Original Stories Fan Fiction ❯ Into The Void ❯ Shigeki's Tragic Theatre ( Chapter 23 )

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


Into the Void

By: Melissa Norvell

Chapter 23: Shigeki's Tragic Theatre


"What? What the hell is that supposed to mean?! What's going on?" Sari looked around wildly.

"Shigeki," Valentino narrowed his eyes.

"What? Shigeki?" Rubio was a little surprised himself.

"Who's Shigeki?" Yaritza didn't get why everyone was either shocked or horrified to know about this person.

"Shigeki is one of Ibuki's henchmen but he's not ordinary," the red-eyed assassin put it in plain words.

"Yeah, that guy's the scum of the scum, his right hand man," Udo responded.

"I honestly didn't think you'd get this far," Shigeki spoke up from within the darkness. "To be frank, I expected most of you to be dead. All of you have some gall trying to rebel against Ibuki-sama after all he's done for you."

"He didn't do shit for us!" Udo snapped. It was more than the truth. His entire life with Ibuki was nothing but pure hell. The only thing good that ever happened to him there was the fact that he had met Loreli but that was his own doing and not Ibuki's. Like hell he'd give that bastard credit for something that he didn't deserve it for.

"He played us for fools and set us all up. He maneuvered us along this journey like pawns on a chess board," Rubio retorted.

"He's even doing it to you, but you're just too blind to see that," Zidane's voice was surprisingly the calmest of the group. In a way, he pitied the fact that someone could become so twisted just by serving Ibuki.

"Shigeki, please don't do this. You can still redeem yourself if you just walk away," Loreli attempted to go the peaceful itinerary with this explanation. She didn't think she'd get anywhere but she was willing to try. If there was a way that she could determine the matter serenely then she would like to go in that direction.

"I don't think so." However, she knew that this retort was coming as well. "Brand me as evil all you want but I will never waiver from Ibuki-sama's orders and when I take you all in, you'll all come back to him," the tan-skinned man smiled dementedly at the group.

"I would rather commit suicide then go back to him," Valentino vowed.

"I would too," Rubio stepped up beside of the black-haired man.

"Rubio-sama..." The assassin looked at him with unexplainable emotion. He was flattered that he was willing to stick by him and it was astonishing to hear someone saw eye to eye with him for once, especially Rubio.

"I'm tired of all of this...I'm tired of working for him and picking up his garbage," the silver-haired man glared down Shigeki.

"What!?" Shigeki was outraged. "How dare you say such things to Ibuki-sama!"

"A long time ago, I hated Valentino. I wanted to kill him for what he did to Angora but I've been thinking as of recently..." Rubio glanced at the other man.

"Huh?" Ionna was a little confused at the sudden change of attitude from Rubio. She hadn't expected that.

"It was all just a ploy. Ibuki knew about my affair with Angora so he sent Valentino to kill her, since he carried out his orders faithfully, one would think that I'd have animosity towards him...but here's the truth. Ibuki wanted to kill Valentino."

"What?" The man's twin was surprised. She wondered why and how he came up with that deduction.

"So we were all doing what Ibuki wanted us to at first?" Vincent asked. It made sense, since they all distrusted Valentino until they finally let him join their group and even then they had a fair amount of mistrust towards him.

"It would seem that way. After all, we were after Valentino at first. He's clearly a wanted man," Agata explained.

"Of course he is. Ibuki planned it that way. If I know anything about Ibuki, it's that once someone gets out of hand, the first thing he wants to do is get a hold of them just like he did with Udo by imprisoning him in that psychological hell-hole of a coffin. It may have worked a while on Valentino, but the effect wore off and he got used to it," Rubio deducted.

"Yeah, Valentino's so emotionally dead from being miserable that he's probably at the point to where nothing shocked him and he's not going to gather any more sorrow," Udo replied.

"It's about time everyone here knows the truth," the silver-haired ex-terrorist continued.

Valentino was silent as he tried to take everything in. All of a sudden things became clear and come to find out, he was being manipulated just as much as they were and he didn't know it. All of this time, he had thought that he had been free from Ibuki's grasp when it turned out that he was just as much of a prisoner as everyone else.

"Valentino's no different than me. He used to love a woman named Aiko and Ibuki killed her right in front of him. Then he joined the Renegade Assassins...but they were also a bunch of guinea pigs," Rubio looked to Zidane.

