Beyblade Fan Fiction ❯ Schwarze Unterwelt ❯ Chapter 7

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Disclaimer: Beyblade does not belong to us. This is a non-profit work of fiction.
A Schwarze Unterwelt Sidestory
The sun had barely begun its ascent when a sharp rap sounded at the door. Kai glanced blearily at the clock on the ground beside him - it was barely past three in the morning.
`Ah,' he thought, straightening from his slouched position against the wall, `finally. They're here.'
Moving with a surety that belied his apprehension for what was to come, he reached for the door and nudged it open. Outside, barely visible against the murky darkness of pre-dawn, stood two dark-clad figures.
Both parties studied the other, the silence between them stretching for what seemed like hours. Seeming to reach an impasse, one of his guests turned, walking back down the well-worn pathway. The other motioned at him to follow before quickly joining his partner. With nary a word, he shut the door behind him and followed after his guests.
The village was eerily silent - it was still too early. Most of everyone was asleep, save for a few sentry guards. He felt a twinge of jealousy at the brief peace they could find in their sleep. He had barely been able to catch a shut eye, despite how horridly boring being under house arrest was.
Alert through sheer will alone, he followed them through the village, entering the forest that surrounded it. He knew this would come sooner or later. In fact, it was surprising that the leader had allowed his punishment to be delayed this long.
The memory of that fateful mission was still fresh in his mind. He had not expected things to go awry when he had suggested for Ray to be on the team, to `test' him. Everything had gone relatively smoothly, and he had become complacent. Then they caught Ray, and everything had gone utterly pear-shaped. How was he to know of Ray's true identity? But of course, in the leader's eyes, it was his complacency that had led to his circumstance.
A lone building loomed up ahead in the darkness. The guards at the door moved aside for them to enter and he swiftly followed. The door closed behind him with a sort of finality that made him feel like bolting, but he didn't have that choice any more.
They moved down the stairs, followed by a series of twists and turns before stopping before a plain wooden door. His guides knocked once, and entered, announcing his arrival to the leader inside.
“Come in,” the words were more hissed than spoken.
Squaring his shoulders, he stepped past the guides and moved to the center of the large circular room, keeping his eyes glued to the ground. He caught a flicker of motion from the corner of the eyes, and heard the guides leave the room, closing the door behind him.
“Leader-sama,” he murmured, bowing in reverence.
The leader stood and started to move toward him, the rustle of cloth sounding like tearing paper in the silence of the room. He barely had time to prepare himself - he only felt the slight movement of wind - before he found himself thrown backward, landing on the ground in a tangle of limbs.
“Foolish boy!” the leader snarled, “do you even understand the repercussions of harboring the missing prince?!”
He lay unmoving on the ground, watching silently as the leader seethed. He had never seen the leader this angry before. He looked as though he could spit fire any moment now.
“The entire aristocracy is howling for our blood!”
And howl they did. The crackdown against the `villains', as they so loved to term them, started not two days after His Royal Highness the Prince Ray was retrieved. He had realized that the royal family wasn't going to acknowledge that Ray had run away on his own. He felt his lips twist into a mockery of a smile. The yakuza was merely a convenient scapegoat they used to sooth their wounded pride. And what a clever method it was, using this excuse to eliminate their long-time enemy. Kai shied away from all thoughts of Ray feigning ignorance of the problem he had caused them - caused him.
Ray. For some reason, he couldn't forget about the waif of a boy that he had taken under his wing that night. It wasn't hard to remember. Not with his stuffed bunny still sitting in what was once Ray's corner of his room, along with the oh-so-tempting diary of his. Too many a times he had to force down the compulsion to read the diary - after all, what Ray didn't know couldn't hurt him, could it? It wasn't as if he was around to stop him now, and besides, he did warn Ray not to pen his thoughts down…
But he couldn't bring himself to flip open the damned book, knowing that Ray would probably be extremely incensed if he knew. He couldn't bring himself to do something that would upset that idiot boy, no matter how absurd it sounded to himself.
The door swung open behind him suddenly, jerking him from his reverie. He turned toward the door, recognizing immediately the familiar red hair and bland features. It was Tala. He watched as the redhead's eyes swept over his crumpled posture, twitching slightly when he noticed the black-blue that must be staining his face now. Kai recognized the odd look in his eyes. The smug air was gone now, replaced with something akin to discomfort.
“Pack your things.”
Kai turned to survey the leader, eyes questioning.
“You are aware of our current situation,” the `which was mostly caused by you' was left unsaid. There was no need, for it hung in the air between them like a foul stench.
“We do not have enough resources,” came Tala's voice from behind him, “Leader-sama has ordered your exile.”
Kai blinked. He had not expected that. Physical punishment and perhaps a few years of crap - he could comprehend. But exiled? He felt his world grind to a halt as he struggled to understand what was happening.
“I see,” his voice was surprisingly even, although his thoughts were whirring noisily in his head.
He realized only a few moments after he said it that what he felt was a complete opposite of what he had said. He didn't see - couldn't. He felt numb. It wasn't as if he was overtly attached to the village, but it was, and still is, the only place he had ever called home. The place that contained his sole blood family, the very same person that was throwing him out.
He bowed to the leader and moved mechanically to the door. Tala followed behind him silently, and it wasn't long before he found himself back in his room.
