“I...thought I wasn’t enough for you… I really thought you were g-going to forget about me. Like my parents…”

“Oh Thomas!” David got off the bed, rushed over and hugged his son. He squeezes as he apologizes dearly to him.

“Oh Thomas, that wasn’t my intentions at all, I never wanted you to feel like this.”

“No David, it’s ok!”

“No, it’s not! I completely ignored you because I wanted to get your father back, I made you feel like you weren’t enough but you are. I love you, I always do Thomas. I didn’t even try to stop you from coming, I just let it happen. Please, don’t ever think that again, I'm terribly sorry. Nothing can ever make you not feel enough, I promise!” He squeezed the boy harder, Thomas felt it, David’s warmth that he loved so much, he was happy that it’s back.

“Thomas...I have a favor to ask.”

“Huh?”

“If I ever get like this again, if I ever seem like I’m giving up, I want you to do your best to get me back to normal. Out of everyone, I know only you can, can you do that for me?”

“I will David, I can do that!” He let go of his father and stood back up, he called Quentin and told him to have everyone meet him on the main floor. He did what he asked and everyone soon gathered to the main floor.

“David, you’re ok!”

“Yes, I’m sorry for what I did.”

“It’s ok, but why you called us?”

“I want you all to let me handle this alone.” Everyone's eyes widened, Thomas looked at David with worry.

“Don’t worry Thomas, I haven’t forgotten what I said to you. Everyone, I almost killed all of us with my carelessness. Not only that...if you look at it this way, I started all this mess. I took Dwight, I made him experience what he tried to avoid. It triggered again inside him, Sayaka saw it and took advantage of it. It’s all my fault and we got additional problems now. The treasure is still our objective but now we lost a friend and have no idea where he is. So, please let me handle this.” The group looked at each other, but Claudette was the one who walked and spoke up.

“No, I'm not. Mr. King, I'm aware that Dwight is your lover, but he’s my friend. He’s the reason why I even left the town, I wanted to search for him when you took him away. But when he told me you two were partners and working with each other, I was lost. I didn’t know what to do, but then I decided to continue. Not to rescue, but to give support. I had a feeling that you guys might need it and here I am because I was right. Like when Bill told Kate she shouldn’t decide for me, the same goes to you. So no, I'm joining you, David!”

“Count me in too! I may not be much, but I'm sticking with you. Who knows what kind of ancient thing we’ll come across, I’ll be the only one to read it so it’s best for me to stick around.” Feng said.

“Even though I'm here for my farm, you two helped save it from the government David. I have a debt to pay for your help, so I'm staying!” Joey said.

“*Sigh* If they’re sticking I might stay too, I was already watching them so I better keep to it.”

“Oh Bill, you don’t have to, we haven’t even encountered anything dangerous!” Claudette said, Bill squinted his eyes. David and the others could already tell that wasn’t the truth but Bill went with it anyways.

“Yeah...we haven’t yet.”

“As for me, I’ll help too. Listen King, I hate you, I really dislike you. Even if you do have a lover now, I can’t let go about you sleeping with my family nor forgive you for sabotaging my stuff with your idiocy. But the mess we’re in now, we need to be together. So for now, until this is over, we’re sticking together until this chaos is dealt with. But don’t think I’ll be nice to you.”

“If she’s with you, then I am too. You have my assistance until this is over.” Adam said, Rin walked up since it was her turn.

“David, when I came to America for Douglas's request. I only came for the intention of that request, I didn’t care for anyone but Dwight. I knew at the inn that Dwight wanted to call you a threat, but I wouldn’t attack you, even if he did muster the courage to say you were. I knew from your looks that you’ll be a great asset for me to use and toss away. But the more I traveled with you, the more I became fond of you. I understand why Dwight saw you as a potential lover, you have so many interesting things about you. When you called me a friend, I was touched. There was only one person I called a friend, but she’s in my home country and it’s more of a rivalry. So, I’ll stick with you. Not because I have a job to finish, but to rescue my dear friend Dwight.” David smiled, he has all these people willing to help him fix this. They were right, he can’t do this alone. This is far to great for one man, good thing he has a team now.

“I-it’s wasn’t like I was gonna kick you guys out or anything, but you’re right. Thank you everyone.”

“Oh, I don’t get a grand speech or something?”

“You...want to help us Herman?”

“Well not for you, for science. I’ll provide my services if you allow me to keep conducting experiments in here. I mean, It is part of my lab.” Herman said, he grew an evil like smile as he rubbed his hands together

“As for me, I can also provide services.”

“Like what?”

“Traversing. I can make doors appear at any destination of your choosing, but since I'm being watched, let’s limit to America.”

“Wait, you can actually do that?”

“Yes, I did that with you all. I summoned a door beneath your feet. Anyways, this place will serve as our base of operation. Water and electricity do run here, the library is free to use for your reading pleasure as well. But I must say this, abnormalities are forming around the country.”

“David, what’s a abnorm-what you call it?”

“Abnormalities is when something out of the ordinary happens in reality. A good example would be the door that appeared beneath us. Quentin, what do you mean by that?”

“I can’t tell you, it’s a mystery, even to me. I can’t even pinpoint it, even if I wanted to. I’m only allowed to observe trials and you lots. That’s all I wanted to say, for now, I suggest we rest.”

“Oh before that, David, I have something for you!”

“Oh?”

“Come down!” David bent down and sat on his knees, Thomas went behind him and pulled out a ribbon. The base color was white with a lining of it being red with a rose in the center. Thomas pulled back David’s hair and tied it into a loose ponytail with the ribbon into a neat bow. He pulled some to the front to make some bangs covering his left eye.

“Your hair was getting long and I thought it was getting in your way of seeing, so I asked Claudette if he could teach how to tie hair with ribbons.”

“It looks custom made.”

“It is, I had it tailored we when we're in the town before you disappeared with the money you give me, saved all of it. How it looks?” The boy held up a mirror and David looked at himself.

“Got to say, I look nice with a ponytail. I usually just cut my hair, but now I'm keeping it. Thanks, Thomas.” David picked up the boy and gave him a small kiss on his cheek.

“By the way King, what’s with you and that boy? He has been with you since the first time we came to the library.”

“Oh yeah, never told you, I'm a parent now. He’s my son, Thomas Mclyn...or King...Fairfield? All three? Eh, I'll figure it out.”

“(Giggle* you sure Thomas was in an orphanage? The way they act, it’s like David’s birth father.” Claudette whispered to Rin.

“(Wouldn’t be surprised if he actually is.)”

“Anyways, Quentin, we need to thank for the breaking our fate!” Claudette told.

“I think you’re praising me a bit too much, all I did was provide an exit at an event where you were supposed to die.”

“Hmmm…”

“Bill?”

“Quentin, you said there were branching fates right? Couldn’t you just put us there or something?”

“It was an option but not a good one, there can’t be two of the same person existing in a branch.”

“Why’s that?”

“Because the lesser versions will be absorbed by that universe, only the dominant can exist.”

“And because we reached the point where we were supposed to die, putting us in another branch would of killed us than help us. This is a lot to take in…”

“Hold on, you couldn’t put us in because we would cease. Quentin, you said our branches started since David took Dwight but we reached an event that couldn’t be changed. You did an alteration to our fate, but wouldn’t that mean-”

“Yes, other branches that both exceed yours and the ones previous has ceased. Changing one’s fate can cease other branches. As of right now, there’s only one branch, this one were in. Whatever you do now will create more branches over time.” Everyone was shocked but at the same time grateful, through the numerous branches they saw, only there’s was chosen by the library.

“Please relax, no need to worry.” They all eventually did let it go, but all the information they received was overwhelming. Thomas started to get tired, David decided to let him rest despite not knowing the time of day. David carried him into a room and laid the boy on the bed.

“You must be really tired, I guess it must be night time now...I think. I haven’t seen a clock around here.”

“Yeah, I’m just got really sleepy all of a sudden. David...is your eye ok?” Thomas asked, David noticed he still had his bandage on it. He removed it but the results were exactly what was expected. David’s left eye was blind, it was completely blank as a wall.

“Sorry little buddy, it’s gone…”

“I’m sorry…”

“Don’t be, I still got my other one. As long I can still see you, I’ll be fine. Come on, let’s go to sleep.” David pulled the blank over them and sleep, many hours passed and a knock was heard on the door, it was Rin. She walked inside, waking up and almost Thomas.

“You have a moment?”

“*Yawn* Yeah, pull up a seat.”

“*Yawn* Dav...id?”

“Don’t worry, I'm not leaving. Just gonna talk to Rin and join you again, go to sleep.” Thomas laid his head back down as David turn to Rin.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to disturb you…”

“It’s fine, I'm surprised you weren’t asleep.”

“Quentin said the concept of time doesn’t flow here, some of us are asleep while others are wide awake.”

“I just hope we’re not gonna go out and it being 3AM in the morning. Anyways, what did you want to talk about.”

“I want to explain myself and tell you why I even took Douglas's request.” David stared at her, he rubbed his eyes and opened his ears as he listens to Rin’s story.

“The Yamaoka estate is an empire like an establishment that raises and compresses of highly skilled warriors and assassins. I am the daughter of the current lord that leads the empire.”

“So like a princess?”

“If you want to be technical, ex-princess is the more correct term. The empire is built of blood and conquering land to expand. We are very well known on our continent, many tried to oppose us, but they always end the same. We slaughter the opposers with so little numbers, ten of us can demolish a hundred of them. My father is ruthless, he doesn’t take pity for anyone and he rids of those he deems weak. My mother, however, she was kind, loving, thoughtful. She was a doctor who also studied botany, which is why I got well acquainted with Ms. Morel. The relationship between my parents was thin, my mother goes out to other lands and heals those wounded by our might. I adored my mother for her kindness, to a point I wanted to follow in her steps but my father disagreed. I was around ten when my training for becoming an assassin started but unlike others, I showed mercy. I trained for my father, but I helped my mother with the gathering of herbs and other things to create miracle remedies. Then after a while of gathering, she made it. We call it “Miracle touch” because it can heal the most devastating wounds in mere seconds. Even with that discovery, we had to keep it a secret. If my father knew of such, he’ll send his scientists to mass reproduce it. So I promised to keep my mouth shut about it, then went to my training. I passed by the main houses of the estate where the cursed blade was being held, that’s where I heard a voice calling me. I went away, I already knew the story of the sword. My efforts were in vain, because my tragedy was already staring down at me. The day ended and the next one came, and not too long after, my tragedy began. I and my mother hid the ointments she made in a spot only us knew, but upon our return, we were confronted and forcefully brought to my father. My father and his guards stood in front of us, he waved my mother notes. It wasn’t all of them, he demanded her to tell him where were the rest. She refused and they argued back and forth, my father had enough.

“Enough foolishness, my own family deceiving me, one of you will pay. If you tell me where is the rest, I’ll spare you and I’ll kill Rin but if you don’t, I’ll kill you and I’ll spare Rin!” He said, he thought my mother would be selfish and choose her research but he was wrong. She cared more for her daughter than some papers. I cried, I cried and begged for them not to kill her but they didn’t listen. My father took a sword and cut her head off, I remember her blood spreading everyone, my father took her running blood from her body and smeared it on my face. He wanted me to remember, he wanted me to know that this is what happens when you betray his trust. After that, they left me. I crawled to her head and cried. Her blood-soaked my outfit as I sat there in my tears, then her voice called my name, Sayaka’s. She spoke to me, offering her assistance for revenge. I hated my father, I hated him with every fiber of my being! I took her offer but I had to be smart. My father soon made an elite group to do his dirty jobs, but in order for me to join, I had to train. For years I trained day and night, to become a ruthless assassin. When I turned 15, I gained enough credit to be allowed to join my father’s elite group. There I met the others Max, Bubba, Anna, Philip, Evan, Kenneth then me. We became our father deadliest group of warriors and assassins and were together for years...it didn’t stay long. This year when I turned 20, my father caught on to my plan and I took action prematurely...and failed. I was pinned down and surrounded, my father spits at me, he called me weak. My vengeance was nothing more than a spark that couldn’t even start a fire. He was ashamed that I was his kin, he even said that he never wanted a daughter and I was the sole reason why. A princess that couldn’t even keep her vengeance ignited. I was disowned and told to leave, he said I was lucky I wasn’t executed right then and there. I took my blade and left, I was ashamed but I couldn’t just stop. That’s when I met him, Douglas. He asked me what was wrong, I didn’t care, I told him my story, it didn’t matter. He smiled, that’s when he told me his story. I didn’t believe him at first but he showed proof, he then said that the treasure was enough to buy an entire continent. He then told me the request, to look for Dwight to protect and guide to his riches. He said I only need a small amount of his riches to pay off the other clan members here. He gave me some traveling money and I left. I’m sure someone was listening on us, they had to be because why else the others would be here. My father wants the treasure and I can’t let him do that. If he expands the Yamaoka’s empire, who knows what will happen in the future!? So David, I already said it but, let’s get Dwight back together. Not for the treasure, but because he’s our dear friend.”

“I wouldn’t ask for a better partner than you, Rin.”

“Thank you, I’m truly grateful. I should get going, enjoy your rest David and good night.”

“Wait, did Quentin say what was his loophole?”

“Yes actually, he’s only allowed to observe. So he proposed that he observe humanity through our actions than through the trials. Quite smart of him.”

“Gotcha. Anyways, goodnight, Rin.” Rin left the room and David propped Thomas and laid back down.

“(Dwight...wherever you are, please be safe...and goodnight.” David fell back to sleep, dreaming of holding Dwight in his arms again. Thomas, however, was dreaming of something else or should say, falling into someone else's. He opened his eyes but he didn’t see David, where is here? What is it so dark? Then as he questions his surroundings, a small light appeared. It grew brighter and took away the darkness and Thomas’s sight. When he opened his eyes, he found himself in a forest. There was a house with a large lake nearby and a small shack in the back, but why does this setting felt familiar, like someone told him about it. The sky was blue without a single cloud in the sky, the birds chirped and the wildlife made a home of the area. The door of the house opened up and out came a voice.

“Come inside, no need to be afraid.” it said, Thomas recognized it, it’s the voice from earlier. The boy walked inside and closes the door, he looked at the small shelves lined up next to each other. There were pictures of a man with a small child but the glare of the sun blocked the child’s face. Thomas walked to the dining room and there he saw a man. He was older, possibly around Bill’s age, he had medium length messy hair, it was black as night as his skin was kind of wrinkly. He wore a colored button-up with suspenders and formal pants, he gave Thomas a smile and welcomed him.

“Nice to finally meet you, Thomas.”

Chapter Text

“Who are you? How you know my name?”

“Well duh, i’m the voice you hear in your head. Don’t you remember me telling you David was waking up?”

“Oooohhh, I remember you now! But what’s going on? How did I get here?”

“I brought you here, I wanted to speak to you. Well...actually get to see you, take a seat.” Thomas pulled up a seat and sat down at the table.

“You hungry?”

“I thought we were dreaming or something, can we eat?”

“Eh, dreams are weird. Let’s forget about food, I just wanted to speak to you. I don’t have a lot of time so I'll make this quick. Dwight is ok, but he’s struggling.”

“*Whimper*”

“Hey, hey, He’s still fighting, trust me...or I’LL GRAB YOUR NOSEEEE!” The man did a nose trick to Thomas to stop his crying, it worked as he laughs from the trick. The man turned goofy and showed him more and more tricks. Thomas worry for his father faded as joy and amusement filled the boys body.

“Haha, you’re really funny Mr...uh…”

“Hmmmm, I don’t want to say my real name yet...got one for me bud?”

“Hmmmm, your hair is really oily and messy, looks like seaweed.”

“HEY!”

“Your nose is kinda big and so are your hands, also your skin is wrinkly like paper!”

“HEEEEYYY!”

“...let's call you Mr. Seaweed!”

“(I meet my grandson for the first time and his nickname for me is seaweed…)” He said to himself, the man wiped his fake tears away as the door to the house opened. The other side was nothing but light, couldn’t see what the other end held.

“Looks like our time is up for now.”

“Where will it take me?”

“Back to your dreams, I did pulled you from them.”

“...”

“What’s wrong?”

“I’m sorry...but you look like my dad, Dwight actually!”

“Oh? Well, many people look alike in the world. I do look handsome to some people, especially in my younger years.”

“Nah, Dwight looks waaayyy better than you and less old. Bye bye Mr. Seaweed!” The man fake cry again as Thomas headed out and the door shut behind him. After the tears, the man picked up a photo on one of the shelves. The glare that blocked the faces came off and showed him with a young boy burying his face into his chest. He turned the frame around and there were two names on the back, Dwight and Douglas Fairfield.

“Yeah...I do look like your father *whimpers*.” Tears fell on the photo as the man covered his eyes.

“Dwight...I’m so sorry. Of all things, this isn’t how I thought things would go…” he said, the dream realm started to fade as the man turned into a light again before disappearing. David opened his eyes and rose from his bed, Thomas was still asleep. He slowly removed himself off and place Thomas down. He left out and venture in the hallways of their new home, he soon ran into Adam who was actually looking for him.

“David, just the guy I was looking for.”

“Why me?”

“I was trying to see if I can help with this Sayaka problem, so I have been reading up on the Yamaoka history and those other than them that used the blade. Normally, if you don’t have the answer in the present, you look in the past but…”

“Uh oh…”

“I can’t find a single person of the Yamaokas or others who used it, I asked Quentin but even he couldn’t find anything.”

“But this place supposed to hold the history of the past, right?”

“That’s what I'm saying, we’re in a place that documents history, yet we can’t find a single person that wielded the sword in the past. I asked Rin and she was able to tell me stories of some wielders-”

“I might be able to help!” a voice eagerly spoke.

“Uhhh… who said that?”

“Up here!” They pair looked up and saw Herman being hung on the ceiling by more goo, he dropped down and this time, his clothes stayed on. He told them to follow him and they did. They went into the basement where his lab is at and went to a corner, the two looked around to see there was more experiments let loose. Containments of failed experiments, more goo roaming and the smell of blood lingering in the air. He removed a sheet and showed a chair with a weird helmet attached to it, it was hooked up to some machine that Herman kicked because it was making worrisome sounds.

“Hunk of junk, who made you!? Oh right, I did.”

“Umm...what is this?” Adam asked.

“It a prototype!”

“Of?”

“This machine will allow use to use the brain to the fullest temporarily. The helmet has needles that will be planted in your head but will pierce spot that won’t...exactly kill your brain and will help harness the power of the brain!”

“Ok...but how does that affect us?”

“Have you ever heard of “dreamscape travel?”

“I have, it’s a theory that you can travel to the past and see what happen correct?”

“WRONG! Those idiots don’t know a damn thing! It’s not time travel, it’s more like a reenactment. The patient will enter a comatose state under here, then the ones outside will describe every inch of the area and so on with the information of the era and location. Humans can only use 10 percent of their brain, the human brain holds great power and that is one of them. The machine will let us use the brain at 100%!” Herman explained.

“So by having the information read to us, the brain will try to picture it and reenact what was going on. Ok, so let’s do it!” David quickly said to him.

“We...can’t.”

“Are you serious!?”

“Quite, i’m missing numerous things to help the machine, but...if you can go and collect them…” Herman looked to David, David was in no mood for a grand errand run but if it’s for Dwight, he’ll do it.

“Well...i’ll do it for Dwight, but let’s tackle this one at a time. If we all fan out, we can get in trouble and we don’t need five of us held hostage in five different places. What’s on the list doc?”

“Concentrated methane gas.”

“Ooooooh, I know where we can get some!” a voice shouted, Joey’s.

“E-eh...sorry. You guys seemed to doing something interesting, so I followed you and im glad I did. I was born and raised on a farm, we can easily get the gas!”

“I guess that’s one thing done, should we get the others?”

“No, too many of us is in a group. Let’s stick to low numbers, five minimum. Since it’s Joey’s family, he’s one.”

“H-hey, can we bring Bill? I’ll feel a bit more comfortable returning if he’s with us, nothing against you David.”

“No problem, so that’s three...well four because I want to take Rin.”

“David!” Thomas shouted, rushing in to the rest.

“I-I want to come too!”

“This can get dangerous at any point little buddy, it’s safer here.”

“(Thomas!)”

“(Mr. Seaweed?)”

“(Errr.. you gotta go with him. Remind him of the promise you guys made!)” He told him.

“B-but you said you need me to calm down right? What if something happens and I'm not there!?”

“Hmmmm...I don’t want you to come but you’re not wrong....ok. You can come, but you have to stay next to me at all times, deal?”

“Deal!”

“You sure you don’t want me to come David?” Adam asked.

“No, I actually want you here. If anyone can find anything useful in the library, I know it will be you.”

“Then I'll continue looking, you guys be safe.”

“Oh, there you are Thomas!” Claudette said, walking over to the group holding some clothes.

“Morning...or afternoon...or evening.” David greeted.

“Same...to you I guess? Here Thomas, I made these for you. It’s getting colder by the day and winter isn’t that far from coming. Come on!” Thomas took him upstairs and got him change well David and Joey got Rin and Bill to get them ready. They grouped up on the main floor and called Quentin.

“Hey Quentin, where is Bumbley?”

“And Potty?”

“They’re here, they just in a room suited for them. Anyways, you seem to be ready to leave soon.”

“Yes, we’re going to Joey’s farm.”

“Understood, as soon as you’re ready, I'll send you all there. Once you’re done, call my name and I'll pick you.”

“We’re here!” Claudette brought Thomas to the group to look at his new outfit. It was a small tan button-up coat with white fur on the inside with a hood, he wore shorts of the same color with fur as well. His gloves had no finger holes besides the thumb, his boots also matched the color and fur. There was a neat white around the neck with two little balls of fur hanging below it, underneath his shorts were thermal long johns to keep his legs warm.

“Well look at this cute little devil, you didn't have to Claudette.”

“It’s ok, it was my pleasure. I’m glad you like it, anyways, it seems you guys are leaving. Good luck and comeback safe.” They nodded as Quentin made the door for them and them walking inside. A few moments before they left, Julie and Susie were about to head into town on their horses for supplies. Jesse stood in front of them to tell them what they exactly need.

“Be back soon, I don’t want either of you two to get hurt, you know how men can get at night.”

“We will, it won't take us long. See ya soon!” Julie rode the horse towards town as Jesse wave them goodbye. as she closes the door, she noticed the spiders in her home again.

“Nasty pests, bugs normally hide in the cold seasons...:” she said as she swept them away with a broom. The door the group walked out the door Quentin made and appeared in a prairie field, another door came and out came Bumbely and Potty. They hopped on Bumbley and rode through the field and soon arrived at Joey’s farm. They went to the door but notices some webs on it, they brushed it off and knocked on the door. Jesse opened it up and she saw his son, David, Rin and some new faces. She burst into tears as she pulled Joey in for a hug, she been worried non-stop since he suddenly left, she welcomed them in and they all took a seat. She made Thomas some snacks as the rest talks to her.

“I’m so thankful that you’re still alive Joey, I was a wreck ever since you left.”

“I’m sorry mom...but it’s ok, Bill watched me so it was fine!”

“Thank you Mr. Overbeck, i’m sorry for any trouble he caused you.”

“He wasn’t...that bad.”

“*Giggle* I know he was, anyways, sorry about the pest problems. Spiders aren’t even fond of the cold, I don’t know why they’re out like this.”

“It’s fine mom, but where’s dad? I’m sure he got a knuckle sandwich waiting for me, haha.” He joked, but his mother was silent. She looked away and brought dread in the silence.

“Mom?”

“I’m sorry, Joey...he’s gone.”

“How!?”

“The government came back about three months ago, we fought them off...but we lost your father too. Since then, the farm isn’t doing too well. We’ll manage but we soon have to give it up...i’m sorry.” Joey got teary eyed but his mother told him that his father didn’t hate him for leaving. He knew he left for a reason, a good one. Even with that, he still felt guilty.

“By the way, why did you came back? I’m sure it wasn’t for visit.”

“We came for some Methane gas!”

“What that’s David?”

“It’s-”

“Farts!” Joey excitingly said.

“Well...he’s technically not wrong, it’s animal gas from their gut.”

“Like you went you eat too much beans?”

“Hey! I-I mean yes. We need some and Joey suggested we come here.”

“Well I easily help but before that, can you do me a favor? I sent Julie and Susie to town to get some things but it has been awhile. I’m worried about them.”

“We can do that, we’re aren’t exactly on a time limit.” David said.

“It’s north of here, you can use one of the horses here since i’m sure five of you on one isn’t the best.” They thanked her for the offer and immediately rode north, as the approach the town, something was wrong. The entrance was covered in a thick web, even a knife could get stuck in it. David asked Rin to cut the web, she took out her small blade and cut it down with ease. The sight afterwards wasn’t pleasant. The entire town was covered in webs, the town was painted white but this wasn’t any snowy paradise. The web was thick and sticky, some of their clothing would get stuck and it was a struggle to get it off. Jesse was right to be worried, this was far from normal. This must of been one of the abnormalities Quentin told them, they just didn’t know it was here. There was human shaped objects wrapped, but the web was too thick to cut. They left it alone and went inside a building that was oddly enough not covered in the webs. David told Bumbley to wait outside before closing the door. Once inside, they looked around but like outside, not a single soul resides inside. Thomas walked on something as it made a slight splash noise, he lifted his foot and saw a small crimson puddle. He looked up and saw something he didn’t want to see, he buried his face into David’s leg. He asked what’s wrong and he just pointed up, they did and saw what’s scaring him. It was a human body, his body was pried apart but his inners were missing. All it was was a hollowed out body hanging on the ceiling, baby spiders started crawling out of the body and scattered across the ceiling. Then a bone crunching sound was made behind a door in the shop, Rin readied her blade as she slowly approached the door. David grabbed his gun as Joey and Bill grabbed their whips. The door opened and blood splatter right out, the blood landed in front of them. They looked and saw an abnormally large spider tearing apart a helpless being who was foolish enough to get caught in the web. The spider soon layed it eggs inside then turned to the door and screeched. The Spider jumped at them but Rin cut it down, a web shot through a window and latched onto Thomas’s leg and retracted. The boy screamed for his father but Bill reacted and cut the web with his whip. David picked up Thomas and ran out with the group, but as they got out, more spiders were arriving. They were hiding, they were waiting, David called for the horses and they came. They hopped on them and rushed them through town. They rush, the spiders were gaining up on them, David fired at the ones jumping at them, Rin hopped into the air and began cutting down the ones who dare to take her on. Bill let Joey control the horse as he uses his whip to keep Rin in the air. When they reached the exit, Bill pulled Rin back to David and exited out of town. The spiders stop their chasing and went back into hiding, they didn’t want to leave their new home.

“They stop chasing us?” Joey said.

“The one we saw was laying eggs, some of the spiders were smaller too. It must be their kids, meaning that town is their new nest.” David told.

“B-but we didn’t find Julie and Susie…”

“Let’s not put that thought in our heads yet, we need to regroup-”

“WAIT, WEREN’T THERE SPIDERS IN MOM’S HOUSE!?” Joey shouted, they rushed the horse to the farm to check on Jesse. When they reached the farm, it was covered in some more webs. Spiders were crowding around the windows but were being shot down by Jesse’s rifle, the group got off and help clear the spiders on the house. Once cleared, Jesse came out to see the group without Julie and Susie.

“Mom!”

“I don’t know what hell just rose, but thank fucking god you’re alright. Where’s Julie and Susie!?”

“We couldn’t find them, but we can discuss what we can do later. You have to come with us!” Jesse didn’t think checks before agreeing, David called Quentin’s name and a door appeared. They went inside with the horses and closes the door before any spiders sneak their way inside.

Chapter Text

The door closes behind the group that was fleeing from the eight-legged army, they all were out of breath and covered in webs. Claudette and Feng greeted them with questions, asking what happen and if they get what Herman needed.

“David?”

“You’re *pants* not gonna believe this!” he said.

“David...we’re in an interdimensional library outside of time…”

“Point taken. We went to the farm but Joey’s mom asked us to go into town to check on Susie and Julie.”

“Who?”

“My best friends, we’re basically siblings at this point!”

“*Angry oinking*”

“You’re my best friend too, Potty!”

“*Giggle* continue.”

“We went into town and it was completely covered in webs. Not too long after, we got attacked by fucking huge spiders! We escape but we had to get Jesse before we left, never was a fan of bugs and I sure as hell ain’t with spiders the size of cows and houses!” David said, they took the web off of them and relax themselves.

“Where...are we?”

“It’s the library.” Quentin answered as he appeared out of nowhere, giving both Bill and Jesse a good scare.

“JESUS QUENTIN!”

“LORD! U-uh, who may you be?”

“Quentin Smith, this the libr-”

“It’s basically an inter-dimensional library that hops from place to place at will.” David explained.

“O-oh, well i’m Jesse, Joey’s mom.”

“Why didn’t you let me explain?”

“Because you would of made it complicated, so I made it simple. Anyways, why the hell didn’t you tell us of those spiders Quentin?”

“I told you, I can’t detect where these abronamilites are happening.”

“...Julie and Susie weren’t with you all…”

“Hey now, we’re not writing them off as dead yet. Quentin, can you help to see if they’re alive?” Quentin snapped his fingers and a book flew into his hands, pages started to turn rapidly as Quentin analyze it.

“Of course I can. This library is also an archive, this book is about the farm you worked on. ...They’re fine for now.”

“H-how you know.”

“If someone died that was a part of the farm, the book will mark their time of death and where. I only found John, Julie and Susie hadn't been marked, meaning they’re still alive. Unfortunately, I still don’t know where because of the abnormality.”

“See, they’re fine and we will find them! Just gotta figure out huh…” David siad, Joey gotten curious and asked Quentin something.

“Quentin, what causes this abnormalities. It couldn’t have always been here?”

“Well, abnormalities exists all over the world. They’re mostly minor, but some are big. Yes, this country didn’t really have major ones. The ones that are appearing currently started about a few days ago.”

“(Sayaka!)” David thought to himself, his anger towards her rose, he was turning red and he was clenching his fist. Thomas saw it and held his clenched fist, David felt him and smiled. He let go of his anger and took hold of Thomas’s hand.

“But if it was that Sayaka lady, how did she made it possible?”

“Iridescent.”

“The thing Rin’s blade is made of?”

“Yes, iridescent holds great power. A single piece could power the country for years, if used with blood, it can have an abnormal effects. It can also be used for healing purposes, your mother knew of such, Rin.”

“S-she used iridescent!?”

“To be precise, she took some and grind it to dust. Even though the herbs she gather did help, iridescent is the reason why it had such a high healing properties.” Quentin explained, this is a lot to take in. It was not doubt in anyone’s mind that Sayaka started this but why? She’s supposed to be about revenge, why is she reeking havoc? Even Rin doesn’t know why she’s doing that, but for now, they’ll rest. Thomas was sleepy, so David took him in a room and let him rest. As he walks around, he saw Joey talking to his mom and Bill. Claudette was heading in the basement, so she must be heading into Herman’s lab. David swore he saw the same evil gleam in her eyes as he sees in Herman’s. Adam was at a desk with a mountain loads of books next to him, half of them doesn’t even seem to be helpful at all. Kate was talking to Ace but he let them be. Ace was twiddling with his fingers as Kate just stared at him.

“Why the hell are you even here? I don’t even remember you saying anything when we agreed to help King.”

“...You know why, I have a promise to keep.”

“Ugh, I still \can’t believe you sold out a kid to save your ass! I can’t see Bill being with someone so spineless!”

“Of course he won’t, the person he did loved died for my stupid ass. And now all he got now is a man who gambled his life, killed someone he loved and forced a kid he wanted to protect to leave.”

“And he’ll never know...sick! I don’t even know why I’m even talking to you...I feel sorry for Bill.” Kate left the gambler alone to wallow in his self-pity, he planned to tell Bill the truth but he fear of losing the only man that’ll care about him. David went back to the room with Thomas and sat beside the boy as he sleeps, David took out Dwight’s shattered glasses and rubbed the damaged lens. He should asked Herman if he could fix them.

“(I’ll gonna get you back, please hold on Dwight.)” David got back up and walked out the room, Thomas dreamed but found himself back at the man’s home, in his dream world. Thomas went inside and walked to the dining table to see him sitting again.

“Mr. Seaweed!”

“(Errrrr) Hey Thomas, how are you?”

“A bit scared, we were chased by giant spiders and they were THIS big!”

“I saw, they were far from normal.”

“You saw?”

“Through you, what you see, I see. What you taste, I taste and so on. I heard you guys are having trouble pinpointing the start?”

“Huh?”

“Thomas, have you ever heard of a hivemind?”

“Hivemind…?”

“It a group of something that follows or are connected to a mastermind or the leader. If you take out the leader, the rest follows.”

“Uh...ok? But I read in books that spiders don’t work like that, doesn’t bees do that?”

“Yes, but the spiders we’re against now are connected by their leader. (Now, if I remember correctly, the spider Sayaka used was blown east. They were in the central parts of the country, the wind didn’t stop blowing at the time and it was blowing hard. Spiders and bugs in general are light, meaning it could of been carried a great distance. The wind didn’t stop until two days passed. I have to make an educated guess based on the spiders weight and the speed of the wind. ...if I did my math right…) Thomas, you need to wake up and find David.”

“W-why?”

“Trust me, it’ll help but you need to wake up now.” The door opened and Thomas rushed out the door and woke up. He rubbed his eyes and went out the door to look for David, David reached the lab and saw Claudette messing with some chemicals as Herman was tinkering with the machine.

“I see you’re hard at work?”

“More like this thing is being a pain in my ass, *thud* piece of shit! Anyways, you need something?”

“Well, I wanted to ask if you can fix Dwight’s glasses?”

“He uses special lens correct? Get the material and I'll fix them, I doubt I have the material laying here.” David thanked him and went to Claudette who seem to be finished making something.

“Whatcha making?”

“Something, here!” Claudette sprayed something on David but he reacted violently.

“GOD, THAT SMELLS LIKE HORSE SHIT!”

“Huh, it was supposed to be odorless.”

“Well...it doesn’t smell bad now.”

“Guess it must be when it’s first sprayed, still a success!”

“What is that?”

“Spider pheromones, I was gonna make a repellent but i’m sure that’ll backfire in the end. Though, we don’t know where the source at…”

“David!” Thomas shouted, rushing in the lab.

“Yes Thomas?”

“(*Whispers*) I-I think I know where the spiders are coming from!” They others eyes widened, David bend down and raised a brow.

“Thomas, this is serious. I don’t have time for guesses little buddy.”

“(*Whispers*) I really do David, I can even show you. Quentin!”

“Yes?” appearing again, but no one got scared.

“Do you have a map of the U.S.?” Quentin snapped his fingers and a map came to his hands, he gave it to Thomas.

“(*Whispers*) hmmmm...here! It’s a hivemind, they all are connected to the leader! If we get rid of that, then all the spiders that are connected will go away too!” They looked at Herman for confirmation, he nodded and everyone agreed to the plan but David looked back at Thomas.

“Thomas...how did you know this?”

“(Mr. Seaweed?)”

“(Let’s keep me a secret, ok?)”

“Thomas? I’m not gonna believe you if you say you read it in a book.”

“I’m sorry David...just...go with it ok!?”

“...you’re not talking to strangers right?”

“I’m not! Really!?”

“*Sigh* ok, I’ll trust you on this. Quentin, where is this spot exactly?”

“It’s a deep cave, it’s home to bears but now it’s inhabited by the spiders. I did a quick look and saw the entrance and the forest are covered in webs.” he answered.

“David, here!”

“What is this now? It doesn’t stink, does it?”

“No, but it’s something you shouldn’t breathe in. It’s a poisonous gas that kills insects, I did a little extra to make it strong. Basically a pesticide.” Claudette explained.

“Ok, how do I use it if it’s poisonous to us?”

“Well...if the spider we’re looking for is the leader, surely it’ll be the biggest thing there. So...you gonna have to go inside it.”

“WHY THE HELL DO I HAVE TO DO THAT!?”

“Well, iridescent gives some sorts of healing right? Outside, it’ll heal fast but the inside can’t heal, at least I hope. You need to go through the mouth and work your way to the midsection, it’s heart. Once you reach the heart, take in a deep breath and release the gas. It’ll take two minutes to spread and kill it. Do not breathe it in or you’ll suffer the same effect, it’s made to only harm bugs on contact, not human skin so you don’t have to worry about skin contact.”

“How do I know if im at the heart, not exactly lights inside that’ll guide me.”

“You’ll feel it, when your ears start ringing, you’re there!”

“(Thomas, you need to go with him!)”

“David, I-”

“No Thomas, you’re not coming!”

“But-”

“No buts! You almost got hurt in the town, you’re not coming, end of discussion! Quentin, get Kate, we’re gonna nerd her. Bring Joey and Jesse too!” Quentin nodded his head as Thomas walked away but hid behind some hanging sheets, Kate and the other came and got their weapons readied for their task. Quentin summoned a door for them, it was David, Bill, Kate, Joey, Jesse, and Rin. They went in first well David went in last, but Thomas took his chance and ran over and thrusted himself onto David. Pushing him and David inside, making the door close and making them appear at their destination. Thomas got up to see that David wasn’t happy with his actions.

“...”

“THOMAS! I TOLD YOU NO, WHY DO YOU DO THAT!?” David wanted to turn red, but he didn’t, he didn’t want Thomas to fear him. He doesn’t want him to be afraid. He cool himself down, bend down and talked to him.

“I...just don’t want you to get hurt, I already lost your father, I don’t lose you too.”

“I-I know David, but I had too…”

“It’s no use David, we can’t exactly send him back. Quentin said we can’t always use the doors, it would be better to not call him right away. We’re already here, we might as well get this over with because standing like this leaves us open.” Bill said, David sighed and stood back up.

“You’re right, but you’re in big trouble when we get back Thomas!”

“Ok...:” He responded. David took out the pheromone and sprayed it on everyone, they all gagged due to the smell just like David when he first smelled it. After the spray, they walked towards the cave, it was like Quentin said, the cave and the forest around it was covered in webs. Rin cut down the webs leading to the cave, they went inside but it wasn’t dark at all. The webs had little blobs of light in them, they assumed the spiders themselves couldn’t see in a dark cave, at least for some. The cave held many human shaped cocoons, some were opened and showed corpses with their torso torn open and spiders feasting on it. David pushed Thomas closer to his side to keep a better eye on him. Shadows appeared and they were moving, many of them. Spiders of different types were coming, David told them to keep walking and trust in Claudette’s spray. They got near them but they didn’t alert them, they saw them as fellow spiders that roams the cave. Joey brushed by one and it stopped and turned, it came closer to Joey, inspecting him. Joey sweated, the fangs and the saliva the large predator made was unsettling. The spider cast aside its suspicions and went away, but after a few steps, one of them step on a blob on the floor. It bust open and out came baby spiders, they crawled all over the group, none of them move muscle as Thomas just clenched to David’s side. The feeling of having tons of critters crawling over them was uncomfortable and frightening. Eventually, the spiders got off and the group can finally move and breathe. They ventured down deeper into the cave and after a bit, they made into a clearing with the webs looking thicker than the rest. They looked ahead and saw it, the “leader” of the spiders. It was large enough to cover the cave wall, it hisses at them as they approach closer. Claudette’s spray isn’t working against it.

“Dear god, it’s humongous!” Jesse shouted with horror.

“It definitely knows we’re aren’t one of them, I think it’s calling for back-up!” David shouted, more spiders did showed up.”

“WE GOT TO THE MOUTH, COME ON!” The group rushes in, shooting and cutting down spiders left and right. Their movement was hindered and it was difficult to defend Thomas with them getting stuck in the web. After cutting down the enemies and having their guts over them, the made to the webbed wall the leader was laying on. They climbed up the legs and came to the mouth of the spider, it hisses at them with saliva spraying into their faces. Bill and Joey held the mouth opened.

“DAVID, HURRY UP AND GET INSIDE!” Bill shouted.

“(I HATE THAT I HAD TO DO IT, but anything for Dwight!) GOOD LORD!” David took out the container of gas and wedged himself down inside the spiders mouth, but it was nothing but darkness. His only way was down, but how can he tell? Then heard it, the heartbeat. The more he went down, the louder it became. After David got inside, Bill and Joey got down and continued their fight. Jesse showed off her marksman skills and made sure every bullet was lodged into a spiders. Kate had her back as her knife met its spots and her bullets inside her targets. Rin stood around Thomas to protect them, but she and the others got attacked by a shooting webs. It pull her and the others in, leaving Thomas alone and leaving the group defenseless. The spiders gathers around, ready to sink their fangs into them, one approached Rin.

“RIIIINNNN!” Thomas screamed before passing out, something felt weird inside him. He got up but his head felt different, like it wasn’t his. The spider thrusts towards Rin, she closes her eyes, bracing for the pain but it didn’t happen. She opened it and saw Thomas kicking the spider with great force, he went over to the blade and picked it up. Thomas then went over and cut down the remaining spiders, the group was amazed. What was going on? How was he doing this? Thomas was flipping, slicing, hopping from walls. When the numbers have gotten smaller, Thomas freed his friends but passed out afterwards. They didn’t have time to question the boy as more spiders were heading their way. David continued making his way down, how long was he inside? He didn’t know but there was one thing for sure, he was getting closer to the heart. After a few moments, his ears began to ring with the heartbeat. He was at the center, he places his hand on the lid and counted to three. He drew in a deep breath and opened the lid. The spiders we’re relentless, they were everywhere, even though their numbers were reduced. The group couldn’t keep up, but the leader started screeching again. It fell off the off and spazzed on the floor, after a few more moments, it curled up and ceased it movement. The leader has died and the spiders connected by it fell as well. The group drew in deep breaths and went to the cocoon to release those trapped in the webs. Bill and Thomas went to the leader and cut open the midsection of the spider, David’s hand reached out and out he came, covered in the fluids of the spider. He smelled terrible but thankfully alive.

“You smell like shit!” Bill said bluntly.

“Thanks, it’s the spider guts! Did it work?”

“Yeah, the others are freeing the people in the webs. Hopefully they find the girls.” Bill said, he then proceed to tell David of what Thomas did. He didn’t believe him and accused of them eating something from Herman’s lab to make him think that. Bill did admitted he has and told that the others did as well before they came here. But deep down, Bill swore he wasn’t hallucinating. The others came back with Julie and Susie, they hugged Joey as David calls for Quentin to return. Once they came back, David took Thomas and brewed a bath for the both of them.

“Gross, we got a lot of their guts all over us!” David said, scrubbing down Thomas who was in between his lap.

“I don’t know but I don’t care, spiders are gross in all total!”

“You got that right, i’m praying for now on we don’t get them again. Anyways, i’ll make you something good to eat once you’re all squeaking and clean.

“Yayyyy, what is it!”

“A whole bowl of broccoli.”

“EWWW! I HATE BROCCOLI, DAVID!”

“Oh I know, this is your punishment for your little stunt earlier. You’re going to eat the whole thing, if not, you’ll have nothing but that for a week. When I say no, i mean it, understood?”

“Yes David…” After the bath, he lead Thomas to a room and laid him down as he went away to get Thomas something to eat. After the door closed, Thomas passed out and awaken again. Something didn’t felt right, he took out some paper and a pen and began writing. Something told the boy to give it to Joey, Thomas regained himself and did what the voice told him, but who was that voice? It wasn’t the man he usually talk to. He went to the main floor where Jesse and the others were going back him, they just wanted to talk to Joey one last time.

“You sure you can’t stay? We have plenty of room and Quentin doesn’t mind!”

“I didn’t say that.” Quentin said, appearing out of thin air again.

“I’m sorry Joey, but the farm gonna need work. Despite it probably will be sold in the future, I want to preserve it as long as I can. Besides, you have a large responsibility on your hands now, you father would be proud to know what you’re doing.”

“Just wish I have something of him…”

“Excuse me! I think this is you, I found in ya home!” Thomas gave before he walked off. Joey opened it and read what was on it, he was moved and tears were falling. Jesse, Julie and Susie hugged him one last time before Quentin made them a door back to their farm. They walked through the door and it disappeared but Jesse had a weird look on her face.

“What’s wrong?” Susie asked.

“It’s just...I searched the place from top to bottom and found nothing, how did that boy find it?” She pushed it aside as her and the girls went back to clean up the farm. But somewhere by some docks in the east, there was large boats filled with black clothing assailants arriving. They all walked out orderly onto the docks. They wore yokai mask to cover their faces.

“Remember our task, find Anna, Kenneth, Bubba, Evan and Max. Get a report on them, find Douglas son and received him, dead or alive.” One of them said.

“Understood” the others answered.

“Scatter!” They all deployed themselves into the night, blending into the night and carrying out their task.

Chapter Text

Thomas returned to his room and waited for David to bring him his food. Once he did and ate, he fell asleep with his father, but found himself being taken into the dream realm again. The boy went inside the house and once again, found the man sitting at the table waiting for him. He greeted Thomas with a smile, but Thomas gave him frown.

“I HATE YOU!” Thomas shouted, the man felt like his heart had been stabbed. Fake tears streamed his face as he asks the boy why he said such a thing.

“W-why do you hate me!?”

“Not only did David yelled at me, he got really scary again!”

“(My own grandson hates me…)”

“But...you did help Rin and the others.”

“You noticed?”

“Kinda, I felt funny and fell asleep, then I woke up to everyone being free. Then it happened again and I heard a voice other than yours telling me to give a note that’s in my hand to Joey. I...don’t understand…”

“Take a seat.” Thomas sat in a chair and listen to the old man.

“Thomas, have you heard of a medium?”

“Medium?”