"I can't deny that is what we were but I was only doing my job," Zidane agreed.

"You were all experiments...so logic would have it that that's what Valentino is."

The assassin looked down as he begrudgingly settled with him. "You're right...I was an experiment...ever since I was small I was put through torturous tests to find out reactions to many different types of stimuli. As a result, they tried to build the ultimate breed of fighter. I was a soldier and nothing more- a living, breathing lethal weapon and the strongest of Ibuki's troops.

As a result, Shigeki couldn't get his precious recognition. He was put in second place and anyone who tried to overpower him would be favored by Ibuki and he didn't want that."

"That's why he's get us intentionally tortures and imprisoned so he could get stronger and be ahead of us," this made sense to Udo.

"Since he was never experimented on like the rest of us, his talents were natural," Rubio explained.

"Heh, he didn't think that those who were given talent were worthy of being Ibuki's main bitch," Zidane retorted.

"Here's my theory. Shigeki killed all of the experimental subjects who were a potential threat by infecting them with Professor Gaiga's bone twisting virus...Even Valentino's son, Kajuji," Rubio proceeded.

"Kajuji..." At the mention of his name, the assassin was filled with mourning.

"But why would he destroy a little kid?" Sari posed. That was just beyond cruel.

"It was simple really. I didn't infect him with the same virus as I did the others," Shigeki explained with a sick smirk on his face. It was as if he enjoyed the torturous moment.

"Is he dead or alive?" Ryouzonia asked. They way that he had stated his sentence seemed to say that there was a chance that he was alive.

"Oh, he's very much alive."

"What?" Rubio and Valentino asked in unison with astounded looks on their faces. They were absolutely stunned to find out that Kajuji was even alive.

"Allow me to present him to you," Shigeki held out his hand. "Come to me...Kajuji..."

The one known as Kajuji stepped into the light. He was as old as his father and they looked nearly identical to each other. It was as if Valentino had a twin with thicker, longer, dark grey hair and bright lavender eyes. The young man was carrying an unconscious Captain Aeris in his arms bride and groom style. The woman's form was limp and her long, black hair cascaded to the ground like a black, silken blanket. Kajuji turned his sights to his father and gave the other man a crazed, murderous look.

"Ugh! That's Valentino's son...What happened to him?" Sari was repulsed by the figure who was claimed to be the assassin's offspring. He looked so feral that he would attack anyone at will and he wore the look of a psychopath.

"I don't get what's going on here. I thought he was a kid," the bounty hunter was confused at the age difference. "This guy can't be Valentino's son. He looks as old as his dad."

"They must have done something to him to make him age like that," Loreli, while sympathetic towards the experiment, she was also cautious as well. The ex-terrorist knew the dangers in letting him see her weaknesses.

"He's got Captain Aeris!" Bosnia called out.

"Oh crud! He does!" Sari exclaimed. That only meant one thing- they had to fight him or take her from him by force.

"This isn't good," Zidane commented from the background. This could very well be something that no one had a chance of even beating. Who knew how strong Kajuji could be at this age and infected with the bone-twisting disease.

"What have you done to him?" Agata could not stand back and watch something like this take place and she couldn't believe that it was taking place right beneath the police noses this entire time. No doubt Ibuki was a horrible monster that needed to be disposed of immediately.

"We've been faithfully experimenting on him, shaping and molding him into a faithful weapon to be used at our disposal," Shigeki looked very proud of himself in the process.

Rubio could say nothing due to his paralysis from the shock of the situation. He simply looked mechanically over to the assassin, who wore an expression that would only be complete with tears, only there were none. His tears had run dry ages ago. Usually, Valentino was numb to everything around him, just like a void in space but this time, the void had been penetrated with a sharp prang of pain and the man was reminded of how much it hurt to feel.

'Valentino-sama...Even if you don't show it...I can tell that you're devastated inside. You lost everyone who's ever meant anything to you...and here you are...about to lose your son too...finding him dead would have been better than this. I think I finally understand...when you look at someone with those eyes...It's not that you are cold or cruel. You never meant anything by it. You just want the pain to go away. You're sad that you lose everyone else to you and you wished that someone understood you. The things you said back then...' Rubio cut himself off with a flashback of the many things that the assassin had said to him ever time.

'I don't blame you for hating me in the future. I have no regrets,' Valentino told him.

