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Chapter 23

Quickly rushing back to his mother’s house, Joe raced back hoping for the best and wishing that the worst has not come true. Ariel, tailing right after him, couldn’t understand the predicament. Joe had left before he could explain where he was going. All she heard was Kris’ name. What had happened?

“I’m here! I’m here! What happened??” he screamed at Rainie as he busted into the room.

“I don’t know, I just don’t know,” she said trying to calm him down. “Mike said he would come back from the police department if the other officers found her but he hasn’t come back.”

Frantically, Joe’s mother paced back and forth from one side of the room to the next unable to contain her hysteria.

“I should have never taken my eyes off her,” she mumbled.

“Mom?” he asked her with a worried expression.

“I don’t know what to do,” she continued to mumble to herself.

“Calm down,” Joe told her.

“What if she’s hurt?” she cried to herself. “She’s all alone…with no one to help her…”

“Slow down mom…”

“HOW CAN I!” she screamed. “My baby girl is out there in the streets, how am I suppose to go on?”

Suddenly Mike rushes into the room with a shortened breathe. He was huffing and puffing his way towards Joe until Rainie caught him.

“Mike! You shouldn’t rush anymore. You just came back from the hospital!” she scolded.

“Kris is in trouble,” he said sending chills down everyone’s spine.

He held out a piece of paper with writing on it and gave it to Rainie to read.

“If you want her back, you know where to go…trail the hidden light, where hundred’s lost their lives due to the deadly tracks” she read. “signed…3rd Knight? What does that mean??”

It suddenly hit both Joe and Mike like a ton of bricks on their stomach.

“Alex!” they both yelled.

“He’s headed for the abandoned train station,” Mike believed.

“I’m going after him,” Ariel said, finally.

“I’m coming with you,” Joe said, following suit.

“Count me in,” Mike followed.

“NO!” Rainie protested at Mike, gripping onto his arm. “I’m not letting you go again. Not after what had happened to you before.”

“Rainie, I have to…”

“No, you don’t! I don’t want to lose you again!” she cried.

“Rainie, if you have faith in me, you would believe that I will come back. Don’t you believe me?”
Crying and gripping even harder she said, “I can’t believe anything I am not sure of, and I don’t believe Alex.”

Kissing her forehead, Mike lowers his face towards her weeping eyes.

“I will come back. Believe that.”

As the three headed back to the underground train station, anticipation ran through their skins. What was Alex up to and why would he put Kris in this situation. Why did he have to bring family into this…

Entering the station, Ariel could feel the cold deadness of the past rush into her body. The abandoned train station had a gruesome past that dared not to be uttered again. But what can be said is that before the sudden crash of 97’, the station used to carry out gang wars. The crash was set off by one gang who tried to kill a crime lord notorious of swindling mass amounts of cash from other gangs who were in the underground drug business. The crash killed many civilians but the crime lord wasn’t aboard…no one knew where he was. Therefore the innocent lives lost were said to still haunt the station until the crime lord is captured.

The station had hardly changed from that day. It was still dark and dank from the crash. Dismembered bodies could still be found till this day, slowly rotting in between the twisted metals.

Ariel took a step forward at the end of the station and Joe and Mike looked all around their destination.

“Do you see anything?” Joe asked.

“Nothing…just a few mice,” Mike concluded.

Suddenly a light hit the three of them, and both Joe and Mike drew their guns towards it.

“The 3 amigos are back and running I see…” said a mysterious voice from above.

The light disappears and the station grew dark once again. From above, the mysterious man leaps from the top level to the lower floor. He takes small steps and in back of him, the three could see multiple men appearing slowly in the dark.

“Looking for her?” he asked.

He gave a sudden snap and one of the men in back threw Kris, who had been tied up and covered from the waist up, to the floor. She was crying so hard and shaking uncontrollably from fear.

“OOOWWWW!” she cried.

“Kris!” they all screamed.

“…it hurts, it hurts…” she cried to herself.

“You want her?” he asked. “Come get her.”

They all stood still unable to do anything. Who knew what the mysterious man would do in a time like this. As he steps into the light shined from the little sunlight that appeared from the dusted windows, the three could hardly contain their anger. Alex; this miserable excuse for a human being.

“Don’t want her?” he continued to tease. “I would think the death of a family member would bring in what I needed,” he said before he snapped his fingers again.

As soon as the snap echoed through the station with a deadening tone, a large man from behind walked up towards Kris. He grabbed Kris by her hair and took off her cover, revealing the lethal bomb that surrounded her small body.

“The choice is yours. Kill the entire city from underground or give me what I want!!” he screamed.

“You despicable son-of-…” Joe began gritting his teeth.

“DON’T MAKE THINGS WORSE, YOU IDIOT!” Alex yelled. “She dies if I want her to.”

“For what!” Ariel screamed. “You would kill hundreds of people including your own men just for a measly treasure that you don’t even know exists?!”

“Shut up…” he gritted.

“I don’t even know if it exists and you’re willing to sacrifice the city for your selfish desires…” she continued.

“I SAID SHUT UP!” he screamed. “I know it exists and if I don’t get some answers NOW THIS TOWN’ S DEATH WILL BE IN YOUR HANDS!!!”

“I told you!” Mike screamed back. “I don’t know anything. We don’t know where it is, we don’t know what it is and we sure as hell don’t know if is still of any value, so PLEASE! Stop this insanity!”

“Maybe I’m not making myself clear!” Alex yelled.

He grabs Kris by the hair and throws her back on the floor. He cocks his gun and points it at her frail body.

“We all die, if no one talks.”

The room grows silent and Alex grows more and more impatient. Letting his anticipation slowly dig into his skin, Alex points the gun upward and shoots five rounds.