“Special people has connection to the spirit realm, being connected to it give them special abilities. David is one of them and so is Adiris, David’s is the ability to talk to animals, hence why he can communicate with Bumbley. Adiris is able to talk and see the spirits.”

“O-oh, then why didn’t David talk to the spiders to get them to stop?”

“They must of not understand him, but I can’t really answer. That’s something you need to ask him yourself. Anyways, Thomas, you’re a medium. Their ability is to allow spirits to take control over their body. Normally you can’t really do it with children, but your strong emotions towards your friends gave me enough to take control and help your friends. Then, Joey’s father took control over you so he could write him that letter.”

“Ohhhh, ok...but what if bad spirits take control?”

“Don’t worry, as long as I’m here, they can’t.”

“Well...that still doesn’t stop me from being mad!”

“*Sigh* I can cheer you up...but I wanted to wait a bit more but it’s only fair.” The man held out his hand and Thomas took it, he took him to the door and opened it. The other side was nothing but darkness, complete emptiness. The two walked out and the door shut, though it was dark, they were able to see each other. The man took the lead and tugged Thomas further in the void. After a bit, they saw someone. It was a man, he was wiping loudly, holding himself as he was scared. It was Dwight.

“DWIGHT!?” His son screamed, Thomas ran to him but ran into some sort of invisible wall. The boy banged on the wall, trying desperately to get his attention.

“DWIGHT, DWWIIGHHT! *Sniffle* w-why can’t he hear me? Why can’t I get to him…?”

“Dwight is under Sayaka’s control. As long he thinks that David is dead, we won’t be able to reach him. It’s hard for me to slip in and out of him and keeping an eye.”

“But David isn’t dead!”

“We know he isn’t dead, but does he knows?”

“...”

“We have to be patient, Thomas. David will come across Sayaka and Dwight will see that he’s alive, then you’ll be able to at least talk to him...I hope. Come on, let’s get out of here.” The man took his hand and walked, but Thomas stared at Dwight with every step. Seeing his father like that pains his heart. They reached the door they came from but Thomas stopped, he wanted to go back to Dwight, he doesn’t want to leave him. The man rubbed Thomas’s head and smiled.

“It’s going to take time Thomas. Plus, you’re only dreaming, even if you want to stay, you’ll eventually wake up. We have to be patient, Dwight isn’t going anywhere, I promise. Let’s keep this between us, ok?” Thomas nodded as he went through the door, the boy woke up to David being gone from the bed. The boy rubbed his eyes and went to the lab to find him. He went inside but didn’t find David, instead he found Quentin.

“Mr. Raccoon man?”

“Tiny human.”

“Wait, why are you here?”

“I’m curious.”

 

“Oh?”

“Library said I should learn more about humans. I will be honest, you lots have been rather interesting, particular you. ...Thomas, I have a request.”

“Hmmm?”

“Can you teach me to be more...human? I lack the understanding of them, watching and being taught it may be the best way. I’ll ask David too, but I wanted to ask you too.”

“Sure! We can start with a smile, like this!” Thomas grew a wide smile to show Quentin so he can copy, but Quentin face remained still. He gave the boy a blank stare, so Thomas climbed up a chair and used his fingers to make him smile. David came inside looking for Thomas, only to find him playing with Quentin.

“Uh...what’s going on?”

“He’s smiling!”

“I’m smiling…” Quentin dull voice told, David chuckled as he went to Herman as he was tinkering with the machine again with the methane gas.

“Well doc?”

“it’s what I need but I won’t know the progress until a least a few days. This is the only thing out of the others that’ll take long, I suggest you lots to relax yourselves.” David picked up Thomas and took him out of the lab, he was still a bit tired so they went back to bed. Over the course of a few days, the group either did more exploration of the library or helped Adam with the history reading. As they did that, Jake’s injuries were finally recovered and he was ready to set off again. Truth to be told, he been long recovered, he was just enjoying the presence of the artist. Sadly, he had to get moving, he wants to provide help for Kate since she did seek him out. He put on his winter clothing Jeff made him with animal pelts, they went outside to let Crow soar in the air as she waits.

“Well, your wounds are all healed now. No more of me nagging at you to rest and take it easy.”

“I-it’s fine, you were right. I kept trying to move when I shouldn’t. T-thank you for keeping me in line. I really appreciate it.”

 

“Oh, I got these for you.” Jeff take out a pair of round glasses and gave it to Jake, the smaller man flushed red when he was given it.

“I noticed your eyesight isn’t doing so good, I got these made for you, hope it helps.”

“...I do see a lot better but you didn’t have to Jeff.”

“Oh don’t worry, I...just making sure your journey will be safe. I won’t lie, it’s going to be a bit lonely here.”

“I-I can stay a bit longer, I have no problem doing so, or...do you want to come with me?”

“...well, I did have a painting of a dream I had, it was a child being thrown off something very high. Maybe I- oh?” Jake turned around and saw a figured in dark clothing with a mask staring at them. Their presence was unknown, it stood motionless. Like it wasn’t even real.

“A friend of yours, Jake?”

“Not in the slightest!” He said, pulling out throwing knives from his side.

“Please, I did not come to harm you. I have questions to ask since I can feel great spiritual energy from the both of you. I’m looking for these people, Anna, Kenneth, Max, Bubba, Evan, Dwight Fairfield and Rin Yamaoka. Have you seen any of them?”

“No, not a single name rings a bell.”Jake answered.

“You’re lying, your muscles just tensed up.”

“Don’t you think it’s cause a stranger came out of nowhere and started asking questions rather than me lying?”

“You’re too calm and answering once I'm finished. Burly man, have those names came across you?”

“...Dwight no, but I have heard of his father. As for his whereabouts, I have no ideas.” He answered.

“I have no need for Douglas since his death overseas, neither of you provided the answers I needed so I'll take my leave. Sorry for the disturbance.” The figure leaped into the forest and became one with the trees. Jake whistled for Crow and she descended down to Jake arm.

“By the way Jake, how do you travel?”

“Crow, she can carry a bag of bricks, but large weights can slow her down. She can still sore.”

“...Wait right here.” Jeff went inside and came back out with his sketchbook.

“Does the offer of me still stand?” Jake smiled, he told Crow to latched onto Jeff shoulders as Jake grabbed on Jeff’s back. Jake being light benefited Jeff as Crow ascended into the air and soar. David walked down to the lab and saw Herman with the machine again, but saw Claudette with him too.

“Claudette? I didn’t know you worked with machinery?”

“Kinda, i’m far from Herman, but I know enough to help with his machine a bit. I have to say, this theory of this dreamscape traveling sounds interesting but can something like that really be possible?”

“Well...we’re in an inter-dimensional library and just fought giant spiders, can’t exactly throw it out the window. Anyways, maybe I can help?”

“You can?”

“A bit, I was forced to be an egghead when I was younger and it’s kinda stuck in my head.” He said, Claudette brought him over and told him what he can do. David did what he was told and both Herman and Claudette were impressed. With his help, it cut down many hours for them.

“Ok, we still lack many things, but some progress is better than none.”

“What do we need now?”

 

“A high power source, monitor equipment of mine that went missing, something that can power multiple cities all at once. Some high-grade anesthesia and serum to put people into a comatose state and volcanic ashes.”

“Ok, some are realistic, some near impossible (and monitor equipment?). More importantly, how am I gonna find a power source that can power multiple places?”

“Your guess is as good as mine. Now if you excuse you, I have a bowl of screaming soup to consume.” Herman walked out, leaving the two by themselves.

“What his deal with screaming objects?”

“I don’t know, but it is interesting that he can make inanimate objects scream. However, I do know where we can get the anesthesia and the coma stuff. My mom is a doctor, we can go to her and ask for help. I haven’t seen them for a while and I'm sure I missed many calls, i’m sure they’re worried.”

“Ok, that’ll make things easier. Dwight told me you’re from New York right?”

“Yes, born and raised there!”

“Ok, New York it is. Let’s figure out who we’re bringing and get ready.” As the two gather the people they want, Jane was sitting in her office with Jed and Frank. They recently came back from another job and just were in to report. Frank did his part, but he told Jane how Jed made the task more difficult for “fun”. After Jane threatened him, they heard a knock on the door.

“Come in.”

“U-uh ma’am, I have an update on the spider problem in the east coast.”

“Well?”

“The problem had been resolved, the spiders just up and died. The townspeople were released and are cleaning up the webs as we speak.”

“But why are you speaking like there’s still something bad is around?”

“T-that’s cause there is, the ones who resolved the issue...was The Smokey King, Lady Viper and their companions…” Jane eyes widened with disbelief, same with Frank’s but Jed grew with excitements. Jane jerked her head towards the two and demanded answers.

“I THOUGHT YOU TWO SAID YOU KILLED THEM!?”

“We did! There was no way in hell they could of escape.

“Well apparently there was an escape, but it doesn’t matter. They been slowed down enough to where they’re no longer a hinderance. Jed, Frank, I have another assignment. Apparently the Yamaoka been ratting their way all over the country, I want to make things clear to them. We found a spy in our midst and interrogated him, he said there’s something hidden in the estate of the Yamaokas. You two will take Philip and head southward to the docks, you’ll take a boat leading to the estate. The captain will explained the rest, let them know not to fuck with my land.”

“Where is Philip by the way?”

“He been at the cells trying to get the red-haired brat too talk to him.” Jane told.

“Ouch, to think Ash would sell out a kid, this coming from a psychopath like me. Anyways, this Smokey King and the Yamaokas sounding pretty fun.” Jed licked his lips, almost like he could taste something. It creep Frank out as they leave the room. Jeff and Jake continue to soar in the air with Crow, it was such a magnificent view. Jeff wish he could draw it, but Crow is latched onto his arms, preventing him to draw. They saw a light beaming into their faces from below, someone was trying to get their attention. There were three people below them, Jeff recognized them from his painting. An uneasy sense of danger filled them as they questioned to descend or not.

“It looks like they want us!”

“...It’s better see what they want, If they wanted to harm us they would of done it by now. We’re slow enough for us to be easy to shoot out of the sky.” Jake told Crow to descend and she did, they landed in front of the three. One was a woman with a rabbit mask, one with clown make-up and one with a mask made of someone’s face.

“If you’re thinking we’re going to harm you, you’re wrong. We wanted to ask some questions from two people on an unusual large bird.” the rabbit masked one asked.

“We was pretty high, you’re definitely aren’t ordinary people if you were able to spot us. What do you want?”

“Have you encountered any strange figures lately?”

“We did encounter someone in black clothing a while ago, nothing other than that.” They nodded they heads and walked away, they did muttered something but they were too far to hear. They all had foreign clothing on, were these the people that Kate was warning him about?

“Not gonna lie, that was scary.” Jeff sighed with relief.

“Their clothing says they’re not from America, why would foreigners with strange presence like them would be here? Tch, I don’t have time for that, let’s just get back on Crow.” Jake called for her again and she took them in the air once more. David, Rin, Claudette, Feng, Thomas and Bill got themselves ready to be departed to New York, Quentin opened the door and the group went inside. When they reached the other side, they found themselves in some suburbs and in front of a decent sized home. It looked different compared to the homes in the south. It was soon about to hit evening, but they still had much of the day left. Claudette knocked on the door and waited for someone to respond. The door opened and it reveal a woman with an Afro and black frame glasses, she was wearing a pink shirt with simple dress pants.

“Claudette!?”

“Hey mom, been a while!”

“A while!? Claudette, it almost been half a year! HONEY! CLAUDETTE’S HOME!”

“THEN WHY THE FUCK IS SHE OUT THERE!? BRING HER IN!” She brought her and her companions inside. The inside has a welcoming air as they enjoy the smell of freshly baked goods. She walked them to the living space where Claudette’s dad was sitting with a bag of ice on his head. They sat down on the couches as Claudette’s mom went in the kitchen to take out the baked goods for Thomas to eat. Claudette hugged both of them before sitting next to Feng, Thomas and Rin enjoyed the food except for David and Bill who felt uneasy as Claudette’s father death stared at them. She caught them up to speed of what happened to her and her companions, the faces the two made must of made every face known to man.

“Oh my, so you’re living in this...inter-dimensional library?” her mom asked.

“And you help save an epidemic and the spider crisis!? That’s our girl!” her dad praised her.

“I’m surprised Mrs. Morel, I thought a woman of science wouldn’t believe a word we say.” David told.

“Normally yes, but it’s because I'm a woman of science why I believe it. I rather see it to pick it apart to get a better understanding. Though...i’m really sorry for Dwight.”

“Yeah, to think him getting possessed by a sword. Not to mention this...dreamscape travel?”

“I heard of that theory, to think Herman of all people wants to try it...actually, it would be him of all people.”

“You know him mom?”

“Everyone who works into any type of scientific field knows who he is, the mad scientist who knows no bounds. Anyways, why are you guys here?”

“Well it’s for the dreamscape travel, we are in need of some items and Claudette said you might help.”

“We in need of high-grade anesthesia and some serum to put someone into a comatose state.”

“Hmmmm, I can’t help with the anesthesia, but I can help with the serum. We actually had a massive recall on them, but I have a new assistant and he’s a bit clumsy, so I bet he missed some. I think it should be in my office.”

“A massive recall on something we needed is too odd to be simply a coincidence.” Bill said, the phone ranged and Mrs. Morel got up to answer it.

“Oh dad, let them introduce themselves!”

“David King.”

“Thomas Mclyn...or King...or Fairfield.”

“Rin Yamaoka.”

“Bill Overbeck.”

“Feng Min.”

“Pleasure to meet you all, sorry for y’all to see me like this.”

“You’re a boxer right?”

“Yup, won my match but man, the guy was a brute! Thank god I was built or my head would of been knocked off.”

I have unfortunate news, the hosptial I work at just had a murder happened not too long ago. The building and the surrounding area are closed. Apparently, black figures come out of nowhere and murdered some people. They might be still hanging around.”

“Dammit! We don't have time for them to do their investigations, is there any way for us to sneak in?” David asked.

“There is a door with a lock that only high officials such of my self knows, I have a spare key you can use.”

“(Thomas, we gotta go with them.)”

“David-”

“No Thomas, you can stay here with Mrs. Morel-”

“Actually, there are small vents in the building. I have no doubt there’s going to be people inside, so it’ll be better to let him crawl around.”

“I REALLY rather not have him around danger…”

“It’s ok David, really! I want to help get Dwight back too!”

“UGH! Fine, but you stick close to me!”

“Ok!” Mrs. Morel gave David and his group the key and gave them directions to the buildings, they left the home and took the trolley to the city and walked the rest of the way. Night soon approached, but people were still around. After some of the guards moved away, the grouped rushed to the back door with the key and opened it. David poked his head in first, he didn’t see anyone as they crept inside. The building was quiet, a pin dropping can be heard throughout the entire building. Claudette took the lead and brought them to the stairs leading into the uppers floors where her mother’s office was, but it was blocked. The lock was on the other side, meaning there’s guards in the stairwell to prevent people from coming in. David looked around the ceiling and saw a vent leading into the other side. Feng hopped on David’s shoulder and removed the opening.

“(Here’s the key, crawl through the vents and unlock the door. If anything happens, yell and i’ll break down this door, got it?)”

“(Got it!)” David helped the boy up into the vents, they heard the boy crawl around and eventually got to the other side. The boy came out from the vents and fell on his bottom, after rubbing it, he went to the door and unlocked it. David praised him as he rejoins the group and headed up stairs. They heard some guards upstairs, David sent Rin and she knocked them out with ease. They went to the upper floors and searched for Claudette’s mother’s office, they found it and searched up and down for the serum. Some of them split from the office and looked around the outside and saw some of the figures they heard of. Claudette, Rin and David searched the office well the others inspected the bodies. There were a lot of bodies laying, they were recently killed. Bill went to the passed out guards and saw the Romero’s insignia, he sighed and went back to the bodies.

“(Are...they ok?)” Thomas asked,

“(I don’t know, they seem to have bullet holes. We didn’t hear any gun fi- hey, Thomas!)” Thomas went ahead and saw that the figures had masks, he pulled one off and became confused. David and the others came out to see what they were doing, but Thomas turned to them.

“(Rin, I didn’t know you have sisters!)” Thomas said.

“(I...don’t?)”

“(Then why do this one looks like you?)” David went over and saw that he was right, the figure appearance matches Rin’s. He then processed to remove the mask of the other figures and saw their faces were the same as well. Rin stood helplessly, why are there numbers of her?

Chapter Text

The group stared at Rin, her face was riddled with horror and confusion. Clones of her lying dead, bleeding out with their eyes dead like a fish. She turned away, not being able to cope with reality right now. Why are there so many of her here? How many of her are there?

“This is insane, cloning!?” Claudette questioned.

“I would say could such a thing exist...but given what’s happening lately…” Bill said in his still voice.”

“I-I think someone’s coming!” Thomas warned them.

“David, we should take one of the bodies back to Herman. He might figure things out.” David agreed to Claudette’s idea and picked up a body as they descends to the lower floor and exits the building. They quickly returned back to Claudette’s parent’s home, her mother stood up waiting for them. As much she loves to tell her what happened, they didn’t have the time. She gave her a hug before calling Quentin to return. Once back, the group walked inside Herman’s lab to speak to him, but they saw Adiris and Nea inside.

“Adiris?”

“Bill, it’s nice to see you all are ok. I had a feeling something terrible happened, glad it was my imagination.”

“Hey there, old timer. I see you haven’t kicked the bucket yet.” Nea taunted at the Bill, his eyes squinted with annoyance at her.

“Is it ok for me to toss her ass into the void?”

“Bill...anyways, why are you two here?”

“I wanted to cut our time short, so I asked Quentin to take me to Adiris’s church. But when I got there, strangers in black asked us some questions, personal ones. I refused and they attacked us, I called Quentin and brought these two with me.” Kate explained.

“We encountered some ourselves, we brought one back but…” David removed the mask and showed the face of the body he was carrying, Kate and the others saw it and were just as shocked as the rest.

“Herman, think you can inspect the body?”

“I can do a quick analysis, prop the body on the table.” David did what he asked, Herman removed the clothes and pulled over a curtain to block the gruesome inspection. Hours went by with blood being sprayed on the sheets, Herman did his examination and got his results. After wiping some blood off him, he came back with some notes in his hands.

“Well?”

“It’s a clone right?”

“Yes and no.” He answered, what did he mean by that? Everyone scratch their but Feng, it’s like she knew what he meant.

“Wait a minute, you mean a homunculus?”

“David, what’s that?”

“Oh, let me explain! Quentin, can you get my bag?” He snapped his fingers and summoned her bag, Feng dug around and pulled up some weird stone tablets.

“When I was in Europe, I was in a remote village and fell into a cave. The cave had some craving on them, at least the remaining ones. I got them translated and it was about something called a homunculus. It’s an artificial lifeform created for specific purposes, they can be made of many materials. But the thing is, they aren’t clones. Think of them like sand sculptures, you can shape them into something, but it’ll never be it because of the material they are made of. So Herman is right, it’s Rin, but also not Rin.” Feng explained.

“Correct, there are traces of Rin’s DNA. But at the same time, what the body was made of is different. Rin is the main source, but different stuff was molded on to it, thus making it different from her. But my biggest concern right now isn’t this, it’s her.” Herman pointed at Rin, her eyes still filled with horror looked back.

“Is she the real one?” he asked.

“I-I…”

“Hold on Herman, let-”

“I think I will.” Herman walked over to Rin, she looked at the looming doctor. His presence suddenly became overwhelming, sweat rolled down her face as her head started to throb in confusion.

“Do you know if you’re real? Can you confirm it? Kate said they fought like you, could you be a spy? You’re probably their little pet and you’re secretly helping them. Can you even trust your own memories? If your clan can make these things such as yourself, can they impla-”

“THAT’S ENOUGH HERMAN!” David shouted, he pulled out his knife and point it near Herman’s neck. Herman backed away from Rin and is now staring at David with the tip of the knife on his neck.

“I asked to inspect the body, not to pressure Rin!”

“I’m just being curious, I'm a man of science, it’s my job to pick things apart to see how they work.”

“Even though it’s a possibility, I can confirm that Rin isn’t affiliated with her clan. You can quell your curiosity.” Quentin said, defending Rin.

“All well, i’ll go back to inspect more of the body.” Herman left them, the group split up except for Thomas and David, who stood behind to comfort Rin.

“You ok?”

“A bit...thank you Quentin, I'm sure one of them must of asked you to check?”

“Actually...no. You...looked uncomfortable when Herman was pressuring you for answers, I felt... sympathy for you. So I checked to see if you did anything and found nothing, I have to thank Thomas for showing me how to be...human.” Quentin said well giving them a small smile. Even with that, she still felt uneasy. She went to lay down in a room, leaving three by themselves. David let Thomas explore as he went to check on Rin, he found her in a random room. The bed was in pieces, she must of cut it up before he even came. He sat next to her, rubbing her back as she buried her head in her knees.

“Hey, i’m sure you didn’t know they were doing this...cloning stuff. I know this is a lot to take in.”

“I always felt like I wasn’t normal...could Herman be right? Am I just another one of those!? How can I tell!? I...I can’t even trust my own memories David!”

“...”

“Is this why I can’t win against them, against Anna and the rest? Was I made to only to be their training dummy and was meant to be tossed aside!? That’s what it feels like! I...feel like I just happen to keep existing, forgotten trash that just blowing in the wind…”

“No Rin! Let me ask you something, do you feel fake? You laugh, you eat, you think, you do all of that because you loved doing it. It’s not about being real or fake, it’s about if what you did made you feel warm, loving, excited. Those things powers you!” David encouraged, Rin looked at him but only because she thought of something.

“POWER! I know where can get a power source!”

“W-where!?”

“Though the meteorite is gone, my father made numerous weapons out of it. If we can gather some of them, we might be able to get the power Herman needs!”

“Couldn’t we use your weapon?”

“It needs to be concentrated for it to be purely effective.”

“Wait, but aren’t they in your home country? Well, we can ask Quentin…”

“Speaking of, QUENTIN!”

“Yes?”

“Can you gather the material for the wardrobes for my clan?” He nodded and brought what she needed.

“Wouldn’t it be easier for me to summon it?”

“The clan is smart, all the way down to our clothing. We stitch in such a way that only we know, we were trained to spot it right away. It’s protect us from intruders, I can show you!”

“Then show it to us as well.” Nea shouted, her and the others came inside to help with the stitching. It took them a while, the stitching was hard at first, but everyone got the hang of it soon after. The fabric were both colorful and silky, even Thomas was drawn to them and even tried to do his own stitching. Hours went by and just having everyone casually talking to each other calm Rin down and forget about the clones. They got finished and the stitching matched the Yamaoka’s, but Thomas ran up to David to show him his that he made for David. The stitching was terrible, the different color fabric didn’t match at all with the outfit were almost falling apart. David saw the knots Thomas made to keep it from falling apart.

“It’s for you!”

“O-oh, well..thank you but it doesn’t matches Rin’s so I can’t really…”

“Oh...ok, i’m sorry…”

“(*Sigh* you know what?) Actually Thomas, it does look a lot better than mine. I’ll take it.”

“Yay! I’m gonna tell Adiris and uncle Ace about it!” The boy ran off, leaving the rest with their outfits looking at David.

“Rin...on a scale from 1 to 10, how easy will we be spotted?”

“Actually, the clan holds many fathers. It is very common for them to wear the outfits their children makes them, so Thomas’s is very fitting. You have one for Thomas?”

“Yup, I doubt he doesn’t want to come...but...” David turned to the others who was making their outfits for the trip.

“Guys...I said we can’t go in a large group.”

“Well I am! Rather if you like it or not!” Kate bluntly threw back.

“Come on David, please! I wanna tell Julie and Susie that I’ve been overseas!”

“I want to see the plant life over there, it’ll be nice to collect some for more remedies for me and Adiris!”

“I want to explore the Yamaoka culture and other customs!”

“I want to see how they work!” The four said, their eyes all glowed with excitement. They constantly begged David over and over, it got to a point where Kate bailed because she didn’t want to be a babysitter. Bill laughed because now it’s David’s turn to watch them and see how it felt to keep an eye on people with zero awareness.

“Well, it wouldn’t be out of place David. The estate holds many races and people of different ages, even Thomas wouldn’t be out of place since there are children constantly roaming.”

“NOT HELPING! *Sigh* fine, but no exploring. We find the weapons, call Quentin and leave. Let’s not risk getting caught.” The four cheered as they put on the outfits they made, Joey wore a black happi well David’s was mix-match of colors. The women wore silky colorful traditional kimonos and formed their hair into traditional japanese hairstyles. Rin laugh as she told them the hair styles aren’t necessary, just the clothing. Rin had to wear a mask since she was banished from the estate. David called Thomas to put on his, he loved since it was made by David.

“Now, this will be a stretch and I'll probably get in trouble, but make this quick.” Quentin told them.

“We will, hopefully we find them fast enough.” David, Thomas, Joey, Claudette, Feng, Rin, and Nea stood before the door Quentin summon.

“Finally, I can relax without those three devils.” Bill sighed, Kate didn’t reply, she stood in horror. Bill asked what was wrong, but he found his answer when something was nibbling on his arm, Lisa. Bill let out a scream as his nuisance returned. The group went inside the door and came out the other end, a gust of wind blew at them, bringing a swarm of cherry blossoms their way. They were surrounded by trees of blooming cherry blossoms, it wasn’t cold here like it was back home, they were all awestruck of the magnificent site. The fresh scent of the blossoms were making filled their noses with delight, but Rin walked to a specific tree. They inspected it and saw cravings on them, Rin rubbed the cravings with in fingers as she reminisce the memories it brought up.

“It’s a very old traditions the Yamaokas practices, very little does it but most don’t. There was a song about two people who cared about each other, they fell in love at their favorite cherry blossom tree. Mothers will sing that song to their children, then take them to a tree special to them. This one was the one my mother picked for us, she sings this song so much for me and I never once disliked it.” She told them, David got curious of the song but he was slightly jealous. To have something to remind you of your family, something David left behind. Even Thomas had old thoughts of his family, even if they weren’t the best, they brought him to this world and now he’s with someone he can his father again. As Rin stood up, kunais flew at them. David instantly dropped Thomas and deflected some along side with Rin.

“I see you’re still sharp as usual!” a hearty voice spoke with the gentle wind, a woman jumped down in front of the group. She was wearing dark baggy clothing, her hair brown and tied in a bun. Her eyes brown with a sweet amora around her, but her presence alone told she can kill someone in an instant. She was clearly an assassin and she made herself known to the group.

“Amanda!” Rin shouted as she dashed over for a hug, the woman got irritated and bopped one on Rin’s head. Rin playful cried as her only friend in the estate was being mean to her.

“ダンミット・リン, 真剣になってください
(DAMMIT RIN, BE SERIOUS!)”

“しかし、私はあなたがいなくて寂しかった
(B-but I missed you…)” She said in her native tongue, she turned around and introduced herself.

“I’m Amanda Young, I'm assuming you’re Rin’s friends?”

“Yeah, I’m David and this is my son, Thomas.”

“Claudette!”

“Joey!”

“Nea.”

“Feng!”

“Well, pleasure to meet you all.”

“Um Amanda, I didn’t know you learned English.” Rin said.

“Well...I didn’t, but your father made all of us learn it in case we get sent to America. Your father really wants that treasure…” she answered.

“You know about the treasure?” David asked her.

“Yes, I was part of the interrogation team that tortured Doulgas Fairfield a few months ago. I heard he was killed afterwards and turned into Bubba’s snack…”

“(I’m so sorry Douglas), so is it ok for us to use English here?”

“Yes and no. Yes, everyone but the children here speaks English. No because it’s not commonly used here, some use it but most of us uses our native language. Only ones using it right now are the ones preparing to sail to America.”

“Dammit, then Rin you got to do the talking.” She nodded, she then told Amanda of why they are here. She agreed to help, she even told them that she saw them came out a door that vanished into thin air. She lead them out of the cherry blossom garden and to the estate, but what they saw was something even more amazing than the garden. They stood by a cliffside and saw the Yamaoka estate. It was multiple japanese castle like structures with the biggest one in the center, they were linked to each other by sturdy wooden bridges, the buildings were held by beams supporting them. Below the castles were rivers with crystal clear waters streaming beneath it, they could even see the fish swimming from their standing point. The cherry blossoms float gently around the estate, making the scene even more heavenly than it already was. To top it off, a grand waterfall was beside the estate.

“It’s so beautiful…”

“It’s stunning…”

“I...wish Dwight was here to see this, he would have loved it.” David said.

“Don’t be taken by the estates beauty, this place was built on blood and corpses. This way!” Rin lead the group down to the entrance bridge leading into the estate, even though Rin said it was built on blood, their eyes couldn’t stop looking. As Rin said, people of different ages and races roamed about, there were children playing, men eating, women gossiping. It was a paradise, something you can’t find in America. Someone bumped into the group, he was a high official. They group tried to avoid him but he stopped and questioned them.

“そこに、バフ, ここに来たことありますか?
(You there, the buff one. Have you been here before?)”

“すみませんが、私たちは-
(I’m sorry, but we-)”

“私はあなたに話していませんアマンダ、私は彼に話している、話します!
(I’m not talking to you Amanda, i’m talking to him, speak!)” the man demanded, the group attracted attention they didn’t needed. The man told David to speak, expecting him to speak their language. He sighed then spoke to the man, ready for them to get caught in the open.

“申し訳ありませんが、私にあなたを怒らせたくありませんでした.
(I’m terribly sorry, I didn’t wish to cause you to get angry at me.) (WHAT!?)”

たくさん?
“(You lots?)”

“どういう意味か分かりませんか?
(I don’t know what you mean?)” Joey said.

“ただ歩いていた!
(We was just walking!)” Feng told.

“彼が言ったように、私たちはあなたを動揺させるつもりはありませんでした...
(Like he said, we didn’t mean to make you upset…)” Claudette said.

...申し訳ありませんが、お楽しみください
“(...my apologizes, please enjoy your day.)” The man left the group alone, but how were they able to speak japanese? They put that thought aside and continue to venture to the center castle. They went inside and saw what they expected, Amanda told them that the lord is on the top floor and the armoury is several floors below. Amanda took them into a room, she moved a wall and showed them a hidden passage. They walked inside it and are now behind the walls.

“There’s numerous passages added to some of the buildings since you left, only the assassins of the estates and the lord knows. This way, it leads down into the armoury.” They followed Amanda down within the wall and stopped when Amanda raised her hand, she removed a tile and looked to see if anyone was inside. After finding no one, she hopped down and told the others to follow. Once down, they turned to see numerous crimson weapons hanging on the walls.

“There’s so many, how much do we take?”

“Just grab as many as you can!” David told them. As they grab some, David found a two knives to his liking, he took just for his future fight. Of course, the weapons were heavy, very heavy. One weapon stuck out to Joey, he climbed up the wall to reach it but fell right after. He knocked down some weapons and an unlocking sound was made, a wall opened up and an odd platform inside. What was it? They knew the Yamaoka’s were advance but still, they got on it and pulled a lever.

“Oh, it’s an elevator...but what for?” David said as they descended, the building did lead into the ground below, so it must be deep below the surface. But they just going deeper and deeper, nothing but dim lights on the wall as they go down into the earth. Where did this elevator leads to? Why was it hidden? After a while, a brighter light was coming from below them, the lights were gone as what was below was revealed. A large underground lab stood in front of them, even Herman’s failed in comparison. The elevator stopped and they got off, the lab had many human like lifeforms in containments similars to Herman’s but this was only one room.

“A-Amanda?”

“I-I didn’t know this place exist…”

“DAVID, LOOK!” Joey pointed at the containments, it was more clones of Rin but they were incomplete. Rin covered her mouth again as she couldn’t look. David turned called Quentin and turned to Thomas.

“Thomas, take these weapons and go in the door. This is too serious and I don’t want you in danger again.”

“But-”

“(It’s ok Thomas, I think we should let David handle it)” The voice told the boy, he gave David a hug before entering the door with the weapons he put inside. Thomas was brought back to only finding Adam in front of him.

“Where’s the other?”

“They’re...doing something serious so I was sent back…. Hey Adam? Can you...help me with something?” The group picked up Rin and venture more into the lab, the sites of failed experiments and corpses disgusted them. Dry and fresh blood covered the walls, they walked into a room that was actually clean. There were numerous research notes scattered across the table, Amanda picked them up but she couldn’t believe what she read.

“What’s wrong?”

“T-the clones, the material they use are children that failed their training. Normally, if a child fails to become a warrior or assassin, you get sent to a lesser common jobs...i knew nothing this…”

“W-wait, it’s made out of children corpses!? Why!?” Joey questioned in horror, Amanda couldn’t answer. Claudette went over and found more notes, she showed them to Rin and she told them it’s her mother research notes for the remedy she used on David. She looked around and find numerous cases of it made, it was being mass produced.

“Wait...if it’s being mass produced then!” Rin rushed out the room well the others followed with Claudette leaving last. After rushing through the facility, she came across a large room with the remaining meteorite in the center. Large rods were using the power of the meteorite to power the lab.

“It was here all along? I was told it was used up…”

“I was told that too…” Amanda continued.

“There must be a way to stop it, I'm sure a small concentrated piece off of the meteorite would do more than the weapons!” David suggested.

“Oh? And what exactly would you do when you get the piece?” a voice said, three unknown assailants walked on a platform above them, Jed, Frank and Philip.

“The Romero’s!? How the hell!?”

“Jane, what can I say? She always has the advanced stuff ready to use. It didn’t take us long to get here with the transportation she gave us.” Jed answered.

“Don’t worry, she didn’t send us here to stop you. Honestly, she’ll be more confused on how you get here so fast.” Frank told them.

“Then why are you here!?”

“The Yamaokas been causing some trouble, so Jane sent us here based on some intel to leave a small message.”

“Small?” David asked, Jed raised his hand counted down from five. Once zero hit, explosions all around the lab and even the meteorite occurred. The place shook as rubble started to fall again.

“I feel bad, this place was sooooo much more beautiful than back at home. All well, at least I have this!” Jed pulled up a crimson mask, it was shaped like a horrified face of a ghost. An odd sound was made as Jed and the others faded into thin air.

“Rin, Amanda, it was nice to see you again. But next time we meet, we will be enemies…” Philip told them.

“There’s an exit at the far west side of here.”

“JED!?” Frank shouted.

“I suggest you hurry, Smokey King. Before the monster comes.” He said. Soon after, a horrific montrousty came out. It was a mush pile of corpses and it screeches was the cries of the children used for it. The rubble fell more onto the ground due to the beast giant size, it’s too dangerous for them to call Quentin. They took Jed advice, picked up some pieces of the meteorite and hurried to the exit at west. They group managed to avoid the falling rubble and to the exit. The journey of steps was exhausting for them, but it was better than being crushed or eaten alive. They made outside to the cliffside of the estate where they were earlier. The unstable beast size grew more and more, it emerged from the ground and started to terrorize the estate. David turned to Amanda and Rin, but they were completely unphased by it. As the beast destroys the estate, two containment landed in front of them due from the explosion, two clones of Rin, perfected in every way and ready to be used.

“Hmmmm… maybe Herman can do something about this but...aren’t you two going to stop that thing?”

“Not really, It’s not my home anymore. Plus, the estate warriors would kill it then rebuild.” Rin told him.

“I don’t want to deal with that thing, nor want to rebuild...do you guys got room for one more?” David looked at the others, they all shrugged at the man. He then looked at the monster, it was eating people with fighters trying to kill it.

“Uh sure, the more we have, the better. QUENTIN!” David shouted, the door appeared as the grouped took the clones and the pieces of the meteorite into the door. Before the group encounter the Romero’s, Thomas asked Quentin if he could visit a place with Adam. The sleepy man did what he asked and took Thomas to the place he wanted, a graveyard of his hometown. Him and Adam roamed a bit before Thomas found his parents graves, the boy kneel in front of them and spoke to them.

“When we were at the estate, we can across a tree that reminded Rin of her mother. So, I wanted to see my parents. They were bad people, very bad…but thanks to them, I could meet the Smokey King, I-I mean David, haha.”

“So, you’re the son of the Smokey King huh?” an old scratchy voice asked, then a man pinned Thomas down and stuck his weapon next to the boy’s face. Adam tried to save him, but another man came out of nowhere and grabbed hold of his entire body. The man was nothing but muscle, he had long messy blonde hair that drapes over his blue eyes. Adam struggles but he was being crushed more each time.

“Come on Michael, we got some good catches that’ll please Jane.” the man said as they began walking out of the graveyard. David and the others came out into Herman’s lab, Claudette took out the research notes and asked Rin if she can write them out in English. David gave Herman the pieces of the meteorite, he grew a wide smile as he couldn’t wait to examine the rock.

“Anyways, THOMAS? WHERE ARE YA LITTLE BUDDY?” he shouted but he didn’t get a response.

“THOMAS! Where is he?”

“King, have you seen Adam? I wanted to ask him something, but I can’t find him.”

“No, I’ve been looking for Thomas. THOMAS! THHHOMMMASSSS!” he shouted once more, but still nothing.

“THIS ISN’T FUNNY THOMAS, COME OUT OR YOU’RE GROUNDED!” but all he got was silence. Worry filled his head and pain ached in his chest.

“Quentin!”

“Yes?”

“Where’s Thomas?”

“He left a while ago with Adam to a graveyard he requested, they haven’t returned.” He answered, David shouted at him to take him to the graveyard. Quentin gave him a door and David bust it open and ran out. He arrived at the graveyard, but found nothing but the night sky and cold air. He ran into the forest that was connected to the graveyard, shouting his name more.”

“THHHOOOMMMMASSSS, THHHHHOOOOMMMMASSS!” He shouted into the forest, but only his echoed was heard. The man leaned against a tree and fell down, tears riddled his eyes as he placed his hands on his head to cope.

“*Sniffle* n-no… *whimpers* T-Thomas…”

Chapter Text

David still rest against the tree, crying his eyes out for him missing son. How could this happen, was he a bad parent? He swore he was careful but it happened again, maybe he wasn’t as a good protector as he thought he was. Claudette, Rin, Kate, Feng and Joey came into the forest to see David panicking, Thomas or Adam were nowhere near.

“David, what’s wrong!?” Claudette asked but he was silent, David saw light in the distance. He got up and ran towards them, causing the others to chase after him. Being exhausted, he made it into the nearest town, but it was as empty as the forest. Lamp post flickering their light as the cold wind gently flows through the streets. Thomas nor Adam wasn’t here, they must of been gone for a while now. The others caught up but David still chose to be silent, then a phone rang loudly. It rang throughout the streets, David and the others looked around and saw that a door was left wide open. It didn’t stop, like it was a call specifically for David. He went inside the building and answered the phone.

“Mr. King, been a while. How was dealing with Death?”

“JANE!”

“Rude, is that anyway to speak to a lady? I thought you was tau-”

“WHY THE FUCK YOU’RE CALLING ME!?”

“...*sigh* I advise to watch your tone... or you want this boy of yours to get hurt!”

“WHAT!?”

“Arrrruughg *whimpers* DAAAVVIIIDDDD!”

“Poor boy, he was out visiting his parents grave, too bad Ash happened to be there.”

“DON’T YOU FUCKING TOUCH HIM!”

“YOU’RE IN NO POSITION TO TELL ME TO DO ANYTHING, KING!”

“STOP, STOP! IT HURTS, DAAAAVVVVVIIIID!”

“JANE, WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU!?” David shouted, but Jane hung up. That through David in a fist of rage, he tore the phone off the line and beat it with his fist. Shards of the beaten phone got lodged in his hand, the others backed up from him. The whereabouts of Thomas and Adam are unknown, Kate was turning red as David.

“Dav-”

“NO! I-I NEED TO FIND THOMAS!”

“I SEE YOU’RE QUICK TO FIND HIM AND NOT ADAM!” Kate shouted at the red skinned man.

“FUCK HIM!”

“EXCUSE ME!?”

“I’M NOT WORRIED ABOUT A MAN WHEN MY SON IS IN-”

“THEN FUCK YOU TOO, I KNEW I COULDN’T TRUST YOU!” Kate stormed off, Claudette went to go after her, but she pulled out her revolver and threatened to kill her if she come any closer. Kate walked off into the night well David sat and leaned against the desk, Thomas is in danger and David doesn’t have the slightest clue where. Dwight’s gone, Thomas’s somewhere, he couldn’t cope with it. His head pounded, his breathing was heavy, he was holding his head in his hands as tears came back but Rin came to him.

“David, get a hold of yourself!”

“B-but-”

“Mr. King, Dwight is still possessed, Thomas is missing and you want to panic!? They need you, they’re crying for you.”

“...”

“Dwight is my friend and Thomas is my nephew, I'm prepared to go in the jaws of death to get them back, but I can’t do it alone.” Claudette told him.

“We still have a job and we still have to get Dwight back, i’m with you too, David.” Rin also told.

“I’m not much, but like I said, I have a debt to you and Dwight, so i’m with you too!”

“I’m not much either, but I’ll do my best too!” David looked at them with his red eyes, they all gave him an encouraging smile, they were all with him. Rin and Claudette held out their hand and he took it, they helped him up and gave them a small smile back.

“We know Thomas keeps your head in check, but that doesn’t mean we can’t either!”

“...yeah, thank you, all of you. But something is still a problem, we don’t know where Adam or Thomas is even at-” A phone rang as it interrupted David, they turned around and saw another phone, like it came out of thin air. They doubt it was Jane again, so who could it be? David went over and picked it up.

“Finally, I was starting to think you weren’t going to answer.”

“Who is this?”

“Forgot me already? Damn, I thought that mask would of left a dent in your head.”

“Mask…?” David went back into his mind, he did remember someone with a mask, the one in the hidden laboratory.

“You!”

“The name’s Jed, Pleasure to meet you, David King.”

“Tch, you know my name?”

“Yes, don’t worry, Jane doesn’t know it nor knows i’m even calling you.”

“But are-”

“What I'm affiliated with isn’t the issue, you’re looking for that boy right?”

“...what do you want?”

“Just trying to keep the story at a steady pace, no need for any type of delay, ya know?”

“...”

“The town you’re in, there’s a facility in the crayon side, a large one. It’s known as the “jailhouse”, it’s where Jane hold prisoners. Since Thomas was taken near that town, he’s most likely there.”

“Come to think of it, we weren’t gone long, meaning the phone call must of been somewhere nearby...I think. No, Jane must of called from somewhere else, that would of made more sense. You said the crayon side right? That’s north of here if I remember correctly...but Jed, what are you after?”

“I told you, I'm just here to keep the story going, take care.” The call was cut, the group called Quentin to come up with a plan to rescue Thomas. As they go back to the library, Jed put down the phone. The phone didn’t have a line but he somehow made the call, particularly from overseas.

“Was that ok to do, Jed?” a soft echoing voice questioned.

“Don’t worry, Danny. We’re far from the others, they won’t know. Now let's hurry before Frank gets cranky.” Jed left a room, when Frank asked what he was doing, he told him he had to make a call. Frank went along but something stuck in his mind, he didn’t remember a phone in there Thomas was thrown into a room, the man threw a toy for him to play with as he closed the door, leaving him inside with a dimmed flickering light.

“AUAUUGHHGGH! DAVVVVIDDD, DWIIIGHHTTTT! AUUGHGHGHH!” The child cried out, that crying voice reached Dwight as it echoed in his head.

“T-Thomas!?” Dwight shouted from inside, he heard his crying son and halt his possessed body.

“What is it?”

“Thomas! He’s in danger!” he told Sayaka.

“That’s not our con-” She tried to move but she couldn’t, Dwight’s concerns for his son denied her from moving.

“WE’RE NOT FUCKING LEAVING UNTIL I SEE THAT HE’S OK! ...I just left him...ever since David died…”

“(...he’s not going to let me move until he sees that Thomas is ok.) *Sigh* fine, we’ll go to him. If you were able to hear him, then he’s somewhere close. Hmmm…felt him, he’s this way.” Sayaka began moving in the direction of where she felt Thomas, Thomas continued to cry out of his father’s to save him but none are around. He was scared, lost and in pain.

“(Thomas!)” the voice shouted to get his attention.

“M-Mr. Seaweed?”

“(It’s alright, i’m still here with you.)”

“B-but what are we going to do? I-I don’t know this place…”

“(Hmmmm, listen. I’m going to get you out of here.)”

“You can?”

“(Yes, but you have to do everything I say to the T. One mistake and it’s over, and I think these people don’t have a problem with putting a bullet in a child’s head. Are you ready?)” The boy nodded his head and listened to what the voice was ready to tell him.

“(Ok, try to open the door.)”

“Ok! ...it’s locked…”

“(Hmmmm, didn’t that man gave you a toy?)”

“Um yeah!”

“(Quick, broke it apart!)” Thomas did what the voice said and broke the toy, thick pieces of metal fell off.

“(Ok Thomas, pick up two of those pieces and go back to the door.)”

“What we’re doing?”

“(I’m going to teach you how to pick locks. Ok, it’s real simple. Ok, the lock is like a circle...or a pancake.)”

“Pancak-”

“(Focus Thomas, so picture it as a pancake. There’s a top, a bottom, a left and right, there’s a hole on each side. You’ll know which hole is the right one when the piece goes inside, give it a shot!” Thomas felt the lock with the metal piece, he felt the holes until the metal piece sunk in one. The voice told him to do the same thing but with the other piece, Thomas did just that and he heard the door unlocking. The door opened and Thomas slowly walked out, he found himself at the end of a hallway. The rest of the hallways held jail cells, Thomas went to a window and saw that it was still night for him. He looked down to see he’s high up, jumping out of a window wasn’t his plan but now it definitely can’t.