'How could you? You were expecting it. You stopped caring so you wouldn't get hurt.'

'That was not the mission. Had you have asked any other assassin that, they would have killed you.'

'You never wanted to kill me...'

'I have my reasons. Just know that I am in no way trying to lie to you or steer you from your mission.'

'You...You were never even our enemy. You always helped us...No matter what. You never lied...You were always right...and you saved me more times than I can count. I never understand why you always made me look pathetic. You held yourself high and always looked ahead, never down. You were unyielding to everything anyone could throw at you. Even though you never had anything to be proud about. You had to be strong for the sake of everyone...'

'You didn't deserve to die.'

'No matter how emotionally constipated you were...You always seemed to have some shred of compassion.'

'I don't want Sari because...she'll end up like all of the other. I'm saving her life.'

'Distant...So lonely.'

'Then kill me...You want to so much.' Valentino dropped his gun as the clinking reverberated through his senses as real as it was the day that it happened.

'You never even had the intent to kill me. That's why you kissed my sword. I hated you....' Rubio had remembered that day, when he told Valentino that he wasn't like him and that he would never be like him. 'I was exactly like you...Well...not exactly...'

'If I hadn't killed Angora, Ibuki-sama would have killed you.'

'You...You knew what to do in order to spare me. You were never as cold as I thought you were. You were actually very kind. I was much meaner then you ever were.' Rubio had realized this a little too late. When he thought about it, they could have been very good friends and even sooner than they were.

'You're worse than a machine. You're just cruel...' The assassin had once said to him. The silver haired assassin also recalled the time that he had been griped out by Valentino for his rude actions. 'You're ashamed! Ashamed that you could have a potential friendship with someone that you once pitied! You manipulated me into thinking that it was my fault when it was really you! You threw me away! I came back, admitting you had a good reason to hate me and you rejected me again! Then you act all hurt when something goes well for me!? Well, fuck you Rubio! You selfish, bratty bastard! You piss me off...I can't believe you! You call me your hero and then you take it back? How dare you!'

When he thought about it, that had probably been the straw that broke the camel's back with him. He had always been so reserved when it came to taking insults. This time, Rubio admitted defeat.

'You were so right when you griped me out like that...You told the truth...I was wrong...'

"If you want your beloved Captain Aeris back, then you have to get through Kajuji first," Shigeki wondered if anyone had enough guts to face off against his experiment and if Valentino had enough gall to dare to face off against his son. This would truly be an interesting fight.

"We don't have a choice. We have to fight," Agata said regretfully. She didn't want to face off against him to be honest and she wished that the whole series of events could be avoided but this was a do or die situation. If they didn't try to at least defend themselves against him, then they would die.

"But Agata...That guy is Valentino's son..." Vincent felt really bad about going into battle with a child, no matter what the conditions. He knew that Valentino had to be absolutely torn up inside about the whole situation. Not to mention the guilt that he would possess if he ended up killing Kajuji. Vincent wasn't sure if he could live with himself.

"If Valentino won't kill him, then we will," the white-haired woman was stern. If they didn't take action, then they would be killed and Ibuki would continue his terrorist attacks. They had to put their personal opinions aside and take down the enemy.

"But-" Sari retorted. She was having second thoughts. She didn't want to cause Valentino any more pain than what she had already and she had never been put in this situation.

"No buts, do you want to rescue Captain Aeris?" The woman leveled her team mates with a piercing gaze. This was not a time for them to bail out on her.

"I always feel low making decisions like this...but Agata's right." Even Zidane had to admit that this was no easy task, even for him.

"...but...It's so cruel..." Sari trailed. She almost felt like crying.

"No...It's a good thing that we do this," Udo uttered lowly in an attempt to comfort the girl.

"Huh?" Sari didn't see how the hell any of this was good at all.

"Whatever they've been doing to him has dangerous side-effects. He's dying inside. The chemicals are making him crazy and unfortunately, we can't undo this type of damage. He's nothing but a disarray of thoughts. It would be much more cruel to let him live, tied up all of his life because he'll try to kill anything that moves," Udo saw it as a way of putting Kajuji out of his misery. It was inhumane to let anything live under that type of circumstances.

"But...Valentino..." Sari looked to the sorrow-filled assassin, who simply stood with his back to everyone.