Picking up his pack from the ground, he started throwing his stuff in haphazardly, squishing the bunny into the bag as he passed Ray's corner. It seemed almost too fast before he was done, staring around at his now empty room. Did he really have that few possessions? It was as though he had never really settled in here before. And now that it was bereft of any of his belongings, it seem like he was never here. Slinging his pack over his shoulder, he turned to Tala, face blank.
“I'm done.”
They trudged along the familiar path in silence; Kai was committing each and every part of the forest to his memory, knowing this would be the last time he saw the familiar green. He supposed the news had not really settled into him fully, sinking its painful claws into his being. He would be an outcast from hence forth, belonging to no where, have no allegiance at all. He supposed the hysteria would come later. It better had, he didn't want anyone to witness him breaking down like a bloody child.
`Besides, I don't think Tala would survive if I did,' he felt his lips pull back into a self-depreciating snarl at that thought.
He paused in his tracks, realizing that Tala had stopped, no longer following him. He turned to face his long-time comrade and they stared, the tension thick between them.
“This is where we part.”
Kai inclined his head slightly. There was nothing he could say - he was never one for tearful farewells.
“Know that we be enemies the next time we meet,” Tala said in a near whisper, face still oddly blank.
Despite the total absence of humor, Kai couldn't help the slight quirk of his lips.
“Then may we never meet again.”
It would be difficult to attack a former comrade, much less kill one. They both knew it, and Tala silently agreed with the statement. He stared at Kai for a moment longer, as though committing his features to memory before closing his eyes in what seemed like defeat. Spinning on the balls of his feet, he moved forward, back to the village.
“Farewell,” his voice sounded oddly disjointed as it floated back to Kai, still unmoving where he left him.
It was a moment later before Kai turned too, his feet taking him in the opposite direction.
`Farewell, my friend.'
Freedom, Kai decided, was a curse in blessing's clothing. Whilst getting booted out of the Yakuza meant he was free from taking orders from anyone, it also meant he was thrown into the daily struggle of surviving alone whilst the Yakuza and the Royal Army pitted their might against each other in the hopes of eliminating one another. Such were the foolishness of humankind. Would they never see that their actions only inflicted more harm onto the common folk?
It was only when he was once again thrown back to the wolves (as he liked to think now) that he was reminded of how tough life was without anyone providing for him the basic necessities of human life. He now lived amongst the people who wanted nothing more than peace in the country, and yet these were the very people who would be subjected to the Yakuza's cruelty because of some idiocy committed by the Royal Army.
So far, his only strategy had been to scrooge a living right in the Royal capital itself. It mostly worked after he had ripped off the offending Yakuza crest from his shirt sleeve.
Now, having a warm bed was the furthest from his mind. If he even had a shelter over his head and food for the day, he was more than satisfied. He usually had to pilfer whatever he could from the marketplace, not that that was made any easier by the increased awareness the sellers had. Everyone was on a lookout for Yakuza action.
He hated how he'd been reduced to common stealing - like a common street rat. How had he fallen so far? He had caught the mocking glances the other street thugs had given him. How they knew he was exiled was beyond him, but it certainly did encourage a lot more sneering from them - although they did keep to themselves, still wary of the notion that he could easily kick their asses to hell and back like he did before (he had not been to hesitant to show off that `skill').
He knew he had to be more careful, though. He had heard of what happened to those who were foolish enough to get themselves caught. There was a public execution held every time the Royal Army captured someone from the Yakuza. Or someone with even the vaguest link to the Yakuza. Kai stayed as far away from the execution grounds as possible - no need to make their job any easier than it might be. For one, his former comrades were not going to rescue him if he did get into a scuffle. In fact, he was sure they would be more than happy to join the army in lynching him however they could.
Rubbing a hand over his face in frustration, his thought drifted back to the boy that now occupied his thoughts more than should be healthy. Ray. He wondered what he was doing now, leading the high life that he was born into. How could he have been so negligent to not notice that Ray was the Prince? He knew he was of high social standing, what with that stiff language and manner he carried himself with. Almost pompous, even. Granted, he didn't see the Prince before. But it was still his fault that had gotten his former family into this mess. If only he had properly researched who exactly this new runaway was. He had accepted the responsibility of Ray, after all. And how many people in the country was called Ray, anyway? Surely it should not have been that difficult to guess…
His eyes strayed to the poster on the wall beside him. The Royal Army was recruiting again. He laughed dryly to himself at the poster. Of course they would be recruiting. They needed as many hands and legs they could get themselves now, with the situation obviously getting out of hand.
He paused at the trend of thought.
`The army,' he pondered silently, staring at the poster with more concentration now.
It could offer him a lot more protection from the Yakuza and the Royal Army. And food. And shelter. After all, the safest place to hide is the most dangerous. Glancing down at the requirements, he almost snorted at the lack-there-of.
`Well, there certainly wouldn't be much difficulty getting through their screening round,' he mentally mocked.
If these were the requirements to join the ragtag team currently trying to protect the country, he wasn't very much surprised at their progress. Although they did seem to be winning the mini-war. Besides, the Army didn't know him by face or name. It would be hardly suspicious for a young man his age to suddenly show up for the trials, not when there were so many dying out there. Revenge was a petty emotion that would make most people do the most irrational things after all. And it'd serve as a good excuse for him.
The best part of all though, was the possible chance of meeting Ray. Ray was the only thing he had left after all. He definitely couldn't think of anyone that could possible be willing to take him in, Yakuza or not.
Finally having decided, Kai stalked towards the nearest outpost. He had an army to join.