“We’re really high up-”

 

“(Thomas, someone is coming! Uh...there’s a room, hurry!)” Thomas quietly ran from the window and to the other room, a man came upstairs to check on Thomas, it’ll only be a matter of time before he gets caught.

“(Shit, he’s gonna find us!)”

“(What are we gonna do!?)”

“(Hmmmm, this look like a supply closet. Ok Thomas, listen to me!)” The man went to room where Thomas was suppose to be in, but it was empty. He started to sweat a bit, he left the room and searched the floor he’s on because he couldn’t gotten passed him. He went into the supply room, but he was met with a bucket attached with some rope and heavy objects inside in his face. The man fell unconscious as he fell to the floor, Thomas rushed out the supply room along with some other things the voice told him to take. He went down a flight of stairs and came across another hallway with opened windows, one mistake and Thomas is as good as dead. There were two men on the floor, he assumed they must be waiting for the one unconscious upstairs.

“(Ok Thomas, take those two chemicals, pour then shake and seal it in the glass bottle.)”

“(Um...done!)”

“(Ok, throw it as hard as you can at them!)” Thomas threw the bottle to the guards, it broke and the gas the chemical produced burned the guards eyes. Thrown into a sudden panic, they tripped over themselves and fell out the window to their demise. A heavy thud was heard under the night wind, but only Thomas seems to have heard it.

“(Don’t look, Thomas…)”

“(T-they’re-)”

“(We got to keep moving!)” He listened to the man, but Thomas won’t forget this, his first kill. They resume their way down the stairs, Thomas looked out a nearby window, it barely looked like they made any progress as he gives a heavy sigh, they reached another floor and went into a door.

“A...library?”

“(Looks like it- wait, I hear people!)” The voice said, Thomas removed some books and saw a group of men inside lounging around.

“(There’s no way we can get pass them by sneaking around, there’s someone at every blind spot…)”

“(What we’re going to do!?)”

“(Hmmmm...Thomas, look around the area.)” The boy did what he asked, he saw buckets of water, possibly for mopping and some lamps.

“(Thomas, take those small buckets of water in the direction of the men.)” Thomas did it and for the moment, no one seems to notice the water underneath their feet.

“(Ok, still got that metal piece and rubber glove?)”

“(Yeah!)”

“(Ok, put on the glove then cut a bit of wiring on the lamps and place them in the water!)” Thomas moved the lamps near the water, cut a bit of the wires and placed it in the water. The water help the electrical current flow its high voltage to the men lounging around, it shocked them helplessly as they were either fell unconscious or died. Thomas saw their bodies, some twitched, some grasp for air, well others lay waste with their mouth formed up and smoke coming out of their eyes. The boy avert his eyes as he ran pass the bodies and out the other end, but he didn’t know that someone was secretly watching him. Thomas was was making haste to the next flight of steps, but he heard footsteps heading his way. He tried to turn around but there were some coming behind him, the boy was trap and soon was going to be caught. The boy panicked as the voice in his head tried to figure something out, but there wasn’t any escape options in sight. As they began to lose hope, someone came down, picked up Thomas and took him to the ventilation ducts above.

“Wha-”

“(Shhhhh, be quiet or we’ll get caught!)” a younger voice said, the figure pointed down and they saw the men talking to each other. They were aware that both Thomas and another prisoner escaped somehow, they went away to notify the others. The two went out the vents and Thomas looked at the figure, it was the teenage assassin from before, Charlie.

“You were the boy from before, um...Charlie right?”

“Yes and yours was Thomas, right?”

“Yup, but why are you helping me, aren’t you working for the Romero’s?”

“Not anymore, I was thrown in the cells and been inside for weeks. But enough about me, I saw what you did.”

“W-well…”

“I’m going to be blunt, I know there’s something inside you. I highly doubt an eight year-old knew how to brew tear gas, use the water to help the electricity shock those men, and that bucket and rope.”

“...*sigh* Ok, you found me…” The man spoke out of Thomas’s mouth.

“I knew it, those things he did already said that something wasn’t right. Who are you?”

“...Douglas.”

“I call him Mr. Seaweed because of his oily hair!” Thomas told Charlie.

“Um...right. Anyways, there’s no way you two was gonna get out of here. I can help get you two out, but I'm gonna need your help as well. Having an extra pair of eyes can always be needed.”

“As long you get Thomas out, i’ll help. Come on!” The three resume their escape well David and the other were preparing to go to the jail house to rescue Thomas. The group went to the crimson weapons they took, unfortunately, the only fighters are David, Rin, Bill and Joey. Bill found a crimson whip with woven metallic threads, he took that well he gave Joey his old one. David took the crimson knife that he found well in the estate, if Kate was here they would would have more fighting power, but David doesn’t blame her for leaving given his behavior. Claudette and Feng were still going with him, he needs as much support as he needs. Something dropped from Bill’s shirt, Claudette picked it up.

“Bill, you dropped this!”

“Oh, thank you, was about to go crazy about it.”

“Why so?”

“Many years ago, a couple found me out and tried to kill me for a bounty-”

“You had one, for what?”

“He’s William Overbeck, also known as “The Becker” and former leader of the Beckers gang that is now the Romero’s” David explained.

“Anyways, the couple were poor, so they were probably trying to get anything they could. I killed them of course, even if they were poor, I can’t let myself die so easy. Before they passed, they gave me a letter to give to their son named Charlie. They asked me to give it to him if we ever come across each other, it was the least I could do...but I never encountered the kid so this has been with me for a while. I never even opened it, no need for me to do it.”

“Did they even say what he looked like?”

“Only that he has red hair, anyways, we better get back to preparing.” He said. Quentin soon opened up a door for them and they went threw, they came out the other end and they were back into the cold night. Bumbley and another horse was summoned, David, Rin, and Claudette rode together well Bill, Ace, Joey and Feng wedged on the other one. They rode in the direction of the jail house, hoping they can get to Thomas on time. Thomas and Charlie continued their descend down the jail house, the number of guards they had to take care of grew as their blood stain their hands. They reached another floor but Charlie took Thomas and hid themselves behind some supply crates, he felt a disgusting amount of malice near them. They peeked over and saw a bunch of guys roaming, but then saw a door open and saw Dwight walk in. Why was he here? Thomas wanted to run to him, but Charlie held him down. The guards came after him, but they were all slaughtered in an instant. The dark aura radiating from Dwight’s body was putrid, it was disgusting, evil, nothing could stand against it. Dwight went away as he continued his search, once again, Thomas wanted to see him but he’s too dangerous. After descending more, they reached an underground storage space, it was a large space and it had numerous vehicles inside but they didn’t have time as Dwight was making his way to them. Without thinking, they went inside a door but the inside was odd, it’s like they went into another storage room but it didn’t matter. They felt themselves going upward, like being lifted into the air. Charlie took Thomas throughout the place and found another door, inside seems like the control operation. Charlie never seen anything like this and nor did Thomas, but their concern wasn’t they panel, it was that whatever they were in was lifting in the air and the person controlling it was dead. They ran out the door they first came in from and stand on a platform with railings preventing them from falling, David group came near the jail house but saw the ground was moving, like it was retracting to release something. They stopped their horses and saw an extremely large object was rising in the air, they saw Thomas and another boy on the platform as they object goes higher into the air.

“DAAAVVIIIDDDD!”

“THOMAS! What the hell is that thing!”

“I heard of this in historical documents, it’s called a zeppelin, though the documents mention older models and nothing as complex as that, it still works the same.” Feng explained.

“Look at it go!”

“I don’t think our horses can much that thing’s speed!” Bill said, Claudette looked down where they zeppelin came from and saw numerous vehicles inside. They went to them, they figured the Romero’s would have something this advance, but David’s interest was what was under the white sheet. He pulled it off and saw another strange vehicle, it was similar to a bike with a motor like engine attached to it.

“Hmmm, I like it.”

“Ever rode something like that?”

“No, but I don’t have the time to learn. Thomas is in trouble and our horses aren’t gonna catch that thing. Claudette, Feng, and in one well the others get in another. COME ON!” Claudette started up one well Bill started the other, David started up the motorbike and they all chased after the zeppelin. Charlie took Thomas back inside, it was too dangerous for them to stay out but as soon they went in, someone grabbed Charlie and through him upwards through the zeppelin.

“That takes care of one, now.” Dwight looked at the whimpering boy, Thomas knows that’s not his father.

“Sayaka…”

“Wow, the child remembers my name, cute. See, the brat was fine...though, he isn’t in a good sp-” Sayaka stopped when a flash of red bolted towards here and punched her upwards, Charlie went after her and now the two were on top of the zeppelin. Storm clouds brew around them, thunder clapped for their upcoming battle as lighting raged in between the clouds. The voice told Thomas to hide and let the two go at it.

“Charlie, the teenage assassin, wielder of the deadly martial arts “the crimson ravine”. I have to say, for someone as young as you, you learned such a powerful technique.” Sayaka praised.

“So you’re that malice flowing around that man, to think someone would be scummy enough possess someone. How is that man doing?”

“He’s fine, aside from the constant crying. I only came here because he heard his son cry his name and refused to let me move until he sees his brat was ok. Don’t blame him, I did killed brat’s other father after all.”

“So the Smokey King was killed? That is sad to hear, but enough talk.” Charlie ready himself as he dashes towards Sayaka to strike her down. David and the others were right on the zeppelin trail, but they noticed they got company. The Romero’s followed them with vehicles of their own, they were shooting at them and ramming into each other. Rin climbed out of the vehicle and stood on top as Bill did the same, some of the Romero’s copied them and place the car near each other. As they fought, three more vehicles came towards David. Unlike the others, there’s nothing covering David’s body from gunshots, nor can he fight back. After dealing with the ones near her, Rin jumped in one of the vehicles, took the wheel and crashed it into another. Now only one stood in David’s way, but David concern was in the sky, where his son is.

Chapter Text

Charlie clashes his blade with Sayaka’s sword, the sparks flew as the lighting illuminated the clouds around them. Flashes of light glittered their faces, Charlie saw Sayaka’s eyes. Dull and murky, like someone throw a rock in muddy water but red as a ruby. But his attention wasn’t her face, wasn’t her laugh, her sinister look, it was her aura. Charlie saw it, a dark blackish-red aura surrounded her. He felt it, it was disgusting, putrid, it tainted the air and it could make someone vomit in an instant. What was she? What such evil lives inside her and furthermore, why she took the body of Dwight? Charlie remembers him, he was a fighter, but he was less than David and the woman. He stayed in the back, providing support, but now he’s up close with combat like this? So many thoughts flowed in his head, but he came out of the trance. Sayaka rushed to the boy with a killing intent, she swung her blade mercilessly as Charlie was struggling to keep up.

“I have to say, the fact you can keep up impresses me.”

“*Pants* W-whatever, why are you here? Why did this zeppelin started flying all of a sudden!?”

“Originally, the zeppelin was supposed to be a fly overseas into the Yamaoka estate. It was...a bomb of some sort, so I killed the operator , but it seems it still flew-”

“YOU WANTED THIS TO HAPPEN!”

“Actually the opposite, I already told you. Dwight wanted to see if his son was ok, so I came here and showed him he was...in a prison. Maybe he wasn’t safe now that I think about it.”

“And launching the person through a zeppelin who was protecting him was a smart idea!?”

“No, but it was fu-”

“CUT THE SHIT!”

“Hmmm?”

“I heard about the spiders in the east, was it you? You’re aura is nothing but pure malice, so only someone as insane as you could cause such a thing!”

“...*giggle* yes, it was me who started it and I plan to do more soon.”

“Why!?”

“Because my master plan isn’t ready to be played yet, so I wanted to play a bit more but…” Sayaka stopped and went in again to the boy, she unleashed another series of swings as Charlie did his best to defend himself. Thomas and Douglas heard the clashing of blades from blow, the clapping thunder couldn’t masked the sound. Charlie was kicked away, holding his stomach as he didn’t even leave a dent on Sayaka. He showed swiftness, his strength, but nothing worked. Sayaka raised her blade as lighting hit the blade, the electricity danced on the blade as Sayaka grew a devilish smile. Charlie looked at the twinkling blade, Sayaka jumped in the air and swung the blade. The lighting extended the blade with great length, Charlie dodged it by jumping forward but the blade went through the entire zeppelin. The zeppelin was cut in half and started to descend, the large opening sucked everything into the air. Thomas grabbed onto broken pipe as he held it for dear life, David and the rest saw the zeppelin cut in half and falling into the ground. Even with that, Sayaka wasn’t finished with the boy. The group below was still dealing with the Romero’s hot on their tail, Bill and Rin were hopping from car to car to lessen the numbers. Ace and Joey felt something, something dropped above them and it was swaying the vehicle.

“The hell, who’s heavy enough to make this thing sway this much!?” Ace asked.

“I’M NOT THAT HEAVY!” A burly and irritated voice shouted, Joey remembers that voice. Joey popped his head out and smile, it was Jeff. His weight swayed the car to another one as he hopped on it, bust the window and took the man out and let the vehicle crash into something as he jumped off. Thomas felt his hand coming off from the pipe he was holding, but instead of him letting out, the pipe broke off and he was sent flying into the air. The boy let out a scream for his life as David and Chalire saw the boy being sent into the air and plummeting to his death.

“THHOMMMAAAS! David screamed as he roared his motorbike to increase the speed, but the Romero’s were still on him. He was stuck between a rock and a hard place, but he needs to rush to Thomas to catch him but him getting shot at is keeping him a bay. His head started to hurt as irrational thoughts filled his mind until a large shadow zoomed passed him, then the vehicles that were chasing him suddenly crashed into each other. How? What happened? He turned his head and he saw an abnormally large bird carrying someone, it dropped a man on top of Claudette’s vehicle. She poked her head out and recognized the man, Jake.

“Jake!”

“Claudette, been a while. Glad we got here in time, but we’ll save the talk for later. CROW, HURRY AND GRAB THE BOY!” The bird let out a screech and soared into the air, the bird being faster than lighting itself caught the falling boy. The bird descended and dropped him onto David, he propped Thomas in front of him but Thomas couldn’t help but hug him.

“DAVID!”

“Oh Thomas! Thank fucking god you’re alright!” He told him, Bill drove by them with a vehicle he took. Thomas told them that their was someone who saved him, a red haired teen, Charlie. David didn’t understand why would he help him, but Bill asked more of the boy appearance. After Thomas told him, he clenched the letter. Claudette and the others grouped with David as they were tailing the zeppelin.

“Hey, Jake! You think that bird can lift me?”

“Yeah, she can, why?”

“I need to get to that zeppelin!” he told them.

“Bill, are you insane!? We got Thomas, we ne-”

“No, it’s a personal thing. If you want to leave then go, but i’m going to that boy!” David stared at him, he wasn’t going to leave Bill, he helped him so it’s only fair if he helps Bill. Crow latched her talons onto Bill’s arms and flew him towards the falling zeppelin. Charlie was was beaten, his technique was nothing to Sayaka. Her excitement grew into disappointment, Charlie got back up and went after her just to get knocked down again.

“*Sigh* such a sad sight. And here I thought meeting someone who learn such a deadly technique would keep me entertained, but all you were was a boy who got ahead of himself.”

“S-shut up, i’m not eb-”

“No, it’s not even about you being ahead of yourself. You move and fight like a battle-hardened warrior...but it felt like a child picking on things that’s smaller than him.”

“SHUT UP!”

“Hit a nerve? Tell me, you killed many people, right? Did they know that their opponent can rip their hearts out? Or that they can gather strength from the earth?”

“S-shut-”

“How could they put up a fight that's far out of their ability? You’re no fighter, you’re nothing more than bully picking on the weak!” she told, she gripped the child by the neck and lifted him up. He kicked and frailed, but in the end, he did nothing but cry. She was right, he was just a bully who picked on the weak. When he fought Jane, Rin and now Sayaka, he learned. He learned that they were experienced fighter, not him. He can never be like them, only handling the weak and cowering against the strong. If he couldn’t handle her, how could he possibly handle Bill? Sayaka tighten her grip, ready to snap his neck until something cracked the air. A crimson whip bolted towards her, she let go of the boy and the whip latched onto Charlie and pulled him towards the user. Bill held onto the boy, he would fight Sayaka but even he knew he wouldn’t stand a chance, not yet anyways. Sayaka let them go, she did what she was told. They got of the zeppelin as it crash into the ground, the explosion woke up the night as the flames matched the color of the rising dawn. The group stopped their vehicles near the crash site, David and Thomas got off and ran to see where was Sayaka. They ventured through the flames and saw her, she was brushing off the ashes off of her. When she saw David, her and Dwight’s eye couldn’t believe it, David was alive.

“Dwight…”

“(Oh?)”

“David, DAVID!” Dwight shouted, tears filled his eyes but something was wrong, why couldn’t he move? David’s in front of him, he should be rushing to him, but Sayaka wouldn’t let him. She laughed, she laughed at all of them as she felt what was in Dwight’s heart.

“W-what’s wrong, Dwight!?”

“I-I don’t know, I-I can’t move!”

“Ha, normally at times like these, you feel many emotions. Joy, excitement, delightfulness, but this is different. Dwight is thrilled to see you alive, but his heart? It’s filled with yearning, achiness, despair and desperation, how? Because him seeing you now is what causing it and now it’s overflowing! I can feel it, it’s...making me stronger!” She told as she let out a sinister laugh, then they saw it. The dark aura around her, he grew and grew as he came to Dwight. Dwight took one last look at David and Thomas as he reached his hand for them.

“DAVVVIIDD!”

“DWWIIGGHT!” The two screamed back as they watched the aura consumed him, then it splattered onto the ground and raised up. The dark aura formed something, suddenly the aura wore off and out came a woman. Her outfits were similar to their, her hair long and black as silk and topped off with a cowboy hot. Her skin was white as a wall, her eyes red as fresh blood, but she still had that menacing aura, it was Sayaka.

“No...NOOOO!”

“Ahhh, so much better. How I look? I decided to wear the clothing that’s common here, smart right?”

“Dwight….WHERE’S THE FUCK IS HE!?”

“Inside, I took control of almost everything of him. Though I do-”

“YOU BITCH!” a voice interrupted Sayaka but it wasn’t from David, but from Thomas mouth.

“You won’t get a ho-”

“Oh but I will, it’ll take time though. Still, my objective is the same and once it’s done, bye-bye Dwight.”

“You twisted witch! You think I'll allow that!?”

“T-Thomas?”

“You was that gross parasite I felt that coming in and out, so inside that boy you hid in.”

“A-anyways, he saw me. He knows I'm alive and coming back for him!” David shouted at Sayaka, but all she did was laugh again.

“You seem to forget, I control most of his body now, even bits of his mind.”

“What!?”

“Spirits feeds on the emotions of their host, the stronger the emotion, the stronger they are. But the same goes for someone unstable. Anyways, the emotions Dwight brew when he saw you gave me more power. So much power, I can even do something to his memories.”

“NO!”

“Yes, though I can’t completely rewritten or erase all memories because it’ll affect me. But, it doesn’t mean I can’t erase his recent memories, like the ONE WHEN HE SAW THAT YOU’RE ALIVE!”

“DON’T!”

“*Snaps fingers* oops, too late! Now, he doesn’t know you’re alive. Not to mention that he can’t see nor hear anymore, he only cries like the sad man he is.”

“WHY YOU!” David turned red as he went to pull out his revolver, but something held his arm and prevented him from doing so. David looked down and saw Thomas, he knew David was going to something irrational. Still colored red, he turned his head and saw Sayaka blade drew and swung.

“Hmph, lucky that boy stopped you. I was planning to chop your arm off again, you know, like last time. Also, I wouldn't try anything, this image is just a mere shell if you know what I mean. Anyways, i’ll take my leave.”

“I’M NOT LET-”

“Until next time.” The wind blew the smoke and absurd their vision, when it stopped, she was gone. David wanted to chase after her, but it’ll only get him and the others killed again. Even still, he failed twice as his chest ached. David took in a deep breath and took Thomas to the others. They went to Bill to check to see if he was alright, Charlie saw that his back was turned and tried to walk up and attack him.

“What you think you doing, kid?” Bill said without turning around, the boy stopped and looked down.

“Dropped that knife.”

“...” He listened to the old man, Bill walked over to him and told him to look up.

“...Charlie, right?”

“Yes sir…”

“This is for you.” He handed the boy the letter he held on for years.

“What...is this?”

“A couple tried to kill me years ago, I defended myself and killed them. Before they passed, they gave me this. They told me to give them to their son named Charlie.”

“...Dear Charlie, I don’t know what day, month, or year it is but please, don’t hate The Becker. We wanted to keep our home and continue providing enough for you, but we was running out of money too fast. We were too weak for bounties and we weren’t good enough to keep jobs, but we came across one bounty, The Becker’s. We knew the chance of us succeeding was almost to none, but we had to, to ensure a better future for you. I’m sorry, Charlie. Neither me or your mother wanted to leave you, if we could see you again, we’ll take it in a heartbeat. Wherever you are now, please be safe and know that we both love you. Signed by, Tommy Everstein…”

“I’m sorry for what I done, but I wasn’t going to die-”

“Nothing…”

“Huh?”

“It’s...all for nothing, my whole purpose was for nothing *whimpers*” Charlie sat down on the ground and started to cry.

“I-I wanted revenge because you killed them...but I didn’t know it was in defense...or that they didn’t want me to blame you.”

“Charlie…”

“Not to mention h-how beat up I am! I...couldn’t leave anything on Sayaka...or Jane, If I can’t beat them...how can I b-beat you. She’s right...i’m just...i’m just a b-bully AUUUUGHHHGH.” The boy cried his eyes out, he was nothing. Just a misguided boy who lead himself with no information and misjudged blame, now he was just a bully who picked on the weak and he knew it. He wasn’t a fighter, just a weakling but not to Thomas. He walked to the crying boy and wiped his tears.

“W-what you want!?”

“You...were sad.”

“Why the fuck wouldn’t I!? I lost my parents, i’m weak and I can’t fight!”

“Yes you can, you he-”

“Because they were weaker than me!”

“No...it was because you’re smarter than them. You’re strong, Charlie. But...youre doing everything alone.”

“...”

“Listen kid, you’re young. Yeah, you know some fancy moves, but throwing yourself at people who know what they’re doing isn’t smart. You were cocky, that why you lost.”

“...”

“But you’re not weak, but you can’t jump right in. Baby steps, taking your time will help you grow.” Bill told him.

“Even with that...what can I do now?”

“You can come with us!” Thomas suggested.

“No.”

“Please!”

“No!”

“Please, please, please!” Thomas kept asking over and over again, David told Charlie he wasn’t going to stop until he say yes. In a large outburst, he agreed to come if Thomas shut up. Charlie got up and went to David.

“I better introduce myself properly, i’m Charlie Everstein. But is it...really ok for me to come with you?”

“Yeah. Despite our fight a while ago, I never really had anything against you. The more people we can get, the better, welcome aboard. QUENTIN!” A door appeared out of thin air, everyone went inside well David took the motorbike with him as the door disappeared. Once inside, Charlie became fascinated with the library. Before he asked, David asked Quentin to make another door. He has some business to attend to, Thomas wanted to come but David told him to wait for him instead. The door came and David went inside and the door shut itself. Kate was walking in the dark forest, her surroundings started to light up as the morning sun was rising. She rubbed her arms to warm herself up, but she stopped when a door was in front of her and out came David. Her face turned sour as she had no time for him, David took off his hat and held it near his chest.

“Kate…”

“What do you want, King!”

“I came to apologise.”

“Save it! You said what you said-”

“-out of sear panic and frustration, my mind is fucked up...and when I saw Thomas wasn’t anywhere, I just couldn’t think straight.”

“...”

“If you don’t want to help or come ba-”

“Stop...just stop. *Sigh* Me and Adam...we were childhood friends, our families were well acquainted with each other. It was nice, until the Romero’s came. The area we lived in was now part of her territory, but none of us wanted to give it up. So we fought back...and we lost, they had more manpower than us, so we had to give up. Months passed and our parents couldn’t handle the work from Jane anymore, so they tried to escape and took us with them...but they failed. They were caught and brought back, then...they were killed in front of everyone. But they’re death wasn’t enough, so she decided that we need to die as well. They put sacks over our faces and tied us up as they threw us in water, we was scared, so scared. But that same fear was what gave us the strength to fight back, we bit apart the sacks and helped each other until the ropes. We made back on top, but it was just a couple of kids who was forced on our own. Years passed and we worked our asses off to get to we are now, that’s why. I want to kill Jane with my bare hands, not only for our parents, but for everyone else lives she ruined! That’s why I have territories of my own, it was originally Jane’s, like Dwight’s town. The reason why they can do what they please is because they’re not under Jane’s thumb anymore.” David stared at her, he knew there was something about the Romero’s that stabbed her somehow. He took in a deep breath and flicked her a bullet to Kate, she caught it and saw that it had David’s name on it. When someone becomes an outlaw or bounty hunter, they engrave one bullet with their name on it. When an outlaw or bounty hunter gives someone an engraved bullet, that grants the person permission to kill the outlaw or bounty hunter if they fail to keep a promise.

“Kate, we will find Adam and we will get to him before anything terrible happens to him. I know I won’t be able to convince you with anything else, so that was the only way. If I fail and Adam...isn’t with us, you can kill me. All I ask is make sure Thom- huh?” Kate threw the bullet back at David, he caught it as she walked up to him.

“King, we’re not the greatest of friends or the bestest of rivals. I hate spilling so much blood, but I hate it more when I kill someone knowing they have a family of their own. I...can’t separate you from Thomas, especially when his other father is in trouble. I’ll come back, but I want to find Adam immediately, him not being near me worries me every second…”

“We’ll rest first, you missed a lot and we’re all exhausted. Once we’re rested, we’ll get to work on finding him, I promise.”

“You better! Now, we better get back before your son starts crying, QUENTIN!” The door reappeared and they went inside and came back. No one was there but Rin, Kate went away to rest herself, just leaving the pair by themselves.

“*Sigh* tonight was all kinds of crazy, nice to have some peace and quiet.”

“*Giggle* yes, it was most definitely an eventful night. I guess we should rest to?”

“Hold on, I want you to follow me.” David lead her to a piano not too far from them.

“I didn’t know this place had one…”

“Me either, but that's not the point. That song your mother sings to you, I got Quentin to translate it and gave me the notes so I can play it on the piano.” David took a seat as Rin sat next to him.

“You know how to play a piano?”

“Yeah, but just know that i’m not the greatest singer.”

“It’s ok, nor was my mother. *giggle*” David laugh as he started playing the song, the melody was beautiful. Rin’s mother never used any instrument when she sings, but still hearing this with the piano brought back Rin most precious memories, her and her mother. Not only Rin, but the others heard the piano and singing too. Just like Rin, it brought them the sweetest of memories. Charlie dreamt of his parents, Bill remembers his days with his son. Kate remembers her and Adam’s family well Thomas remembers being held by both Dwight and David. That night, everyone dreams brought them great comfort from the uneasy night.

Chapter Text

Boom was the noise that woke everyone up from their peaceful dream, what caused it? Whatever caused it threw everyone in a slight panic, David eyes widened as Thomas slowly rises up and rub his eyes. He asks David what happened, he couldn’t answer as he picked up his son and headed to the one place the noise could of came from, Herman’s lab. When he got to it, he was joined by everyone else, even Lisa who was still with them for some reason. The lab was covered in ashes, like it something blew up inside.

“Well...at least we know it was in here.” David said.

“Yeah, but where’s Herman?”

“I’m right here.” They turned and saw something removed itself from the blackened wall, it was Herman and his body was covered in ash. He began to wipe the ash off him, but the group so that he wasn’t wearing clothes again. He brushed most of it off except from his manhood.

“W-w-wait! Let’s just let the ashes their until you get some clothes, there’s children here, Herman.” Claudette reminded him.

“Suit yourself, but i’m glad you are all here actually. I just got finished!”

“With?”

“Them!” He went over to a hanging sheet and pulled it back, he revealed the two clones they brought back from the estate. One has medium-length tied into a bun with side bangs, she wore a long white dress with matching leggings underneath and a leather jacket with fur inside. Her personality was cheery and giddy, everything excited her as she showed nothing but curiosity. The other was different, she had shorter hair and wore a small hat above it. She wore a button up covered with a black vest with formal pants and a matching jacket like the other clone. Her personality was sharp but bitter, she was snarky and nothing really peaked her interest. If anything, she pretty much just bored but she’ll get the job done when told to.

“Hello everyone, it’s soooo exciting to finally meet you all!”

“It’s not for me…” the bitter one expressed.

“Nice to meet you too Rin and...Rin? Maybe we should give them different names, calling them both Rin will just confuse all of us.” David suggested.

“They already did it, let them introduce themselves.”

“You can call me, Ms. Yamaoka, pleasure to meet you!”

“You can call me, Spirit…”

“Well then, Ms. Yamaoka, Spirit, welcome aboard. I’m David King and this is Thomas! Hey doc, the clones were went against didn’t really have personalities, so why do they?”

“Simple. As you know, the main material source for the clones were the flesh of the children and Rin’s DNA, so I mixed two of y’alls DNA. I the DNA from Claudette’s bodily fluids-”

“WHAT!?”

“-And Kate’s bodily fluids-”

“EXCUSE ME!?”

“-And put it in these two, hope that answers that. Anyways, enough with introduction-”

“Hold on, there’s one more.”

“Pardon?” David put down Thomas and stared at him.

“Why don’t you come out and say something...DOUGLAS!” Everyone's eyes widened at they pointed their heads to Thomas, the boy was quiet.

“Ha...hahaha, of all people, I knew it would be you, David. Quite fast too, I only spoke for a few minutes and you already figured it out?”

“You know me, always watching. Plus, who wouldn’t question that Thomas’s voice suddenly went deep. But my question is...how?”

“Well-”

“Hold on, Douglas? The Douglas Fairfield, like as in Dwight’s dad?” Kate asked.

“The one and only and I have to say, he made some interesting friends.” He joked but no one was laughing and he knows why.

“Listen everyone, I’m aware of the situation. I know what happened to Dwight and it pains me each and every day, but at our state, we can’t save him. We need to be patient, I hate having to be patient...especially when my son is in danger…”

 

“We’ll get him, Douglas. But for right now, we’re missing someone and we need to find him and hopefully fast.”

“Excuse me, but was the guy tall one with a monocle?”

“You seen him, Charlie?”

“Seen? No, but I have heard of him. He wasn’t brought to the jailhouse, he was being taken somewhere else. I believe the town they pass was...Clover’s town?” he answered.

“Where’s that, David?”

“Actually, I never heard of that place. Douglas?”

“Nope, just as clueless as-”

“Wait, I know the place!” Ace interrupted, he grew a smile and turned a bit red as he finally got the spotlight.

“It’s a hidden town that only high-end gamblers and government officials knows about, I can easily give the location and Quentin can take us there!” he told them, David didn’t mind the idea and they did got plenty of sleep already. He decided to take Ace and Rin’s proclaimed sisters with them, Kate was obviously going since it involved Adam.

“David, mind if I join you?” Douglas asked.

“...”

“I know what you are thinking, but it’s just a simple investigation. He’s my son, please. I’ll make sure I'll keep him safe, I can take control over Thomas if things gets sticky now since his mind is stable unlike before.” David bends down and started to whisper to Douglas.

“(Doulgas...what do mean by that? Did…)”

“(I’m sorry, David...there was no way for us to sneak around them. His mind was in shambles, so I couldn’t control him, so...I had to make him…)”

“(God...what kind of father am i-)”

“(David, father to father. We’re not in any ordinary situation, sometimes we are forced to do things in order to live...even if that means children hands will be stained with blood.)”

“(*Sigh* you’re right, but still...ok. You can come, having more eyes on Thomas helps me a lot.) Ok, Ms. Yamaoka, Spirit, Ace, Kate, and Claudette. We’re leaving, get ready, we’re finding Adam.” They all nodded their heads as they headed back in their rooms and got prepared, they grouped up afterwards and Quentin opened up the door and in they went. They came out and saw that it was night and it was fresh, they must of slept the day away. They looked around and were blinded by flashing bright lights, the stench of alcohol filled the streets but that wasn’t the main attraction of the town. Intoxicated fools roam about, food being littered, prostitutes of both genders trying to pick up a client. Clover’s town and some other towns are known as the red light districts, a place solely for adult entertainment. The group flashed red as Ace just grew a smile, but soon turned purple. David gripped him by his neck and pulled him forward irritation in his eyes.

“You got fucking thirty seconds to tell me why you didn’t say this was a red light district!”

“Hey David, some people are wearing some fancy- where’s her underwear?”

“FIVE FUCKING SECONDS, ACE!”

“T-THE MATTER I-ISN’T THAT IT A RED L-LIGHT DISTRICT! I have been around the block and I know people, l-let’s just relax and get the information.” David let him go and he drew in a deep breath, Ace lead them into a building. Unfortunately, it was a brothel, crawling with women and men ready to serve any paying customer. Ace gawk at some of them, but his gawking stopped when David’s hand gripped his neck again. He let him go and he took them to the bar stand, the bartender turned around and recognized him.

“Damn clock, never wants to wo- huh? Ace!? It has been years since I last saw you, you’re here for the Tracy or Connor special?”

“N-no, (I don’t want to get choked out again).”

“You two know each other?”

“Who hasn’t? Ace Visconti, the silver gambler. The man who only play high stakes because he has nothing to lose in the end, strong rep. No one likes playing against him and the ones who do loses everything, they say he’s blessed with dumb luck.”

“What can I say? I put my heart into the cards and I let them guide me. Anyways, I came here for information. There was a man taken by the Romero’s and was supposing-” He stopped, the bartender made a gesture to tell Ace he was being loud. David’s stealthy looked around, he did seen was wondering eyes.

“(I heard of the Romero’s passing by, but I can’t say it was with the man you’re looking for. Talk to the other bartenders, they might know something...huh?)” The music that was playing in the brothel stopped then played a different melody, the piano played a slow song but it had sour notes that hurt everyone's ears. Once finished, it played the original melody from before. They left the brothel and hopped from bar to bar, trying to get information on Adam. All the bars ended with the same results, all of them couldn’t answer them, they complained about their clocks being wrong. The strange melody played again, but the sour notes were played at different parts. Thomas thought it was strange that this happen not once, not twice, but four times. With nothing left for them to do, they just started asking around but they quickly stopped, asking around in the open and so frequently will only cause suspicion. They took another quick look well Thomas went to some passed out people on the ground, they reeked of alcohol but he wanted to see if they’re ok.

“They seem to be wasted…” Douglas pointed out, Thomas reached for the bottles in their hands.

“Why does this stuf-”

“Whoa Thomas, that stuff is for adults.” Douglas told him, the boy stopped his reach for the bottle and turned his back. One of the bodies flinged itself up standing, Douglas felt something behind him. He quickly took over the boy’s body as he turned around and stopped a swinging arm, he then took the blade that the body had and stabbed their hand in the ground. He back up as the others just noticed and rushed over.

“Thomas, Douglas, are you two alright!?”

“Yes, this man tried to assault us from behind.”

“O-oh, thanks Douglas...Douglas?”

“...”

“What’s wrong?”

“I was able to knock down the body with Thomas’s…”

“So what, what difference does it make?” Kate asked.

“Unlike Sayaka, I don’t give Thomas any supernatural enhancements. Thomas’s strength is my strength, something isn’t right…” David went over to the body, there was no blood running from the stabbed hand. The body stopped moving, David removed the hat the body and saw a wooden head.

“It’s...a puppet?”

“DAVID!” Douglas shouted to warn him, the other bodies flung themselves at David, but Kate shot them all down. They were puppets as well, David squinted his eyes and saw something simmering in the air. He pulled out his crimson knife and cut down what seemed to be wiring, someone or something was controlling them. But he couldn’t determine where the master was as more disguised puppets came out to assault them, they grouped up as they got ready to defend themselves.

“MS. YAMAOKA, SPIRIT! FOLLOWING THE WIRING AND FIND WHO’S CONTROLLING THEM!”

“Ok!”

“*Sigh*” The two jumped on the rooftops and followed the wiring as the group fought off the puppets, the two noticed the wiring were moving, meaning they were close to whoever is controlling them. They saw that the wiring lead to a window, they kicked their way threw to catch the culprit, but all that was inside was sticks of dynamite lit up. An explosion occurs and it caught the attention of the others.

“SHIT, MS. YAMAOKA-”

“Yes!”

“AHHHH!” The two were fine, but they were covered in ashes.

“A-are you two ok?”

“Yes! We were following the wiring and it lead to a window.”

“We got inside, but it was a trap and had dynamite inside. Quite boring…”

“It was interesting for me, my first time experiencing a trap, how exciting!” Ms. Yamaoka said, growing her smile and eyes lighting up like the night sky.

“Well, let’s get out of here. This place isn’t safe and I doubt the puppets won’t come back, QUENTIN!” A door came and they went back to the library, Kate went to a shelf and leaned against it as David rubbed his chin. He might have an idea of what’s going on, he gathered everyone but Thomas stopped him.

“*Whispers*”

“Oh, you caught on to that too?”

“Yeah...I kinda want to be smart and...keen?”

“*Giggle* yeah, you used it right. Ok then, i’ll leave the explaining.”

“Everyone, come here!” They went to a large table with Thomas at the center.

“King, what the hell he’s doing?”

 

“Thomas figured something, he wanted to-”

“King, I don’t have time for a child!”

“Kate, you trust me, right?”

“W-well...yeah, so what?”

“I trust Thomas, you can rely on him. He’ll find Adam, I promise.”

“...UGH, fine! Get on with it, kid!”

“Ok, I'll start with a question. What do we know so far?”

“That none of the bars and people we went to knew nothing of Adam.” Kate answered.

“Ok, but think! What did all the bars had in common?” the boy asked, they all scratched their heads until Ms. Yamaoka answered.

“Oh! Are you talking about the strange melody that?”

“Yes, each bar played the same melody, the melody was the alphabet song.”

“That’s the song they play for children, right?” Bill asked.

“Yes, that was the song played-”

“So what, what’s so important?” Kate interrupted.

“Remember that each time melody played, there was some sour notes, right? If I remember correctly...it was A,E,N,T for the first bar. A,H,I,T for the second bar. A,D,I,R,S for the third bar. D,M,N,O,R for the fourth bar.”

“Ok, we got a bunch of random letters, what of it?”

“Besides the melody, what else did the bars had in common?”

“...Hey, didn’t the clocks were wrong?” Ace answered.

“Yes, the clocks were wrong. The first one was 4:26, the second bar was 2:22. The third one was 1:47 and the last one was 3:15. So if we take the scrambled the letters according to the time-”

“Normd, hait, taen and adirs!” Joey said, trying to act like he figured it out but he didn’t.

“Um...no. The words would still be scrambled, but with a little more careful rearranging…” Thomas did more rearranging and he scrambled letter soon became words.

“Adam, train, north, side. Adam is somewhere northside of the town on a train i’m guessing.” Thomas answered, everyone praised Thomas for figuring something out.

“I get it, the time of the clocks weren’t telling us how to unscramble them, they were placed them in order to make it easier to unscramble!

“Way to go, Thomas!”

“You did all of that by yourself, proud of you!”

“Good head on your shoulders, kid.” They all were amazed by Thomas observations, but it came to an end when slow clapping was being echoed in the library. The clapping became louder as a man in dark clothing approached them, Jed.

Chapter Text

The clapping slowly stopped, Jed came from nowhere as he gave the group a crooked smile. How did he get in here, what is he? David did remember the phone, how he smashed it and another one appeared.

“Well look at this, of all people, I didn’t think it’ll be the boy. Hats off to you, little genius.”

“Jed…”

“Oh, you remembered, and here I thought you’ve forgotten me again. I’m glad you were able to figure out my little puzzle.”

“I already knew it, Thomas just wanted to say it instead. How did you get in here?”

“I work in...strange ways.”

“Strange my ass, Quentin, what is he?” Quentin summoned a book to look up Jed Olsen, but the book didn’t show anything but blank pages.

“I-I don’t understand...every human in existence should be documented here.”

“That’s because you can’t look up someone that didn’t exist a human in the first place.” he told him.

“What!?”

“Not every being is born a human.” He told them, Jed called over the book and it flew to his hand.

“Danny Johhson.” He asked the book to find, the book flop its pages and found the name. He then tosses the book to David as he reads about the name.

“...Wait, I still don’t get it. This says that Danny died years ago, if that happened then what are you?”

“Years ago, Danny met an orphaned boy named Frank Morrison. For years he cared for him, acted like his older brother or parental figure or whatever. Unfortunately, Danny fell ill with a terrible disease, a rare one with no cure. Frank cried day and night knowing there wasn’t anything that could save him, except for one night. Danny didn’t want to leave the boy, so he did what he could and gathered the material for a summoning. He was going to make a deal with a demon, he knew only the powers of the beyond could help him. So well Frank was asleep, he performed the ritual. He was lucky, normal humans can’t perform it, but Danny’s spirit was strong, far stronger than anyone else. He completed it and summoned me, Jed Olsen. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the cure for him. Instead, we made a swap. If I can keep his body alive, he has to keep pumping his spirit into me, forcing me to take over until he was nothing but a name under the wind. He woke up feeling brand new and Frank was filled with joy, couldn’t blame him. As days went on, Danny...actually talked to me, like we were friends. I didn’t understand it at first, but...it felt nice. Months went on...and I liked him, so instead of taking his spirit, I continued to live inside him and keep the disease from killing the body. We decided to keep on with the name Jed, Frank went along without questioning. So Danny Johnson was pronounced dead by officials, but we continued as Jed Oslen.”

“So...a demon, add that to the list of things that I shouldn’t meet…”

“I’m sorry if Jed came on too strong, he kinda just does what he wants…” another voice told the group, Danny’s

“O-oh, you can talk too. Well, he didn’t attack us (and couldn’t anyways). But you still didn’t tell us what you want or why you’re helping us?”

“Well, think of it like this. This story...is too good to end, but there've been some things that affect the flow of the story. So, i’m here to keep it at a consistent rate. When something is going too fast, I slow it down. When it’s too slow, I speed it up. An example is when Adam and that little guy got kidnapped, you weren’t going to be able to find them so I sped things up by giving you some hints.”

“...Well, if that’s why you’re here then get! I don’t want you near Thomas or anyone.”

“Very well, until next time I guess.” Jed and Danny started walking to a door Quentin summoned, he stopped and looked at Quentin.

“Hmph, so this is the library's new pet?”

“Huh?”

“Oh nothing, see you around.” The door faded away but what Jed said stuck in his head, what did he mean by him being the library’s new “pet”? He put it aside as David gathered everyone again, it was time to get back Adam so they can get back on track.

“Ok, let’s not worry about Jed or Danny. We now know where Adam is and hopefully we can get him as quick as possible, so here’s the plan. The train is northside, if what Jed said is true, then the train should be still stationary. We’ll wait until the train pushes then chase after it, we’ll get on it, take care of anyone on it and get Adam. All agree?” They all shook their heads, this job is going to need a lot of them. They all left to their rooms to prepare, Charlie wandered around until he came across Bill’s. He was looking at a picture, but it brought him more pain than joy. He wiped his eyes. A slight creaking noise was made, it caught Bill’s attention and caught the boy.

“U-um, sorry for interrupting you…”

“No need, it’s my own fault for looking at the picture and leaving the door open.”

“I-if it’s ok, what’s on it.” Bill told him to come over and seat with him on the bed.

“It’s my son, Matthew, sometimes I call him Matty.”

“I didn’t know you had one, people never said that about you.

“Yeah, I...don’t blame them.”

“What happened?”

“It’s a long and painful story, so settle up. 40 years ago, I accidently got a woman pregnant. She eventually found me and left something at my door, a small carriage with a baby and a note. She didn’t want to raise him nor did she even want children, so she stuck him with me. I wanted to send him to an orphanage, I was still the leader of my gang, so keeping a child was dangerous. But when I looked into those bright blue eyes of his, I couldn’t let go of him. The note didn’t have a name on it, so I gave him one, Matthew Overbeck. It...was difficult, being a single father and being the leader of a gang was a hustle. Even still, I watched him grow and grow for 10 years, but I had to make a choice. I had to choose between my gang or retire and properly raise Matthew. I chose my child, everyone was disheartened but agreed with me. None of them were fathers but it was smart for me to stop, they told me one by one how they’ll miss me and Matty. But one day, that day brought misfortune for me. A rival gang caught wind of Matty, so when I went out, they attacked and took him. I came back to our hideout ransacked, I asked what happened and they told me. Jane went after them, she didn’t want him to die. I rushed as fast as I could on a horse...but it was too late. When I got to their place, Jane was wounded and Matty was killed. He was shot in his head, at least they made it painless for him. I took Jane back and fell into despair, but I didn’t sway myself. I grieved for days, he was so young *sniffle* and had such amazing blue eyes that i’ll never see again. After I collected myself, I remained in my gang…”

“I’m...i’m so sorry. I guess it’s true, everyone goes through something... i’m real sorry for trying to kill you.”

“Hey, you were misguided, it’s common for kids.”

“D-don’t refer me to a kid, I’m way more mature to be called that.”

“Ha, i’ll stop once you grow a few more inches, you’re quite short for your age actually. You drink milk?”

“You know that isn’t always the case, right?”

“Yeah, but still can help you grow.”

“...I don’t like milk.” he told the old man, Bill scratched his chin and went into a drawer. He pulled out a little sack, went and got a bottle of milk and poured what was ever in the sack into the milk and shook it.

“Here, try this.”

“What’s in it?”

“Cocoa powder, try it and see if you like it.” The boy took a sip, his eyes drowned in the flavorful experience. Bill knew he’ll enjoy the drink, chocolate is a common treat children and adults like.