"Brother..." Ionna looked down. After all, she was Kajuji's aunt. It was very hard for her to see her nephew like that but she knew that he was suffering. "Kajuji is his only link to Tomoe...his only reminder that's living of her love."

"This isn't fair!" The upset girl shouted with tears clinging stubbornly to the corners of her eyes. "Why does everyone who means something to someone have to die!?" First it was her parents and now it would be Valentino's child.

"Huh?" Rubio turned to look at the distraught Sari. At that moment in time, one final thought passed through his head that Valentino had told him a long time ago had relevance to the specific situation at hand.

'I always let those who are close to me...those I respect the most, face the worst...'

It was happening to him again.

"I don't want to kill him," Sari protested and tried with all her strength to keep her emotions back.

"But Sari, we have to-" Vincent started to explain but was cut off by the emotional girl.

"It's not his fault...IT'S NOT HIS FAAAULT!!!" Sari screamed angrily at the top of her lungs, which caused everyone to glance at her.

"Sari..." Ryouzonia's calm voice cut through the momentary silence. She seemed melancholy.

"It's not his fault that Dr. Gaiga and Shigeki injected him with all of those chemicals. It's not his fault that he's crazy! So why do we have to punish him for that!?" The upset girl trembled with emotion. "He's just a little kid, no matter how old he looks! It's not fair! He's Valentino's son! You can't just kill your own kid! You can't!"

Through her fit of emotional outbreak, she could faintly hear a sword being drawn.

"What?" The black-haired man drawing his long, slender katana.

"Vincent is right," Valentino agreed.

"Valentino..." Rubio's gaze hit the floor. He knew that it must have been tough for him but no matter what. He followed his decision no matter where it took him.

"I must do this. It's my fault that he's like this. I failed to protect him from Professor Gaiga's onslaught. If I don't stop him, then we can't rescue Captain Aeris," Valentino replied. That was their current mission and no matter what he was faced against, he would not falter from that goal. He also agreed with Udo to some extent. He wanted to put his son out of his misery. Kajuji was only suffering and he could see it all too well. His son was not meant to live this type of life.

"But Valentino's-" Ionna began but she was cut off.

"I knew it would come down to this in the end. The price of peace is no small sacrifice," her brother told her. She could tell that he was trying to be strong.

"What? But I thought you worked for Ibuki," Vincent was confused. This entire time, he thought that Valentino was just a terrorist who was taking up residence with them. He didn't know that he had stopped working for Ibuki altogether.

"My sins are unforgivable...but they were never dedicated to one person. I feel Kajuji's pain, not only as his father...but because I'm an experiment also. I've seen many things that are similar to his experiences. There isn't a day that I don't have pain but you must never look down. If you want to obtain your goals, then look forward. It's hard but it must be done," Valentino prepared himself for the grand battle ahead of him.

He then looked at the bounty hunter. "I was never your enemy, Vincent," he pointed out.

"Man...What you must have seen."

"No wonder you don't talk much. You've been so traumatized that I'm surprised that you talk at all," Sari commented lowly. Her usual spunky and opinionated voice was low and quiet with sorrow.

"So, you've finally come to your senses," Shigeki told them from his position across the large room.

"Just remember that you'll soon follow him," Valentino seemed to make a promise with that remark.

"Or so you think," the terrorist seriously seemed to doubt the other's words.

Kajuji rushed at his father upon hearing Shigeki command him to destroy the man. From the back of the room, the wind rushed past Hisamichi, causing his clothes and hair to flutter. There was so much pressure that the boy nearly fell down from the burst. He looked ahead of himself to see that it was Ryouzonia, who had flown from the far side of the room.

"Wait!" He tried to stop her but it seemed as though she didn't hear him. "Oh..."

"Let's go!" Sari seemed adamant about this decision.

"What?" Hisamichi was surprised at her change in attitude. Just a few moments ago, she didn't want to fight Kajuji but now she was chomping at the bit to go and kill the guy.

"Valentino's right, we came here for a purpose."

"That's not what Valentino was saying," Rubio finally spoke.

"Like you would know. You don't understand him," Sari shot. It always seemed that Rubio always had something to say to her and today really wasn't the day for his crap.

"No, you don't understand him," Rubio argued. "There's nothing we can do for his son so let's kill him rather than making him suffer."

"What about Captain Aeris?" Hisamichi asked. After all, she was in Kajuji's possession.