“I had to hide this stuff because Joey and Feng kept stealing some.”

“I don’t blame them, I might my-” Charlie felt a gripped on his head, a tight one as it started to hurt. He turned to Bill and saw stream letting off of him.

“Touch my powder, then whatever is in your head will decorate my walls!”

“OKAY, OOWWWW, STOP!” Bill let go, Charlie felt his wrath and rather not see it again.

“I’ll make sure to get you some more clothes after we’re finished getting Adam.”

“Wait, why...are you telling and helping me this much?”

“...don’t take it weird but… you kinda look like Matty.” He answered before leaving, Charlie looked away as he continued to sip on his drink. David soon called everyone, it was time to get Adam. All but Herman, Ace, Jeff, Adiris and Herman stood behind. Quentin opened up a door and they found themselves near some railroad track, they position themselves further away. David didn’t like that Thomas was here, but it’ll be mostly Douglas controlling him. Even with that in mind, he still doesn't want Thomas's body in harm's way. The night still littered the sky, but hours passed. When was the train coming, was it even coming at all?

“We been here for hours, King! We’ll freeze to death if we stay out here any longer.”

“She’s right, the temperature is at its coldest at night, staying out could be bad for us.” Bill agreed.

“Jed hasn’t been wrong before, not to mention he’s been helping us for the longest time...Feng, didn’t you say you have some binoculars?”

“Yeah?”

“Hand it over.” David looked down the tracks, he saw it. A train with an odd design was making its way to the group, David told the group to get ready. Half of them hopped on the horses well he took Rin and Thomas on the motorbike, Crow took the sky as the train passed by them. Something was wrong, the train was going at an extreme pace. It zoomed past the group as it let out its horn that echoed the night. The group chased after it, but they were coming to a problem. The ground they were on was on top of was a crayon as they came to a cliffside, the train was already crossing a bridge. With no other option, the group jumped despite the height. Bill grabbed hold of Charlie as he threw his whip and it latched onto a rail of a cart, he then swung him into a window to one of the passenger carts. Crow came in and caught Jake and Kate and brought them to on top of the speeding train, Joey tried to imitate Bill. He told the others to latch on his legs as he threw his whip, he missed and it latched on the very ends of the train. Claudette, Feng, Joey and Nea were now screaming for dear life as the train continued to run. David grabbed onto Thomas and Rin as they jumped, letting the bike fall down and become out of sight.

“I’m definitely gonna miss that…”

“Maybe we’ll find another one. Crow, take us down to the train.” Crow screeches as she trains them near the train, Rin got off first but Crow flew off. Bullets were shot at them, the Romero’s. Multiple vehicles were below it chasing the train, unleashing a number of bullets to David. David wasn’t the only one dealing with them, they were inside with Bill and Charlie, almost like they predicted them coming. Same with Kate and Jake who now were inside, they were waiting for them. As they deal with the ones inside, Crow flew David high in the air, he can’t keep holding onto Thomas and Crow. He told Crow to toss him upward as he told Thomas to hold onto him, he took off his jacket and removed his button-up as he tied them together.

“(Be fast, be fast, be fast!)” he constantly told himself, the cold wind hit his body and he shivered in return, but he did what he wanted. He made a small hammock for Thomas so it’ll be easier for him to carry. Lastly, he took off his belt and put the buckle through Crow’s talon. Unfortunately, his pants fall down, exposing his underwear and his lower half to the cold night. Kate and Jake were handling Romero's inside, Jake told her to go look for Adam. But before she could even look, something crashed into the cart they were in. They looked at the damage and saw the large hole into the cart, what caused this? Bill and Charlie knelt from the sudden shock, they saw some of the Romero’s fly out of the cart. They saw the hole, Charlie scanned the area and saw dark clothed figures, the Yamaoka clones. They were shooting high grade explosives at the train from below, not caring who or what was in it.

“Great, first the Romero’s and now them!”

“Bill, more are coming!” Bill shifted his focus on the fight, Rin was going to the last cart to pull up the others who were still hanging on. She cut her through men and women with ease, nothing out of the ordinary for her. She jumped down to the platform and pulled the others towards her.

“*Sigh* Thanks, Rin. Sorry for messing that up everyone.” Joey apologises.

“It’s ok Joey, it’s better than us falling to our deaths.” Claudette told him, they entered the cart but paused, Jed was inside alongside bundles of explosives. Rin pulled out his blade, Jed yawn as he stood back up.

“What are you up to, Jed...or Danny.” Nea asked.

“Nothing really, I’m just surprised that all these explosives are in here. Seem the Yamaoka and the Romero’s really are going toe-to-toe, not mention-”

“-ADAM!” Kate shouted, he was tied up and gagged. She set him free, but there was no time for a reunion.

“The breaks, there’s no breaks for the train. It’s in full gear and it’s going straight into the next town!”

“WHAT!?”

“The last cart is filled with explosives, the Yamaoka clones planted them when the Romero’s weren’t looking. If we don’t do something to stop the train, we’re all not making it out alive!” Kate went out and found a way to the top of the carts, she saw David in the air taking care of the Romero’s in the vehicles. Once he was done, he flew to Kate since she was signaling him.

“WHERE THE HELL ARE YOUR CLOTHES!?”

“NOT IMPORTANT! What’s wrong?”

“The train is going at full speed on purpose, someone broke the brake mechanics and the train is packed with explosives! We gotta find a way to stop it!” David nodded and went to the last cart where he saw Rin pull up the others, he arrived and saw the explosives through it. Claudette ran out to him.

“David, I- um...why are your clo-”

“NOT IMPORTANT!”

“R-right! I have an Idea, but we need to get ahead of the train, far ahead. Rin, I'm going to need you too. Everyone else, try to help out Bill or Kate.” Claudette and Rin latched onto David’s body, Crow flew against the wind ahead of the train. Unfortunately, David had another wardrobe malfunction. The wind blew his underwear down, the others saw it and turned red, not looking upwards.

“H-HEY, NO LOOKING UP!” he told all of them, but Thomas did anyways.

“David, why that snake is so b-”

“DON’T LOOK, THOMAS.”

“But it just shrunk…”

“DON’T LOOK!” He screamed at the child, Crow flew them ahead from the speeding train. The train needed to pass a large bridge first, below was a forest, this was what she was hoping for.

“If we can cut down some of the beams, the bridge wouldn’t be able to handle the weight of the train. It’ll fall down into the forest and the trees will act as a blockade to stop the train...hopefully.”

“Then I guess that’s where Rin comes in, cut down some of the beams.” Rin nodded his down head and let go, she dive to the bridge and cut down many of the beams holding up the bridge. Crow came near and Rin jumped back on David’s body, she then flew them back to the train but dropped them. She went somewhere to rest, she was tired from carrying multiple people for so long. David and the others landed near Bill and the rest, they just finished with their fight.

“WHERE THE HE-”

“NOT IMPORTANT!” He interrupted, pulling up his underwear and told them to get inside. They fell onto Kate and her group, he stopped her from yelling at them as he told everyone to hold onto something. They grabbed hold of anything they could, David shielded Thomas as they brace for impact. The train reached the bridge, but the weight broke it and made the train fall. It landed on the ground, sliding down the cliffside into the forest and crashing into trees. One after another, the tree did what they could to slow down the train. The windows shattered, the seats broke off, the explosives toss and turn as the group prays that it won’t go off. The train soon stopped, the group opened their eyes. Claudette’s plan worked and the explosives didn’t go off, but they were all exhausted. Despite living through the crash, they all fumbly walked out the train and flop to the ground.

“Jesus fucking christ, how did we lived through that!?”

“I like to know the same thing.” Jed asked, suddenly appearing out of thin air.

“What do you want, Jed?”

“Nothing, just here to congratulate you all.”

“Fuck off.” Kate told him, Jed laughs as he helps each of them up.

“Still, you guys saved a lot of people. Now that’s taken care of and you have Adam, the story is back to its normal flow.”

“...Thanks for your help, but i’m keeping an eye on you.”

“Do as you please, but take this.” Jed threw him some keys.

“There’s a building near here, it’s behind a stone wall that looks like a face in the crayons. Don’t worry, no one is patrolling it. Now if you excuse, I better get back before Frank becomes cranky. Until next time, David King.” Jed vanished like he did in the Yamaoka’s lab when he put on his mask, David doesn’t understand why he wants the story to have a “flow” but he just went with it. David called Quentin and the group went back inside the library, like previous stated, they were terribly exhausted. But not too long after their return, David and Thomas went back out to the crayon where Jed told them where the building was. They found it and used the keys to get inside, David flicked on some lights to lighten the place up. But they found something neither of them thought they would find, something far greater than a motorbike.

Chapter Text

“Oh thank fucking god, I just want to relax…” David said, flopping himself on the bed. Thomas climbed on his back well Rin took a seat on a chair.

“Yes, these past two days has been quite eventful.”

“You’re telling me! We went to japan, found an underground lab, took down a zeppelin and stopped a train from blowing up. No sane person would even dare to do any of that!”

“Go thing we’re aren’t sane, hmmm?”

“Ha, I guess. Jesus...well, everything is back on track. Just let me rest my feet for a bit and we’ll have a meeting to discuss what’s next. *Yawn* Rin, can you watch Thomas?”

“Of course.” David thanked her and let out another exhausted sigh as he buried his face in the pillow, Thomas tapped David’s head, but all he got was a loud snore. Rin took Thomas out and went to Herman’s lab, Adiris and Herman were looking over some experiments.

“Hello, Ms. Adiris. What are you up too?”

“Looking over...this?” She held up a loaf of screaming bread, she tossed it and wiped her hands.

“I swear, Herman. You never cease to amaze me, shocking to see what science can do.”

“It’s my job as a scientist to go to extreme lengths to do the impossible, I always wanted to revive the dead.”

“The dead shouldn’t be messed with-”

“Yet here’s David.”

“Even with David, reviving the dead...is complex.”

“Rin, what does complex mean?”

“It means it’s very difficult to perform or to understand.”

“Oh...Adiris, why would it be difficult?”

“Well, I guess I can explain since we have the time. Every person is born with a spirit, unless they’re artificially created. Throughout the years, the spirit grows stronger within the bidy, some people spirits grow to a point where the individual gains inhuman abilities. Like your father being able to talk to animals, or Thomas becoming a medium for Douglas. When a person dies, their spirit lingers in their body before departing. This is where the resurrection comes in, so pay attention. There’s short resurrection and complete resurrection, both require the strength of the spirit. A short resurrection is David’s case. If the individual possesses a strong spirit, then the spirit will keep the body alive when it is supposed to be dead. That’s why David was able to hear Thomas, his spirit heard his cries and brought him back. That allowed David’s body to heal with Rin’s special ointment, David should have died that day from blood loss. Now, that was the short resurrection, it’s completely different from a complete version. A complete resurrection is when a powerful being takes the body of someone who has been deceased for a lengthy period and brings them back, all they need is the body remaining intact. Through the power of the performer, they bring back the dead...but with a price. The being’s spirit is brought back to its body, but it slowly decays. When it decays to a certain point, the resurrected grows hungry. Not for food, but for other people's spirits.”

“Huh? Why do they need it, Ms. Adiris?”

“Because the hunger is so intense, it feels like they’re dying.”

“How do you know that?”

“Because I'm speaking of experience, I performed it to bring back my older sister...but what I brought back was a nightmare. My sister grew hungry one day, so I did everything I could to quell it...nothing worked. One day, her pain became unbearable, she could barely stand, speak even. A nun came in to see us but she soon met her demise, my sister lunged at her. She sank her teeth inside her, draining the nun’s spirit. The nun’s body withered, his skin latched on her bones, her color turned grey, eyes became black as night. My sister ran into a nearby village and feast of the people, nothing but withered bodies littering the town. I had to put her down, she didn’t want to keep killing and nor did I. So, a complete resurrection requires you to constantly feed said being or it’ll go feral and attack the innocent...or die once again.”

“Interesting, think we can do it-”

“I’M NOT UNLEASHING A UNHOLY BEING FOR A SCIENCE EXPERIMENT! You really weren’t joking about going the extra mile…”

“(Rin...I didn’t get any of it…)”

“(It’s ok, Thomas. Let’s go eat and rest, we’re pretty exhausted.)” The pair left the room, got something to eat and rest. Moments later, they all gathered in Herman’s lab. They all rather be sleeping, but they wanted to get back into business since Adam’s back.

“Ok, we got both Thomas and Adam, everything is back how it should be. So let’s go over what we have, we have the anesthesia, a high power source and the gas. Meaning all that is left is the high-end sound equipment...Herman, when was it stolen?”

“A little after you guys left my manor on your first visit. To be fair, I did stole it first, got it stolen, then stole it back, then got stolen again.”

“That...doesn’t help us in the slightest, Rin or Amanda?”

“Sorry, I didn’t see anything like that in the estate.”

“I didn’t see anything like that in the lab either…”

“Hmmm...oh, we can try my mom again. Despite being more in the medical field, she’s still a scientist. She probably knows something that might help us.” Claudette suggested.

“We got no other leads...hmmm…” David looked at everyone to decide who’s coming, the obvious doing to bring Thomas and Claudette. He said her name and saw Joey and Feng latched on her arms, they were coming too. He took Amanda and Ms. Yamaoka, Quentin summoned a door and the following group went in.

“*Sigh* nice not to watch the kids again, just hope they’ll be alright.” Bill said.

“What happened to that boney lady, the one that kept trying to eat you?” Kate asked.

“Well-”

So, what did you want to show me?

It’s out here, Quentin said as long we stay on the steps, we won’t be sucked out.” Bill told Lisa, they went out to the steps and observed the amazing sight.

Wow...but what did you want to do?

THIS!” Bill kicked her off into space and watched her body freeze and flow endlessly.

“YOU KICKED HER INTO EVERLASTING SPACE!?”

“SHE BEEN TRYING TO EAT ME FOR THE PAST FEW MONTHS!” He shouted back, Charlie and Jeff laughed at Bill for dealing with Lisa for so long. The group ended up at Claudette’s parents home, they knocked on the door and her mother answered again. Of course, she let them in and even gave Thomas something to munch on.

“Sorry for bothering again, mom.”

“Oh it’s fine, at least I know you’re alive. You even brought some new friends, a pleasure to meet you all.”

“Where’s dad?”

“Unconscious…”

“Oh...classic dad. Anyways, we were looking for high-end sound equipment, have any idea where we can find something like that?”

“Hmmmm, actually yes. I’m guessing you lots didn’t hear it since y’all live...in an interdimensional library. A nationwide broadcast was made recently.”

“Nationwide?”

“Yes, they claimed it themselves. The broadcast was being made in the east, I think it was the military that broadcasted it.”

“Oh great…”

“David?”

“I’m...not on good terms with the general that runs that place. Still, we should head back and-”

“Uh Mr. King, there’s something I wanted to ask since you’re here.”

“What’s wrong?”

“Since you all been dealing with supernatural occurrences, I want to tell you about the recent events that happened. Not too long ago, a carnival suddenly appeared in the city out of nowhere. It was pretty...but something felt odd about it. I was in there for an hour at most, but it suddenly went to night. When I left, it went back to the daytime. Soon after, people being going to it like their lives depended on it. I should also mention that people been disappearances, we’re already up to 100 people.”

“100!? What are the authorities doing!?” David quickly asked.

“That’s the thing, they aren’t doing anything. A friend of mine has been keeping up with the missing people count. I know you all got something important to do...i’m just asking if you can help because my husband has been going to it lately.”

“Hmmmm, Quentin did say there still were abnormalities around….but what’s causing them. Can’t be Sayaka…”

“Mr. King, I think...I might know.” Joey said, all the attention went to him.

“Oh?”

“It...could be the iridescent material, it is an unknown material that came from space. It creates a lot of energy right? So couldn’t it cause these strange things to happen, like with the spiders?”

“Hmmmm, you might be right. We’ll discuss it with Herman once we get back, but first. Mrs. Morel, we can look into it. We’re not on a time limit...at least I hope we're not. We can look into it and hopefully shut it down.”

“Thank you, I really appreciate it. The carnival is at the center of the city, can’t miss it.”

“OOOOOOOOHHH! WE'RE GOING TO OUR FIRST CARNIVAL, THOMAS!”

“I KNOW, MS. YAMAOKA!” The two eyes twinkled as the excitement for going to a carnival filled them with joy, they were holding each other's hands as they stared down David.. The group left the home and went into the city. The sky was still bright and shining, but the winter wind still made it slightly uncomfortable. They reached the center and saw it, the spectacular carnival. Thomas wanted to drop everything and dive right, but David held him down. He knows the boy is excited, but he doesn’t want him to get kidnapped again. Contraptions going at high speed, mini games to win prizes, food of many sorts that’s making people puke from eating too much. David admitted to himself, he was curious and wanted to try the rides out. But when the group went further in, the sky immediately went dark. It was just like Claudette’s mother said, but they were inside far less than her. The street lights lit up, more people showed up. To be more accurate, they suddenly appeared, they were the missing people that were mentioned. The group split up and were told to come by the ferris wheel within an hour. As the others went their own way, Thomas ran to a stand and saw the stuffed animals on a shelf, he wanted them, all of them.

“David, can I play, please!”

“Well...I guess, it seems like darts?”

“Yes, sir. You throw the darts at the moving targets, depending on what you land on determines your prize.”

“Ok, simple enough. Here.”

“Thank you, you get three darts. Good luck!” David lifted him so he could get a better aim, the target was moving too fast for Thomas. It was one of those scam booths where the chances of winning were slim. Thomas missed all three and sighed, it was too hard for him.

“Hey, don’t you think those targets were too fast for him?”

“Hey man, a deal a deal. If you want to get the boy something, gotta do it yourself.”

“...how about this. If I bullseye six target, you give all the prizes to my son. If I lose, I give everything in my pocket.” The boother agreed and gave David six darts, David took in a deep breath and threw all the darts. All six darts bullseye the targets, David smiled well the man sweated.

“I win.”

“W-W-WAIT, d-do it with one eye!”

“Only have one eye.” David told, lifting up his bangs and showing his blind eye.

“W-well, I think you cheated. So no pr-” David took out his revolver and shot all the targets.

“All the prizes, now!” he said, reloading his revolver and aiming it at the boother. The man hung his head low and slowly gave Thomas all the prizes. They went somewhere hidden and called Quentin to summon a door and dump the prizes inside. Quentin looked up and saw that he was suddenly buried in stuffed animals.

“Now that’s out the way, how do we stop this carnival?”

“Hmmm, David. There’s a lot of electricity running through the place, maybe severing it will probably stop this.” Douglas offered.

“That sounds too simple to be true, but it looks like the only option. At least there’s no hostels here. Maybe if we follow the cables we’ll find it.” They got up, met up with everyone and followed the cables to a building. They opened the doors and went down the stores and found what the cables were at, they unplugged them but nothing worked. The carnival was still running, something else was keeping the carnival alive.

“This can’t be right, what’s keeping it going?” he asked, he led the group out to male another plan.

“I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, come on eve- oh, excus- oh shit…” David bumped into something, he saw them, Anna. Her, Bubba and Kenneth were at the carnival.

“King…”

“Hey, Rin!” Bubba shouted.

“I’m not Rin, I'm Ms. Yamaoka but still hello!”

“What?”

“Long story, what you three doing here?”

“Still under our orders…” Kenneth said, taking out his weapon.

“D-David, who are they?”

“They were the ones who attacked me and Rin months ago in the mine, but wait! Dwight isn’t here, why do we need to fight?”

“Our orders are to receive the son of Douglas, but we got new ones, to eliminate Rin.”

“(Shit, a fight isn’t what I wanted to do...especially with them.) Ms. Yamaoka, we’re going to fight. You ca- what?” She revealed a sheathed sword from under her dress and unleashed it, she positioned herself in a swordsmen stance and stood next to David.

“Herman used the leftover iridescent to make us swords. So yes, I can fight.”

“Amanda?”

“I normally do stealth, but I'll do my best.”

“Douglas, take over. Joey, Claudette, Feng, get out of here!”

“Oh, why leave them out of the fun? Bubba, use it!”

“Ok!” Bubba took out some pills and swallowed some, soon his muscles grew and so did his height. He was just as menacing as the rest now, David didn’t believe that this could get any worse, but it did. Anna went in after David, but something caught her fist. Who was out there that could match Anna’s strength?

“Now now, Micheal. Leave some for the rest of us!” an old but smooth voice spoke, Ash. He came out of nowhere with Philip. Now the group is against the Yamaoka ad the Romero’s. David looked at the man holding Anna’s fist, he was a tall man with long blonde hair covering his face. Muscles with veins popping everywhere, just like Anna. He was wearing an open jumpsuit with the top half tied around his waist. But this wasn’t a good sign, dealing with two groups with monsters like them can be disastrous. David sweated, he needed a way to defeat them and stop the carnival. He can’t call Quentin without the risk of them going inside, he can’t get the other. He isn’t doubting Ms. Yamaoka or Amanda skills, but three against six? That means each has to take on two, David just hope for everyone getting out alive.

Chapter Text

The carnival grounds shattered from the force of Micheal and Anna’s might, the two just clashing fist was shaking the air. David was caught in the middle, he was an ant compared to them. Ms. Yamaoka was clashing her blade with Kenneth well Ash constantly was swinging his weapon to split the two, she didn’t have a problem yet. She did feel herself getting a bit exhausted, but her overall excitement was keeping her going.

“You never cease to amaze me with your speed, Rin. But do you really think you can mat-”

“I’m not Rin, I’m Ms. Yamaoka. I’m her sister!”

“Her...sister?”

“Yes! You’re Kenneth, pleasure to meet you!”

“You’re...a strange one.”

“Yes, it’s my first real fight with someone, it SOOOOOO EXCITING!” She said, giving Kenneth a smile before he kicked her into a booth. Amanda struggled against her fight with Bubba and Phillip, Bubba swinging wildly trying to hit both of them with Phillip distorting sound was becoming too much for her. Bubba fixed his gaze at Phillip, he stuck his hand in the ground and threw a piece of the earth at him. Amanda saw this as her chance to strike well his back was turned, she lunged herself in the air to strike Bubba but it failed. Bubba caught her with his monstrous sized hand and began to crush her.

“NICE TRY, AMANDA! YOU’RE AN ASSASSIN, FIGHTING SOMETHING HEAD ON ISN’T YOUR STRONG SUIT!”

“Dammit, can’t blame a girl for trying, right?” Bubba laughed at her statement before slamming her into the ground. He then grabbed her by the leg and ferocious threw her at Phillip. The two collided with each other and crashed into another booth. Anna pulled in Micheal and threw him into one of the rides, denting the metal and causing a seat to fall onto him. Anna then darted her attention to David.

“Sweet memories, wouldn’t you agree?”

“If you call crushing my ribcage and fucking up my organs sweet then I don’t want to what you consider bitter.”

“*Giggle* my, you are nice with words, let’s so how you sound WHEN I RIP YOUR JAW OFF!” Anna dashes up to David, she swung with inhuman speed similar to Rin’s. But David wasn’t the same back then. Anna swung her fist down to David, the ground shook as a puff of dirt clouds surrounded the two. The dust clear and Anna sinister smile faded when she saw she missed, David laid on his back and opened his legs. Anna swung through and hit the ground above his head, David thrust his leg down and slammed it on Anna’s head. The impact took her head down into the floor, David pulled his legs back and double kicked her away.

“ARUGH! You got better, King.”

“Was it that I got better, or you got weaker?”

“TAUNTING WILL GET YOU NOWHERE, KING!”

“Then let’s go, I can’t die here, I'm too close to fail!” David went after her, but the seat that fell on Micheal was thrown at him. David dodge it but Micheal grabbed him and threw him somewhere else, Micheal wants Anna. Well they fight, Claudette and the others went inside a strange place to hide.

“What is this place?”

“Beats me, o-oh stay close, Thomas.”

“It’s ok, Ms. Morel. I’m in con- ow!” Douglas bumped into something, he swore he was heading into Claudette. Claudette got worried and approached him, but she ended up bumping into something, same with Joey and Feng.

“What’s going on…”

“Never heard of a funhouse?” A familiar voice asked, the group turned and saw Jed with them.

“Jed!”

“Calm down, Douglas. I’m not gonna attack you guys.”

“But you’re with the Romeros!”

“Calm down, he’s telling the truth!” Danny assured.

“Oh and I'm supposed to trust his alter ego?”

“Not an alter ego, I'm my own person!”

“Whatever, what is this?”

“It’s a house of mirrors, they are positioned in such a way to make things seem like they’re there when it’s not.” Danny explained.

“So that’s why we been bumping into things, it’s actually kind of fUuUuUNNNnnn-” the shaking earth interrupted Joey, the battle outside was taking a disastrous turn.

“Damn, sounds like your friends are having fun.”

“Douglas…”

“I know you want to help, Claudette. I do too, but you three aren’t experienced in combat and i’m in Thomas’s body. We’ll only be in their way…”

“No, I-I might have an idea. Jed, come here!” He came over to her and she whispered something in his ear.

“You think that could work?”

“Hmmmm, granted, my powers are weaker when in mortal grounds. But this may actually work, but are you sure?”

“Yes, but only if you help us!”

“Hmph, well Danny?”

“A plan like this would be a dream to see, let’s do it!”

“Everyone, come here!” As Claudette told the others her plan, the battle still raged on. Ms. Yamaoka did her best to fend off Ash and Kenneth, Amanda struggling to stay on her feet. Bubba caught her in his grasp again and threw her to one of the contraption, if she collides with it, she’ll die from the impact. David screamed her name, he didn't want anyone to die. If anything can save her, he prayed that it happens now. His prayer was answered when a whip slash through the air and wrapped around Amanda’s leg and pulled her back, she fell into someone’s arms.

“Bill…?”

“Holy shit, Bill!?”

“Not the only one!” he nodded his head, David turned to see a crimson streak soaring in the air. Bubba blood sprayed in the air with slash markings all over his buddy, they healed back but David knew one person who can inflict such wounds with that kind of speed.

“Rin! B-but why you two came here?”

“I had a bad feeling something wasn’t right, so I asked Rin to come with me. Good thing I acted on it.”

“No kidding, we probably would of died without you two-”

“BBBIIILLLLL!” Ash shouted with his blood boiling, Bill stood still, he wasn’t worried. Ash came closer to Bill and raises his weapon, but it clashed with a smaller blade. Charlie blocked the hit, parried and kicked Ash away from Bill.

“Charlie…”

“Been awhile, Ash. Don’t think I forgot about your little betrayal on me!”

“Fuck you, brat! If you stand in my way, then i'll split you in two!”

“If you can, i’ll be sure to rip your fucking heart out first!” Bill and David awkwardly sweated.

“(He’s...a little blood thirsty…)”

“(Apparently Ash sold him out and made Jane put him in a cell, i’ll make sure he keeps a leveled head.)” David nodded, despite Charlie, he felt more comfortable fighting his enemies. The carnival soon turned into a frenzy, earth shatters, booths destroyed. Bill flinging his whip in the air, Rin and Ms. Yamaoka becoming crimson streaks, slashing their target with grace and speed. Charlie taking the front line well Amanda backed him up, everything was going smoothly, only to a certain point. The enemies constantly changing targets threw the group into a loop and it threw them off, this became a problem. They can change up, but his group couldn’t. David needs them to stay on one target, but if all of them did that, it’ll mean sudden death for whoever they target. Swords dance, whips crack the air. Metal thrown and glass shattering, the madness of the fight just grows more dangerous with each passing minute. David and the others took cover behind some debris, Claudette came next to him.

“Are you ok?”

“Ish, they keep swapping targets and we can’t keep up. We’re not getting anywhere if they keep this up!”

“I saw, I might have a plan...but you might not like it.”

“At this point, it doesn’t matter if I like it or not. What is it?” Claudette whispered in his ear.

“I already got Charlie in it, so we can act now. But David…”

“I know...I need to grab everyone’s attention to get this to work. Well, if Jed or Danny said it could work and is willing to help, then i’ll do it! Claudette, pay attention to my face. When I blink my dead eye, that's when you can start it.”

“Got it, be careful, David.” David got from his cover and went out back to the madness well Claudette told others the plan, David got close and made a loud whistle sound, ceasing the fight and grabbing everyone’s attention.

“You know, I didn’t imagine in the slightest that this would happen. But I want to end this, now!” Everyone looked at each other then back at David.

“You? Want to take all of us on? You’re crazy, one against six?” Ash questioned with hid crooked smile

“Yeah, chicken?” David taunted, but in reality, David was the one shaking. They looked at his trembling hand, all six of them laughed and looked at David with a killer gleam in their eyes.

“Us? The chickens when your body is the one shaking?”

“Ok, guys, temporary truce? King has been a thorn to our sides, so why don’t we get rid of him!” Everyone agreed, a soft gust of wind blew between him and his enemies. Anna and Micheal dived in first, they smashed their fist in the ground, creating a shockwave. It pushed David back, Ash tried to strike from above but he dodged him. Phillip rang his bell, the noise muffled his hearing and caused his ears to bleed. David was stunned, he then found himself in the grasp of Bubba’s monstrous hand. He then slammed David in the ground and threw him to another booth, David struggled to get up. He looked ahead and saw Kenneth coming after him, David got up and blocked his incoming attacks. He failed as Kenneth kicked him in his stomach and launched him in the air. Anna caught him by the leg and threw him down, David’s body couldn’t handle this any longer, but he thinks now is a good time. He got back up on his feet, wiped the blood from his lip and spit out the remaining blood out his mouth. He pulled his arms up and stared down everyone, Anna laughed as she went in. Out of everyone, Anna wanted the killing blow. David swiped the sweat off his forehead, his bangs moved and he blinked his left eye, Claudette saw it from a distance.

“(NOW!)” she silently shouted, Charlie’s body glowed well Jed put on his mask. Anna threw her killing blow at David, but he shattered. He shattered? David turned into broken pieces of glass, Anna was confused, what happened to him?. She saw a shadow move, it was casted from above. A spinning kick contacted her face, she endured it and went to punch David but once again, he turned into glass. Everyone became cautious, David appeared behind Ash. He reacted and attacked, but met with the same results. Everyone was seeing him, but their attacks did nothing as it only resulted in more shattering glass. Anna had enough, she smashed the ground once more and brought up stalagmites, but David was nowhere near..

“Where is he?”

“What the hell is going on!?”

“Hm? Anna, look! There’s so many of him!” Bubba shouted, they all looked up and couldn’t believe it. Many David’s were in the sky, they all lined up perfectly like a flock of birds. What is going on, how can there be this many of him? The Davids dived down, but they were in the open. Anna was done with King’s game, she stuck her hands in the ground and pulled up a chuck of the earth. She tossed it up and punched it, sending the debris at the Davids diving towards them. One by one, each David shattered into glass, except for one. Is it a fake? It has to be. Anna stood still as she watched the fake David come closer, she knew it was a fake, but she was wrong. Some shards of glass got lodged into David’s arm, it caused his arms to bleed and the blood dropped onto Anna’s face. It was too late when she realized that one was real, David tighten his fist and punched Anna with all his might directly to her face. David tumbled and crashed into another booth, the remaining glass fell at an alarming rate towards Ash and others. Anna shook off the pain and shielded Bubba and Kenneth well Micheal did the same with Phillp and Ash. Shards of glass lodged into their arms. They both fell down from the numerous impalement they endured, soon Bill in the others came out.

“Do you bastards still want to fight!?”

“You think shitty shards of gla-”

“Ash! You already upset Jane with your recent actions, don’t cross the line. If we lose Micheal, we’re dead as soon as we get back. We need to retreat!” Ash sucked his teeth, Bill was in front of him, he could fight. Who cares about anything else, but Phillip was right. He revved his weapon and stuck it in the ground to create a dirt cloud, once it cleared, they were gone. David limped to his group and readied himself in front, glass in his arms and now in his leg, but he’ll fight if he has to.

“What about you three, you really want to take us on now!?”

“...Kenneth, Bubba, put down your weapons. We were defeated…” Bubba's body shrunk down to his regular size well Kenneth put his knife in his sleeve, David went over and offered a hand. Anna accepted it and lifted herself up.

“You did well on our last encounter, but this fight proved you became stronger. Same with you Rin and...Ms. Yamaoka?”

“Yes!”

“Anyways, thank you for the hand but why didn’t you kill us? We’re after Dwight and Rin.”

“Believe or not, we need you alive, all of you.”

“...I may not know the reason, but is it due to the malice in the air?”

“You can say...ish?”

“One more question, what was that trick you were doing?”

“I can explain! Basically, it was all mirrors!”

“Mirrors?”

“Over there, that’s called a funhouse or a house of mirrors. The mirrors are positioned in such a way that it creates someone’s images around you, making you think someone’s there but they’re not. So, we hid the mirrors around you all well David was distracting y’all. When he blinked his dead eye, that’s when we raised them. So it created multiple images of him and why he was turning into shattered glass.” Claudette explained.

“What about the one’s in the sky?”

“We had some...outside help. He’s...a nutcase, but he has the ability to cloak things. I asked him what else he can do and apparently, he can also teleport…”

“Is this a joke?”

“Unfortunately, no. He can only move himself and small objects, not to mention that he can only move a very short distance and can only move about three objects.”

“If this...nutcase can only do that, how were you able to take them to the sky?”

“We amplified his power!”

“David, what does it mean?”

“It means they boosted it, made it stronger.” He told Thomas.

“Our friend Charlie can harness the power of the earth, so we used that to boost the nutcase’s power. It was a 50/50 shot but it paid off, we teleported the remaining mirrors and David, position him so his images will bounce off all the mirrors.”

“...you know, you really do live up to your legend, King.”

“Don’t credit me, I was the scared one. Claudette here was the one with the idea.”

“Well, you’re the textbook definition of brains over brawn-”

“Um guys, look!” Everyone looked around, the carnival was slowly fading away. The brilliant lights, the booths and rides. Even the craters on the ground were slowly fading away, they saw something glowing red near them. It was a small piece of iridescent with roots sticking out of it.

“It’s iridescent...with roots?”

“It must have been the cause of the carnival appearing out of thin air, then it should bring back the missing people...I hope.”

“Then we’ll take our lea-”

“Whoa, with those injuries? Let us-”

“Don’t get the wrong idea, King. We’re enemies, next time, we ain't yielding.” Anna reminded him, her group walked away. David let out a deep sigh and laid down on the ground. A door opened up and it took them to Claudette’s parents home, her mother made room inside and took care of David’s wounds.

“What were you thinking!? Diving down with shards of glass falling with such speed!?”

“Hey, it wo- OW!”

“You idiot! The glass could get stabbed in your head!”

“Hey, we got the carnival to stop, didn’t we!?”

Whatever, here, this came for you.”

“For me?”

“Yes, it’s from Jane. Said to read it as soon as you could…”

“What do that witch ha- OW!”

“*Sigh* you’re honestly just as bad as Dwight, his stubbornness matches your recklessness.” His name rung in his head, David let out a deep sigh, he wonders if Dwight is doing ok. Wondering what lie Sayaka put in his head. After patching him up, they called Quentin again and went to David’s room. The day was exhausting, it wasn’t supposed to be this complicated. Rin and Thomas watched David flop on the bed once more because out of all of them, he was the most exhausted.

“Talk about deja vu, huh, David?”

“Kill me, that was a time waster...we didn’t even get close to knowing where we can get the sound equipment…”

“David...we also need the volcano ashes…”

“AAHAAAAAH, I FORGOT THE ASHES!” David screamed before burying his face into his pillow. Thomas got on David’s back and rubbed his head, but he saw something in David’s hand, it was Dwight’s glasses. It was recently repaired, but he was rubbing it slowly. He misses Dwight and watching him being Sayaka grasp for this long started to make him question his abilities.

“David?”

“It’s ok, Thomas. I just...miss him...a lot.”

“W-we’ll get him, you said it yourself, we gotta be patient!”

“Sometimes...being patient can be m-”

“NO! David, I m-miss him too! But we gotta wait...I want Dwight badly! I miss him scrubbing me during bath times. Teaching me math and showing me neat science treats, I miss when he makes fun of your big feet and how bad they can smell and calling you big foot’s drunk cousin!”

“HEY!”

“Please David, just a little more. We’ll get him, I promise!”

“...*giggle* ok, i’ll hold you on...to...why do I feel…”

“Yeah...me too…” Both Thomas and David passed out on the bed, Rin thought it was the exhaustion but it was something else. David wakes up with Thomas inside a dark void, they looked around and saw nothing but emptiness.

“Ugh, my head. You ok, Thomas?”

“Y-yeah, where are we- Mr. Seaweed man!”

“Ugh, what the hell?”

“Douglas?”

“David, looking young as always.”

“And your hair is just as greasy looking as before.”

“Yeah, it looks just like seaweed!

“Errr...wait, I think I know this place.”

“You do?”

“Y-yeah, we’re...in Dwight, look!” In the distance stood a dim light with a man in the center, Dwight. David and Thomas ran to him, but as soon he tried to touch him, something blocked them.

“What, a wall!?”

“We can’t reach him, Thomas tried a while back. He can’t hear or see us…”

“How did we even get in here?”

“That...I don’t know. Last time, I used what I could to help Thomas see him. But it has been sometime and Sayaka blocked me, I couldn’t get to Dwight ever since… (could it be…?)” Douglas stopped his train of thought when Sayaka came over to Dwight and grabbed his shirt.

“Why!? Why are you making this difficult!?”

“...”

“You do know this, I can’t help you if you don’t give your heart to me. Why do you resist?”

“...”

“You want them dead, the people who killed your father, right?”

“I…”

“I already have most of it, but you resisting is denying my real power.”

“Da...vid…”

“What?”

“Because...I-I know he-”

“He’s dead! We killed him!”

“No! I didn’t want to kill him-”

“But he stood in our way, if you didn’t want to, you would of did some-”

“I COULDN’T.... My head wasn’t right...”

“Face reality, he’s dead, he’s not coming back!”

“...I don’t believe you…”

“Are you a fool!?”

“No...i’m not! My chest...it hurts, but the pain...it doesn’t feel like it’s only mine. I can feel it...his pain, his heartbeat!”

“That’s just you-”

“No, stop trying! I know what he went through, he dug through hell! Do you honestly think what YOU did to him will keep away!?”

“Yes! His blood is on our hands-”

“THEN SHOW ME, RIGHT FUCKING NOW! IF DAVID IS REALLY DEAD, GO BACK TO THE LAKE AND SHOW ME THE BODY. IT SHOULD STILL BE IN THERE, RIGHT? LET ME SEE IT, ME SEE IF HE’S REALLY DEAD!”

“...”

“Exactly, if you’re not willing to show me...then I don’t have a reason to believe. I don’t know where and I may be wrong about him being alive. But this feeling in my chest is real, someone else's feelings are inside...and I know for a fact that it’s his. So...FUCK OFF!” Thomas looked up to David, he saw tears falling down his face, in a flash they all woke up. David was still crying, Dwight believed in him. He has some type of feeling, some type of hope that he’ll come. Dwight is choosing to resist because he knows David will save him. That alone filled David’s mind with determination, he’s going to save Dwight, no matter what stands in his way. Anna and the others walked in a forest far from the city, she held her arm out as she felt someone nearby.

“Come out!”

“Jeez, you Yamaokas really are trained too high hell to be able to sense me.”

“You’re the nutcase King mentioned…”

“NUTCASE!? Geez, and here I thought we were becoming friends…” Jed said with a puffy face.

“Honestly Jed, we have ourselves to blame…”

“Oh hush, Danny!”

“What do want?”

“To take this one, you are down two people, right? So, through my kindness, I’ll supply you with a new one. Hope you like them.” Jed gave them all a bow well another being emerging from the shadows of the forest, a person in a dark cloak stood in front of them.

Chapter Text

David woke up at a random point , he didn’t know the time or day. He yawned and turned his head to see that Thomas was still asleep, he scratched his head and slowly left his bed with the letter Claudette’s mom gave me. He walked down to Herman’s lab, of course, he of all people was awake. Claudette and Adiris were with him, they were curious about his work and so was he.

“Morning...or evening...night? I should really bring a clock here.”

“*Giggle* David, this place doesn’t follow time, remember?”

“I like not to, what are you up to?”

“Watching Herman...do that.” She pointed to him and he was violently shocking some abomniation with metal rods.

“I...don’t want to be near it, where’s Thomas?”

“Still asleep, he was extremely tired after what happened. Hmm…”

“What’s wrong?”

“Claudette...does Thomas...feels weird to you?”

“What do you mean?”

“It just...I have this feeling that-”

“He might not be normal?” Quentin interrupted, spooking both of them and took the tiredness out David’s eyes.

“JESUS! B-but yeah, besides Douglas, he...helped u see Dwight again. Douglas wasn’t able to do so, so why could Thomas?”

“Hmmm...my first suspicion was when you visited the library the first time, Thomas was being consumed by the library but…”

“But?”

“He couldn’t, he was...rejecting it. I don’t know how, but we couldn’t take him before the being that’s no longer with us took his place.”

“I...didn’t know that.”

“David, this might be extreme to say, but Thomas could very well not be completely human.”

“H-how?”

“The full explanation is too long, but to make it short. Thomas could have a parent that was a higher being, here.” Quentin summoned a book with the names of the parents that raised Thomas.

“Here, neither of the parents that raised Thomas were higher beings.”

“So they aren’t even his real parents, hell Thomas might not be his name…”

“Well, it’s Thomas in the records but you could be right. As for who his real parents are, I don’t know and there’s no way of finding out how…”

“Well...I don’t need to find out how. Granted, I will talk to Thomas about this at some point in the future, but that’s not important right now. What is important is finding the things that Herman needs...wherever it might be at…”

“Well you said that the military might have it, right?”

“Maybe...but do I need to take that kind of risk right now?” He asked himself, David let out a heavy sigh. The letter dropped out of his hands, he picked it up and took out what was inside.

“This...is an invitation.”

“Why did Jane send you an invitation? If anything, it’ll be a bounty on your head.”

“Wouldn’t be the first time she put out a bounty on me. Anyways, let's see.”

Dear receiver, you have been given a chance to attend the yearly Romero’s gathering. We bring famous guests from all over to the event, but please note that you’re not obligated by any means to come. Guards are posted to keep everyone and reduce the chance of any potential robbery or general conflict, but my men and the Military will be on watch and provide support. I’ll be happy if you any one could come so we all could enjoy a fabulous evening.

P.S. The invited attendee is allowed to bring as many others as they want, the place the event holds in is quite large. We’ll have plenty of space for large parties.”

“A party and we’re basically all invited.”

“She said the military...hey, do you that Jane might have the sound equipment?” David asked.

“It’s a stretch, but she did make the nationwide broadcast, so she might have it in her hands. But the question is...how did she get it...or was it that someone told her we’re looking for it. Probably why she made an invite for you, maybe a trap?”

“*Sigh* trap or not, it’s our only lead. Quentin, what time is it?”

“3:54pm”

“Hmmm, the note said the event starts at 6 on the dot, think you can get us some fancy clothes, Quentin?”

“How many?”

“Everyone, including yourself. Well, not Herman, god knows that he’ll put an experiment in someone’s food”

“Me…?”

“You wanted to understand humans more, right? Well, going to a gathering would be good for you. You can see how people interact with each other that isn’t us.”

“David...when hig-”

“Yeah yeah, Jed said the same thing to Claudette, but we’re not going there to fight, we just need some leads.” Quentin looked down then back up, he gave them both a smile and agreed to come. Quentin gave the clothes to David, he then went around to everyone and explained what’s going on. Kate and Rin gave a sigh of relief when David didn’t give them a dress to wear, David remembered how uncomfortable Rin was when she wore a dress months ago. Everyone gathered together and waited for Quentin to arrive.

“You sure this is the smart move, King? Jane would rather hang you by your neck than to invite you to one of her yearly gatherings.” Kate told.

“Trust me, i’m aware but it’s our only lead. We’re obviously going right into the jaws of a shark, but we have to stick our hands in places they don’t belong to to get what we want.”

“Look at you trying to sound like a wise old man.”

“Well...I am 55-”

“YOU’RE 55!?'' Everyone shouted in disbelief, Bill and David looked at each other and laughed. He forgot the only people that know his age are Thomas, Rin, Dwight, and Bill. Quentin came but turned red, he felt odd and slightly embarrassed. He never had to go to an event or had to dress so formal. He pushed his thoughts aside and opened the door, they came out the other end to the locations where the gathering was happening. The door was a little way out so no one would see them come out of nowhere, they walked to the location and saw numerous well dressed people heading to the building.

“David, does this place feel...familiar?”

“Yeah...I think this place is a few towns away from the fancy inn we stayed in. I guess we must of completely missed it-”

“Claudette!” A familiar voice call, her mother.

“Mom, dad? What are you doing here and how did you get here so fast?”

“Well, we were escorted here and it has been a while since you left. Anyways, I wanted to tell you before you left, but you all were in such a hurry to leave that I didn’t get a chance. I was invited as well, your father is here because I don’t trust no one to watch him…”

“I’m a grown man-”

“Who gets concussions on the daily…”

“My, isn’t this quite the reunion?” Another voice said. Jesse, Susie and Juile from behind the group.

“Mom? What are you doing here?”

“I was invited, so I took Julie and Susie with me. Can’t exactly leave teenagers alone.”

“And the farm?”

“A good friend is watching it, but seeing all of you feels good...but also concerning…”

“Why mom?”

“Think about it, an invitation for David, Mrs. Morel and Jesse. Jane wanted David’s group here, but she invited the others to ensure that everyone in his group will be here as well.” Bill said.