"Oh no!" Bosnia became worried again. This was it. This was the final moment where it was a make it or break it situation concerning her beloved captain. Her gaze shot across the room, where Shigeki had picked up her limp form. How were they going to get her back from the terrorists?

"That coward," Udo shot as his expression became angry.

"No one said that you could leave!" Ionna stressed the last word as she threw her weapon at Shigeki. There was no way in hell that he was going to take Captain Aeris and run away. They worked too hard to find her for the entire mission to be a bust. The startled terrorist dropped Captain Aeris and dodged her weapon.


Ryouzonia landed a few feet away from him and leveled him with a serious expression. "I cannot let you get away with murdering so many innocent lives."

"Look out!" Yaritza yelled as she hurled her pinwheels through the air, determined to injure the murderous man.

While they were engaging in battle, Valentino was facing off against his son. The two of them were engaged in a sword fight. Their blades clashed over and over again as the two of them tried desperately to kill each other. While Kajuji was distracted Yaritza had found it a fine time to disperse her pinwheels. They stuck into his back as he let out a yell. Then Valentino sliced across his sword blade, causing the blade to vibrate and bust off, falling to the ground. Sari charged in with her sword to help the assassin out.

"Sari! No!" Valentino shouted to the girl. She was clearly making a mistake.

"Electric Wave!" Kajuji called out as he swung his arm around and sent out a powerful electric wave that shocked the girl. She let out a piercing scream that could be heard even from the darkest regions of the room. Sari's limp form fell to the ground, motionless.

"Sari!" Hisamichi called out frantically.

"Stay out of it!" Zidane shouted after the red head.

"Huh?" The ex-terrorist stopped in mid-step. He was about to head out and rush to her aid but he turned and glanced over his shoulder at the bald man.

"This is Valentino's fight. Sari had no business being here and neither does Yaritza," the scar-faced man advised. The assassin really didn't need any more distractions then what he already had. Who knew what kind of emotions the distraught man had at this point in time. It was better if everyone stayed out of it for the sake of Valentino's honor.

"What about Ryouzonia? She's facing off against Shigeki alone," Vincent was worried for the elder of the Republic of Baztok. Shigeki was very strong and she might need their help.

"I've got to go and assist her," Agata said as she ran past Zidane, who looked irritated beyond belief. He had a good plan and yet no one was listening to him at all.

"Damn it!" The bald man cursed. "Don't any of you listen to a damned thing I say?"

Zidane looked behind him to see Rubio, standing silently with his head tilted downwards.

"Huh? Not you too," he could tell by the look on the silver-haired man's face that he was thinking of interjecting as well. Hell, they might as well all run in there like idiots as far as he was concerned. Zidane turned to look at Valentino's progress. The black-haired man was still engaging in combat with his son. Their sword blades were still flying and clashing against one another as the battle raged on against father and son.

Suddenly, Kajuji's sword was thrust forward and pierced his father's shoulder. The blade went through the frail man's body and stuck into the wall, pinning him in place.

As Rubio watched, speechless and filled with emotions that tore him in many ways at once, the most befitting phrase that the assassin had told him reeled through his head with great significance.

'I always let those who are close to me...Those whom I respect the most face the worst.'

"It's not true," Rubio muttered, as if he were arguing with the past alone.

"Huh? What's not true?" Hisamichi turned towards the man in question. He had no idea what he was talking about and wondered about his insanity, since he seemed to be talking to himself and arguing with himself on top of that.

"Is he spazzing out again?" To Vincent, this was no surprise, since he had already thought that the silver-haired man was crazy.

"IT'S NOT TRUUUEEE!!" Rubio shouted in a fit of anger at the top of his lungs and shot forward with all of his strength, delivering a swift punch to the side of Kajuji's face. This allowed the insane child to release the sword that had pinned his father down. The grey-haired man still held on to the sword as it was slowly and painfully removed from Valentino's shoulder. Valentino winced as the blade was drug out of his body, cutting the tender muscle tissue and causing the wound to be a little larger than normal.


"I know this isn't my concern...but I can't sit around and watch you be in so much pain," Rubio replied with a serious look on his face. If anyone was going to save Valentino, it would be him.

"I'm not in pain. I could kill him easily if I wanted," the red and black clad assassin admitted.