“So she did want us. Well, time to see what she wants. Come on, everyone.” The group went inside and were awestrucked. The interior was gorgeous, glass so clear you could confuse them for diamonds. The aroma the food gave off hit their noses, the live music that was playing was lovely and gave sweet serenity in their ears. Joey, Ms. Yamaoka, Susie and Julie ran off to try the food. Thomas ran off to play with some kids around his age, Charlie went with him to keep watch. David and Bill had noticed that Charlie had been hanging around Thomas a lot lately, though the red haired boy will never admit. He doesn’t want to be seen with children, but deep inside, he enjoys being around the boy and Joey. Claudette and Feng went with Claudette’s parents, Adiris and Nea sat with Jesse and Spirit. Jeff, Jake and Ace were dining at a table. Ace did his usual flirting towards Jeff, all he did was laugh at his gestures as he went to get more food. Ace felt something hot near him, he turned to see Jake was giving him the death stare for flirting with Jeff. When he came back, Ace was covered in sweat and was looking away well Jake went back to eating his food. Kate, David, Rin, and Adam stood near some windows and watched from afar with drinks in their hands.

“Nope, nice try, Rin. Come back a year later when you’re 21.”

“Darn…”

“I know i’m supposed to relax...but i’m still cautious cause it’s still Jane…”

“I know, i’m keeping a watch on- oh….shit!”

“What?”

“Her…” The group looked up and saw a woman with medium length blonde hair, she was wearing a military uniform as she was going up the stairs. Next to her was a dark-skinned man who’s older than her, he was also in a military uniform.

“Who is she?”

“Laurie Strode...a top general in the military, the man next to her is David Tapp…”

“Ok, but what’s the problem?” Rin asked as she tries to take the drink out of David’s hand

“Um...I kinda-”

“Kinda?” Kate raises a brow.

“Kinda slept with her husband which caused a divorce between them, then slept with her son’s...and they’re wives...and ex husband again-” Kate wrapped her hands around David’s throat and started to choke him.

“YOU FUCKING TART, STOP FUCKING EVERY THAT WALKS!”

“I-I DON’T DO IT ANYMORE!”

“JUST BECAUSE YOU DON’T DO IT ANYMORE DOESN’T EXCUSE WHAT YOU DID IN THE PAST YOU MAN WHORE, HOMEWRECKER, WHAT ELSE SHOULD I ADD TO THE DAMN LIST!” She threw at him, after a while she let him go, David caught his breath and stood back up.

“Anyways, it was years ago. Your appearance changes, so I doubt she’ll remember you.” Bill said, but he was soon proven wrong when a plate was thrown to the wall they were at. They looked up and she Laurie gliding her thumb across her neck then pointed her finger at David.

“She knows it’s me…”

“Wouldn’t surp- wait, she’s here. Didn’t Jane broadcast the message?”

“Yeah, you think she did it here?”

“No, Mrs. Morel said it was made in the east...unless.”

“You think she was told a lie?” Rin asked.

“Most likely, I don’t think even with high end equipment, it wouldn’t reach from one end to the other. It was probably casted here, we are in the central parts of the country.”

“If you place something at one end, it might not reach the other side. Put it in the middle then you can reach both sides.” Bill pointed out.

“Exactly, it must be here...I hope. Hmmm, Kate, Rin, come with me. Bill and Adam, keep an eye on everyone else.” They nodded to him and went to join the others. David, Kate, and Rin made their way onto the second floor and started their investigation. They searched from room to room, but each were vacant with dust being their only companion. The group went by a door and heard a voice.

“Why won’t you come in, King.” a voice asked. David squinted his eyes in caution, he opened the door and saw Jane, Laurie, Tapp and Micheal were inside. Micheal leaned against the wall well the others were on a couch with a glass table in front and another couch on the other side. David and the others came inside and sat on the other couch, Jane poured some tea in some decorative cups that’s worth an entire town.

“Enjoy.”

“...no thanks.”

“Relax yourselves, I didn’t poison it or anything. I’ll never kill you that easy and you know that, King.” She was right, David and Kate knows Jane’s methods. If she wants someone dead, she’ll make sure they’ll die with regret well passing to the other side. David picked up his drink and took a sip.

“Hmmm, vanilla honey dew with a bit of cinnamon. The smooth sweet taste if the vanilla goes well with the cinnamon.”

“Figured you’ll like it. You know, King. you’re certainly an interesting man.”

“...”

“Stopped the spiders in the east, bannish a carnival that came out of thin air. Went to Japan, came back from the dead, you certainly added more to your legend. I heard you were looking for...certain items, how is it going?”

“Fine, we’re still short on things...and I already know you have what we need here, right?”

“Do I?”

“I know you, Jane. You told everyone that the broadcast was made in the west, but it was made in the center. Right?”

“*Giggle* yes, it was made here. I hope the little puzzle wasn’t too hard.”

“No, if anything, it was the easiest thing I had to deal with recently (thanks Jed)! I doubt you’ll easily hand it over…”

“Of course, there’s some things I want to discuss-”

“I don’t want to discuss anything with this whore!” Laurie sharply pointed towards David, they all sweated. Laurie still held a grudge against him.

“*Coughs* Laurie, you can’t hold it against him forever-”

“Don’t give me anything, Tapp! Don’t forget you also slept with him!” All the eyes were now on Tapp, he immediately looked away with sweat rolling down his face. Well they talked to Jane, Bill watches Jake and the others enjoy their meals. He wasn’t eating much, not because of him not being hungry, but he felt something creeping up on him. He looked up and saw Jed and another man , he took a seat with them and joined their dining.

“Now you lots are having fun!” Danny said, throwing a biscuit at Ace.

“Jed...or Danny, i’m surprised that the boy isn’t with you.”

“He doesn’t like big gatherings, he normally stays away and just waits till it’s all over. That’s why this gentleman is with me.” Bill turned to this man, he had a hat with large goggles in the front. The lens was dark, the man was trying to hide his appearance from others.

“Howdy, your name is...Bill? I go by Matty, i’m sorry that it’s not my real name, i’m a little shy…”

“I can tell but it’s fine, how do you know this creep?”

“Creep!? Jeez, this creep helped your asses not too long ago!”

“*Giggle* This creep did the impossible for me, without him, I wouldn’t be here. So i’m grateful, I got to see someone I missed dearly…”

“Who?”

“My father, I...haven’t seen him yet but soon we’ll talk face to face.”

“Well, I hope it goes well for you and try not to stay around Jed. He’s nothing but trouble.”

“Ha, I will. Well, i’ll let you enjoy your meal. I’ll see y’all later!” Matty and Jed left the table, but why did Bill still have a bad feeling in his gut? It wasn’t Jed, it couldn’t be Matty, so what was turning his stomach? Jed and Matty were walking in the hallways of the building, Jed's smile grew wide with malice riddling between his teeth.

“So, how are you feeling?”

“Pretty good, I see he aged quite a bit...it really has been that long…”

“Remember what you must do.”

“I know...but I wished our reunion wouldn’t be like that…” The man said, removing his hat and exposing his face. Short fuzzy brown hair with some grey hairs poking out, a thin hazel beard with blue eyes as clear as a cloudless sky.

“It was nice seeing my dad.” Matty said with a great smile. David slammed his hands on the table, Jane demands she made were far out of line and too much of a risk for him to take.

“Listen, if you want the equipment, you'll do as I say!”

“Like hell we are, you tyrant!” Kate barked at her.

“If I agree to this, that basically throws away all the work we put in! Dwight is still out there and I need to save him-”

“Then you-”

“NO, WE ARE NOT!”

“King, i’ll tell you this straight. That big guy there is Laurie’s brother.”

“What?!”

“She’ll do anything to keep them safe, she hasn’t seen him in years. That means she’s on my side, I already control parts of the government. I have power that you can’t go against!” she threatened him with. David leaned down on the table and locked his eye with hers.

“And I have a group of people who can handle anything that comes our way, like you said. We fought spiders, ninja clones, skilled warriors, etc. If you think your power will make us tuck our tails between our legs and run then you clearly don’t know us!”

“Then we have nothing more to say, leave, now!” David and the others left the room, he couldn’t do it. Like he told her, agreeing will make all their work for nothing. David went to get the others and took them back to the library. They arrive in Herman’s lab and watch David lean against the table.

“David?”

“What’s wrong, did you find the equipment?” Herman asks as he dissects another abomination.

“Yes and no. The equipment is in that building, but I don’t know where exactly where. We didn’t do a thorough search before Jane told us to come into the room she was in.”

“What did she want?”

“She wants us to give her everything we have and leave the rest to her. All of the information, all our weapons and other shit. Fuck her, if I agreed then that makes everything we did for nothing, rather lose my other eye than do that. She tried to threaten me with her power, all I threw was an empty buff.” He said, everyone was silent. Jane is a powerful being, in strength, mind, and money. Thomas tug David’s pants and looked up.

“David...we need that stuff, for Dwight.”

“I know, I have a plan...but this will probably be the riskiest thing we’ll be doing. We could even die if we’re careless…”

“King?”

“Everyone…” The air was heavy, they all had a sense of what David was going to say, but they still wanted to hear his plan.

“We’re doing a full frontal assault, against Jane and the military!”

Chapter Text

ARE YOU FUCKING INSANE, KING!? If we assault them, we’ll be against both the Romero’s and the military! We’ll be upgraded from outlaws to America’s most wanted, enemies of the nation!” Kate told him.

“I know, but Jane already said we have nothing else to discuss, meaning she’s not handing it to us anytime soon. We’re this close and our hands are tied…*sigh* listen. I want to do thi-”

 

“Cut it, David. I told you, Dwight’s my friend too and this situation we’re in can’t be done with only you. I won’t lie, going against the military and most likely becoming America’s most wanted wasn’t the plan...nor was traveling through an interdimensional library...or meeting higher deities. But even with all of that, I'll still help you. I’m staying!”

“If Claudette’s in, then we are too!” Joey shouted, wrapping both Claudette and Feng in his arms.

“We’re all in this, David, we knew what we signed up for. If we were really scared of any of this, we would have left long ago. Now, stop trying to push us away and make a plan for us already.”

“Bill...thank you, all of you. Ok, the plan is simple, some of us will distract the enemies well the rest of us will search every inch of the place for the equipment. Once we find it, we’ll call Quentin and take it inside. We’ll meet on the rooftops then leave-”

“But Jane will shoot us on sight now, we can’t get in from any of the entrances.” Kate reminded him.

“I know, at the far end of the building, there was a glass dome ceiling, that’s our way in.”

“King, if I may. I took a look at that glass during the event, it feels reinforced, it won’t be easily broken.” Adam told him.

“It’s still glass, some explosives should do the trick.”

“And what are we going to do for landing?”

“Herman can help with that, I hope... now come here. *Whispers* Ok, got it?”

“Yeah!” They all shouted.

“Ok, Quentin, send the note to Mrs. Morel. Everyone, prepare yourself and wait till I say it time.” They all broke from the circle and went to respective spaces to get ready, Claudette went into Herman's lab to prepare some experiments. Feng, Joey and Nea discussed what they could do, Charlie stuck with Bill, watching him practice with his whip. Jake was feeding Crow since he knew she’s going to play a big part of the plan.

“Jake, just the man I wanted to see.”

“Jeff?”

“Here, I made this for you.”

“What...is this?”

“It’s a harness, the little pockets on the back are for Crow’s talons. Having her latch on our arms isn’t healthy whatsoever, with this, we have more freedom with our arms.”

“You...made this, for me?”

“Of course, I was getting worried for your arms...and your well being.” Jake blushed at the thought, he cleared his throat and tried on the harness. Crow put her talons through and lifted Jake upwards, Jeff was right about his arms, they were free and weren’t restricted. She lowered him back down and screeched for the both of them, Jeff placed his hand on Jake’s head and smiled at him again.

“Just trying to make things easier for you, we need to do our best tonight. If things get too rough, give me a call. I’m not much of a fighter, but i’ll do what I can, ok?”

“Y-you don’t have to do all that. You did a lot, from healing me and hiding me away from the people when I destroyed their equipment.”

“Why not, I like everyone, including you. Want to make things safe for you. Plus, if they destroyed the forest, I wouldn’t really have a home. So if anything, I should be thanking you.”

“Y-you don’t have to thank me, but...thank you, really.” Jake turned red from the burly man’s touch, Ace and Adam watched from the distance and couldn’t help but laugh. David sat on his bed, holding Dwight’s glassing and sighing at the thought that he’s still gone.

“*Knocks* got a moment?” Kate asked.

“Plenty, everything’s alright?”

“Yeah, everyone’s preparing for the big fight. Quentin said that Claudette’s mom got the note, hopeful she’ll help get the people out so we won’t harm bystanders. I got a bundle of dynamite for the glass, we’ll go on your word.”

“Ok, but what’s on your mind?”

“Just...I want to make sure you want to risk this, even when this is over and get Dwight, we’ll most likely be hunted down, you and everyone. I know everyone said they’ll stick with you, but are you sure you want them to stay?”

“Honestly, no. If I had a choice, I would have booted everyone already but I can’t. No matter what I say, their choice is theirs alone. They want to stop this madness and rescue Dwight, if that alone will push them, then nothing i’ll say will convince them to leave.”

“My thoughts exactly.” Douglas came into the room and leaned on the other side of the door frame.

“I figured that I would take control over Thomas for this one. Anyways, if I was in David’s shoes, I would try to convince them to leave too. But everyone’s determined to save my son...when I heard that...I couldn’t help but cry. I’m really thankful for all of you guys' help.”

“*Sigh* ok, then like I said, give the word and we’ll do this.” Kate and Douglas left the room, David drew in a deep breath and left his room to Herman’s lab. Everyone was inside, they laid their eyes on David.

“Herman, you have it?”

“Yes, throw this down to break the jar, the slime will form up and it’ll serve as a landing pad...ish for you all.”

“Leave it to the mad scientist to invent something that makes the word “ish” come out of their mouth.”

“Speaking of, David, I want to accompany you with this.”

“W-why!? You’ll be the last person to get involved in this type of action.”

“Oh I am, I don’t give a rats ass about your lover and the nation. I just need...some live subjects for experiments, so…”

“Oh...I should have figured, but what will you use?”

“Oh my dear King, you’ll see what i’ll use once we get a chance.” Herman’s smile was just as sinister as Jed’s, David looked at Adiris and Quentin.

“I want you two to stay here if that’s ok?”

“Of course, i’ll look after Herman’s research.”

“David...please make it back, all of you.”

“We will. Now, open the door, Quentin!” Quentin summoned a door and opened it, David poked his head out and looked down. They were directly above the glass dome ceiling. He looked back to his group, their faces were serious, they knew they couldn't afford to fail. Kate walked over and handed him a match and the bundle of dynamite, David prayed that Mrs. Morel got the message and got the people out. Before he lit the match, he saw a crowd of people running from the building. He doesn’t know what exactly she did to get them out, but he appreciates her for doing so. David drew in a deep breath, lit the match by flicking it upwards on his pants and lit the dynamite. David threw it down and watched it descend down to the dome, the explosion went off and broke the dome, giving them an opening. Jake called Crow and she latched her talons on the pockets, Jeff grabbed onto Jake’s hand. Crow took off and got ready to do their part.

“Um...isn’t Jeff heavier than Jake, shouldn’t it be the other way around?”

“Jake’s used to his weight…” Ace said with air quotes, Kate rolled her eyes and faced the door.

“Ok everyone, last chance. If you want to bail, do it now!” No one said a word, they were ready.

“OK, EVERYONE, LET’S GO!”

“RIGHT!” They all jumped out the library and descended down, the cold wind freezing their face and goosebumps growing on their skin. They couldn’t tell if it was from the cold air or the adrenaline surging through from dropping from extreme heights. They were approaching close to the broken dome, the shattered glass on the floor wouldn’t be the best thing for them to land on and nor was the hard floor under it.

“DAVID, USE IT NOW!” Herman shouted through the rushing wind, David took out the container Herman gave him and threw it down inside the dome, the container landed and busted open. Green goo immediately formed and created a landing pad for them to lay down one. The group went through the broken dome and landed on the semi solid goo, they bounced numerous times on the goo before it stopped it’s movement.

“Care to explain?”

“It was reactive to air, causing it to expand and turn into a goo like substance.”

“Science is surely something.”

“Trust me, I got something better in store.”

“Save it for later, let’s get to the equipment, i’m sure Jane already sent her men out and the same with Laurie.” They got off the goo and rushed their way through the always. They turned a corridor and saw a mixture of the military and Jane’s men with their weapons out, they saw David’s group heading their way. They loaded their guns and readied for firing.

“OK! MS. YAMAOKA, SPIRIT, AMANDA, I’M COUNTING ON YOU THREE!” They jumped in front of the group and zipped ahead, drawing out their weapons as they cut down their foes and opposed them. Each slash sprayed a line of fresh blood on the walls well the bodies of the oozes the remaining blood and forms a crimson stream in the halls.

“Ahhhhhh, this is so fun. I can’t believe that I get to experience my first event crashing, isn’t this fun, Spirit!?”

“Eh, better than being coped up in a library. Hey, let’s make it a game. The one who gets the most kills wins, what do you say?”

“YES, AMANDA, YOU MUST PLAY WITH US!”

“We’re in life and death situation and the first thing that pops in you two minds is having a killing game, *sigh* just my luck.” The three flashed through the halls with a crimson trail flowing behind them as they turned left to take care of the rest. The group took the right side and continued down the halls, more men were stationed there and readied their weapons like the others. David saw some bookshelves lined up against the wall, he and Bill pulled them down and used it for cover. They were now pinned and the bookshelves won’t provide much cover.

“SHIT! Ok, so here’s the- uh...Herman?”

“Ha, let me show what I meant earlier.” Herman reached into his pockets and pulled out some odd looking gloves.

“Now David, stand up.”

“EXCUSE ME!?”

“Trust me, you won’t get harmed.”

“Herman…”

“Go on, stand up!” David got up and the enemies eyes were on him, they pointed their weapons at him and instantly fired. David closed his eyes and hoped whatever Herman’s plan was would really help him. He heard the loud banging of the revolvers and rifles fired at him, but he felt nothing. David slowly opened his eyes and couldn’t believe what he was seeing. The bullets were stopped, stood motionless in the air in front of him. Everyone else couldn’t believe it either, Herman walked up behind him, the gloves on his hands were sparking as he cleared his throat.

“Herman...what is this? You’re not gonna tell me you're a higher being too...are you?”

“Such a cheap answer would be right for my character, but no, I’m not. You see, this is the work of science!”

“How, magnetic force? Lead isn’t a metal that isn’t really affected by it.”

“True, but it’s not the magnetic force i’m using, it’s electricity. Every living through can have electricity flow within or around it, even the air itself.”

“I get it, you’re using the electricity in your glove and flowing it in the air around us, you’re basically controlling it!” Claudette pointed out.

“Exactly, right now, I'm using the electricity to hold the bullets in place, but these men are being terribly rude to us. Let's give back what they threw at us, shall we?” Sparks from the gloves ignited around Herman’s hands again, his body was being covered by an electric glow that was flickering the lights around them. He then opened his arms wide and clapped his hands together, forcing the electricity to propel the bullets that were locked in place back at them men. The bullets pierced through every last one of them, leaving holes that lead to the other side of the body. The men were dead, some took longer to die because as they writhe in agonizing pain.

“Damn, I needed some alive, all well.”

“W-well, good job. Come on, we’re gotta keep moving!” The group went over the fresh dead bodies and made their way to the main room where the event was being hosted, they opened the doors but immediately took cover. More men fired at them with everything at their disposal.

“DAMN, Herman, got any more tricks?”

“Plenty, can you shoot the windows?” David nodded his head, him and the rest shot the windows and watched the glass fall onto the floor. Herman smiled like a mad man, he sent the electricity out and collected the shatter glass. He used the electric flow to move it around, Herman swirled it around and collected some of the men upstairs and dragged them to the center. The men stopped their shooting and watched their fellow companions getting swept up. The men screamed in terror and pain, the glass flowing around them was cutting them apart. Blood dripped from them, coloring the glass and turning it red. Limbs and bits of flesh were hanging in the air, Herman dropped the bodies and the glass down, the thud sound made a number of times as some of the men almost vomited from the sight. Now this was their chance, Herman came out from cover and threw bolts of electricity out of his hands and destroyed some of the building structure. Kate and Adam backed him up well Bill and Joey went in, Charlie wanted to help but told him to sit with David.

“But…”

“It’s ok. If David and Rin get in a pinch, i’ll trust that you’ll back them up.”

“...(you better not die).”

“What was that?”

“I-I said keep those comments to yourself sometimes…” The red haired teen shouted, storming off with David and the others going up the stairs but the unexpected happened. A hand came through the stairs and gripped David’s body, it was Michael. The sudden emerges threw everyone off and snapped Thomas back in control of his body, the boy rushed up, picked up a rock and did what he could to Michael’s leg.

“LET HIM GO!” He shouted at the tall beast, but Michael continued to crush David. David wasn’t going to go down easy, but he stopped when a pale blue light glowed. It wasn’t Herman’s gloves, it was Thomas, it even caught Michael’s attention.

“I...said...LET HIM GO!” The boy shouted with pure anger, he bashed the rock against Michael’s leg and it sent the monster through the wall and took him outside. David fell out of his grasp and picked up Thomas and inspected him.

“...the hell is the on switch for you? Thomas, how did you do that?”

“I don’t know, I got angry and boom!”

“Boom indeed, we’ll look into later. Claudette, Charlie, Rin, Feng, let’s go!” The four jumped over the hole Michael created and started their thorough search for the equipment. They kicked over opened doors, moved objects for any hidden passage. One painting stood out to David, it was a family portrait. A mother, a father and their son but the boy looked familiar.

“This...kinda looks like Que-”

“DAVID, COME ON!”

“SORRY!” David removed the portrait, folded it back up and put it in his pocket. They resumed their search but they ended up finding nothing, it must not be on this floor. They headed back in the directions to the main floor but bullets were shot instantly in their direction, Rin heightened reflexes kicked in and deflected the bullets. They continued to unload at them well another group came from behind and loaded their weapons too. Charlie stuck his hands into the floor and lifted part of it up and used it as a shield.

“COME ON!” He shouted, jumping down the hole. The rest followed with Rin being last, Charlie picked up a bookshelf from the wall and launched it in the hole above them. The shelf hit the ceiling and caused debry to fall and plug up the hole, now they can continue without being chased down. The fight on the main floor was dying down, Kate and the others were fending off the last few remaining Romero’s well Bill and Joey took care of the military.

“BILLLLLL!” A raging voice shrieked, Ash was coming down with his weapon revving, but Joey latched his whip on his leg and slammed him down.

“Nice work, Joey!”

“Haha, learned from the best- WATCH OUT!” Bill sharpened his attention and saw Phillip coming at him, he backed up and unleashed his whip at him.

“We gotta stop meeting like this, Bill!”

“For fuck sakes, I can’t wait for the day I put you six feet under!”

“BACK OUT YOU, MURDERER!” Ash gave back. David and the others searched every inch of the lower floor, but found nothing again. They came across a reinforced door with a lock on it, Rin and Charlie were ready to take it down until Thomas told them to wait.

“I can handle this!” He said, taking out small pieces of metal from his pocket and began picking the lock.

“Go around like a pancake...and there!” The lock fell with a metal clunk noise being made.

“Thomas, who taught you how to pick locks!?”

“Mr. Seaweed man!”

“DOUGLAS!”

“(Oh no…)”

“We’ll talk about this later, come on!” They burst through and saw it, at least it looked out of the ordinary compared to the other things inside. They called Quentin and they pushed the heavy equipment inside and shut the door.

“Ok, let’s get the others and get to the roof.”

“David, why the roof?”

“Only one way to the roof from the looks of it, we can block it to make sure no stragglers won’t come out of the blue.” They rushed out the room and went to the main floor, but on their way, they saw the others rushing down the halls. That made things easier as David told them that they found the equipment and were now heading to the roof. So they headed back to the steps, passing by the bodies that they all killed with Ash, Michael and Philip nowhere to be seen.

“So Herman, is that the only pair you made?”

“Well this is a new prototype, I do have an older pair. I gave it to Jeff since he and Jake were in charge to take care of the ones outside.” He answered, Jeff was letting out an evil laughter as he soared through the air and shot lighting out his fingertips. The ground and the men below crumble and fried with no real way of protecting themselves. The group eventually made it to the roof and crushed the lock, David whistled in the air, signaling Jake to come to them. He came down and was ready to leave.

“NO SO FAST, KING!” Jane shouted, of course, she of all people would know another way to the roof.

“Charlie…”

“Phillip...last time I saw you was at the carnival. *sigh*”

“...i’m sorry that we op-”

“Smart to come to the roof.” Jane interrupted.

“You knew we were gonna come here-”

“That’s why Ash and the others pulled back, Jane called them and waited till we got near the roof.” Bill finishes.

“Look, Jane. You could have just let us go, you barely have any men left in this place, same to you, Laurie. We took care of them, I warned you, you couldn’t handle us.”

“No, King. They couldn’t handle you, but we’re different!”

“We outnumber you!”

“But how many of you could actually fight?” She asked, David sucked his teeth and sweat a bit despite the cold night air. He can’t call Quentin without the risk of them coming inside, despite the no violence rule inside, having inside is still a threat.

“*Clapping* Marvelous, just marvelous! The big bad Jane against the Smoky King and Lady Viper? Truly a fight for the ages!” Jed said, he continued his clapping as he walked to the edge of the roof.

“Jed…”

“Jed! What are you doing, where’s Frank!?”

“Somewhere safe, I don’t want him near out of respect for Danny.”

“W-who?” Jane asked, Jed laughed. It became louder and louder, slapping his knee, coughing and gasping for air. Then he suddenly stopped, he hopped and stood on the railing and began walking on air. Who was he, what is he, he said a demon but was that even the truth? He stopped and stood in front of the hanging moon, the light around him felt sinister.

“Honestly, the pacing of this story has been so flavorful. Being a part of it is even better, but i’m only going to do this out of a request-”

“W-WAIT! You told me your powers were limited!”

“I did, but I didn’t tell you the truth. Simply, I lied, I could do a whole lot more. Especially with this!” He took out a chuck of iridescent, the crimson material shone with the moonlight behind him.

“Jed, you said request, who requested you?”

“Sayaka.”

“SAYAKA! THE ONE WH-”

“Who you’re trying to defeat and save you lover and blah, blah, blah! You’re such a broken record, you know? She asked me to stall not only you, but the Yamakoas and Romeros.”

“And how the hell you’re going to do that, fight all of us at once!?”

“No no, believe me when I say I can’t take ALL of you one-”

“YOU JUST LIED!”

“Yeah, so honestly, it’s on you to believe me or not. Just know that fighting you won’t do.”

“THEN WHAT WILL!”

“THIS! *snaps fingers*” The snap echoed the night and carried with the night wind, suddenly the moonlight disappeared, followed by a monstrous roar. Something fell from the sky and crashed to the ground, dirt clouds rose up and covered what fell. Everyone stared, waiting patiently to see what Jed brought. The night blew its heavy wind and revealed the monster, it was the abomination that broke loose in the estate. Rin eyes teared up and fell, she thought that she’ll only see that beast once and never again but a bigger problem came into question. If the Yamaokas couldn’t defeat it, can they? The door opened with great force, a soldier came in to report to Laurie but she cut him off.

“WHATEVER YOU HAVE TO SAY, SAVE IT. GATHER THE MEN AND ASSEMBLE THEM, THEN CALL FOR BACKUP!”

“M-ma’am, that’s the thing. There’s barely any of us left...out of the 200 of us, there were only 20 left…because of him!” The soldier pointed at David, everyone turned their head to David as Laurie rushed over and gripped his shirt.

“YOU SEE WHAT YOU DONE!? YOU JUST KILLED THE PEOPLE THAT MIGHT’VE HELP SOLVE THIS MESS, YOU SELFISH BASTARD! HOW MANY BODIES WILL YOU CUT DOWN JUST TO GET WHAT YOU WANT? HOW MANY LIVES WILL YOU PUT AT RISK, FAMILIES, CITIES, HOW MANY, KING!?” She screamed, David couldn’t answer. He knows he’s being selfish, he knows his body count, but this? This wasn’t his fault, Laurie just fingering the blame from her grudge. Still, she was right, he destroyed the only option they had to stop the monster. David sucked his teeth and called Quentin, the door opened up and turned to everyone.

“Everyone, get-”

“HELL NO! Ms. Storde, if you’re going to blame King, then blame me too! I help with the killing and so did everyone else! We knew what we were doing, but this? This was completely unexpected, so instead of playing the blame game, let’s work together to stop it! We can’t stop it and nor can you, please!”

“...I have men stations a few towns over, but they were waiting on a call. I need to make the call but they’ll take a while to get here.”

“That’s fine, until then, it’s up to us to hold that thing back!” Claudette went for David’s pocket and took out Dwight’s glasses.

“We don’t have time for hiding or no time for anyone to be a lone wolf. We need to be together to get this done, David. We’re with you!”

“...Dwight is one lucky bastard to have someone like you watching his back. Ok, everyone, we gotta stop this thing before it destroys anything, GOT IT!?

“GOT IT!”

Chapter Text

The beast roared into the night air, shaking the very air itself. Each step it took made the ground shake, the pile of molded flesh tainting the world. Arms grew out of its side and slammed them on the ground below, scooping and pushing anything that dared stand in front of it. Time is limited, David called a door and told everyone to go inside. They soon reappeared distances away from the horrific beast, everyone took out their weapons as the beast came towards them.

“Ok, so what is the plan? That thing can crush us in one swing!” Ash shouted.

“Simple, hit it hard and make it stop!” David simply told, another door opened up and it was followed with Davaid giving a loud whistle. Bumblely came out at top speed, David picked up Douglas and hopped on.

“Been awhile since we took you out, huh?”

 

“*Angry neigh*”

“What!? We didn’t forget about you, we just didn’t have to ride you much since we were with Quentin.”

“*Questioning neigh*”

“That, that’s what we're going to!” The horse looked ahead and saw the abomination, the horse snapped her neck and neighed aggressively.

“What she’s saying?” Douglas asked.

“She doesn’t want to go near that, come on. We took on similar things!”

“Aggressive neigh*”

“So what?! Come on, for Dwight!” The horse sighed in irritation as she rode closer to the beast, everyone else followed as they came to do what they could. David circles around it, trying to find any type of weak spot that could help, but it's nothing but piles of flesh. Rin and her sisters sped up the monster's fleshy body, dragging their blade to cut off anything on the body. Jake brought Ash up and dropped him in the air, he revved his weapon and slid down and did the same thing as the Yamaokas. Bill latched his whip on the monster and swung himself upwards, joining Ash in the dismemberment.

“Stay out of my way, Bill! Unless you want to get saw in half, that’ll make things easier for me!”

“Shut up, shUT UP, SHUT UP! We have a giant monster prowling around and you still want to kill me!? Take about an unhealthy obsession…”

“Listen here, just becau-”

“WATCH OUT!” Arms were coming out of the flesh and tried to get Ash, Bill threw his whip and gripped it around his body and pulled Ash near him. He then created a wild dance and cut the arms into bits with his whip.

“If you weren’t so fucking blind with your obession, then you would have notice those arms. Now pull your head out of your ass and help me with this shit!”

“Tch, don’t tell me what to do- h-hey, what it’s doing?” Ash asked, they all saw the beast cough up something and spat it into a nearby town. It shot across like a shooting star and landed in the town’s square, the lump of bloody twitch like it was responding to a heart beat. It caught the attention of some of the townsfolk, a bubble was forming on the lump. It grew larger with each passing second, red liquid surging around with gods know what inside. Finally, the bubble burst, the red liquid shot out like a geyser. Chunks of flesh fell onto rooftops, people’s clothing, and the ground beneath their feet. Not too long after, some of the flesh came together and formed terrifying creatures that began attacking whoever was nearby. It caused a mass panic to where people were turning on each other to fend for themselves, Laurie reached the phone that was ringing and caught wind of the new situation.

“DAMMIT!”

“What’s wrong?”

“Monsters are terrorizing the town nearby, it’s causing a panic and there aren't enough sheriffs and such to fight back. FUCK!”

“...Maybe we can split up, some of us go to the town well the rest distracts the monster. When reinforcements arrive, we’ll split them off as well.” Tapp suggested, Laurie grit her teeth and agreed. She took the nearest vehicle and charged to the battlefield, by the time she arrived, she saw everyone hard at work to stop the beast from moving. David pulled back from the fight and stopped near her.

“How’s the fight?”

“A kick in the fucking teeth, Ash, Rin and the others are constantly cuttinng that thing, but it just grow back it limbs and flesh! Our bullets does nothing, but I got an ace in the hole, why are you here?”

“Something landed in the town near here, monsters formed from it and it’s terrorizing the town. We need to split the party and help the townsfolk!”

“Ok! Michael, Phillip, Amanda, Tapp, go with Laurie and help the townsfolk. The rest stay here and keep this thing at bay!” David shouted, a door opened and the names he called ran inside and appeared in the town. The saw the town folks being slaughtered, blood staining the floor with homes set ablaze. Laurie shouted at everyone to get to work and kill whatever that beast spawned in the town. As everyone battled for their lives, Jed did nothing but watch and laugh at the gruesome sight. It was amusement for Jed, but for Danny, it was making his stomach turn. He knows that Frank is away and safe, but what is his safety if David and the others fail to kill the monster? Jed was betting a dying horse.

“Jed, I think we took it too far!”

“What? No way, this is a perfect chance to see how far will their determination will take them, if it can provide the strength they need to actually kill it.”

“But not even the Yamaokas could defeat it, it killed many people just to capture it. What makes you think they can do it!?”

“Because we saw what they’re made of, I know they can put a stop to this.”

“And if not!?”

“Then this country is doomed, they will die and plus Frank, Sayaka kills Dwight and the story will end prematurely.” He shrugged, but that only brewed fear into Danny. The fight below still rages on, Jake took Jeff into the air and did what they could with Herman’s prototype gloves. It did nothing as they weren’t strong enough, even the ones Herman used were too weak. Jake tried to lower themselves to the ground, but the beast moved its hands and smacked them out the air and into some trees. They fell down the branches and it somehow helped break their fall, Rin slid down the mountain of flesh and landed near David and Douglas.

“Damn! It’s just healing back what we throw at it, we’re aren’t fast enough to stop it from growing its flesh back!”

“It’s ok, Ace and the others should be here!”

“With what?”

“Remember the keys Jed gave me a while back?”

“Yes?”

“Let’s just say, it’s unique, especially with that turret we took as well. Hm? There he is!” Rin heard a buzzing noise above them, so were the others. They looked up to see some flying contraption, inside was Ace, Joey and Feng with a turret mounted on the back.

“KING, HOW DID YOU GET THAT!?” Ash shouted on the monster's arm, he knew that’s something only Jane and himself knew of and was still in the works.

“Ace, I didn’t know you knew how to fly this thing?”

“I don’t, so the chance of me killing us is very high! Anyways, i’ll fly us closer, that turret is heavy. It’s going to take the both of you to use and steady that thing, got it?”

“Yes!”

“Ok, we’re diving in!” Ace flew in closer and circled around the monster, Joey steady it well Feng unleashed heavy bullets into the monster. It was doing work, chucks of the flesh fell with each piercing bullet. Unfortunately, the flesh grew back in a rapid pace, but at least the heavy artillery is doing something to the beast.

“Damn, better than nothing. We got to do something about the healing…”

“Hm...I might have an idea.” Herman said, he picked up some flesh that fell and told David to call Quentin.

“I’ll pull out everything I can to see if I can quickly make something that can counteract the healing, just hope I could figure it out in time. Claudette, I’m gonna need your assistance!”

“Ok let- what's going on?” David and Herman turned their attention to the beast who was roaring into the night again, the wind grew violently as the air felt thin. Something was glowing in front of the monster’s mouth, it was growing as the wind felt like a storm. David looked at the trees in the distance, they were wilting, the monster was stealing the life out of the plants near it. They watch the glow grow more and more, ready to launch it to a random place. Then once it gathered enough, it launched the massive ball of energy in the same direction of the town. The force threw everyone back or off the monster and dragged them to the ground, David looked up and saw the energy was about to land. A bit before the monster launched its attack, the other party that split off to help the townsfolk finished getting rid of the monsters harassing the people.

“Ok, that takes care of them. Also Laurie, I received word that the reinforcements will be here in less than a minute. We can regroup with David as soon as they arrive.”

“Good, we’re gonna turn that giant pile of flesh into swiss cheese and end- huh? What is that?” Laurie and Tapp looked into the sky and saw a ball of light hurling towards them, they saw that everything getting hit by the light was turning into ash. The others turned their heads to the and saw it as well, they couldn’t even react in time as the ball hit the town. A pillar of burning light shot up into the sky, the force of the blast flew to David and the others. They tried to stand their ground, but they felt themselves being pushed. David shielded his eyes as trees became the new debry flying into the air, David removed his arms from his eyes and saw the forest was completely slicked back like greased hair. The slicked back trees made seeing in the distance more clear, David looked in the direction of the town and saw it was nothing but floating ash. Everyone who was sent there was dead, they probably didn’t even have a chance to react, he thought to himself.

“My...god…”

“Dammit...DAMMIT! HERMAN, GET TO WORK!” David shouted with boiling rage, Herman took Claudette into the door to get started, but how long will it take? David wanted everyone out of this, wanting no one to die, but half of the people who were helping him were turned into nothing. Well they all tried to handle the situation , a fellow companion slipped away, Kate. She made her way to the building and back to the roof where Jane was watching everything. She was smoking a cigar with a glass of wine in her hand, Kate glared at her, causing the hair on Jane’s neck to stand up.

“Kate Denson...how long has it been since we last met?”

“When you tried to kill me when I was just a child!”

“Hmph...yeah. As a child….so, so, so long ago. You grew into a fine woman, I heard of what you've been doing the past years.

“Which part? The killing of your man, the territory I’ve been taking, the imports I set on fire?”

“All of the above, you and King have been making this…” Jane paused, she finished her wine and crushed the glass with her hand.

“DIFFICULT! I turned that bum fuck of a gang Bill ran into something greater, stronger, and what happens? A fucking man who sticks his dick in everything and Goldilocks with a stick up her ass fucking destorying it!”

“GOOD! You’re nothing more than a tyrant who turned a gang that had decent credibility into a ruthless militia, taking away people's freedom and getting angry when no one follows you! You’re no leader, YOU’RE JUST A SELFISH BITCH!”

“I’m the selfish one, when you leave a fight that determines everyone’s lives!?”

“Coming from you, standing up here like some queen well her pawns do all the work! I know King, he WILL find a way to defeat that thing. For fucksakes, that man came back from the dead, he can easily handle this without me. I prayed for a chance to be just you and me and now I have it, get ready Jane. I have a bullet with your name on it and ready to be shot in your head!”

“Fine, leave a roach alone and it’ll just come back stronger!” Well the two battle their heart out, David’s group still struggles against the monsters, Herman and Claudette are hard at work to find a way to stop the healing. Herman was stressed due to his lack of time, Claudette was reaching a block as well.

“FUCK! Nothing we’re doing is working! Any type of acid and chemicals we told to use on the flesh, it just grew back!”

“Hm…”

“I hate to say it but...we might no-”

“Hold on, I wanna try something!” Claudette went and grabbed the presicide she made back then.

“What are you doing, this isn’t a bug!”

“I know, but I made the chemicals to react not to the bugs but…” she sprayed the flesh and saw that it was melting.

“I knew it, Herman, we were looking at it wrong. The main compound of the flesh, it’s iridescent! I used certain chemicals to make this spray because I had a hunch that iridescent was involved with the spiders, we need a more concentrated version of it!” Herman nodded well Claudette took out her notes that had the formula. David pulled back from the fight once again, gritting his teeth that their efforts to stopping the monster was becoming in vain. A door came again and out came Claudette, she told him she had something that could stop the healing but they were going to need that flying machine Ace is controlling. David signalled Ace to come down and land next to them. Claudette then gave them two sacks and told them to fly over the monster's body and dump one above it, the monster would melt from the chemicals and help with reducing its size. They put the sacks in the machine and ascended into the air, they got above the beast and unload one of the sacks, the gas made contact with the body and it roared in pain, but something was wrong. The beast wasn’t shrinking and the healing didn’t stop, the size of the beast is countering the chemicals, so it is still able to heal itself back.

“Oh no, it’s too big…”

“We need something to cut it down!”

“With What, Douglas? If heavy artillery won’t help, then what could?”

“...I might have an Idea…” Rin spoke, appearing out of nowhere, but her face was riddled with doubt.

“Anything that can help bring that thing to size we’ll take!”

“Well...it’s a certain sword technique that my family created that can help but…”

“But?”

“It was only done by the first Yamaoka...and only him, it requires complete tranquility...but my family was built on wrath. We’re not meant to be calm fighters, just ruthless warriors with the thirst for blood. That’s why no other Yamaoka was able to do it, not even his son.” she explained.

“Rin, as much as that would work, your face says you're not prepared to do it.”

“I…”

“We don’t have time if you just goin-”

“Douglas! Rin, listen. If anyone out of your family can do it, it’s definitely you.”

“David…”

“I’m not saying I want you to do it if you’re uncomfortable, just saying I believe you as much as you believed in me. Even if you do fail, I appreciate you for trying.”

“H-how can you say that with a smile on your face?”

“Because not once you disappointed me, Rin. So why wouldn’t I have a smile?” He answered, Rin stared at him. He really does believe in her and not once David was dishonest with her, she drew in a deep breath and readied herself.

“Ok, I need to be high in the air, very high.” she said, David saw Crow in the air with Jake and Jeff with tree branches and leaves in their hair, he called them over and asked to use the harness.

“Crow, how high can you take us?”

“*screech*”

“That’ll do, she can take us above the clouds. Be careful, being that high with this cold can be dangerous, you falling from that great height will only make the cold worse, you ready?”

“Yes, I am!”

“Ok! Crow, take us high!” She screeched as she latched her talons on the harness and took David and Rin high into the air, the two soar to great heights until they were above the lingering clouds. They weren’t thick enough to absurd their version from the fight below, but Rin wished it did. Looking down to see the monsterity her family created turned her stomach and filled her with doubt and guilt again. She felt responsible for the destruction and deaths that occured here and in her home, she tried to calm her mind, but her head played nothing but horrific images of her past and the now.

“Hey, remember. You need to be calm down-”

“But too much is riding on me-”

“I know, I know that feeling. That’s how I felt ever since Dwight was taken away and everyone trying to get the treasure and claim the country, I started all of this. It brings me everything you’re feeling, guilt, sorrow, doubt, spite, I feel all of that constantly. It makes me sick, it plagues my mind so much I want to just go berserk, just say forget everything and just rage into shit with a savage mind. But I know from my experience that doing that will earn an early grave, that’s why I rely on you all. You, Thomas, Claudette and the others, you each held me up when I wanted to fall. You brought me back when I accepted death, Thomas brought me back to my senses when my mind was clouded, Claudette and the other kept the smile on my face when I was grieving and panicking. You all believed in me and kept me forward, so let me do the same to you. You got this, I know you can.” At that moment, David’s image swapped to her mother, the only person that gave that type of encouragement. Her body felt whole, she knew she’s ready.

“David...throw me up!” Crow did a flip and David launched Rin higher, David and Crow flew down, leaving Rin by herself. She drew her blade and looked down at the beast, the moonlight coating her nightly beauty as she descended. The clouds moved out the way, like it was alive and felt that they were in her way. Charlie and Bill backed up from the beast but looked around, pink like lights were coming from the ground. No, they were more like blossoms, hundreds to thousands of blossoms were fluttering around everyone.

“This is cherry blossom, but there isn’t a single cherry blossom tree around us?” Bill said.

“Yeah...wait, look!” Charlie pointed up, everyone saw the blossom going upward, even the beast took notice. The blossom hung behind Rin as she was speeding up towards the monster, the monster couldn’t do what it did before so it jumped up towards her. David watched in the distance but noticed her blade, it was coated in moonlight, the pale blue light radiated on the blade and even changed the color of the blossoms.

“現在、山岡帝国の相続人の娘である山岡凛です。怒り、血、悪口の上に築かれた家族。しかし今、私は風のように穏やかで、穏やかな小川のように自由です。優雅な月明かり、あなたの輝きで私の敵を何にも欲しがりません!山岡流:月夜桜!
(I am Rin Yamaoka, daughter of the current heir of the Yamaoka empire. A family built on wrath, blood, spite. But now, I am calm as the wind, free as a gentle stream. Gracious moonlight, crave my foes into nothing with your radiance! Yamaoka style: Moonlit blossom dance!)” Everyone watches with anxiousness beating their hearts, in a flash, Rin dashes right through the monster. As she continues to descend, she slowly sheath her blade. Once it closed, the beast was reduced to bits in an instant. No blood spread or rained down, she did it. David didn’t know what she did, but he knew she could do it. Unfortunately, Rin’s body was completely exhausted and enduring pain beyond belief. David flew in with Crow and caught her.

“See, I knew you could do it. Amazing job, Rin.” She just smiled before passing out, Ace flew by them as David told them to try again.

“Ok you two, round two!”

“Yes sir!” The unload the second sack on the now reduced monster, this time, it worked as everyone watches the monster become nothing. David descended down alongside Ace, everyone cowarded around them.

“Rin, that was amazing!”

“What was that?”

“OH, I can explain! It is an exciting sword technique the first Yamaoka created, the moonlit blossom dance. It's an attack that looks like you swung once, but in reality, it was a thousand swings!”

“A THOUSAND!?”

“Yes, a thousand! Unfortunately, it causes extreme exhaustion and pain. From the records, it takes about three days for some to recover for it...well, if you’re a Yamaoka. If someone like David did something like that, he'd die. But let’s be glad it worked and most of us are alive!”

“Speaking of, where’s Kate...and Ash?” Charlie pointed out.

“Yeah, I haven’t seen them either.”

“...you all stay here, I might have idea where Kate is.” David told Crow to take him to the building, he had a sense that she’ll be there confronting Jane. He was right, Kate was on top of Jane, both with bruises and blood on their body’s. All her hard work paid off, once she got rid of her, she’ll work on destroying the rest of her work once they get Dwight back.

“*Pants* finally, finally *pants* I have you!”

“...” Jane was silent, she reached in her pocket and handed Kate a bullet with her name engraved on it.

“You won...fair and square, take this bullet...and kill me-”

“KATE!” David flew in with Crow, but she didn’t turn. David wanted to approach, but he knew his place. Kate loaded the bullet and aimed it at Jane’s head, the world slowed at that point. Then they heard it, a gun was fired. The world now froze, but why? Someone was going to die, right? Yes, someone was, but wasn’t David, wasn’t Jane, but Kate. A hole was where her heart used to be, then three more were made inside her. It blew her off of Jane, David removed the harness and rushed to her. He held her in his arms as he looked across the roof to see Ash, he was the one who shot Kate off of Jane. Jane got up and gripped Ash and pinned him down.

“THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU, SHE WON HER FIGHT, SHE EARNED HER RIGHT TO KILL ME!”

“Like I give a single care of her right, how about a fucking thank you!?”

“NO, DON’T YOU EVER STEP BETWEEN MY FIGHTS! IF YOU DO, I’LL BE SURE YOU LOSE MORE THAN A HAND! *Sighs* King, the military was most likely killed by the blast from earlier. I won’t put a warrant for your arrest, we both suffered losses, but know this. We’re still enemies, I won’t let you off the hook so easily next time and...my apologies for Kate.” She walked off with Ash, leaving Kate struggling to stay alive in David’s arms.

“Kate, hold on, I cou-”

“King...we both know I'm not going to ma...ke it, to think I die...to bulllshit like that!”

“Kate…”

“King, listen. I...knew something was going to...fuck...me *coughs*, I knew I wouldn’t win in the end. So, I...want to ask you this but not as...rivals, but as friends…”

“What...is it?”

“When...a time comes, when it’s time for her to die...make sure it is with this…” She handed him her engraved bullet that was now coated in blood.

“And...tell Adam...i’m sorry...for...lea...ving...him…and for...failing...our...par...nets...” He managed to say with her last breath, Kate died. A teardrop managed to fall from her eyes before giving up. David's heart sank with anger and sorrow, he shut his eyes then screamed in rage. His screams reached the others who turned their attention to the building, it even snapped Thomas back into control. A door appeared before them and out came David carrying Kate’s body, disbelieving what the night’s new mood. No one could really look at her body, another one of their companions gone, but Adam took it to heart the worst.

“*Claps* stellerful! I expected no less from the Smokey King and his band of odd misfits, but atlast, we lost some people. The viper has been skinned and no longer is coming back, such a shame.”

“Tch, ARE YOU HAPPY NOW, DID YOU HAVE A THRILL WATCHING US FIGHT THAT THING!? DID YOU ENJOY DOING YOUR LITTLE REQUEST FROM HER!?”

“Oh my, angry aren’t we? Don’t blame you, my request is almost done, I just need to do a...little dividing. *Claps* come to me, my fresh corpses!” He playfully shouted, two figures were standing next to Jed. Bill recognized one of them, the one at the dinner table, but who was the other one?

“Hey grandpa, I did some history on you. Losing a son to a gang and a dear friend to protect Dwight? Truly an unfortunate event-”

“And if you keep talking about it then i’ll whip your eyes out!”

“Oh my, I love it when a man threatens me with a good time, but this is...something else. Ace, care to explain?”

“Explain what?”

“Oh, about how you got Sally killed.” he answered, some didn’t know who he referred to, but Bill instantly snapped his neck to Ace. The cold night couldn’t keep the gambler from sweating.

“Cut the shit Jed, Ace didn’t kill her...I did.”

“Oh no, no, no. He DID killed her, just not in the way you think. It is quite funny, care to explain?”

“...” Ace was silent.

“Ace?”

“...”

“ACE!” Bill saw the man hand shake, Jed was speaking the truth.

“HAHAHAHAHA, That’s so funny. Well, since he can’t say it, then I will. You see, Ace here lost a bet against some of your gangmates and other players in a gambling, but the man had no money. Out of a desperate attempt to escape...well, you can piece the rest together.”

“Ace...you told them, YOU SOLD OUT DWIGHT!?”

“Sold him out?” David asked.

“I only told Sally and Ace about the map on Dwight’s back, I was taking care of him at the time. Wait... no,no…”

“That’s right, that sad sack of shit over there told Sally about what he did. So what she did, she took the fall for him, she died for him- oh?” Bill ran other and punched Ace and gripped his throat.

“YOU SON OF A BITCH, YOU DID THIS, YOU DID ALL OF THIS!”

“B-BILL...please!”

“Bill, rela-”

“GET OFF ME, KING! THIS MAN TOOK HER AWAY...and i’m never going to see her again…”

“Oh, I never said that, Mr. Overbeck. In fact, she’s standing right here!” Jed removed the hood of the figure, revealing crimson hair and blue eyes and a pale face, Sally’s. Bill’s mind was beginning to break, how is she here, how could she be here? He paused and looked at the other figure next to him, sweat beading down his face as he can only guess what was going to be revealed next.

“Haha, bet you’re waiting to see my face, huh? Well, it was only a matter of time. I wished it wasn’t like this though…”

“Oh don’t beat yourself up, Matthew.”

“M-M-Mat-Ma-” Bill couldn’t even say the name, the man revealed himself.

“Been a while, hasn’t it, dad?” Seeing his son’s face broke his mind, Charlie looked at Bill and saw that his eyes were clouded, like dirt being kicked up in water.

“You got so old, all the brown in your hair disappeared, at least your eyes are…oh…”

“Sorry Matty, we gotta go. My job is done, we’ll give Sally back to the Yamaokas well we’re going to your…``home''. But before I leave...” Jed took out pieces of paper and let the heavy wind blow and spread it far and wide, David caught one and his eyes widened. It was the map of the treasure.

“In three days, Sayaka will reveal the location of the treasure, this map will help guide whoever wants it to the hiding spot.”

“That will throw the whole country into greed, chaos and kill each other!”

“Exactly, just how she wants it. Now, till next time.” Another gust of wind blew up a dirt cloud, once it cleared, they were gone. Everyone looked at Bill, his presence felt different, it wasn’t him.

“Bill…?” Charlie called, reaching his hand for him, but the old man smacked it away.

“Stay...away…”

“Bill, ple- eh!” Clauette backed up when Bill threw his whip at her.

“Bill, the hell is wrong with you!?”

“ALL OF YOU! NOTHING IS RIGHT, ACE KILLED SALLY, FORCED DWIGHT TO LEAVE. THEN I TRAVEL WITH THREE IDIOTS WHO ALMOST GOT THEMSELVES KILLED NUMEROUS TIMES. I SHOULDN’T GOTTEN MYSELF INVOLVED IN THIS, ALL OF YOU WERE BECOMING A PAIN IN MY ASS AND NOW MATTY AND SALLY IS UNDER THAT FREAK’S CONTROL AND I’LL BE DAMNED IF I CONTINUE TO LET HIM CONTROL THEM!” Bill was filled with blind rage, just like David was not too long ago. Bill left the group, threatened to kill anyone who dares tried to follow him. Now silence was the mood for the night, Ace laid on the floor, crying because he let this happen. The past caught up, like he knew it would, he just wished it didn’t now. All because he ratted out Dwight, something that set everything up that happened up till now, he wiped his eyes and started to walk away, but David reached out and stopped him.

“No, Ace. I feel that you want to fix this, but you can’t do it alone. Separating will only damage us, let’s just go back.” Ace just looked down, the door opened and everyone returned. David put Rin to rest, he then returned to the lab where everyone was waiting. Their time is now limited and too many problems are still occuring, Bill’s gone, they’re still missing something for Herman and without that, they won’t find their answer to freeing Dwight.

“Shit, what we’re going to do?”

“What can we do!?”

“Um…” Thomas doesn’t like how everyone's behaving.

“Shit we wasted some much time!”

“And Sayaka is basically gonna start a battle royale that’s going to be nothing but bloodshed.”

“H-hey, may-” Thomas kept being cut off, no one was thinking straight and he felt that they were getting slightly angry at each other. Thomas had enough, well everyone was still arguing, he pulled up a chair and stood on it.

“EVERYONE, SHUT THE FUCK UUUPPPPPP!” The boy mustered all his strength, everyone ceased their arguing and listened to the boy’s speech.

“Dwight...Dwight’s in danger and...YOU ALL JUST YELLING AT EACH OTHER! We just lost Bill, Kate and Amanda. But when time grows short, we all become scaredy cats? DWIGHT WAS BRAVER THAN ALL OF YOU! Dwight never saw himself as brave, but whenever it came to me, he pushed his thoughts aside and came to me. He’ll dive into anything to protect him...and I want to do the same! I want him back, I miss everything about him and everyday that passed hurts more cause he isn’t here! He’s out there, scared and alone and doesn’t even know we’re coming!” Thomas went into David’s pocket and pulled out Dwight’s glasses.

“I don’t care what scary thing waits out there, I will get my dad, i’ll save him,, save Bill, a-and fix everything, WITH OR WITHOUT ANY OF YOU!” Everyone paused, the boy was right. His determination to save his father showed that he was ready to dive into anything to fix the mess. David picked up Thomas and held him in his arms.

“You know, Dwight isn’t the only brave person I met. You right though, us arguing and panicking because what just happened isn’t the smart move nor will it get us anywhere. Everyone, listen up. We’ll rest for a day, I know it’ll shorten our time, but going out in the state we are will only kill us. After we rest, we’ll search for Bill, we need him as much as we need him. Afterwards, we’ll look for the ashes, get that machine working and get some answers, do I make myself clear?”

“Yes!” they all answered, David held Thomas' hand with Dwight’s glasses.

“We’ll get you father back, but thank you, Thomas. You brought all of us back, just keep being and keep our spirits, ok?”

“Ok!”

Chapter Text

David and the others were discussing their future plans with their new time limit, Thomas went to his and David’s room. The boy sat on the bed and sighed, he was happy that everyone stopped panicking, but he was thinking of something else. It was slightly before the event Jane hosted, he eavesdropped on David when he was talking to Claudette and Quentin, how he isn’t normal and it was proven when he sent Michael flying through a wall. But he wasn’t upset, he wasn’t worried, but he was curious in himself. Thomas went into a drawer and took out a bow, it was like David’s but the rose and the outer stitches were blue, it was for Dwight. He stared at it then pulled out Dwight’s glasses. For once, he emptied his mind and only thought of one thing, Dwight. His name echoed in his head as he closed his eyes, when he opened them, he found himself in a black void.

“Helloooooooooo, HEEELLLLOOOOOO? Where am I? ..hmm, it feels like...I been here bef- huh!?” The boy paused as he saw a light in the distance, it was a lamp post with it’s light shining on two figures, Sayaka and Dwight. Thomas ran towards them, but he was blocked by an invisible wall. He rubbed the pain away from his face and looked at Sayaka, she was yelling at Dwight. She was trying to discourage him, make him give you. It wasn’t working for her, but it was still turning the boy’s stomach. He couldn’t take it, Dwight needed help and needed it now. The boy banged his hand fist on the wall, nothing happened. He did over and over, he eventually started to see cracks. That encouraged the boy to continue as the crack grew and formed more, the other two started to hear the banging and started to see it themselves. He gave one more bang with all his might, he soon broke through and landed into Dwight’s lap.

“T-Thomas!?”

“Dwi- uh oh?” he felt Sayaka's evil gaze leaming on the boy, Thomas turned to see the dark redish aura around her. Death was in her eyes now, she was already irritated with Dwight resistance, but now Thomas invaded her space. Dwight got up and stood in front of the boy to protect him, Thomas hid behind his father as he feared for what’s going to happen, he clenched Dwight’s leg and closed his eyes. Dwight sweated as he watched the aura fling itself towards him, he shut his eyes and braced for Sayaka’s wrath, but he felt nothing. Soon Dwight felt warm, he opened his eyes and found himself in another void with Thomas. It wasn’t like the one he was in before, it was bright with a yellowish background with freckles of white light flickering about. Dwight let out a sigh of relief but before he even turned around, Thomas jumped on him and knocked him down.

“DWIGHT, I M-MISS YOU!”

“*Sniffles* I missed you too, I couldn’t stop worrying about you ever David died…”

“H-huh? David isn’t dead!”

“What?”

“That mean lady made you forget, you saw him not too long ago…” he told him. At that moment, he couldn’t help but cry.

“*Sniffle* I...knew it, I k-knew he wouldn’t stay down! But Thomas, how did you even get here?”

“Well...it’s hard to say, even I don’t get it. But enough about me, how are you, Dwight!?”

“I’m...having a difficult time, Sayaka is being so persistent and it gets harder every day to repel her...I honestly don't know how long I can hold out for. How’s everything out there?”

“Really really tough! We’re trying to help Herman make a thingy to maybe find a way to save you, but it’s hard. Whenever we go looking for stuff, we keep getting trouble! But David held in there, but we went to all sorts of places! I can’t wait to tell you about it, but first, here!”

“A bow?”

“I made one for David as well, his is orange well your’s blue- huh?” Thomas looked behind Dwight and saw cracks like the one he made before, soon Sayaka burst in their space, her blood boiling as Dwight got up and protected again.

“YOU!”

“STAY BACK, YOU’RE NOT HURTING HIM! You know that you can’t hurt me-”

“No, I can’t, BUT I CAN DO THIS!” She let out a shriek that shook the void, it started to break down and soon Thomas was starting to fade. He didn’t understand what was going on, but he looked at Sayaka. Her eyes were as black as death with a reddish black mist leaking out her mouth, fear ran throughout the boy's mind and forced him to wake up. He raised up from his bed and looked around, David was sound asleep next to him. Thomas must have been out for hours, the boy wiped the sweat off his face as he left the bed and to the kitchen. Not too long after, David woke up. He noticed that his son left but he didn’t think much of it, he left his room and headed to the main floor. David noticed the dining area doors were open and saw some shadows, he went inside to greet whoever was in there. Confusion took over his face when he saw everyone with a face of green with Ace and Charlie unconscious. Thomas took David’s hand and led him to his seat.

“Whoa, what’s going on?”

“I made breakfast...or lunch...or dinner? I don’t really know, but I made it for everyone, we need to be in tip-top shape!”

“Oh Thomas, you didn’t ha- (oh dear god!)” David looked down on his plate and saw the food, everything on his plate spelled death as Thomas stared at David with innocence. That’s probably why the other two are passed out.

“I put the eggshells in for that nice crunchy feel and sugar to make it sweet because everyone likes sweets. As for the other stuff, I used a bunch of stuff from Herman’s lab, try some!”

“I- um, I-I not that hungry to-”

“Pleeeassseee David, I really tried with this!”

“(SHIT, UM…) Herman, you’re looking h-hungry, you t-try first!” David asked, Thomas eyes locked onto Herman’s as the boy rushed to his side. Thomas' look of innocence froze Herman in place, once in his life he couldn’t reject someone’s offer. All his harsh comments and rude nature suddenly disappeared. Thomas' innocent gaze felt more like slow toxic coursing through his body.

“(I’m...going to die, aren’t I?) Of course, I’ll eat this...delicious food that you prepared for us with such kindness…” Herman took his spoon and scooped up whatever was on his plate, he put it near his mouth and the food hissed at him. Thomas reminded them all that he used stuff from Herman’s lab because he wanted to spice things up. Everyone looked damn and some swore that it hissed and even called some of their names, Herman’s put the food in his mouth, chewed and swallowed. The rotten taste plaguing his tongue with the bits of eggshells getting stuck in his throat, his stomach wanted it out but Herman kept it in. Thomas smiled with Joy as he left Herman's side, everyone looked at Herman. His body turned green and passed out, joining Charlie and Ace as they twitched from the food they digested. Now, it was back to David, this time, Thomas scooped it and was bringing it to David’s mouth, he was starting to turn green himself just from smelling it. He asked for a prayer, any prayer and he got one. Well Thomas was trying to feed David, Joey was aiming his fork. He launched it with great accuracy and it tripped over David’s glass of water, spilling it on his pants and stopping Thomas.

“Oh no! Thomas, I got wet, do you want to help me get dry?”

“Sure!”

“(Thanks, Joey!)” Thomas and David went off to clean up, well they were away, everyone took their plates, got rid of the food and slapped some sense into their unconscious companions. When they came back, they were all rubbing their stomach to show Thomas that they ate his cooking. After cleaning up that mess of a scene, Thomas noticed Charlie going off by himself. He followed him to his room and peeked through the cracks, the boy had such sorrow in his eyes. He knows why, it was because of Bill, what he said. Thomas came through the door and closed it, Charlie rubbed his eyes and quickly changed his attitude.

“What do you want?”

“I wanted to talk, we’re friends after all.”

“We’re not...that good of friends…”

 

“Hmmm...I think we are?”

“W-whatever, what do you want?”

“I just wanted to ask if you’re ok?”

“I’m fine, leave!”

“Nope! It’s ok, Charlie. You lost Bill, de-”

“I don’t care! If Bill said all that then why ar-”

“STOP!” Thomas shouted, it interrupted Charlie as his eyes started to go red again.

“It’s ok to be sad, don’t lie to yourself! When I lost Dwight...I was just like David, I...wanted to give up. But we can’t, if we give up, who will save him? It’s the same to you, if you give up, who will save Bill? Even Ace is still acting funny, not to mention Adam is still on about Kate. Charlie, I promised that we’ll get him back-”

“Why? He clearly wants his son!”

“I...don’t feel like that what he wants-”

“-Then what does he want!? It’s not Ace, not me-”

“I don’t know, but you sound curious, right?”

“...”

“Then keep going, find him, help him! I’ll help you along the way! You helped me, so i’ll help you, deal?”

“...only because I know you won't go away but...thank you.”

“Yay, now that’s over, wanna play chess again?”

“If only you use the pieces correctly-”

“Nope! See you later!” Thomas ran out the room to get the chess board ready, Charlie laughed. He remembered a conversation he had with Bill, how he didn’t think he'd fit in with people around his age. Bill laughed and lightly patted his head.

Being around adults won’t help either, I get it, you’re not like other kids. You’re smart, you kill, you do a lot of things kids wouldn’t even see unless they’re in their mid-thirties. Try talking to Thomas and Joey, I know they are not the people you normally associate with, but they’re good people to be around. Thomas is always learning and it’s cute to watch, Joey's love for his farm is inspiring too.” He remembered. He took a deep breath before leaving his room to go to Thomas. David pulled up a chair and sat it next to Rin’s bed, she was still resting and wasn’t trying to move much.

“David, how are you?”

“Well, I think I might have survived my toughest battle.”

“*Giggle* I heard from my sisters, glad I can’t move because I think I would have ended up like the ones who ate Thomas’s cooking. Anyways, I heard about Thomas shouting at you all yesterday or something.”

“Yeah, that small boy is a lot braver than else, pulling all of us out the dark clouds in our heads.”

“I also heard about Sayaka, that’s not the type of stress we need right now. A time limit will only-”

“Hey, don’t worry. You focus on healing, we can take care of this. You'll be better by the time we need to get the treasure. Ok?”

“Ok and you’re right, it hurts just from talking. Take care, David.” Rin closed her eyes and resumed her sleeping. She left her room but soon across Ace, the gambler couldn’t look David in the eyes. David stopped him and told him to follow, they summoned a door and found themselves at a bar. They went inside and paid for a drink, they drank whatever was in their glass and stared out the window, the sun was setting, soon ending their day.

“Mind if I could take a seat?” a soft voice asked. The two turned their heads to see Jane, they may not know why she’s here, but they didn’t care. She wasn’t hostile nor did she want to cause a scene in the bar, she lit up a cigar, took a drag before passing it to Ace and David.

“How’s the swordsman?”

“She’s fine, what she did took a lot out of her. Your men?”

“Dead, the ones stationed there anyways.” She answered.

“Mind telling me what the fuck Jed is, he seem to talk to you more than he talked to me.” Jane asked, taking another drag from the cigar.

“A parasite from hell and that isn’t an exaggeration either, you might have to ask him yourself…”

“I tried, but his words are...cryptied.

“Yeah, I know, speaking from experience.”

“He doesn’t fear me. I would try force...but I can’t find Frank to use against him. *Sigh* he isn’t betraying me...but his cleverness isn’t something to leave alone.” she said, she soon tilted her head more to Ace.

“Ace...Jed told me.”

“...”

“I don’t really care what you did, that’s your own guilt, not mine.”

“Wait, you knew Dwight, Jane?”

“Everyone did. Bill introduced him to us, but not about the map. We got suspicious, but Bill didn’t let a lot of us near him, Dwight was always next to him too. I myself didn’t get to know him, but guess it didn’t matter-”

“It does matter!” Ace shouted inn frustration.

“I fucked up, I need to fix this...and i’m grateful to have David and the others to help me. Bill kept my sorry ass, so it’s my turn. No longer will I watch from the back, I need to step into the light if I want to bring him back...”

“Jane, I know we’re on different feet but please. Jed said “home” when he took Matthew away, do you have any idea where that could be?”

“...out of respect for Kate, I should have died, not her. William lived in Wyoming, there was a town away from Devil’s tower. It’s a small town filled with bumpkins, a perfect place to raise a child. He moved there and stayed for a while, he led the gang stationed there before Matty’s death. That’s the only idea that comes to mind.”

“It wasn’t just where they lived, Bill was born in that town...and so was I. Come to think of it, the event was near the border of Wyoming. Bill could have easily gone on a train and reached it by now…”

“What’s so special about it?”

“The town is known for its cheese, well diary in general. Have you ever Mooville?”

“You’re not going to tell me that it’s seriously called Mooville? It sounds like someone couldn’t think of anything unique.”

“Ha, as shitty it may sound, that’s the name. I just hope we're right about him being there, if not…”

“We would be wasting time. Well with our luck, he’ll be there-”

“King…”

“Yes?”

“Mooville...I got word that the area is abnormally warm, or to be more accurate, hot. Winter will soon come, so it being hot outside is questionable. Others said that they saw smoke coming from the tower.”

“I know Devil’s tower was once a volcano, but it hasn’t erupted for years on end. (It could be another abnormality, Quentin didn’t say we got all of them, didn’t think so considering we only stopped two. Well, we don’t have the time to tackle them all, all I can do is pray they aren’t devastating and continue onward.) Come on, Ace. We got a lot to do tomorrow, you ready?”

“Honestly...no, confronting guilt that builded up for years is never an easy thing to do. But I have no choice, Bill wouldn’t be like this if I told the truth…(and I hope Dwight can forgive me as well.)”

Don’t die yet, King. I want to be the one who beheads you.” David smiled and laughed, there was only one person that has the right to kill him and she’s dead. They left the bar and returned to the library, Ace left to rest but David’s day wasn’t done. He had one more person he wanted to talk to, he drew in a deep breath and headed to the main floor. He saw Adam sitting alone, handing onto Kate’s death. Of course, out of all people who would grieve the most, it’ll be him.

“May I?”

“Be my guest…” David took an empty chair and sat next to him, but they shared nothing but silence. David remembered the story Kate told him, it has always been them and only them. Having death tearing them apart brings guilt to David, sometimes in the back of his head he blames himself. If he was being mindful of the surroundings, he would have noticed Ash.

“Kate...told me to say something for you…”

“...”

“She wanted to apologize…”

“...”

“Adam...I know you and her were close, once we deal with Sayaka-”

“Sayaka…” Adam muttered, David felt heat between them as Adam stood up and snapped his neck at David.

“Sayaka, Sayaka, Sayaka! ALL THAT YOU THINK ABOUT! Do you have any idea what she is or even know what we’re truly up against!?”

“...”

“DO YOU EVEN KNOW IF HERMAN’S MACHINE WILL EVEN WORK!? It could fail, it could blow up, melt your brain! You know Herman, even he isn’t absolute in his own work! We’re his guinea pigs, his pets! YOU CAN DIE DOING THIS, then who’s going to stop this mes-”

“ADAM!” David shouted, Adam saw David’s shades of red. He ceased his words because he was afraid he was enraging David, but he wasn’t. David was red from anger, but from remembering his past mistakes.

“I KNOW THERE’S A CHANCE I CAN BE KILLED DOING THIS, I KNOW I SOUND LIKE A BROKEN RECORD! I know I sound fucking selfish for only speaking of Sayaka, but i’m not fucking stupid enough to realize that there’s a lot more at stake. You know of my recent actions, were any of them for selfish reasons?”

“...no.”

“Adam, I didn’t want Kate to die, I didn’t want anyone that day to be killed. But we’re against forces that we can’t control unless we take these risks...and Kate knew that. Same with the other, they know they could die, but that’s not stopping them...but it seems to be with you. So Adam, Kate isn’t here. You’re not obligated to be here, you can leave. I won’t hold it against you, Kate would rather have you be somewhere safe, we both know that. Just tell me and I’ll get Quentin to send you back.”

“...I’m not leaving...I don’t want to put her efforts into waste. I...just want to be alone right now.”

“I understand, but the offer is always on the table.” David left from his seat and left Adam alone, he rubbed his eyes as he continued to hand onto Kate’s hat, the only thing he had of her left.

“You always told me...that no one could skin a viper, Kate...”

Chapter Text

Two days were left for the group to find a solution and to get Bill back, Quentin approached David’s bed to wake him up like he asked.

“I did what you asked, it’s 6am.”

“*Yawns* thank you, can you go wake everyone else up?”

“Certainly.”

“Also, here. I found it in the building we raided, I thought I should give it to you.” David handed him a piece of folded paper from his drawer and handed it to them, Quentin opened it and inspected it. Him being speechless wasn’t a surprise since he’s normally a quiet person, but David took a closer look at his eyes. They were slightly twitching, he then itched his head. No, it was more like he was holding it from pain. Quentin’s head was flooded with memories he didn’t know he even had.

“Quentin?”

“I-it’s nothing, i’ll wake everyone up.” Quentin left the room, David yawned one more time before waking up Thomas. The small boy mimicked his father before heading into the bathroom to freshen up, after David did the same, he went to Charlie’s room. The boy was fixing his outfit that Bill made for him, David knocked on the door frame to catch his attention.

“May I?”

“Sure, too early to bother Thomas…” He answered, David sat next to him on his bed and pat his head, it brought Charlie a small small only because it reminded him of Bill.

“I already know the answer, but do you want to come with me to Mooville? I’m sure you want to see him again.”

“Your acting like he has been gone for ages-”

“Cause your face is telling me that’s how you feel, I know it has only been a day, but it felt longer in our eyes.”

“*Sigh* I know, I just hope he’s ok…”

“If I may be honest, he won’t if we don’t take action. He isn’t right in the head, we gotta snap him out. But remember, he isn’t the only person you can rely on. Anything you want to ask, you can ask or lean on us.” The boy stared at David then turned red.

“Well...there is something, you see...I wanna ask about...those things.” Charlie struggled to say, David first raised a brow but soon figured out what he meant.

“O-oh! Ok, well...when you meet a girl-”

“Um...I don’t...like girls...am I weird?”

“No, it isn’t uncommon for people to like the same sex. Not to mention to there’s people like me who likes both-”

“Ok, so...how do you do it?”

“What?”

“You know, have sex...with a man?” David's skin flushed red, he didn’t know he was going to answer that question.

“W-well, you c-can wait till you’re ol-”

“But I want to know now, you said you’ll answer anything!”

“Y-yeah I did but-”

“Charlie, David, what you’re doing?” Thomas asked with Joey and Claudette.

“I asked David how does having sex with a man feels and said he’ll answer, but he won’t all of a sudden.” Claudette giggled when she saw how red David was becoming, Joey sat in front of David because he got curious himself. David tugged the collar of his shirt to let in some air to cool his body a bit.

“Not you too, Joey...”

“Well, I can’t exactly say i’ll end up with a woman, best to know my options.”

“I wanna learn too!” Thomas shouted before wedging himself between Joey’s lap. David started to sweat as he turned to Claudette for help, but all she did was wave and left the room. David got himself in this and he can only get himself out, first Thomas death defining breakfast and know him teaching them about sex. David gave in, there was no way of him avoiding the questions. His red self explained to the three about sex with a woman and a man, he couldn’t give a good explanation of a woman but he was to the T for men. Charlie was starting to get red himself, Joey tilted his head as he tried to process what was said, Thomas stared as if he didn’t catch any of it but he did.

“S-so, there you have it…”

“Oh...so dad, you stuck you weenie inside Dwight’s pooper!”

“T-THOMAS, don’t phase it like! But yes, that e-exactly what I did. Can we please move onto something else!?”

“Hold on, so does sperm taste li-”

“END OF DISCUSSION, YOU CAN FIND OUT THE REST ONCE YOU GET OLDER!” David screamed as he bolted out the room, they all looked at each other before looking back at the door. Sometime after David cooldown, the group got ready. Charlie and Thomas stood next to David, but something felt out of place. He turned to see Joey, Claudette, and Feng looked discouraged.

“It’s weird not to see you three locking in each other's arms, we’re going to get Bill, I thought you all would like to come?”

“It’s not that we don’t want to-” Joey slowly paused.

“He was right about what he said-” Feng continued.

“We were just an annoyance to him, he probably don’t want to see us…” Claudette finished.

“Hey, let’s not assume. We can ask how he truly feels once we get him back, ok?” The three looked at each other, they stepped forward and took a deep breath.

“Ok, we’ll go. The more, the merrier they say.”

“Ms. Yamaoka, Spirit, watch Rin and the others.”

“OK!”

“Pfft, I guess…”

“Ok, Quentin, we’re ready.” A door appeared and the group went inside and appeared in a forest. As they inspected the place, a sudden wave of heat cooked the group to where they took off their coats. It was just as Jane said yesterday, it was pretty much winter at this point but it felt like the middle of summer. David rubbed the sweat between his fingers, something wasn’t right. It was warm, no, it was hot. He looked around his surroundings and saw a riverbed, but there was barely any water flowing through it. He walked to it and put his hand in the water, he was only able to put the tip in as he retracted it back. The water was scorching hot, like fresh boiled water, David took a closer look and saw that stream was rising a bit. Claudette came over to observe with him.

“Only natural hot springs can process hot temperatures for water, but even they don’t boil like this.”

“I knew it, this must be another phenomenon. Shit, one problem after another.”

“We can’t just leave this place in this state, this can cause severe drought that can destroy livestock and cause dehydration.”

“Hmmm well, it’s early. When we get to town, we’ll ask about Bill and the sudden change in weather. Everyone, come on!” David nodded at Ace as he took the lead. The group couldn’t believe their eyes, the leaves and trees around them looked dry, like someone sucked the moisture out of them. The grass was brown and hard as hay, the flowers wilted as they desperately seeked water. It took them a few hours to reach Mooville, the sky struck noon judging from the sun’s position. They were expecting warm welcomes, but were given something tragic. Villagers were tossing away livestock that couldn’t survive the heat, children being forced to drink the scalding hot water to quench their thirst. Some were fanning themselves or others to keep themselves cool, the whole situation was terrible. An elderly man who was older than Bill came to the group to greet them.

“Ace...my god, it been so long.”

“Old timer, i’m surprised to see you kicking.”

“Even I couldn’t die with this heat, but where are my manners? I’m Eldor, i’m in charge of Moovillie. Normally we greet any visitors that come to our small town, but as you can see, we’re struggling to keep ourselves afloat.”

“I can tell, this is clearly unnatural. I'm Claudette Morel, but can you please tell us when this happened?” Claudette asked.

“It started around a while ago, we felt a sudden shift in the air, like some dark force plagued the world.”

“(So, it was when Sayaka took Dwight…)”

“The cold air suddenly stopped, we saw it as a miracle. We were able to grow crops for the upcoming winter since we were short on them, but we were wrong. Day after day, week after week, the temperature was rising. Some of our livestocks were dying as you can see, our water supply became too hot to drink but were forced to drink it anyway to survive. Crops withered from drought and nothing is growing, but that isn’t the worst of the situation.” He paused as he pointed in the direction of Devil’s tower, David squinted his eyes as he saw heat waves rippling in the air and smoke.

“What is causing those ripples?” He asked.

“Magma…”

“MAGMA!?”

“What’s that, David?”

“Really really hot stuff and we’ll leave it at that.”

“William went in the direction of the tower. I have no idea why he was here, but he wasn’t himself. William was always calm and collected, but he was in such a rush, his eyes were clouded too. I watched him ransack his home and became red with anger when he stepped out. I told him about the magma, he then stormed off without uttering a word. I have no idea if he’s helping us or left for his own reason…”

“Hey, leave Bill and the heat to us. We’ll fix this problem.”

“Y-you will!? Why? We’re just strangers to you all.”

“Well, I already let some people die and I'll be damn if I let you folks die as well. Plus, we’re the only ones who can really do anything about this, it’ll be wrong not to help.”

“Thank you, your kindness is most appreciated. If this could help you with your cause, I believe the main problem could be at Devil’s tower.”

“Thank you, sit tight. We’ll be back and the heat will be gone.” Eldor went to assist the other villagers we’ll David turned to Ace.

“You ready?”

“Yeah, let’s get him back! Follow me, I know a shortcut to the tower.” Ace took the lead as they followed the determined gambler. Despite the shortcut cutting down time, David saw the sun, it was going down with each passing moment. The evening hit and it painted the sky orange despite it being 5pm. They eventually came close to the tower but paused, there was a trench filled with magma. The bubbling red currant surging with unbelievable heat prevented them from crossing, if matters weren’t already bad, an earthquake happened. It shook the group and even made magma burst upwards, forcing them to step back. David turned his attention back at the tower, he saw someone climbing the wall. He couldn’t tell from the blinding smoke, but the figure climbed into a hole leading into the tower.

“I saw someone going in that hole, that's most likely our way in!”

“Can’t we just call Quentin?”

“No way, he doesn’t know what's inside. He can drop us right in the open into lava and we’ll be burned alive in seconds. If I could get to that hole up there, I can at least call a door to bring us up to that point, much safer.”

“And how are you going to get up there, you have nothing to help climb!”

“Yes I do.” David pulled out Rin’s smaller blade and his knife.

“I hope Rin won’t mind me taking this from her, I can use these to climb the wall.”

“...David, let me do it. It’ll be easier for me since you know,I have supernatural powers and all.” Charlie suggested, David didn’t even question the boy. He handed him the weapons, watched the boy leap across the magma and began climbing the wall like a bug. The boy reached the hole and waved at David to call the door. He did so and it brought everyone to the hole. As they traverse, the heat they felt only increased with each step, the deeper they went, the hotter it became. The cave corridor itself was already pitch black, the added smoke only sting their eyes. David saw a faint red glow at the end of the darkness, he led the group to the light but stopped. The red glow was created from the flowing magma inside the tower, slanted ledges and jagged walkways were their only friend for them that helped explore the tower.

“Unbelievable. Devil’s tower is an extinct volcano, the fact we're seeing lava definitely says this is one of those phenomenons” Feng told.

“On a scale from 1 to 10, what’s the chance of it erupting?”

“I can’t even tell you, volcanoes themselves work so oddly that it’s hard to predict when they could erupt. But given this is one of the phenomenons, it can be a minute from now to an hour or so on. We need to hurry!”

“She’s right, this heat is unbearable and the smoke will suffocate us if we stay too long!”

“G-guys, look!” They saw across the rising and bubbling magma and saw several people on another jagged walkway. Bill, Jed and what he assumed was Matthew were talking from his point of view. David moved the group carefully across the walkways, shimmied against the wall to reach to them.

“BILL!” Charlie and Ace screamed. Bill snapped his body at them, his eyes still clouded like Eldor mentioned. Charlie swore that he saw malice leaked between Bill’s teeth, it made the boy grip his heart as it ached in pain. Ace did the same, knowing he’s the cause of this.

“What did I say...WHAT DID I SAY!? I TOLD YOU ALL THAT I’LL KILL YOU IF YOU FOLLOWED!” He shouted with such rage, his boiling blood raise like the magma next to them.

“My, my, angry are we? You should simmer down before you die from stress or something.”

“SHUT IT!”

“Well sooorrrrryyy, but look at this. They’re here, so we can get it down?”

“Get what done?”

“Bill here agreed to...compromise. If he gets rid of David and some of his companions, i’ll give back Matthew and maybe Sally despite her being just a hollow shell.” Jed explained, David turned to Matthew whose face was painted with sorrow and confliction, he could tell he didn’t want Bill to do this.”

“Bill, are you serious!? Didn’t you say you wanted to see Dwight again!?”

“Dwight isn’t my son, Matthew is!”

“But you treated him like one...like you did me…”

“Because I never got over his death, I needed replacements!” Charlie felt his heart being stabbed, was that all he was to him, a replacement? No, he didn’t feel like a replacement, what Bill did with Charlie wasn’t like that, at least what he continued to hope.

“Bill, this isn’t right-”

“I don’t want to hear that from you, the guy who sold out a child and got a friend killed. I TRUSTED YOU, ACE! I TRUSTED YOU WITH EVERYTHING!”

“...”

“Bill, you’re not thinking straight!”

“Oh, really? I’m not thinking straight!? When you thought you could take me on when you were pissing your pants when he was about to be killed by Sayaka!?”

“Bill…”

“Come on, all of you. I’ll kill you and I’ll get Matty and Sally back!”

“Bi- William, i’ll say this once. Clear your head, or i’ll knock some sense into you!””

“King, think you can best me!?”

“Alone? No, you’re far better than me when it comes to combat. Especially when your weapon is a whip, but i’m not doing this alone.”

“Whatever, i’ll kill you, those three idiots behind you an- W-WHAT!?”

“Oh, this is unexpected.” The tower shook, the magma bubbled again like boiled stew, a small burst of lava flew up in the air, forcing everyone to back away. A cracking noise was being made beneath their feet, the walkway was splitting apart. David grabbed and jumped back, when he looked up he saw that they were separated from Charlie and Bill. Ace tried to jump to them, but David grabbed and pulled him back in time before the lava that burst burned him.

“David, Ace! I’ll get Bill, you guys need to get out and fast!” He shouted, David didn’t argue as he called Quentin and escorted everyone inside. Charlie chased after Bill who was following Matthew. David and the others appeared in the village and saw every villager looking at Devil’s tower, magma shot out the tower and into the sky like a geyser. Lava ooze down the tower at an alarming rate, chucks of flaming debris came flying down and landed in the forest. It created a small forest fire that’ll eventually reach the village, they need to put a stop to it before it does so.

“Eldor, where is your main water source!?”

“That well over there, it leads to a cave with water inside. But because of the heat, it has almost nothing inside…”

“Is there any body of water nearby!?”

“There’s a vast lake not too far from us, but there’s no way we can use it to quell the fire!”

“Don’t worry, it will. Prepare some water in case the fire does reach here.” Moments before the eruption, Charlie was chasing Bill to the top of the tower. It was a struggle considering everything about the tower was hot as heated coal. At the top stood Jed and Matthew, Bill stood in front of them with Charlie behind them.

“Oh my, well since this happened, let’s change it up a bit. Bill, get rid of that boy and Matty’s yours. I’ll go meet up with Sally since the Yamaokas don’t like using her. Shame, I did all that to give them an extra number and they don’t even use it. Maybe Ash will find use for her since you know, his suffering started with her.” Jed disappeared as Bill turned to Charlie, the malice that was leaking was now coated over him. Charlie found it hard to clench his fist, ever since he was rescued by him, he stopped seeing him as an enemy. The thought of putting his hands on him ceased and now, in a time he needed to fight, he couldn’t make a fist. Bill took out his whip and lifted it up, but paused when Matthew threw himself in front of Charlie.

“DAD, YOU CAN’T DO THIS!”

“WHY THE FUCK NOT!? I’M DOING THIS FOR US-”

“BUT WHEN DID I SAY I WANTED YOU TO KILL THEM OR THIS CHILD!?”

“Matty, please. We can be a family again!”

“No dad...we can’t...WE FUCKING CAN’T!” he shouted, Matthew’s eyes were filled with tears as he lifted up his shirt, his entire midsection was almost none non-existent, he was experiencing some type of starvation. His skin clinging onto his chest, lining with his ribcage. His stomach out line with his stomach, it’ll even twitch in pain, begging to be fed. Matthew can die from one blow of anything, the fact he can move was a surprise in itself.

“W-what’s wrong with you!?”

“I-I don’t know, honestly, Jed never even told me what...I was. He told me to feed on people...but it’ll kill them if I do. So I refused, I couldn’t take another person’s life...but soon I was growing hungry. Each day, the pain grew worse and worse before my body became...this. I’m sorry dad, i’m so, so sorry but I...can’t live like a… evil beast. That’s why I can’t let you kill them, kill Charlie!”

“B-but...we..”

“Dad...I CAN’T WITH HOW YOU ARE, YOU NOT MY FATHER! My father will put others before himself, never put his selfish desires first...but here you are, proving me wrong.”

“...”

“Dad...you know what you need to do.”

“But...I need you, Matty…”

“But they need you more right now, I can wa- SHIT!” They were interrupted well the tower erupted and the top surface was blown off, sending all of them into the air. Hot droplets of magma flickered in the air as Bill opened his eyes, he saw both Charlie and Matthew below him, falling down to their demise. Bill realized a problem, Charlie and Matthew were too far from each other, he could only save one. Why did he have to choose one, why couldn’t have both? He wanted both, he wanted to wake up from a nightmare and wished none of this happened. But this wasn’t a dream, it was the cruelty of reality. He glanced at Charlie, the teen was was in a state of panic, he couldn’t think straight. He then glanced at Matthew, he wasn’t afraid, but he did have fear in his eyes. Not of him dying, but of his father making the wrong choice. Bill closed his eyes and tears slipped out, it landed on Matthew’s face. He then saw Bill swerve towards Charlie, he grabbed hold of the boy as he threw his whip to latch on a branch and land safely. Matthew smiled as he closed his eyes as he approached the scorching magma below.

“(Thank you, dad. It was nice seeing you again, i’ll be waiting.)” Matthew was consumed by the magma, Bill watched his son die yet again as he clenched his heart. Steam blew throughout the forest, water came from above to stop the lava flow. David and the others came by to check on the two.

“Bill, Charlie, are you alright!?”

“Yes, but how did you stop the magma?”

“We used water from the lake, we had Quentin open up a door and dump the water here.”

“But all the water was hot, but steam was produced?”

“Well… Thomas touched the water and glowed, the water was ice cold afterwards.”

“I wanted something super cold cause I got really thirsty, I wanted to drink the lake water!”

“But I told him no because I didn’t want him getting sick, wait, would he even get sick? Point is, we got it cold and used it. But…” David didn’t see Matthew, Bill looked away in pain, Ace walked up and hugged him.

“I know this alone won’t fix anything I did in the past, but please, please no hurting you was not my intention. I love you but I fucked up, you can hate all you want, but I won’t go. I told Sally that i’ll watch you and that i’ll keep!”

“Ace...huh?” Bill felt someone else nuzzling against him, he looked down and saw Charlie holding onto him.

“I-I missed you so much, you fucking old bastard!” he sobbed into his chest, Bill smiled as he placed his hand on the boy’s head. Bill’s eyes were no longer clouded, they were as bright as the ocean again. Bill then looked at Joey, Claudette and Feng.

“Everyone...i’m sorry. I’m sorry for the things I said.”

“We understand, Bill. It happens to us all.”

 

“No, no, *sigh* listen up. There’s three things that get someone to tell the truth. Torture, intoxication, and anger. What I said to you all is what I kept to myself because I didn’t want to hurt anyone, but it built up and burst when my screws got loose. I was angry that you three ignored caution, I was angry at Ace's betrayal, I took care of Dwight and kept Charlie around because I missed Matthew. Charlie, i’m sorry that I used you like that, I promise to see you differently, not use you like that ever again.”

“...you better, or your hair gonna be red!” He joked with a smile.

“Claudette, Joey, Feng, i’m sorry for not telling how I really felt towards you all. I’ll be more honest around you.”

“You’re fine, Bill. In return, we’ll be smarter in our actions for now on.”

“Thank you, King. Thank you for watching them.”

“You did a lot for me, Bill. It was my turn to do the same. Glad to have you back, Bill. *Sign* unfortunately, we still need ashes for Herman and we haven’t gotten any…”

“Maybe we don’t need it, look!” Feng walked up and picked up a bunch of pitched black objects.

“Coal?”

“No, obsidian. It’s a rock like material that forms when you add cold water into magma, the icy water hardens the magma and makes obsidian.”

“Ok, let’s cross our fingers and hope it’ll work.”

“Let’s not forget this!” Thomas shouted as he held up a piece of iridescent, it was scorching red, the water didn’t cool it enough it seemed.

“T-Thomas, doesn’t that hurt?”

“Oh, I guess it doesn’t, maybe it’s not hot?” Catch!”

“WOAH, WOAH, WOAH! You just be our special helper and hold it, David did question as in why there was a piece of iridescent was inside. He put it aside as he called Quentin once more and headed back home, now all they can do is pray that the obsidian can replace the ashes Herman needed.

Chapter Text

Herman’s eyes lit up when he received the obsidian, his mouth drooled as he sniffed the fresh raw material. He even licked it which made everyone backed up, he sadistic laughter ringed inside the library as the group swore they heard thunder roaring around them.