Shigeki's sword clashed with Ryouzonia's scythe as the two engaged in their own battle from across the large room filled with darkness. The two struggled to keep each other's weapons from killing them. No doubt that Ryouzonia was physically stronger than Shigeki but the man managed to glance over his shoulder and speak to Rubio and Valentino.

"Yes, so why don't you show everyone?" He called boastfully with a wicked smirk on his face.

"Show everyone?" Agata was confused. What was there to show? What was Valentino hiding?

"He never has revealed his true self?" Shigeki asked. It was no wonder that they were all confused. They had yet to witness his transformation.

"True self?" Rubio inquired as he glanced over to the assassin as if to silently ask him to explain what Shigeki was saying.

"Valentino-sama is...something else?" Hisamichi was confused as well. If the assassin wasn't human, then what was he?

"Man...I've only seen that once in my life," Zidane didn't want to see it again. He knew exactly what his enemy was talking about.

"I will not. I refuse to live that way again. I can't," Valentino was adamant about not wanting to perform that task and if he could help it, then he wouldn't. As long as he was in control, that would not happen.

"Afraid?" The terrorist asked with a sly smile. "You know in the end, you're just a twisted abomination, like all of the other experiments preformed by Ibuki-sama and Professor Gaiga." Shigeki at least had that edge on him. No matter what, when it all came down to it, Valentino was a monster and his strength and power was all a production of experimentation. Truly, Shigeki was the one with the real power and inherited strength.

"I know that I am a monster but I will not resort to bringing myself to that level to kill a child." Especially his own son.

"What happened to you?" Rubio asked sympathetically.

"Valentino..." Ionna gazed at him with understanding eyes.

"Yeah Valentino...What's Shigeki talking about?" Vincent asked.

The assassin was silent. He didn't want to be the center of suspicion and question. He had spent his entire residence in the group trying to avoid the moment that he'd been presented with but now there was no way around it. The truth had to come out, despite what he wanted.

"Hey!" Sari put her hands on her hips as she yelled to get the silent man's attention. "Do NOT get silent now!"

Then, everyone heard the word 'die' being yelled in an unstable voice and as they turned, they saw Kajuji headed towards Rubio with his sword drawn. Valentino quickly pulled out a scroll and wrapped it around his son before he could get to Rubio. The assassin uttered the word 'bind' as the scroll pulled tight and Kajuji jerked in position, his grey locks lifted and fell back into place as he was abruptly stopped.

"Forgive me son...but I can no longer let you suffer. We shall end this quickly and efficiently. There is no sense in drawing it out, even if this is some game of Shigeki's, I'll make sure you're dead," Valentino knew that drawing the moment out would only pain him even more. He threw his hand up with the scroll attached and Kajuji's body flew up into the air.

"Valentino!" Rubio swiftly turned in time to see the beginning of Valentino's attack.

"Shooting Star Attack!" Valentino called out as he jumped up and leveled his form with Kajuji's. "Berserker Cannon." The man fired a beam and shot him across the sky. Just as he neared the end of the scroll's length, a large, black cross that was pointed at a diagonal and possessed pointed ends appeared and spun at a high speed. Kajuji was perplexed by the cross but quickly averted his attention to attempting to release himself from the binding attack but he was too late as Valentino's strong arms wrapped around his waist. Shocked, Kajuji struggled violently as he was plunged into the ground. As he and his father went spiraling downward, he could hear the words 'Shooting Star Death Plunge' reverberate within the depths of his earlobe.

Before he would get free, his body was slammed into the ground with such force that he was nearly knocked unconscious and bounced off of the hard surface. Kajuji knew that he would die if he lost awareness and struggled fiercely to keep himself in the real world as he struggled, trembling to stand. The grey-haired boy swayed back and forth with his efforts to stay awake.

"What?" Agata was amazed. His plummet was at least one and a half stories tall! Whatever Kajuji was, he definitely wasn't human. "No normal or even advanced human can do those types of things and live."

Valentino stood in front of his swaying and weakened son. The man then held his hand out in front of him and uttered the words 'Death Combine' as multiple round waves of energy encased Kajuji in an oval and rolled over and over him, much like a combine. Kajuji screamed in pain and horror as the waves ripped his body to shreds within the oval of nearly transparent energy. The attack lasted a few minutes before finally dulling as it faded away.

When it was completed, Kajuji was left lying on the ground, dead.

"It's over," Valentino said in a whisper as he closed his head and turned his face away as he slowly lowered his hand.