“DO YOU KNOW HOW RARE THIS TYPE OF MATERIAL IS!?”

“Well...I only know that it’s only made when you add ice cold water with lava, so I guess...very rare?”

“Extremely and that’s not an exaggeration either, this is far better than ashes! This will increase the efficiency of the machine to greater levels, this with the iridescent will power the machine properly! Rest now, in the morning we’ll start. Be prepared!” Herman kicked everyone out as he began putting the finishing touches on the device, everyone went about their night well David sat down on a chair well putting Thomas on his lap.

“*Sigh* we’re close, Thomas. We’ll do this thing and we’re one step closer to Dwight, we’ll see him again!”

“And I can’t wait to tell him all the things we did too, he’ll be so jealous! But dad...are you ok, you seem a bit nervous.”

“I...am a little scared, being close to something gives you fear of failing, and we already saw my track record…”

“I heard that humans sing to each other when they're scared.” Quentin said, intruding on two. They didn’t mind, they actually were glad Quentin is talking more.

“Ooooh, David! Let me sing for you!”

“Ha, ok, you’re probably a better singer than me. What song did you have in mind?” Thomas was going to tell him the name, but he paused. Quick images of a woman were appearing in his head, the boy scratched as he tried to figure out what was going on. David and Quentin looked at each other as Thomas stared back at them.

“Thomas?”

“Oh, it’s nothing. The song, my...sister sang it to me.” David became confused as Quentin sweated a bit.

“You had a sister?”

“Yeah, her name...her name was...um.” Thomas became confused himself, he was trying to remember his sister’s name but his head only drew blanks. He shrugged his shoulders and told David the song. David knew of the song and told him he can play it for him if it would help. The boy nodded his head as he got off David’s lap and ran to the piano.

“Quentin?”

“This...is the first time someone remembered a lost. Thomas...really isn’t entirely human.”

“If he remembers her...is it ok for you to tell me her name?”

“I suppose, the library influence isn’t working on him anymore. Her name was Charlotte Mclyn, she was Thomas's supposed older sister.”

“Was she-”

“No, she was human, that I know for certain. Hmmmm, I...bet she’s happy that she’s remembered…”

“Will I remember her?”

“Unfortunately, no. Thomas is only able because he isn’t completely human, i’m sorry.”

“No need to be, just like you, i’m glad she’s remembered too. *Sigh* better get ready for the piano, wanna join?”

“Sure, I love to listen.” The two followed Thomas trail, only to see him sitting on top of the piano. After some fine tuning, David began playing the melody of the song Thomas requested to sing. Like when he played the song for Rin, the music flowed throughout the library, playing a harmonious melody for everyone to hear. Worry, anxiousness, despair, guilt, every and any negative emotion that was lingering in anyone was washed away. As he still danced his fingers on the keys, David noticed a pale light on Thomas again. Then suddenly his exhausted body felt refurbished, his body that had dirt and grime started to fade. The same went for everyone else, they felt clean, fresh, new, all because of Thomas singing. For a split second, David was able to see out his left eye. It was only short, but it felt like a completely new experience since he was already used to having one. The song reached its end, Thomas yawned as he suddenly became tired, David laughed as he picked him up and carried him to their room. He tucked himself with Thomas nuzzled in his arms and went to sleep, he needed it for what awaits him tomorrow. A peaceful dream played in David’s head, he wished it would continue but he woke up because a voice asked him to.

“Wake up, wake up...WAKE THE FUCK UP!” Herman's voice shouted in David’s ear, David woke up in a state of panic. He found himself strapped to a table slanted diagonally, he looked up to see a headpiece with needles ready to be implanted in his head.

“W-W-WHAT’S GOING ON!?”

“Oh, you know. Science stuff.”

“HERMAN!”

“Tch, fine! I couldn’t wait till you were awake, so I carefully carried you well you were asleep. It was odd, you’re not normally and heavy sleeper. Anyways, I strapped you to this table and continued to get things prepped.”

“...Thanks!” he shouted in irritation, he looked in front of him and saw the others watching. They were nervous for David as this machine could potentially kill him, David was nervous too. This machine is very experimental, the first of its kind. Despite Herman creating it, he knew the chance of David dying was high, but anything for the name of science would be his excuse for murder. Herman put the obsidian inside the complex looking machine, hooked up wires to a tube that held the iridescent to get some power flowing. He gave David some anesthesia and injected the serum in a vein in his arm to put him in a comatose state.

“Ok, it should kick in now, now David. I’m...well the machine will screw these needles in your head, you shouldn’t feel a thing.” Herman lowered the headpiece to David’s head and positioned it correctly, the machine began digging the needles into David’s head slowly but he screamed in agonizing pain. Herman paused the machine told him not to move, any movement can move the needles and strike a part of his brain that could kill him instantly.

 

“W-w-what the hell, Herman! I-I thought I shouldn’t feel anything!?”

“You shouldn’t, you also should be going into a comatose state by now. The only case could be that you have a high drug tolerance.”

“...maybe it’s not his drug tolerance, it may be his exposure to iridescent. David, how many times was the ointment used on you?”

“T-twice, b-both in large amounts.”

“That would explain why the drugs aren’t working, your body basically saying the drugs aren’t even inside because it’s used to iridescent being used on you…”

“S-so i’m supposed to e-endure this!?”

“Yes.” Herman answered as the needles continued to dig into his head, the pain came to an end soon after, meaning the needles reached their destination. David didn’t move an inch despite wanting to, but this wasn’t the end. Thomas’s eyes were filled with horror as he hid behind Claudette as he watched. Herman walked over to a lever on the machine, the lever will give it the full power it needed, the final step that needs to be played. Quentin had books upon books and documents with Sayaka thanks to Adam’s careful inspections.

“Once this lever is pulled, your brain will unlock its full potential-”

 

“W-wait, this isn’t going to hurt too bad like the needles...right?”

“HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, oh David. When did those words came out of my mouth?” Herman slammed the lever down, the rods in the lab spraked powerful electricity. The floor shook beneath their feet, showing that the power even could reveal the library itself. Quentin opened all the books, all the pages were flipping at a rapid pace, the lights flickered, the notes lingering on the other tables flew viciously around like frightened birds on a field. The electricity reached David’s headpiece and shocked him violently, he couldn’t help but to scream, twitch as he desperately tried to free himself from the table. His eyes were blank and his mouth formed up, he shook his head, trying to shake off the headpiece. He screamed louder and louder only to be masked by the noisy rods and Herman’s sadistic laughter, the power only raised until only black what the color David could see. The machine ceased its power, the papers floated back down to the floor, David’s body remained motionless. He wasn’t the only person though, Thomas seems to have fallen unconscious as well. Charlie caught him as Herman went to the machine again, he lifted up a compartment and showed a blank graph attached to a small belt.

“If the machine did its part, then David will soon be in the dreamscape. This graph will begin moving and monitor his well being, oh! It looks like it already began” They looked at the machine and the graph started to move. David woke up with his head in a haze, his vision was darkened and a blurr. Then the pain set in, the throbbing pain followed the rhythm of his heartbeat. He stood up and looked down, he shook his head and focused his eyes, Thomas was right on his feet and he was wide awake.

“David!”

“Tho...mas? What’s going on?”

“I don’t know, I...just woke up here.”

“Here?” David looked around him, the town they were in was odd, calling it old fashion wasn’t a good comparison. Most of the homes were poorly constructed, the clothes didn’t match theirs, no machinery was around them either. David wanted some answers, but when he reached his hand out for someone, his hand went through them.

“W-what, an illusion?”

“But...these people looks re-”

“David, can you hear me?” Herman's voice questioned, it echoed like he was in some cave.

“Herman? Where are you?” he asked, Herman watched the graph gain spiking lines.

“What’s it saying?”

“That’s the thing...I don’t know what he’s saying. It only tells me if he's alive or not, but he can hear us at least.”

“But how can we keep in touch if it’s one-sided?” Claudette asked, Joey turned to Thomas’s body. He put his ear near his mouth before Charlie pulled him away.

“The hell you doing!?”

“Sorry, but...it sounded like I heard David.”

“Hmmm...David, if you can hear me, respond.” he asked, Joey opened Thomas’s mouth.

“Yeah, I can hear you!”

“Ok, that makes things a bit easier. How’s the situation?”

“Old..this is definitely our time, did we-”

“Remember what I told you, it’s not time travel, it's a reenactment. Quentin read all the books and documents to you during the transition, your brain used its full potential to give a detailed layout of those events that happened.”

“Wait, if it documented events, how many events would we have to go through?”

“There are approximately 2,532 cases where Sayaka killed her wielders.”

“WE DON’T HAVE TIME TO WITNESS TO ALL OF THEM, is there anyway for us to find one related to our cause?”

“If that was possible, I would have already done that, i’m sorry.” Quentin told him, David pinched his eyes in frustration, this was their final day and they didn't have the time to witness each event. Rin said that the wielder's revenge can take years to accomplish, he can't sit and watch over 2,000 people lives. In the middle of his frustration, a horse was galloping rapidly towards them. A man rushed their horse against David, making him fall and forcing him to pick himself up. He became irritated but stopped and think, the horse brushed him, not ran through him.

“DAAAVVIIIDD!” Thomas screamed in fear, the man on the horse kidnapped him. David ran and tried to catch up, Herman noticed a tremendous level of spiking on the graph.

“Herman, the graph!”

“David, what’s going on!?”

“SOMEONE TOOK THOMAS AND RIDING OFF WITH HIM!”

“Impossible, you shouldn’t be having any type of physical interactions with anything in the dreamscape.”

“WELL IT’S POSSIBLE, wait. HERMAN, CAN’T I SUMMON A HORSE OR SOME SHIT!?”

“Well, you can do a lot, but yes, you can do that!” David closed his eyes and thought of Bumbley, soon a replica of Bumbley came. David hopped on it and rode after the unknown assailant, David chased him down, but he wasn’t catching up. How was that possible, David supposed to have control over this place but nothing he is using is working. David looked ahead and saw nothing, no roads, no homes, just a dark empty space, a void filled with nothing but darkness. That must be because his brain didn’t process the area that far ahead, the man ahead clearly saw it but he continued to ride to nothing. Soon, the horse stopped and the man took Thomas and dived into the void. Thomas screamed for his father as David watched them fade into nothing as the darkness covered their bodies. David didn’t hesitate for a second before jumping into the everlasting darkness, he felt the darkness trying to consume him. It was cold, frightening but he felt a warm presence. A small light illuminated far ahead from him, the warm presence felt closer as the light shone brighter and grew in size as well. The light blinded David, forcing him to shield his eyes from the blinding light. David removed his arm from his face and found himself in a new place, it was a small wooden home in the middle of the woods. There was a small shack behind it with a vast lake next to it, the sight was stunning but David couldn’t help but scratch his head, it felt like he had seen or heard of this place. The door of the home opened and heard Thomas talking with someone, David went inside to see who he was talking to. Herman saw that the graph stopped, the machine was going haywire to where it shut down.

“The...machine.”

“Hmmm...David still has a pulse, but what the hell is happening?”

“Whatever happened, let’s pray it’s not killing him.” Bill said. David closed the door and inspected the home, it was neat, clean, as if someone was taking care of it. David saw a small shelf with with some framed pictures, it was a small boy with a older man in each of them

“This...is-”

“Come take a seat, David.” a familiar voice offered, he came into the dining room to see Thomas who was eagerly waiting for him and Douglas. He looked just like he always did back then, David took a seat across from Thomas and next to Douglas.

“Douglas...did your hair always look that oily?”

“It looks just like seaweed!”

“YOU HAVEN’T SEEN ME IN HOW LONG AND THE FIRST THING YOU SAY WHY MY HAIR IS OILY!? I-IT’S...not that oily, w-whatever! Thomas, can you go somewhere else? Dwight’s room is the last door on the left down the hall, it has a lot of toys to play with and books to read.”

“Ok!” Thomas left the table and went to Dwight’s room.

“Now, it’s just us two.”

“Yeah, dammit Douglas! You didn’t have to pull a stunt like that, you could have said something!”

“I couldn’t, I haven’t been talking much because of Thomas’s...abilities. Have you not noticed that I haven’t been talking?”

“Now that you mentioned it, you haven’t. Won’t lie, feels good to speak face to face but-”

“I know, you have questions, lots of questions…”

“Not a lot, I just want to know one thing, Why? Why...did you never come for Dwight, why did you left him all alone? You know he went through hell because of you!” He asked, Douglas looked down at his hands, David saw the pain in his eyes. Douglas wiped the tears that were trying to form in his eyes and took a deep breath.

“I...was scared.”

“Scared?”

“I..ruined his life, all because I placed a poor bet. I...didn’t think Marianne would do that to him, try to kill him. Then being gone for most his life...I-I was scared...that he’ll hate me. Dwight...is all I have left in this world. My side of my family either hates me or dead, I never really have friends either. Falling in love with someone wasn’t even a thought, but Dwight...Dwight was my pride and joy. He was everything to me, but I ruined him. But-” Douglas paused, the home changed to a small town, the town Dwight lived in.

“It didn’t stop me from taking care of him, it was not in the way a normal parent would do.” The image of the town changed to a Dwight sleeping in his office, the image was a memory of Douglas being played. He was locked picking the door to the bank and then to Dwight’s office, he pulled over a blanket for his son so he wouldn’t catch a cold, even brought a pillow for him to rest on. He left some food out in case he woke up hungry. Douglas then left the bank and sat in the distance, letting the snow fall on him and the freezing cold air attack his body. He didn’t go to sleep at all, he watches the bank until someone opens up the place to start the workday. Douglas did this for days, his eyes had dark circles and red from the lack of sleep.

“I have a fear of Dwight hating me...which is the last thing I want despite deserving his hate. But that didn’t stop me from taking care of him. During that time, his bank was extremely busy, Dwight will always stay behind to get more work down so the next day will be a bit easier. He will overworked himself and would fall asleep a lot in his office. So, I would go buy a blanket from the general store and some food, I did this for a month straight. I either slept so little or not at all, but I didn’t care, I just didn’t want him getting sick.”

“...” The background changed once again, it was raining outside. He was in an alleyway fighting off some bandits who threatened Dwight’s bank, he showed no mercy as he brutally beat the bandits that dared to touch his son.

“They were planning to rob the bank Dwight worked at, anyone inside will die so there wouldn’t be any witnesses. I couldn’t let that happen, the chances of Dwight being inside was too high, so I took care of them. Told them if they threatened that bank or Dwight again, i’ll kill all of them. I watched them run with their tails between their legs”

“(Damn, talk about overprotective.)” The background changed again, it was back to a snowy scene, David recognized the home. It was Dwight’s home before David technically destroyed it, Douglas stood beside a wooden pole. He wanted to visit Dwight and actually talk to him, he was holding a boxed gift in his hand and wanted to give it to him, but he couldn’t. His fear got the best of him, the guilt added weight to his shoulders since the snow seemed to fail at it. Dwight saw someone from his window for a split second, Douglas noticed he saw him and hid from his son. Dwight opened his door and called out for someone, but he didn’t get an answer. He only found the a gift with his name on it, but unfortunately without the sender’s name

“After years of hiding, I finally wanted to talk to him...but again, I got scared. I was still FUCKING AFRAID!” he slammed his hands on the table, Douglas was furious with himself. Even now, he still isn’t ready to talk to him. David wishes he could help, he knows that Dwight misses him, but is it right for him to say that? It could ease his mind, but still, it didn’t feel right for David to tell him. The background changed once again but this one was different, it looked like the Yamaoka estate.

“This...is where I died.”

“W-why were you at the estate!?”

“I heard of an assassin that was recently disowned by the heir of the Yamaokas but still lives within the estate. Originally, I just wanted a permanent bodyguard for Dwight, just having someone watching him well i’m gone would put me a bit at ease, but it only made things worse. Trying to move in the shadows of a land that was made of assassins and warriors wasn’t the smart move, I was easily captured and brought to the heir of the Yamaoka. I couldn’t even get a good look at him, they told me to hold my head down. Then I heard swords being unsheath, I already knew they were pointed at me.

Why has a foreigner dared to enter my land, choose your words wisely or they may be your last!” I couldn’t tell them I was looking for the disowned assassin, I tried to weasel my way out, but all it did was anger the man more. He asked me my name, I told them and hoped he'd find pity, but once again, it only made it worse."

Douglas? As in, Douglas Fairfield!?

“(SHIT!)”

I heard the rumor that floated around America, so let’s do this. Give me the location of your Son, Dwight-

“(They know his name!? Shit, SHIT, SHIT, SHIT!)”

And we’ll spare you.

Tch, what about Dwight!?

If he complies, he’ll be unharmed.

But he’s not going to, the first thing he’ll do is panic and fight back if anyone knows about the map. He’ll even kill if he has to!

Then if he resists, then he forfeits his life!

THEN YOU CAN KISS OUR DEAL GOODBYE!

I CAN KILL YOU WHERE YOU STAND, WHERE IS HE!?

...you have to make me look black and blue and even if you do, i’ll never talk.

We’ll see, throw him into the cells. Torture him by any means to make him talk!
The men picked up Douglas and immediately took him to the cells, the men threw him and locked the door. Douglas ran to the door, trying to rip the iron bars apart but failed. He tried for hours and hours, only to wear out his hands to a point it burns whenever he touches anything. He walked to the cell wall, leaned his back against it and fell, he was trapped and soon be tortured. He doesn’t have any means to escape and even if he did, he doubts he’ll be able to escape without hanging on a thread of life. Hours passed and Douglas was awakened, someone stood in front of his cell door, Rin. She caught word that a foreigner was captured and wanted to meet him, Douglas ran to his cell to confront her.

It was foolish for you to enter the estate.”

I-I know, but please! I came here to look for you!

Me?

You, are you the own who was disowned?

Choose your words carefully, unless you want your throat slit!

I’m sorry if I offended you, but I have a feeling your father did something unjust to you?

“...”

You want revenge, you want to make him pay, right?

Don’t speak like you know me! Unfortunately though, you’re right. I want revenge, but my father cowards behind his guards, there’s now way for me to get by them-

Unless they are paid, right?

...speak.

My treasure, I spent years-

I know of the rumored treasure, are you saying it’s true?

Yes, I am Douglas Fairfield.

Go on…

I have a request. My son, he lived in a town not too far from the ports of the coast of Maryland. His house lies in the outskirts, it’s a small home with a large window in the front that exposes his dining area, can’t miss it. There’s a boat docked with someone waiting for me, give him the password Fairfield and he’ll take you to America. Help my son get to my treasure before anyone else, eliminate any who’s a threat to him. Take enough of my treasure, bring it back and pay off your father’s men. Then you can kill him.

So protect him till he gets to the treasure, seems simple.

Wait!” Douglas frantically dug in his pockets and pulled out a pen and paper. He wished he could use the pen to pick the lock but he honestly would have gotten killed. He wrote a lengthy message on it and handed it to Rin, told her to give it to Dwight when she sees him. She tucked it away and left Douglas's cell. The background changed its scene again, but it wasn’t a pretty one.

“For days, I endured torture after torture. I was waterboarded, beaten mercilessly, burned, whipped...even…” the background changed again, David watched as he saw Douglas hanging by his arms by rope. He was naked as a man with a heated metal clamp, the man clamped Douglas’s groin and took it off his body. Douglas couldn’t help but cry in pain and urinated himself out of whatever remained of his lower half, but he didn’t give in. He doesn’t care what he’ll suffer, he won’t reveal Dwight’s location to them. David gagged at the sight, but gave Douglas more respect for experiencing such an ordeal. Unfortunately, this came to an end. At the end of the work, Douglas was strapped to a table to wait for his next torture. A large man looked at his bruised body and smiled, David recognized that terrorizing face, Bubba’s face. Bubba laughed as he clapped his hands and danced around the table, he lowered his head to Douglas’s arms and licked it. The flavor made his mouth drool, he couldn’t control himself as he sunk his teeth into douglas and ripped a chunk of his flesh off his arm. Blood flew and spilled on the floor, Bubba licked the blood off the floor and licked it like some type of savory sauce. Bubba then pulled off a small butcher knife and dug the knife just enough under Douglas’s skin, David held his stomach as he knew what was going to happen next. Bubba began cutting off Douglas’s skin around his head, Douglas screamed in agonizing pain as he shook the table, trying to get the restrictions off of him, but it was no use. Once the skin was loose, Bubba ripped the skin off, exposing the flesh under. The twitching veins, the crimson red flesh, the blood running down Douglas’s body was making David gag again. Bubba licked Douglas face to taste the fresh blood, his hot tongue burned against Douglas now exposed flesh. Bubba wasn’t done though, He dug the knife in his body and began to skin him alive. Bubba would stop if he just revealed Dwight’s whereabouts, but Douglas grit his teeth and spit at him. Bubba caught and swallowed the bloody spit, didn’t want to waste anything. The knife cutting around and loosing his skin brought more tears in his eyes, but even that was torture. The tears burned when it made contact to his flesh, he couldn’t cry, he couldn’t beg, he couldn’t fight. Bubba started to tear the skin off again, now nothing but flesh that oozed blood onto the table and the floor. Douglas didn’t know how he was alive, but it came to an end. Bubba reached Douglas ribcage, pried apart it and gripped his beating heart and took a bite out of it. David vomited, that was a nightmare Douglas experienced.

“That's how I died...I felt so cold. But my mind was only worried for Dwight, he was scared, even with his new bodyguard. I heard my own thoughts echoing, my fears. They were haunting me as I was passing on...but I didn’t want to go. Dwight wasn’t safe by any means, I...needed to be by his side. I begged to god or whatever the fuck to be by his side again, just enough to a point where I feel like he’s no longer in danger. Then it happened...I woke up in his home, fully clothes, skin and my downstairs still intact. But when I tried to sit down, I fell right through the floor. I was just a spirit...so I just watched over him.”

“Douglas…”

“I watched over him, but that’s when you came and started this little adventure. I’ll be honest, I was fucking afraid when you almost killed him. My heart was beating crazy on you two rocky friendship, up until your first encounter with the Yamaokas. When he trusted you enough to give his life story, then started a friendship. I took a breath of relief, having you and Rin by his side put a smile on my face. Then when you two danced and...he said he missed me, I couldn’t help but cry...then when you two had se-

“Y-you can leave that part out

“Look, I’m not asking for sympathy, I just wanted to show how this happened”

“You did all of this...to protect Dwight. I have to say this, I saw father’s give up and tell the kidnapper what they want...but you didn’t.”

“I know, I don’t know how they figured out where he was but it didn’t matter. But enough about me, we have a more pressing matter. We have to found a way to get rid of that parasite called Sayaka!”

“...wait.” The word parasite resonated with David, then he remembered more things that fit pieces together.

“Holy shit...HOLY FUCKING SHIT, THE ANSWER WAS IN FRONT OF US!”

“W-what!?”

“Sayaka, she IS a parasite o-or like a virus!”

“So?”

“And to get rid of one, the host either dies or the body becomes uninhabitable for it! Remember what Sayaka said after Thomas stopped me from shooting?”

“ Also, I wouldn’t try anything, this image is just a mere shell if you know what I mean.”

“What meant was that any damage she receives will actually affect Dwight! Meaning if we can get his body to a critical state-”

“It’ll probably force her out, or at least weaken her to where we could pull the last punch!”

“And I have the way of doing so, checkmate! Douglas, we’re going to get him back...finally we’ll get him back…”

“David?”

“Sorry...I Just want to see him again, just before we dive right into it. A confident boost, you know…?”

“...I wanna try something since your brain is basically experiencing the cosmos.”

“W-wait are you…”

“Don’t worry about Thomas, i’ll make sure he gets back safely. Now, close your eyes and go to him.” David did what he said despite being confused, David opened them and found himself and another place again. It was another void with a yellowish background, there was flickering white lights twinkling with warming yellow.

“Where...am I? It’s just one place another anot-” David's eye couldn’t stop looking at someone who caught his eye and the same goes for the person staring back at him. Dwight was staring at him with disbelief, David started running towards him as Dwight called his name.

“David, DAVID, DAVID, DAAAVVIIDD!” He cried, jumping into his lover’s arms. David caught and held Dwight dearly in his arms, twirling him around before stealing a deep yearning kiss off of him. Dwight buried his now crying face into David’s chest as he continued to hug David tightly, David slowly stroked Dwight’s grown out hair to calm his rapidly beating heart.

“Dwight, my fucking god it so good to see you again!”

“I can fucking say the same thing to you! I haven’t seen you since *sniffles* s-s-since-” Dwight couldn’t make the words, he just remembered having David’s blood on his hands after he was stabbed.

“Dwight, do you not remember?”

“R-remember what?”

“We saw not too long ago, look, the ribbon. That was tailored by Thomas, he must have given it to you.”

“B-but...I don’t remember…”

“That’s because Sayaka got stronger, she can erase any recent memory you make. Thomas must have given that to you, but she made you forget. Damn witch!”

“...”

“Dwight?”

“I…*sniffle* I-I…”

“What’s wrong?”

“I’m...sorry, David. I waited so long...but *sniffle* she got stronger, I...can barely feel myself. I have no control and soon-”

“Hey, hey, hey. Don’t you worry, no matter how strong she is, i’m ready. I know how to defeat her-”

“But what if you die!?”

“There are no ifs! I went through hell and back, you know what i’m capable of, i’m coming for you. Then we’re stopping this madness and finally raise Thomas and become a family, something we both want, but-”

“B-but?” Dwight repeated, David let go of Dwight, bow and held out his hand.

“I have a feeling that I don’t have a lot of time. So if I may, can I get another dance, Dwight?” Dwight perking up a smile pushed up his cheeks, it made the lingering tears in his eyes fall. Dwight took the offer from his lover's hand and allowed himself to be pulled into David’s warm embrace. Dwight suddenly heard music being played, but he didn’t mind, it was the perfect song to dance to.

“You remember what I told you?”

“My left is your right and vice versa, I could never forget that moment.”

“Then let's relive it, shall we?” The background changed to the town square where they first danced, the gracious moonlit, the chill air the wind blew, the leaves falling for them. Reliving a perfect moment such as this brought more tears in their eyes as they started to dance again. The warm feeling of dancing with someone you love helped their body’s ignore the cold, the tenderness of their hands locking into each other, the sweet rhythm their body’s twirl to. Their heart, mind, and body in perfect sync as the music came to an end. They pulled each other for another soft kiss that left them both wanting more, more softness, sharing body heat, craving affection, they both wanted it all back. They wanted their lives back and soon they will. Unfortunately, David’s time was up. His body became transparent, Dwight couldn’t help back to fall to his knees and cry. David took him back in his arms and to curdle him, to ease his crippling mind as he’s force to depart.

“SHE’S JUST GOING TO MAKE ME FORGET, DAVID, SHE’S JUST GOING TO *sniffle* MAKE ME FORGETTTTTTT!”

“I *sniffle* know Dwight, but I told you. I’m ready for her, she’s not taking you away. Tomorrow, you’ll be back and that’s a promise i’m fucking keeping. Keep holding out for me, ok?”

“Ok- D-David!?” he called out, but he was gone. Dwight held himself as his tears streamed down his face.

“Don’t forget, don’t forget, don’t...forget, don’t...for…huh? What...was I trying not to...forget?”

Chapter Text

David woke up finding himself still on the table, but as soon as he tried to move, his head suddenly experienced a tremendous amount of pain. He screamed in agony as he held his head and rubbed it to tone it down.

“You’re awake.” Herman said.

“YEAH, WITH FUCKING PAIN!”

“Blame yourself, not me. So, how did it go? We lost connection with you and we got worried.”

“Well it worked for sure, but I got the answer we needed. I know what we must do to save Dwight!”

“Oh, we already know.”

“Huh? How?”

“Your friend over there.” David looked to where Herman was pointing out, he saw Douglas holding Thomas and talking amongst the others.

“Douglas? How?”

“I used your brain to sever the connection I had with Thomas and tied myself to you. For some reason, your brain was bursting with energy, I used some of it to come out and have some type of physical form.”

“My brain? Wait, is my brain still at its full potential, Herman?”

“No, as soon as the machine stopped, it put your brain back to normal. Unfortunately, the machine isn’t working either. All that effort just to have it work one time, all well. Time to move one to the next thing.”

Herman left everyone and went back to his experiments, they all laughed nervously and went back to inspecting Douglas. This is the first time any of them seen his appearance, he laughs as the rest poke his body, pull his hair and make some comments.

“Wow Douglas, you looked just like Dwight!”

“Thank you, Ms. Morel.”

“You know me?”

“Well, aside from Thomas' memories and everyone saying your name a hundred times, I do. I know you were one of his friends. Thank you for watching him.”

“I didn’t really watch him, I just kept bothering him honestly. He was a stubborn man, but a kind one. I just really wish he’s ok, considering tomorrow…”

“Hey, don’t worry. David found the answer and we’ll save him! But for now, we must rest. Some of us have a battle to prepare for-”

“Wait! Sayaka image is a shell, an image right? Wouldn’t that mean you’re just hurting Dwight in the long run?” Joey asked? They all turned their heads to David, he stared into his hand and clenched it.

“Yes, I know that I have to harm Dwight to get through Sayaka. This is our only chance though, we don’t have time to look for another option. Quentin, what time is it?”

“8:21pm, you have been out for a long time.”

“Make sure to wake us up at 6am sharp. Douglas, you’ll tell Quentin the location and we’ll go right to the entrance. Bill, Rin’s sisters, we’re going in. You guys will stop anyone from intervening, do not let anyone in.”

“Wait, why are just you guys!? Me and Joey can fight, so can Jake and...maybe Jeff and the others.” Charlie cut in, David looked at Claudette and nodded his head, she took the group to a different side of the lab and removed a sheet off a table. It was the notes from the lab underneath the estate, Claudette had additional notes that looked like the translated version of the notes. Next to it was chemicals and herbs ready to be made into whatever she was making.

“Claudette has been at it for weeks, she is trying to make the ointment Rin’s mother made before we stopped it from being mass produced.”

“I knew that David was going to fight Sayaka and expected him to lose a few limbs, same with Bill and the rest of y’all. So, I've been working on it as much as I can and I think i’m a few steps away from completing it. I’ll work on it more tonight and in the morning, hopefully i’ll get it done in time. The amount will be bigger but if the wounds you guys suffer are grave, then it might not be enough. So let’s do this carefully, I want all of us alive.”

“That still doesn’t explain why we can’t come!”

“It's because they need someone to watch Claudette when she comes with the ointment and there's no one i’ll trust with but you few. Please, Charlie.”

“...Y-you won’t die right, Bill?”

“...I’ll be honest, I don’t know myself. We all went in this knowing we could die, I don’t plan on dying, but anything could happen.”

“Oh…”

“Hey, don’t worry. Once we’re done, how does chocolate milk sound?”

“Promise?”

“Promise.”

“I want some too!”

“BEAT IT, THOMAS!”

“But I want some, you can share!”

“NO!”

“Ha, i’ll make you some too. Alright everyone, rest up. We got a big day and tomorrow we’re getting Dwight back!”

“RIGHT!” They shouted together, everyone left the laboratory to prepare for their final battles. David took Thomas into their room and propped him between his lap. He cleaned some of the dust off his face and then turned him around.

“Tomorrow's the big day, Thomas.”

“I know, we’re gonna see Dwight again, and this time not in a dream...or void thingy. I just...hope he’s ok…”

“He is, trust me. He is still fighting her, but he’s not lasting long. If we don’t hurry then we’ll lose him and that’s fate worse than death for me.”

“You’re...not afraid of...you know, dying?”

“Well, when you constantly charge into death, sometimes you accept the fact that you can die at any point. This isn’t the talk I wanted for you, but might as well continue. I’m not afraid of dying, i’m afraid of others dying because of my actions or me failing to save them. That’s why I preferred to work alone back then, no one around meant I didn’t have to worry about failing anyone.”

“Afraid of others dying, like what happened with the mines or with Ms. Denson?”

“Yeah. Losing Dwight, Kate dying, what happened in the mines. You saw what happened to me, I wasn’t myself and when i’m not myself, I don’t think straight. I want everyone out of this alive, but I know that’s a dream, not reality. But even if it’s a dream, it’ll keep pushing me to make it happen. And if I fall-”

“You have me to pick you up!”

“Exactly and so far, you have been doing a great job.”

“I’m just like you, I want everyone out of this. Just...you’re not going to die...right?”

“No I won’t, I refuse! Besides, I cheated death, i’ll just do it again.”

“I...can always bring you back.”

“Brin- oh no, Thomas, listen. The dead...should never come back, I know I did but still. That’s something we don’t want to mess with. Just...promise me that you won’t use your gift to bring anyone back.”

“Even...if I really miss them?”

“Yes, Thomas. That means me and Dwight too.”

“But-”

“Not buts! Please?”

“...ok.”

“Be strong, ok? Once this all over, I have tons of things I got to do for you.”

“What you mean?”

“I gotta get you into school, how to deal with your abilities and a lot more, get you some more hobbies than, etc.”

“Ok! But I wanna show Dwight this stuff too...once I figure out how.”

“We’ll do it once this is over, now we sleep. Come here, little buddy.” David tucked himself and Thomas into the bed and drifted off to sleep, caresing Thomas’ head as only one thing lingered in his mind, Dwight. As they slept, someone assaulted a base in the south. Blood sprayed on the walls a crimson color, Sayaka killed everyone one who was in the base, didn’t care if they had family or not. She hooked up some broadcasting equipment and said her piece.

“Now isn’t this a fine day, well minus the chilling winds and falling snow. But today is a special day, the day i’ll reveal the location of the famous treasure stolen by the famous outlaw, Douglas Fairfield. Down in the center of Texas, there’s a crater that was caused by a star falling from the heavens and landed there. The crater was turned into a mine but was closed down and forgotten for years, a perfect spot for treasure if you asked me. You all have the map and the location, now come and get your share. Make your dreams come true, it’s an all or nothing, come big or go home. I hope you have fun.”

The broadcasting stopped, Sayaka smiled as she left the base. She then made her way to the location herself and traversed through the mines to the depths, she sat on her knees with her blade across her lap as she waited. David opened his eyes and saw Quentin reaching for him, David woke up without any help.

“It’s time, David.”

“Yeah, *deep inhale* better get ready.”

David removed his blanket and went to the bathroom to wash up, he put back on his clothes and went to Rin’s room. She was awake and moving again, she was sharpening her blade as she glanced up to David.

“Rin, you’re ok?”

“Yes, my body is no longer in pain. Let’s just pray I won't ever need to do that technique ever again.”

“I hope so too, i’m sure your sisters told you the plan?”

“Keep anyone that tries to enter the mines out well you deal with Sayaka, kill if necessary.”

“Yeah, and Rin?”

“Yeah?”

“Thank you for sticking by my side, from reviving me to helping me up to this point.”

“We’re friends, David. But let’s save this for later, wanna include Dwight for this.”

“You’re right, i’m gonna check on Claudette.”

Rin nodded and went back to sharpening her blade with her special stone, David went to Claudette’s room to find her group with Charlie. She was still going at it with the ointment, she was up for a while hoping to get it done soon.

“Any luck?”

“Just about, still need some time. Something isn’t right and Herman isn’t helping me, but don’t worry, i’m sure i’ll get it done.”

“Well if not, that’s fine. Even if I lose some limbs, it’s worth it for me as long I get him back.”

“Let’s just hope that at least your head stays on your shoulders, i’m assuming you’re ready to head out?”

“Yeah, i’m going to talk to Bill. You keep at it, ok?”

Claudette smiled and went back to work, Charlie tagged along to see Bill with David. They arrived at his room and found him with Ace and Adiris, she was holding ten bullets and David’s knife in her hands.

“Adiris?”

“David, I was going to go to you, but I wanted to talk to Bill first.”

“Lucky she did, she explained to me what Matty and Sally are. But...I remembered what Matty told me before you guys showed up.”

“What did he say?”

“He believes Sally is in the same condition he was in, there was more but I'll deal with it.” Bill looked away, something about Sally is still bothering him. Adiris walked over and handed David some bullets and his knife.

“I went back to the church and blessed these bullets and your knife. Sayaka is a spirit, only blessed weapons can damage them. She’s powerful, far more powerful than before. Any mortal is a fool to challenge her, but we saw you in action, David. A man who came back from the dead, traversed through voids, and survived Herman’s contraption to travel to the past...i think? So you are a fool, but the only fool who can possibly defeat her.”

“Thank you, I appreciate you looking out for me. Bill, are you ready?”

“Yeah, let’s-”

“Wait” Ace interrupted.

“I’m coming too, that man and Sally is going to be there. Sally died because of me and Ash hates Bill because of it, so it’s my problem too.”

“Ace…”

“I already have my weapon ready, this isn’t up for debate.”

He pushed past them and headed to the main floor, David and Bill shrugged their shoulders and followed behind him. They arrived to see a door and everyone crowded around it, but an unsettling feeling arrived in David’s stomach. His journey had its ups and downs, more downs than ups. Kate’s death, losing Dwight, innocents lost from the beast they destroyed. All of that blood, sweat and tears is going to finally pay off. He took out his self doubt and kept three things in this mind, getting everyone out, saving Dwight, and coming back to Thomas. Adam walks over to David and hands him Kate’s hat.

“She died getting us this far but she felt like a failure because of her dying, but she wasn’t. She did her damndest to destroy everything Jane controlled and she did a damn good job doing it, it was why we were free...why Dwight was free. David, take it and put that fucking she devil back in hell where she came from!”

“Adam...ok, I will! Kate wasn’t a failure and I won’t let her death be in vain!”

“You better, Kate probably choke you in the afterlife.”

“Then I better win, having her at my throat for all eternity is a fate worse than hell itself.” He joked, he then went to Thomas and kneeled to him.

“I’ll be back, little buddy. But I-”

“I know, you need me to stay here. I won’t come but...please come back with Dwight.”

“I will Thomas, you’ll see him.”

“Wait, take this. I made for you and Dwight, be sure to show him it!”

Thomas handed David a drawing the boy made for him, it was all three of them holding hands with the words “family” written above them. David smiled deeply and gave his son a tight hug, stroked his head and gave him a kiss on his forehead. David walked over to the door with Douglas walking next to him, Douglas nodded towards him. David took in another deep inhale, put on Kate’s hat and pushed open the doors. His group went through and came out on the other side, they looked around as Douglas confirmed that this was the spot. Light snow was being forced down with the heavy wind, coating the mining crater white. The group rubbed their body’s as they cold was already chilling their bones, but more importantly, they didn’t see a mob of treasure hunting gremlins approaching the site.

“No one is really here…” Douglas pointed out.

“Yeah, but not everyone can traverse through magic doors like us. Unfortunately…” He paused, David looked towards the entrance to the mine. Darkness lives inside, malice is oozing its dreadful presence. Sayaka was in there, waiting for David to come for her. He stopped wasting time and slid down the cliffside into the crater with the others following behind, they rushed themselves to the entrance. As they came closer, they came to a sudden halt. Something was forcing them down. Rejecting their movement with the heavy wind freezing them solid, David heard footsteps approaching them. He saw a glimpse of an odd crimson weapon, meaning it was Ash.

“Sally...let them go.” he told the woman next to him, the red haired woman released her grip on them. Bill and Ace's eyes were filled with immediate sorrow, a dear friend's corpse stands before them again. Gulit weighed their shoulders as Ash resumed talking.

“Ha...Bill, you see this? This...is just a walking shell of Sally, a puppet with her face, nothing real. King...leave, this is between Bill and I…”

“David, you heard him. You have to get to Dwight, if Ash is willingly to be out your way then you should take it.”

“...ok, everyone, let’s go.” David took the remaining group and ran past the old men, they faded into the dark portion of the mine. Bill looked into Ash’s eyes, they were clouded like his a while ago. His face was riddled with defeat, his body looked like it had no energy inside.

“You sure letting them past was a good idea? Jane’s not going to be hap-”

“Fuck Jane...that witch can stay on her high chair all she wants, if anything, she was a fool for sending me out here knowing that you would have be here. But…” he paused as he glanced at Ace, then his mood shifted. Anger filled his eyes and heat rose up around them, he still hated Bill for having Sally’s blood on his hands, but Ace was the domino that started the effect.

“You...SON OF A BITCH! YOU GOT HER KILLED! YOU’RE JUST AS GUILTY AS HE IS!” he shouted, Ace clenched his chest. No matter what, in the end it was his fault. Bill placed his hand on Ace’s shoulder.

“So you know the truth, but you should also know you’re not getting to him!”

“Ha...HAHAHAHA, I can’t believe you’re willing to defend him! That’s fine... i’ll use that fucking thing until it breaks!”

“Breaks?” Bill questioned, Ash walked behind Sally and pulled back your black gobe she was wearing. The gobe took the shape of her body and Bill was struck with pain, it matched Matthew’s body. Nothing but skin and bones, meaning she doesn’t have long. As Bill looked away, Ace was loading his bullets in his gun and popped a question.

“Ash, we were stopped earlier, what was that?”

“Sally, she was...special, very special. I asked Jed what it was, I didn’t believe him at all...until he shown me-”

“Shown you what?”

“She...can move things...with her head. Lift, stop, he said it’s an extremely rare occurrence to happen for humans.”

“Now that you mention it, I do remember Sally having constant headaches and claimed things moved on their own. I didn’t believe her and told her she was sick or something.” Bill said, he took his head up when he heard Ash’s weapon revved up and it pointed at them.

“Unfortunately, her body being so weak limited her power and her stopping your group took a good chunk but that’s fine. I’ll get you Bill, Ace and get Sally.”

“Then i’ll put my chance into lady luck hands!”

“OH WE’LL SEE WHAT SIDE SHE’LL TAKE!”

 

David and the others came into another clearing inside the mine, it was almost like an arena with pieces of coal stuck to the wall, old mining equipment littering around. Railings heading deeper into the depths with the hanging lights barely guiding them in the darkness. Rin held her arm out to stop the group, she felt a familiar presence around them. David opened his ears and heard something cutting the air and heading towards them, Rin dashed behind him and smacked a hatchet out the air.

“Never a dull moment with you, Rin.” Anna praised, catching her hatchet and jumping in front of the group. Bubba and Kenneth followed, David took a step back, he knew they would be here but he wished they weren’t. Rin and his sisters step forward and pull out their blades.

“(David, they’re not going to be as nice as Ash. On three, you and Douglas make a run for you.)”

“(You sure?)”

“(You said it yourself, you want to be alone with Sayaka. Now go!)”

“(...thank you)” he told her, both sides readied their weapons. Eyes locked onto each other, beads of sweat were forming as the outside wind made its way into the mine and blew between their hair. Rin shouted three, her and her sisters dashed and clashed their weapons against their enemies, giving David an opening to run past them. Anna tossed one of them off and threw a hatchet at David, but Rin reacted and took it out of the air. David went deeper into the mine with Douglas guiding him, Rin wished him luck and prayed he wins his fight and brings back Dwight. Ash rushed in and smashed his revving weapon against Bill’s whip, Bill kicked the old man off and performed a wild dance and cracked the air itself. Ash knows his tricks, some hits landed their marks but he was able to push through and continue his relentless assault. Ace shot round after round at Sally to see what would be her next move , she stopped the bullets and threw it back at him. They were faster than the barrel they were shot out of, two bullets lodged into Ace’s leg. He held in his cry of pain as he saw that the ground beneath him was shaking, the ground ended up breaking apart and the rubble was lifting up into the air. Ace’s forced his body to move off it and land below, but a shadow was casted on his feet, he saw the rubble speeding towards him but slow enough to dodge compared to the bullets. This ended up being a repeated process for Ace as he was powerless against the supernatural, but he remembered what Ash said. She won’t last long in her current state but what exactly is “long”? He can be killed before her body gives out, but he has to keep her at bay so Bill can finish Ash. Ash stuck his revving weapon into the ground to distort Bill’s balance, the violent vibrations impaired his movement as Ash dashes towards him. He did a downward slash against the old man but Bill managed to move in time, but he suffered a heavy wound across his chest, Bill kneel down and held his chest, trying to keep the blood from running out. The pain surged through his chest as he exhaustion was seeping in, he noticed Ash was doing the same but Bill hadn't been able to land a good blow on him. Ash learned Bill’s ways, how he fights and his cunningness, he learned how to go against it, something Bill should have done from his past encounters.

“*Pants* luck doesn’t seem to be on your side, Bill!”

“Jesus, don’t you ever shut up!?”

“Tch, you know what, how about a quick story break?”

“I rather remove your jaw than listen to more of you rumbling!” Bill harshly expresses, shooting a bloody spit in his direction.

“Shut up! You remember our first encounter, right?”

“Yeah, I took off your sorry ass hand. If you were going to be this much of a pain in my ass I would have killed you long ago!”

“Huh...yeah. But it goes far more than that. Remember the William gang?”

“...it was a gang that destroyed itself”

“A gang with luxurious taste, it was ruled by some rich family and anyone who joined was given the surname of William. Sally...she was the daughter of the leader and the one who took me in. Granted, I was older than her, but her spirit was so kind and tender, a ray of sunlight in a world of darkness. But it changed all too suddenly, Sally went missing. Her parents tried so desperately to find her but came up with nothing, this went on for years. The gang fell apart, her parents turned violent and worked us to the bone. Those who opposed were killed on sight, too bad those who did were half of the gang. They were killed in cold blood, some much lost because our ray of hope was gone. So I spent years trying to dig up anything on her, it was almost a lost cause until I got a lead. She was a part of another gang, yours! So I traveled for days to the location she was last seen. But when I arrived at the building in the crayons, it was a slaughter house. Corpses on corpses, blood, their insides, the blank expressions on their dead face. I couldn’t believe it and then I saw her, Sally. Her eyes rolled to the back of her head and her face purple, she was choked to death. My blood boiled with rage as I screamed into the night, I ran out of the building and saw you walking in the distance. I saw the moonlight shining on the blood your clothes were stained with, no need to repeat that scene considering you remember it yourself. I woke up in the town nearby and was in a medical room, that’s where I met Jane. She offered me a position and promised i’ll get my revenge on Bill as long as I do what she says. I took it, I left the Williams bulllshit and joined Jane and rebuilt your former gang.”