Sari was silent and looked at the ground. She didn't know what to say and she felt horrible that he had to kill him but she knew it was for the rest. Yaritza had her head inclined and was silent as well. She had also felt the same way.

"Valentino..." Rubio was sympathetic towards the black-haired man. No doubt he was taking this worse than everyone else was. After all, it was his son that had just died by his own hands and only moments before had tried to kill him.

Valentino didn't respond, he simply sheathed his katana and silently walked over to his son's fallen form.

"Valentino..." Agata frowned as she gazed at the saddened man.

The assassin knelt before the corpse and picked up Kajuji's head, holding his upper body to his bosom. "Although I feel sorrow of great magnitude, I still cannot shed a tear." That fact alone made him feel twice as bad. He could not even cry for his own child's death as any normal person put under those circumstances would.

Ryouzonia flew above them and gazed on at the moment that was unfolding before her pink eyes. Shigeki smirked as the tragedy unfold. To him it was trivial. He had sent Kajuji to fight to perform a task and that task was preformed. It turned out that Valentino actually had enough gall to murder his own son and that's what he had set out to prove.

It was all a test of will and nothing more.

"I never thought he would...He truly is...a monster," Shigeki announced in triumph.

'Such a cruel man...' Ryouzonia thought as she looked at the brown-haired terrorist from where she flew. 'I feel sorry for Valentino...He must be carrying a large burden on his shoulders.'

"My son..." Valentino said as he cradled the lifeless form in his arms. 'I did what I thought was right but how do we always know what we are doing is right? Even though I am dead, I still feel as if I've killed a piece of myself. Aiko...Tomoe...and Kajuji...Lives sacrificed all in the name of terrorism and hate. Secret monsters that the world would only condemn...Yet had no choice as far as intentions went. Branded as damned and at the same time...I can't help but wonder if this too, was my fate.'

"You stuck by my side until you could no longer and now I am yours, my dear Kajuji...All of these sacrifices...I'm beginning to wonder..."

"At this point in time...I wonder too..." Agata admitted. It was something that she had thought about often, to be truthful. This was infliction of massive proportions and she wondered what would become of countless others who were unwillingly signed up to suffer the same fate.

"I know you really don't want to hear this from me, but at least you have us. Even if you don't have a family," Vincent tried to cheer him up and even though it was sappy, he meant it.

"I figure you'd say something about me being cruel," Valentino told him. It was the bounty hunter's common commentary and he was used to it.

"No...We understand that you did what you had to do," Sari replied and the way she felt was a rarity in itself.

"Stick with us, Valentino-kun," Rubio placed his hand on the assassin's red-clad shoulder. "You don't have to worry about losing us," the silver-haired man hoped that his phrase held true to events to come. He didn't really want anything bad to befall anyone in the group.

"Rubio-sama..." Valentino looked at him with accepting, yet sorrow-filled eyes that no longer held their usual void. It was at this point in time, that Rubio could really see how much he was suffering. It was pain that no matter how spoken, could not be described. The silver-haired man wrapped his arms around the other man and embraced him. He could hear Valentino thank him as he laid Kajuji's body down to hug him back.

As soon as the body was placed on the floor, it busted into a twisted conglomeration of plants, bone and flowers. A top of the gruesome mess, a wing stuck out with feathers of pure white, a sign of the purity that the child still possessed.

"So...He did have those bacteria in him," Rubio deducted. He was sort of glad that it was true because it would have been far more tragic if Valentino had killed his only child without Kajuji being infected at all. After all, Shigeki was a liar and could not be trusted with commentary like that. He could have very well just wanted them to kill Kajuji to erase any links to Valentino or to just dispose of something that the terrorist deemed defective as far as experiments went.

"Kajuji..." The name was nearly whispered against the skin of Rubio's neck.

"He was suffering a lot more than you think. It's a good thing you killed him," the silver-haired man reassured in his kindest of tones. He wanted to show him that he was there for him, through any situation.

"My son..."

Suddenly, Rubio felt an excruciating pain puncture his back. It felt as if he'd been stabbed with a sword. Everyone turned with horrified expressions and called out his name. Even Valentino was shocked and grabbed his shoulders, pushing him away. It was only then that Rubio had felt the blade of the weapon.

A sword had pierced him from high above, leaving the man to wonder where exactly it had pierced and whether or not he was going to die.

To Be Continued...