“...Listen, this story would be cute and sad if I didn’t have a gaping ass cut across my chest.”

“Hmph, not even a thank you for letting you take a bre-”

“AAAUUUGH” Ace screamed, Bill took his attention to Ace who was holding his folding arm. It broke and was folded backwards, he saw his leg was being lifted against his will. First his ankle was being twisted like a screw, his muscles tearing apart as it continued to go round and round. She wasn’t done, she then snapped Ace’s leg in half like a weak branch. Ace couldn’t help but shed a tear and howled in agonizing pain, Bill got up to try to get her to stop but Ash internvened and kept him in place. He reminded him that he’s his opponent, not her. Ace couldn’t fight back the force anymore, the pain coursing through his body made it unbearable to do anything else. Sally used her gift and lifted Ace into the air, she was going to break Ace’s body in half. No, Bill couldn’t lose another, he lost his son and he’ll be damned if he loses Ace. As Sally started to crack Ace’s body, Bill knocked Ash off of him and rushed to stop her. Bill colleded against her body to knock her unbalance, before she was able to fight back, Bill threw his whip out towards her head. The whip snapped the air in half as it launched through Sally’s head, cutting it clean off like a sharpened sword. Blood shot out like a geyser, creating a crimson that the wind spread with the light snow. With her gone, Ace began descending from the air. Bil rushed over to him and caught his companion from falling to his possible doom.

“Like a damsel in distress.” Bill jokes as he lays Ace down

“Keep talking and i’ll pop your head off just like hers- augh!”

“Shit, your body is fucked up. Just hang in there!”

“I’m fine, we don’t have- huh?” Ace felt something warm dripped on the back of his neck, he rubbed it off and looked at it. It was blood, fresh blood that he hopes it was from Sally’s corpse. More blood dripped, no, it was like it was pouring on him now. Ace heard revving again as he turned around, Ash’s weapon was completely through Bill’s body.

“Oh, did you guys forget about poor old me?” Ash asked, enjoying the blood that’s being spilled. Claudette and the others were in the lab still making the ointment, but grew a wide smile and wiped the sweat off her forehead.

“It’s done, we can go to them now!”

“Then come on, the faster the better!” Charlie said, but they all know that he wants to see if Bill is ok. The group put on their clothing, took the ointment and called Quentin to open a door. Charlie pushed it open and ran inside first with the others following behind, he made it to the other side and felt the heavy freezing wind blowing against him. The snow hit his eyes and he was forced to rub it out, but once he was finished he stared in horror. Ash’s weapon was revving inside of Bill and was raising it upwards slowly. The blood spraying over Ace and painting the fresh snow a dark red color, the others came out and saw the horror Charlie was witnessing.

“WWIIIILLLLIIAAAMMMMMM!” Charlie shouted, breaking through the howling wind as he bolted with his ability and launched his fist through Ash’s face. Whatever was inside his head was now on the floor, Charlie kicked the body off him and Bill. Bill slowly fell but Ace caught him, Bill’s body shook in pain, he coughed up blood as it fell into his beard. His warm blood was damping Ace’s clothes making the cold unbearable for him. His body was growing cold, he didn't have long before he passed.

“WILLIAM, WILLIAM!”

“William…” Ace softly said, tears streamed down his and Charlies faces as the rest came over. They couldn’t help but cry themselves, but Claudette quickly stopped and pulled out the ointment to try to save him. But as she tried to use it, Bill took hold of her hand and rejected it.

“N-no! We n-need it f-for David and D-D-Dwight!”

“But-”

“NO! I-it’s...ok. All of you...come closer.” he said, the group came closer as he mustered whatever strength he had left and turned himself over.

“Claudette, Joey, Feng, Charlie. I’m sorry, I was concerned for Ace that I let my guard down. Now, i’m paying the price. *Coughs* I know you guys want me alive...but we have to save that for the people that really matters, so I say this well I have the chance. I...had so much fun being around you four, we had our ups and downs...more downs than ups. But hell, it was one crazy ride. From witches, to volcanos to crashing a zemplin, you kids made this old man live an exciting life. This was way better than running a gang honestly or living a peaceful boring life in hiding, but I also want to say how proud I am to you all. Fixing an epidemic, stopping a weird carnival, killing spiders, all of it. You all grew so much and I feel honored to witness it all. If...I had to do this again, I wouldn’t take it unless it was with you four knuckleheaded dumbass. Charlie, i’m more sorry for failing to keep my promise. I...hope you can forgive...me?”

“I-I don’t know w-what you’re talking a-about, you didn’t b-break any p-promise to me!” he struggled to say, Bill smiled as he reached out to Charlie’s head and rubbed it one last time.

“Don’t worry, i’m...not going anywhere. I...want to see...Dwight one last time before I...go.”

“Bill!?”

“It’s...ok...i’m just...tired…”

“You four, go! David is deeper in the mine, he could be fighting Sayaka as we speak-”

“But Ace, we got to get you back. The temperature is dangerously low, you’ll freeze to death with your wet clothes!”

“I know...but my story ends when he ends, i’ll die by his side, it’s going to be a lonely road when he crosses. It’s better to have someone than no one, now go!”

Joey helped up Charlie and the others as they ran to the entrance, leaving Ace and Bill in the freezing cold.

“Hey...Ace, hold...me a little tighter, it’s...really...cold out *coughs* here…”

“Of course, William. I’ll hold you as tight as you want…”

Chapter Text

Douglas stopped dead in his tracks, beads of sweat rolled down his face as he turned his attention behind him. He swallowed his spit and tilted his hat down in respect, David paused himself and saw what he was doing.

“What’s wrong!?”

“I...can hardly feel Bill and Ace…” he answered with such sorrow in his voice, David clenched his chest, a part of him felt like it was ripped. They knew Bill and Ace were willing to die for David so he could rescue Dwight, but he was hoping it wouldn’t come to it. His body wants to run out and help him, not just him, all of them but he remembered his objective. Dwight and Sayaka are just a little further in, he knows he’s companions can handle themselves but he hates losing them in his cause. He shook his head and removed his doubt and worry, Douglas did the same as he guided him to the end of the mine, then he had him go through the maze like tunnels until he reached a gaping hole that led down into darkness. Granted, there were tiny lamps lodged into the walls providing little light, but it honestly felt like David was looking into the belly of a beast.

“There’s a rope that leads all the way down, take you straight to my riches.”

“And that’s where Sayaka is…”

“David, you know the stakes right now. If you died, it’s over not just for the rest of us, but possibly the entire continent. I’m not going to say are you ready, because regardless how you feel you must go down there.”

“I know, this time I’m sure I can handle her. (i’m coming, Dwight!)” David tightened the rope and climbed himself down into the depths, the lights he passed didn’t help, all it did was provide a false sense of security. It even felt like the lights were growing dimmer with every inch of the wall he descended, but brighter light was glowing below. David hasted himself and the light grew even brighter, like he struck gold. He got to the end of the rope and looked around his surroundings, David couldn’t believe his eyes. Gold, jewels, valuables from foreign countries all stocked onto each other. It felt like a dream, an exaggeration, something like this only a genie could grant. Years of collecting made this possible, everyone can take a quick glance and be filled with greed, but not David. No matter how rich he’ll be with the treasure, none of it can replace Thomas or Dwight or the trust he formed with his friends.

“*Claps* well, the big hero of this tale is finally here.” Jed said with an amused voice.

“Jed...Sayaka…”

“Don’t worry Mr. King, I won’t be in your way. I know this is a duet, there’s no need for a third.”

“Good, you’re foolishness was irritating me.” Sayaka expressed but Jed just laughed, he walked away into the looming darkness as they watched him fade away.

“I hope you two have an amazing fight and may the victor decide the future of this country.” He said, disappearing which left David with Sayaka. Sayaka let out a sigh and stood up, David felt anger rising inside him. He wanted to let it out, but he knew that if he let anger do his thinking, he’ll end up dead again. He needs to think this through and use his plan effectively, but first he needs to damage Sayaka.

“I can feel that you've gotten stronger, but why wouldn’t you? I saw the ordeal you and your companions been through, that would make anyone stronger. I’m more amazed that a simple human did all of this, all to rescue this fragile and weak man-”

“HE’S NOT WEAK!” David cut in.

“Even now, he’s still repelling you and you know it!” Sayaka's face turned sour, she knew he was right, Dwight didn't completely give up. Her power isn’t at the fullest but she is still more powerful from before.

“You not at your fullest means I still have a chance to save him...even if it means I have to hurt him.”

“...I admire you, King. Unfortunately though, this is where your story ends!” She threatened, the same darkish red aura came and started to surround Sayaka like before. David told Douglas to go away so he wouldn’t get hurt. He wished David the best of luck as the aura grew larger and more dreadful, it smelled like death but even the smell wouldn’t back David down. As Sayaka planned to launch her first attack, Spirit swept Kenneth’s legs and tried to strike him when he was down. He pushed himself up to dodge the attack and threw a tonic to the ground. It created a pink gas cloud that blinded her vision and impaired her breathing, Kenneth unleashed a fury of attacks in the cloud. Ms. Yamaoka falling under the might of Bubba and his massive size after taking the pills, Rin attacked Anna vigorously but even her speed couldn’t best her strength. She can’t stop, if she falls, they’ll go into the mine and get in David’s way. She closed her eyes and think, she put herself in David’s shoes. He was never a guy that just rams his way through fights unless he had too, he always set and thought his way through. As she held against Anna’s might, she looked around her surroundings, trying to figure out what she could possibly do to gain the upper hand and she might have found one.

Kennth would use his gas but use his hands and feet, not his blade. Meaning the gas he’s throwing is highly flammable, possibly explosive too. After she watched Kenneth launch her sister out the cloud, Rin pushed Anna off, picked up a rock and took out her small knife. She them hurled the knife and the rock into the gas cloud in a way the two would collide, it created spark and ignited the gas cloud. The knockback of it igniting pushed everyone back but Kenneth was caught on fire, It caught Anna and Bubba attention enough for Rin and her sisters to attack.

David fell from the wall he was thrown against, despite the damage he got on Sayaka, she still showed that she was stronger. Sayaka then sent the dark aura underneath the treasure, it created waves of valuables towards David like shifting tides in an ocean. Unfortunately, this isn't the ocean, David would be crushed to death if he got hit by it. He dodged with the best of his abilities, but the constant wavey motion of the treasure messed up his footing. As he evaded, he stuck his hands in his pockets to count the bullets. There were only five left, thankfully the ones he shot did landed their targets. David watched Sayaka screamed in pain when she was hit by them, Adiris was right to make the bullets blessed as they were weakening her. Unfortunately, David lost his footing and tripped on himself, a shadow was casted from above as he saw that a tide of treasure fell on top of him. But when Sayaka moved some of the treasure, David was gone. She looked around to see where he could possibly be, he wasn’t on her left, not her right, not above, she didn’t believe he could be below. She was wrong, David burst up from underneath with the treasure flying up with him. He caught Sayaka by surprise as he grabbed her head and bashed her jaw against his knee, then he landed in front of her and unleashed a series of blows on her body. David felt guilty, it felt like he was hitting two people at once. He knew he was harming Dwight in the process, but if he lightened his punches, Sayaka would just blow him over. He loves Dwight, but he can’t go easy because his body is being assaulted. David reached for his knife but Sayaka shouted with rage, it blew David away as he rolled around on the treasure.

“*Pant* not so tough now, huh!?”

“*Pants* regardless, you’re not getting him back so easily. You can’t get rid of me!”

“That’s true, but I can weaken you. I can feel it, so I can go with my plan.” He said, David stood up, coned his hands around his mouth and shouted, hoping Dwight would hear.

“HEY, DWIGHT!? I LEARN SOME THINGS ABOUT YOU, I COULDN’T BELIEVE YOU WET THE BED!”

“...”

“AND THE WATCHING ME HAVE SEX PART, MAN THAT WAS SO WEIRD. AND IMAGINE HAVING ONE FRIEND FOR ALL THOSE YEARS, COULDN’T BE ME.” David went on and on, shouting stuff that Dwight has done throughout his years that he learned from his father and friends. Sayaka raised a brow and laughed, but when she tried to move, she was stopped in her tracks. Her chest was beating faster than it ever did and a sharp pain was occurring as well, David cracked a devil like smile as he drew in another deep breath.

“Oh dear Sayaka, if only you knew Dwight as much as I do. I put some pieces together and realized that you’re like a parasite and Dwight’s the host. To get rid of a parasite, the host must die or the body becomes inhabitable. So we decided to make it inhabitable, Dwight has a rare heart condition. Whenever he gets embarrassed or under extreme pressure, it causes his stress level to sky rocket and accelerate his heart rate, cause blurriness and chest pain to a point he’ll potentially pass out. So checkmate, Sayaka!”

“...ha, YOU THINK SOMETHING LIKE THAT WILL STOP MEEEEEEE!?” She shouted with her voice echoing throughout the mine, the dark aura around her grew out of control, she's feeding off Dwight’s rushing emotions again but it’s fine. She isn’t thinking clearly which is what David wants, Rin felt the malice from depths increased, it was running rampede. Sayaka’s power is going berserk and the smell of death has reached where she was, but she has to put it aside. She has the upper hand in her fight, if she finishes it now then she can help David. Rin rushed to Anna, her mind was too concerned for Kenneth’s burns. She knows he can power through things, but the chemicals from his gas made his burns unbearable as it slugged his movement. Bubba was the same way, he saw that Kenneth wasn’t handling his fight well, but whenever he tried to go to him, he was stopped. Spirit overwhelming Kenneth gave her a high, a thrill to kill the man in clown make-up. She snacthed Kenneth’s last from his waist and threw it on the ground, creating another pink gas cloud surrounding Kenneth. Out of sheer panic, he immediately jumped out of the cloud so he wouldn’t get burned again but that was what Spirit wanted. She wanted him to think he was going to get burned, to take his mind off of her for a few moments. By the time Kenneth realized her intentions, it was too late. He only saw the crimson blade for a split second before it went right through him, everyone ceased their movement. The violent wind made its way into the mine again, it helped Kenneth’s body push down as he was now split in half. Blood spilled on the floor as Kenneth's face showed nothing but only shock and defeat, Bubba burst into tears that someone he cared for died.

“KENNETH!” He shouted, rushing over and forgetting the fight. The sisters smiled as they went over to toss and beat Bubba around until he was pinned with a blade near his throat. Anna saw that Bubba could be next and tried to rescue him, but she was denied by Rin who kept her at bay. Anna’s concerns weaken her as Rin’s might was proving to be stronger, Anna reached for her hatchets but Rin cut off her belt and threw it away. For the first time, Anna panicked as she was running out of ideas on how to save Bubba. She watches the sisters' blades rise up and descend to Bubba’s throat.

“SSTTTTOOPPPPPP!” She pleaded, everyone looked at her, they smelled the desperation that drenched her body. She put down her weapon and showed defeat.

“Please...don’t kill him, we’ll stop…”

“And how am I supposed to believe that!?” Rin asked, Anna answered by giving her a hand sign. That hand sign means a person meant what they said, it was a custom in her homeland and if broken, they are killed. Rin nodded to her sisters to let Bubba go, they did so as Bubba’s body shrunk back down. Anna came over to help Bubba up and started to walk away, but she stopped first to say something.

“To think you grew strong enough to face us...you’re really the strongest Yamaoka, Rin. I’m sure you’re still bent on your revenge?”

“Yes.”

“Then...this will be our last conversation with each other, goodbye...Rin.” Anna helped out Bubba to the entrance of the mine before fading into the darkness, the sisters sighed that their fight was over, but peaked their heads up when they heard footsteps coming their way. It was Claudette and the others, Rin noticed the blood on Charlie’s knees.

“Rin, thank god you’re alright, same to you two.”

“Claudette? If you’re here, then the ointment is finished?”

“Yes, come on! We got to get to David.”

“Yes, Sayaka’s power is spiraling out of control. I don’t know what David’s intentions were but it may not be working, let’s go!” They all nod their heads as they venture into the maze like mine to get to David in time. Sayaka let out vicious screams of agony as her power had no clear direction to David, what he assumed right would go left and vice versa. She's unpredictable, David thinks he bit off more than he can chew but he has to continue. Sayaka pounded her hands into the treasure, at first nothing happened but David soon felt rumbling. Suddenly he was in the air with the dark aura around him, the aura turned into spikes. David has nothing, he can’t defend himself against it. His world slowed down, these were his last moments. Images of his companions flashed in his head with Thomas and Dwight being last, tears were forming again, he failed them once again.

Please...come back with Dwight.” was played in his head, that was the trigger that caused the tears to fall.

“I’m sorry...Thom-” he couldn’t finish his thought before the spikes made their way to David’s body, David closed his eyes as he braced for impalement, but he felt nothing. David fell on top of the treasure and slowly opened his eyes, he was emitting a pale blue light like Thomas. He then saw the spikes couldn’t pierce him, it was like he was made of solid metal. Sayaka stood in disbelief as she was trying so desperately to impale David, but nothing she did work. David was confused himself, he isn’t a supernatural being like Thomas. He looked down to his pocket and saw a brighter like glowing inside, he took it out to see the source of light was the drawing Thomas made. He turned it around and saw that he wrote something.

If you’re ever scared, just remember that this will be us soon.” was written with a big smiley face at the end, David put the picture close to his chest and thanked his son. Sayaka pulled the spikes away as it was becoming a toll to keep using, her chest pain grew as exhaustion ached throughout her body. Even though she was feeding off Dwight’s emotions, his body was giving out, meaning she was giving out too. No, she wasn’t ready to give up, she still has to get her revenge. She can’t quit, her eyes darted to David as she let out another scream that flew David into the air again. The light was no longer on him, removing his hardened skin but it was fine. He only needed it for that moment, David descended towards her but encountered a sharp pain in his left arm. He saw that his hand and arm was impaled by the spikes, it was trying to keep him in place. He looked at Sayaka, it looked like this is all she could do. David didn’t stop, he pushed his hand and arm downward, leaving blood and his flesh on the spikes up until he was face to face with her. Sayaka panic, why isn’t he afraid? She grabbed her blade but David pulled out his gun and her through her shoulder, forcing her to drop the weapon. He then shot one of her knees to lose her balance a bit. Now Sayaka was the one showing fear, David looked over and saw the spikes emitting from her right arm. So David took out his knife and cut both his to release himself and Sayaka’s so she couldn’t pull any tricks from her sleeves.

“I...don’t get it, WHY AREN’T YOU AFRAID OF DYING!?”

“BECAUSE IT’S NOT ME DYING I’M AFRAID OF, IT’S ME FAILING AND OTHERS DYING CAUSE OF IT!” He answered, David took the knife and cut an upward gash on Sayaka’s body. The cut was glowing a white light.

“NOW GIVE HIM BACK YOU BITCH!” He shouted as he raised a fist and punched through the cut, David saw himself go through Sayaka like some shell and into a dark void. Sayaka wasn’t going to let him venture but she found herself restricted, she looked up and saw Douglas holding her back.

“YOU THINK YOU CAN HOLD ME!?”

“No, but I can buy David a little bit of time. So, care to entertain an old man?” He joked, Sayaka screamed in frustration as David fumbled on whatever he landed on. David got himself up and saw that his arm was still missing but wasn’t in pain. He ignored his arm as he heard someone crying, he saw a lamppost with the light shining on someone. It was Dwight, his eyes voided and face stained with tears. David walked over to him and wiped his tears away.

“Da...vid?”

“Dwight, you’re still here!”

“H-how, how did-”

“That’s not important, listen to me. I only managed to get this far because I weakened her to a point you could be able to hear me, but I can’t defeat her.”

“W-why?”

“Because it has to be you. Despite being like a parasite, she still has to listen to your body. You have to reject her!”

“I-I can’t...she’s too strong…”

“You have to, Dwight! Because...I can’t”

“H-huh?” Dwight was confused until he saw the darkness coming up on David, it was pulling him in, consuming him. Dwight panicked and grabbed his arm to pull him up, but he couldn’t. This was still Sayaka’s domain, she has the power and there is nothing they can do.

“You have to resist her, reject her. No matter what, at the end of the day, it’s your body that gives her pain, your body that gives him exhaustion. Y-your bo-” David’s mouth was covered in some black gunk, restricting his words, soon after David was consumed by the darkness of the void. Dwight cried his name repeatedly as he dug in the darkness to find him, but all he pulled up was the black gunk that swallowed David. Sayaka walks over to Dwight and watches his desperate struggle to save his lover.

“He’s out the way…”

“...” Dwight ignored her, he just kept digging.

“The others that killed your father, they’re right above us. We can kill them, get our reven-”

“Yours…”

“Excuse me?”

“YOUR REVENGE, NOT MINE! YOU WANTED THIS!”

“B-but they killed your fath-”

“I KNOW THAT AND I HATE THEM, BUT THIS!? ALMOST KILLING DAVID, DESTROYING MY HOME, HARMING MY FRIENDS, THROWING MY SON! I WANTED NONE OF THIS, YOU WANTED ALL OF THIS! YOU’RE MANLUPTED, EVIL, I...just wanted a family, n-not to be lonely anymore. AND YOU CAME AND TRIED TO CRUSH ALL OF IT BUT I’M NOT LETTING YOU! NOW FUCK OFF!” he screamed with all his heart, Sayaka stood there as the word family echoed in her head, she remembered her grandfather. Her head suddenly became clearer as she realized that she was feeding too much of Dwight’s emotions, even she couldn’t believe what she had done. She was made for revenge, but all she caused was tragedies. She sat next to Dwight as he saw his tears rolling down his face, she gently grabbed his hand and looked him in his eyes.

“Dwight Fairfield, is revenge not what you truly wanted?”

“No…*sniffle* I’m upset that my dad died...but I didn’t want revenge...wanted none of this…” he answered with honesty, Sayaka accepted his and reached her hand in the darkness and pulled up David. He was gasping for air, Dwight pulled him out of the darkness but he soon disappeared. Sayaka helped Dwight up and cleared up the confusion.

“He’s...gone.”

“David was only in here to give you control, once he was finished he disappeared. He’s back in reality.”

“”Oh...so what now?”

“I’ll release you from our deal.”

“Y-you can do that, Rin never said anything about that.”

“Of course, how would she know what I can do? Only I know what i’m capable of, but i’ll ask again. Dwight, is this not what you truly want?”

“No, I never seeked revenge.”

“If revenge isn’t what you seek then my service shall cease. Goodbye, Dwight Fairfield.” she said, and like a snap of someone’s fingers, she was gone.

“She’s...gone, but why am I still here?”

“Sorry, that’s my fault. I...just wanted to take this chance and talk to you.” a voice said, a light appeared before Dwight. For some reason, the light felt familiar to him, but the thought went away as soon as the light blinded Dwight and forced him to shield his eyes. When it was done, Dwight opened his eyes and found himself in a home, his heart said he knew the place. The home was made of mostly wood, like someone built it from scratch. He walked around and came across a room filled with children's books and toys, Dwight remembered having such toys in his old home when he was younger. He left the room and went to the living space, he found a shelf with pictures going across it. Dwight’s eyes focused as he remembered these photos, it was him with his father. He went to a window and saw the vast lake nearby the home, this was Dwight’s old home but how? How did he get here? He needed answers now, but when he opened up the front door he saw someone standing in front of him on the walkway. He was wearing a simple white button-up with dress pants with suspenders reaching over his shoulders, he was holding a hat around his chest with both hands. His black hair was medium length and looked kind of oily, eyes as brown amber and matching Dwight’s. His beard thinner with his face filled with worry and anxiousness. This man was his father, the father he wondered for so long.

“Hey...Dwight.”

“...Dad?” he responded back, Dwight clenched his hand and Douglas saw it, he thought Dwight was angry at him, hated him for what he did. He ruined his life and he should accept anything harsh words he throws at him or and fist planted in his face but he was wrong. He was met with a hug filled with his yearning and love, tears came down his face again as he held his father tighter.

“I-I-I MISSED YOU SO MUCH, F-FOR THE L-LONGEST TIME, I-I-I WONDERED IF Y-YOU WERE EVE ALIVE!”

“...a-after all I've done, y-y-you don’t hate me?”

“I CAN NEVER HATE, DAD!” He instantly answered, Douglas couldn’t help but cry himself. All of his fears of Dwight hating him was now gone, his heart dropped and his shoulders were lifted since guilt vanished from what Dwight said to him. He tightened his hold on his and then let him go. They moved to the edge of the lake and set down near but far enough so the water wouldn’t touch their feet.

“Look at you, all grown up and what not.”

“And you didn’t age a bit, no greys or anything. I don’t remember your hair so oily though.”

“Why does everyone have to say something about my hair!? N-never mind mine, you need a haircut and beard trim.”

“Sorry, being possessed by a revenge driven spirit kinda cut in your time to make an appointment or gives you time to do it yourself.”

“Ha, i’ll say Mr. grizzly bear!” he poked fun, enjoying a laugh before moving on to the next topic.

“Hey, remember when I taught you how to fish?”

“Yeah, you accidentally hooked mom’s dress and ripped it, she then chased you down and slammed a pot on your head.”

“Yeah and I had a knot the size of the moon on my head, no amount of ice could quell the swelling of it. How about the time when I took you into the bar.”

“Dad, you didn’t take me in one, I snuck in it and you tried to get me out. But you got caught in a bad bar fight and got arrested for a few days.”

“Oh yeah, I remembered using a fake name so they wouldn’t know who I really was. What about that pie I baked for us?”

“You used poisonous berries that only animals could eat, mom choked you out for getting me sick.

“The reason why I am terrible in the kitchen, I can’t even make a can of beans without burning half of it. Ewww, beans...”

“Guess that’s where I get my hate of beans from, yuck!” He added on, laughing again as they stared at the lake. They enjoyed the father-son time, but Dwight had a question that’ll ruin the mood. Douglas was prepared for it as he took a deep breath.

“I...know something is one your mind, Dwight. We don’t have time, so it’s best to get it out now.”

“...Dad? Where were you?” he asked.

“...I hid, people were chasing me constantly for so long...but I guess you know that feeling well too…”

“...”

“But when it stopped after several years, I searched desperately for you. I was so scared that you were taken or even killed considering I heard you left our home after what your mother tried to do. I heard William was caring for you but it didn’t last long...then I saw you in that town-” Douglas showed him the same images he showed David.

“I...was afraid of you hating me for what I did, that fear of that kept me away from interacting. But it didn’t stop me, I...tried to take care of you from a distance and I did it for years, Dwight. I loved you with all my heart-”

“...I know you did.”

“H-huh?”

“I-I said I know you did!” he repeated himself, the images were changed to Dwight's perspective. It went back to where he was overworked at the bank, where his father will put a blank over him and leave food. As soon as his father leaves, he opens his eyes and cries. Then it changed to where Douglas was assaulting the bandits that threatened the bank Dwight worked at, Dwight saw the bandits in the mercy of his father as he heard him to not to come near his son or the bank. Lastly, it changed to where Douglas left the gift for Dwight on christmas. Dwight knew it was him before he disappeared, he followed him to the station and saw he was waiting for the next train. Dwight rushed into town to pick something out for his father, anything. He found an expensive pocket watch that’ll be perfect for him. He brought it and had it be placed in a box and wrapped, Dwight then rushed to the station to give it to him. Unfortunately, the train already pulled off. Dwight dropped the gift in the snow as he watched the train disappear into the distance.

“I lied to David, I-I have s-seen you, I-I knew you were always there, but you never interacted with me. But i’m not upset at you, I was u-upset at myself. I could h-have done something, but I didn’t. So I was c-constantly wondering what, what was making you so afraid of talking to me. Then...you just stopped a-appearing...and I thought I lost you. Then...when Bubba wore your face, I lost it. I was so angry that I w-was never going to see you again, dad! I thought I was never going to get a chance to talk, laugh, play, drink just for one of us to vomit. I...felt like a failure-”

“No, Dwight! You’re not a failure-”

“BUT I’M NOTHING LIKE YOU-”

“And that’s perfectly fine! I don’t need you to be a carbon copy of me, I wanted you to Dwight, not Douglas.”

“But...i’m weak-”

“Remember what I told you when you were young? Repeat it.”

“...It’s not the size of the person’s body that determines their strength, it’s their strong will and spirit.”

“I saw the things you did. You fought against the David, stopped the government from taking a farm, fought against the Yamaokas and the Romeros. Defend Thomas in a fog well sick. I fought many people over the years and not even half of them couldn’t pull off the things you did and I couldn’t ask for a better son, you’re strong in your own way and I’m proud to be your father.” Douglas helped Dwight up and pulled him in for another hug, but something was odd. His father felt hollow, Dwight looked at him and saw that he was transparent. Dwight looked around and saw that the area around them was fading away as well, Douglas time was up.

“D-dad, what’s happening!?”

“My...time is up…”

“UP!? IT CAN’T BE UP, Y-YOU CAN STAY!”

“*Sniffle* Dwight, i-if I could stay I would, b-but I'm only here because you were in trouble. B-but since you’re n-no longer under her control, I...have to go on…” He struggled to say, both their eyes turning red again. Douglas stroked Dwight’s head, kissing his forehead as he became more transparents.

“O-ok Dwight, be sure to e-eat your vegetable, b-brush your teeth at l-least three times, m-make your b-bed every m-morning-”

“D-dad, I’m fucking t-thirty-one!”

“And I don’t care! You can live up to be a hundred and I’ll treat you like this, you’re my son and always will be. I love you, Dwight. I’ll always will, we’ll see each other again. For now...we need to part.” he told him, giving him one more kiss on his forehead before pointing at the door to their home. It opened up to them, well for Dwight. He wiped away his tears and walked to the door, he went through and it slowly closed behind him. Dwight turned around and looked at his father, they both were losing sight of each other the closer the door was from shutting. Through a tiny crack, they both saw their last tear they shed for each other before the door closed.

“Goodbye...Dwight.” Dwight heard, he couldn’t take it. He didn’t want to leave, he wants his dad back. He reached for the knob but his hand went through it, then the door disappeared, taking his father with him. He was gone, Dwight wanted him back, but then remembered that he’ll see him again, just have to wait for a long time. Now Dwight was in a dark cold void but a light at the end of the darkness shined. It was calling his name, he began rushing to the light, letting it blind him and take him to whatever it may lead. Dwight slowly opened his eyes once more, he felt light headed and weak, like he lost a lot of blood. He tried to push himself up but he couldn’t, he turned his head and saw his right arm was gone. A sharp pain occurred and again in his shoulder and his knee, he saw that his right sleeve was tied and soaked with blood.

“Morning sleepy head.” David told him, Dwight saw that he was pale as he was and covered in wounds. His left arm was missing with his sleeve tied with blood soaked.

“David…?”

“Yeah?”

“Wait...huh? what happened, where am I? Everything hurts...am I dreaming again, I can barely see…”

“One second, here. Maybe these can help.” David put Dwight’s glasses on his face so he could see, Dwight's vision cleared and he was able to see everything, even the treasure they’re laying on.

“Dad’s treasure, w-wait...I can see? T-then i-if I can s-see-” he looked up to David who was greeting with a wide smile with tears in his eyes.

“Welcome home, Dwight!”

“...Daaavvviiiiddddd!”

“Hey, no need for the tear fest.”

“SHUT UP, Y-YOU’RE CRYING TOO!”

“Ha...I know, *sniffle* o-oh god Dwight I missed you so much!” He cried, lifting his legs up enough to push Dwight closer to him for a hug. The fight was finally over, Sayaka left his body. They can be together again, David leaned down for a yearning kiss. Unfortunately, the mixture of blood was littered on their tongues from David tying their sleeves but they didn’t care, being weeks apart helped them ignore it.

“How are you feeling?”

“Very weak and in pain…”

“Sorry, I had to do what I had to, even had to chop your arm…”

“Hey, the important part is that she’s out, right?”

“Yeah-”

“DWIGHT, DAVID!” voices called out, the two looked up and saw Claudette and the others climbing down to see them.

“Dwight...are you-”

“Hey Claudette, it has been a while, huh?”

“*Sniffle* yeah, it has- SHIT, YOUR ARMS!” She realized, her and Joey found their arms resting near them and pulled out the ointment. She untied the sleeves to expose the wounds and applied it to the severed limb and the wound, the others held it in place as Claudette put some on their other major wounds. Their arms reattached instantly and some of their other wounds were closed up, they were still in pain but the ointment did their jobs. Rin went over and picked up the cursed sword with ease.

“Looks like everything is back in place, but-”

“But?”

“There’s someone who has been itching to see you, Dwight.” Rin told him as she called for Quentin, a door appeared in front of him and it honestly scared him a bit. The door opened and they heard little pitter-patter coming towards them, Thomas came out running, tears stinging his eyes as he dropped into Dwight’s arms.

“AUAUUGHHHG, DWIGHT, I MISSED YOU SOOO MUCH! PLEASE TELL ME SHE’S GONE!?”

“Thomas...yes! I’m back and not going anywhere! But first, Claudette, did you make it?”

“Yup, right here.”

“What is it?”

“It is a strong acid that can melt solid objects, even jewels. Dwight asked me to make this back at the crater with the lake.”

“I don’t remember him saying anything.” Joey thought.

“He didn’t just in a way you guys wouldn’t understand. He used morse code, Sayaka must have thought about it but in reality, he was telling me what he needed.”

“Every, get a share of the treasure and bring some for the others too. Then once everyone got some, we’ll melt it all away. I don’t want anyone else to touch my dad’s treasure.” he said, everyone took out a sack and filled it with as much treasure as they could. Once they collected enough, Claudette threw the jar in the air and David shot it open. The liquid inside turned into gas and slowly started to fill inside the hole, they helped David and Dwight to the door and closed it. The gas made contact with the treasure, melting everything inside, destroying Douglas legacy he spent years creating. The door led to the entrance of the mine, the wind wasn’t as harsh anymore but the cold was still low enough to freeze someone in a matter of hours.

“Why...are we out here?”

“Because two people want to speak to you…” Claudette said as she pointed in their direction, Dwight looked over and saw Bill and Ace covered in blood and snow. He limped over to them in a hurry to see if they’re alright.

“WILLIAM, ACE!?”

“Hey...Dwight, you’re...back?” Bill managed to say.

“Hey...kiddo, I see that...you’re free...David won, huh?” Ace asked.

“I’m fine but you two need help!”

“No...it’s too late for us, we...just wanted to see you one last time. Where’s...your father?”

“*Sniffle* he’s gone...he left when as soon he saw that I wasn’t under Sayaka’s control.”

“Ha...that’s Douglas...always leaving once he’s finished…”

“Dwight...I’m sorry, I...was the one who told about your back, I ruined you life with William I-”

“Ace, I don't know what you did...but please rest easy. You’re already struggling to stay alive, the fact you risked your life for me already spoke for you. I forgive you, so please rest, *sniffle* you earned it.”

“...Thank...you...Dwight.”

“Ace?”

“...”

“William!?”

“...” Neither answered, Claudette walked over and checked their pulse.

“They’re dead, they've been dead for a long time…”

“But how did they-”

“When someone possesses a strong will or spirit, it keeps the body alive when it is supposed to be dead. They waited so long to say their last words to them…” David explained.

“...we have to come back to properly bury them.”

“We will, but...I like to lay down.”

“Me too. William...Ace, goodbye…” The door opened back up and walked inside, leaving the old pair for the meantime. The group returned to the library but David and Dwight limped their way to their bed, David mustering the strength to cuddle Dwight. They didn’t even say anything, they just drifted off to sleep, a well deserved sleep. Thomas sat next to Charlie, he rubbed his back and for once he smiled from the comfort. As the others celebrate their victory, Rin and Claudette came to the two boys.

“Thomas, you don’t want to sleep with your dads?”

“No, I had David for a long time, it’s Dwight’s turn to have him. I want to play with Charlie...well be next to him. But Charlie, what you’re going to do?”

“I…”

“He’s right, William is gone and so are your parents. The Romeros pretty much considered you as an enemy.” Rin added. Charlie looked away, he didn’t think about a future without William. Claudette stared at him and came up with an idea.

“How about this, you can stay with me. That way you’ll be with Thomas, i’m basically going where Dwight’s going once we look for a new home, I may not be William but i’ll do my best to take care of you. How about it?”

“...you’ll do all that for me?”

“Of course, William isn’t here and I doubt Joey or Feng can watch you-”

“HEY!” they shouted, they heard Claudette. She cleared her throat and went back to Charlie.

“Well?”

“...better than nothing, I literally have nowhere to go. Thank you, Ms. Morel.”

“We’re friends, call me Claudette.”

“And i’m your best friend, Thomas!”

“You’re not my- actually… you’re right, I guess you are. How about a game of chess?”

“Yaay, come on!” Thomas grabbed Charlie’s hand and ran to find the chess board, they laughed and went to Quentin who was watching from the distance.

“So Quentin, what will you do?”

“Well, I broke way too many rules. But...I’m not gone, so I might stick by you guys. You’re pretty fun to be around, still a lot i want to do especially since I have a piece of my past available. Though for right now, let’s take this time to rest, our fight is over.” He said and smiled, everything was back as things should be and when the next day rises, they will return back to their normal lives.

 

 

 

-5 months later-

 

A city that lived off another coastline of southern Maryland was experiencing Spring at its fullest. Flowers growing, the crisp wind blowing some of the petals in the air. The crickets chirping, birds flying, it was finally peaceful again. A small school let out their students and out came Thomas tugging Charlie’s hand through their classmates, they waved goodbye to Joey, Julie and Susie before heading into the city.

“Whoa, slow down! He isn’t going anywhere!” Charlie told him.

“I know, but I want to tell him about today!”

“We have homework-”

“And we can do it later, David first!” He cut in, they hopped on a trolley and rode it down a few blocks until they were near the station. They burst through the door, saying hello to everyone they passed by as they said it back, he reached a desk with Adam behind it.

“Mr. Francis! How are you!?”

“My aren’t we excited, well...at least one of you.” he said, looking at Charlie’s exhausted body.

“He *pants* wouldn’t stop *pants* rushing me!”

“I...see, i’m assuming you’re here for the sheriff?”

“Yes, is he here!?”

“Yes and he just got through his paperwork, so he has a ton of free time.”

“YYAAAY!” Thomas ran past him and went down the hall to the office.

“Here some water.”

“Jesus, thank you! *Sighs* since i’m here, mind giving a hand with my homework?”

‘Ha, too hard?”

“We’re in separate classes, I’m in advanced classes...but I didn’t think they'd just go at it like that. So much for a fun first day…” Adam laughed as he made room on the desk to help, Thomas burst open the sheriff’s office.

“DAVID!” He shouted , jumping into David’s arms and spun around in his chair. His hair was cut back to how it originally was, an eye patch covering his dead eye. When a simple outfit with a badge on his right side of his shirt on top of his ribbon. David gave up his outlaw life and became the city’s sheriff through some connections, he used some of his share of Douglas treasure to pay off his bounty and get himself a pardon. He proved many times that he was a dependable sheriff as he protected and arrested fiends who dared disturbed the public or his family, Dwight and Claudette got their jobs with ease. Having another banker on hands and an experienced nurse was valuable in any town, David gave Thomas a kiss on his head before he spoke.

“Hey little buddy, how was school?”

“Great, I learned tons of things and I can’t wait to go back tomorrow! Me and Charlie weren’t in the same cause though…”

“Well, Charlie has a little more experience with his education, same with Joey, Julie and Susie. You’ll get to their level soon, it just takes time.”

“Ok, so how long are you going to be here?”

“Well, I got through my paperwork, but I gotta stay in case we get a call. I’ll be home soon, but I think Dwight and Claudette went home early. How about you tell them how ya day been?”

“Ok, bye dad!”

“Hey, hey, aren’t you forgetting something?”

“Oh! *smooch* Ok, bye!” He ran out the office, down the hall and grabbed Charlie’s hand and left the building. They took the trolley back home and returned to the outskirts, they made it back to Thomas’s home and saw Dwight with Rin and Claudette. Rin stood behind a bit and acted as David’s deputy, if she’s off duty then she’s normally babysitting Thomas and Charlie. Though she worries for her sister, they decided to leave and venture on their own with their limited time. Ever since then, she hasn’t seen them, she just prayed that they lived a great life with their remaining time. After talking about his day and doing homework, David returned. Well the others were talking, Rin took Thomas in the backyard to talk to him.

“What’s wrong?”

“Oh it’s...just that i’m going back home today.”

“Oh, well you’ll be back, right?”

“Thomas…”

“O-oh...so yes then. Adiris told me that you’ll always see people you love after they...go away, so you are coming back!” he said, Rin couldn’t help but get teary eyed and hugged him.

“Thomas, I want you to have this.”

“Your sword?”

“It’s the one Herman made for us, not the cursed one but don’t use it till you’re older. I have a feeling you’re going to live an exciting life, but a dangerous one too. I want you to have this, a gift. You’re strong Thomas and your many gifts proves it. Just promise to never use it for evil.”

“I promise, Rin!”

“Good to hear, come on, better get inside before a bug bites us and gives us yellow fever.” She pushed Thomas inside and walked to Dwight and David, Quentin was with them.

“You ready?”

“Yes, it’s time to stop my clan and cease their conquest.”

“Ok, Quentin, send us over.” He nodded and made a door appear and opened it, Rin picked up her sack and took it with Dwight and David to the other side. They appeared in the Yamaoka estate and in the middle of a crowd, guards surrounded them but when she set down the sack and started throwing treasure, they were overcome with greed and picked it up and so did the citizens.

“誰もが、ダグラスフェアフィールドの名作のゴールドを手に入れて、この場所から新しい生活を作ってください。それはもはや存在せず、あなたはその束縛に縛られることはもうありません
(EVERYONE, TAKE THE FAMOUS GOLD OF DOUGLAS FAIRFIELD AND MAKE A NEW LIFE AWAY FROM THIS PLACE. IT’LL BE NO MORE AND YOU’LL BE NO LONGER BE BIND BY ITS SHACKLES!)” she spoke in her native language, she kept throwing treasure until she made it to the main building where her father lies. Guards were inside but didn’t point their weapons out, instead they held out their hands for treasure. She handed them some as they made their way to the throne room, there was her father, sweating as the two remaining guards pointed their weapons. They didn’t want treasure, their loyalty was enough for them, but it was also enough for David to put a bullet between their eyes. Rin unsheath her blade and walked to her father, she watched as he cowered in fear. It was like she said, he’s only tough behind his guards, but not when they’re gone.

 

“凛
(R-Rin…)”

“父よ、あなたは私の母、私の家を連れて行きました。その後、あなたは私の友人に触れる勇気があります、私は許しません。私は地獄を這い回り、国を救った今、私はあなたの人生を終えるこの瞬間を持っています
(Father, you took my mother, my home. Then you dare touch my friends, that I won’t forgive. I crawled through hell, saved a nation and now I have this moment to end your life.)”

“お父さんに反対して-
(How dare you, opposing your father-)”

“私はあなたを私の父として見たことはありません。
(I never saw you as my father, JUST ANOTHER PERSON TO ELIMINATE!)”

“凛
(RINNNNNN-)” was his lingering words when Rin pierced his throat, his blood slowly dripping on the blade. Rin then took the sword upwards and split the head in two, blood spraying everywhere like geyser. She put the sword away and closed her eyes.

“母…あなたは復讐されました
(Mother...you had been avenged.) she said to herself, but after she was finished she spat out blood. It wouldn’t stop coming, her body felt like it was on fire, David and Dwight rushed over and held her up. Her face was in pain, even greater than the pain she got from the technique she did.

“Da...vid, please. Take me...to...my mother’s tree...please?”

“Of course...Rin.” David picked up Rin and took her to the tree where her mother picked, he rested her against the tree and looked at the pair. They couldn’t help but cry, they were losing another part of their family. David and Dwight spent months subtly trying to get her to reconsider her choice but she was right in the end, if she doesn’t stop her father,, the clan would eventually grow too big for them to be stopped. Dwight wiped his eyes as David couldn’t bear to see her go.

“Dwight...David, thank you for everything. I...hate to part, you...were my real family, I wanted to...see Thomas grow...but…*sniffle* I can’t. Please...watch….over him...and tell him...that...i’ll see him soon.”

“We will...rest easy, Rin.” David told her, she thanked him and closed her eyes.

“母は...来る…
(Mother, im...coming…)” were her last words before she stopped moving, Sayaka came from the sword and caressed her hand on Rin’s face.

“Rin...of all the people lives I took, yours was the one I felt guilty taking. Sleep well, my dearest Yamaoka.”

“Sayaka…”

“Don’t worry, i’m not here to fight, just to give my words to her. She was the youngest wielder I killed, if I could bring back one, it would be her. Dwight, David, thank you for helping her grow...and goodbye.” A heavy gust of wind blew and a swarm of cherry blossom assaulted their face, forcing them to shield against it. Once it was over, they looked down and saw Rin’s body gone with the curse blade planted in the ground. Dwight cried again as David pulled him in for a hug, she’ll be missed by them all. They wiped their tears and called Quentin, they returned to their home to go back to their normal lives, as they gave their goodbyes to their dear friend, Rin Yamaoka.