“Do you really think I’m joking!?” he screams. “TALK!”

“You want to know the truth?” Ariel says quietly.

Pointing the barrel towards Ariel, Alex proceeds, “say it!”

“After everything that has been done…” she says to herself.

“SAY IT!” he screams again.

She takes off her swords from her back and throws them onto the floor indifferently. Silence trembles after the dull thud of the swords.

“You deserve everything that has coming to you…” she said quietly to Alex.

“WHAT!” he screamed back. “What is this!?”

“It’s worth 70 million. The swords were given as a gift to my step father.”

“What the hell are you talking about??” he tried to understand.

“It’s more commonly known as a dowry,” she simply said. “My father had left these swords to my mother and my mother used it to pay off my stepfather.”

“No way…” Alex said in disbelief.

“JUST TAKE THEM!!” she screams. “It’s what you want right? The money? The wealth? If you wanted them so badly JUST TAKE THEM!”

Looking around his men, Alex was flustered and screamed at them, “What are you guys waiting for, TAKE THEM!”

As the men took the swords, Ariel grew more and more helpless and dead. Just like the victims of the train crash, she was stripped of her innocence and her inevitable future. She had had enough of such torture. She was not about to let Alex go without a fight.

Taking Joe’s gun away from him, Ariel points the barrel straight at Alex.

“Give me the girl,” she said firmly.

Smugly, Alex grabs onto Kris’ arm and points his gun towards Ariel.

“Why?” he said mocking her.

“Do what I said,” she said still firm.

“You still don’t get it huh?” he continued to mock her. “Just because I have your swords, doesn’t mean I can’t mess with you guys. I can still kill her. And I still have the power.”

“You want to kill her?” Ariel asked bluntly, still pointing the gun at his face. “Then kill us all then. Blow up the bomb.”

He stood still and so did everyone else. Mike and Joe were silent the entire time and couldn’t believe Ariel. What possessed her to do such a thing?

“You would want that huh?” Alex said smugly.

“Suddenly you have made such an impact on our lives, why not have the courage to follow on your word?” she said coolly. “Or are you too chicken to do anything about it. I can kill you right now, but do you have the guts to kill us all?”

Even though her words were powerful, Alex was still able to smirk at her with pure confidence.

“Perhaps, I don’t. But I can kill him…” he said pointing his gun at Joe. “You don’t want our precious little lieutenant to die do you?”

“Put down your gun, ALEX!” Mike screamed. “You have two against one; there isn’t a way you can win.”

“Do I?” Alex said composedly. Dragging the little girl towards him, Alex continued. “Seems like I have a perfect little shield…Ariel? If you want this little girl to live, you will point that barrel to Mike, now.”

Ariel puts down her gun instead and Joe runs over to Mike to protect him.

“What are you doing, you’re unarmed!” Mike screamed at him.

“I can’t let Rainie down again,” he said.

“ARIEL!!!” Alex screamed. “You want to protect this city…you want to protect Kris…then kill them.”

Unable to move, Ariel stares blankly at Alex. “Are you serious…” she gritted.

“DO IT!” he screams.

“Ariel! Don’t do it!” Mike screamed back.

“ARIEL!!” Alex screamed again.

Remembering this familiar scene, pain rushed into her body and jaggedly dug at her chest like knives.

“If you kill them, I will disarm the bomb, Ariel,” Alex demanded.

“DON’T BELIEVE HIM!” Mike screamed, with Joe still hovering in front of him.

“I’m taking off the bomb now Ariel!” Alex screamed.

“Don’t listen Ariel!!!” Mike continued to scream.

As the bomb comes off the frightened little girl’s body, Alex throws it towards her.

“It’s now or never Ariel…” he said coyly.

“ARIEL!” Joe finally said.

Shaking horribly, Ariel faces Joe with the gun towards him as well.

“Do what he says…” he said frankly.

“W-What?” she trembled.

“Do it. I’ll be fine.”

“NO!” she screams.

“ARIEL! DON’T SHOOT MY BROTHER!!” Kris screamed, with her blindfold still covering her eyes shut.

“I can’t, Joe. I can’t,” Ariel cried.

“I’ll be fine. Just do it,” he said calmly.

Ariel suddenly remembers the last time she had to shoot him. The vest! He would be wearing a bullet proof vest. But, she thought, shooting him would still be an unimaginable option.

“I can’t!” she screamed.

“Joe, don’t let her you idiot!” Mike screamed in back of him.

“I’ll protect the both of us. Just worry about getting Kris,” Joe said calmly to Mike.

“SHOOT THEM!” Alex screamed.

“I can’t! I can’t!” she cried.

“DON’T DO IT!!” Kris said waving her hands back and forth still unable to see what was happening.

“Joe, I won’t do it!” Ariel screamed.

“ARIEL! JUST…” Joe yelled at her.

Just as he was about to finish his sentence, a shot had already rang.

“NO!!!!” screamed a crying, blindfolded Kris. “JOE!!! JOE!!!!”

The room grew silent and Mike held onto Joe’s lifeless body. Slowly, a stream of glistening blood ran across Mike’s hand which was placed on Joe’s arm.

“JOE!” Mike screamed.

Ariel stood silent as she gripped on her cold gun tighter. She had never set fire to her gun. Taking advantage of the blindfolded Kris and the protected Mike, Alex shot Joe just below his shoulder.

“YOU SHOT HIM! YOU SHOT HIM!!” Kris screamed blindly.

Taking off her ties and blindfold, Alex lets her go, only to have her run towards Ariel with pain streaked all across her eyes. She threw her fists fiercely and quickly at Ariel’s legs and began hurling her legs at her as well.

“I HATE YOU!! I HATE YOU!!” she screamed at Ariel. “AFTER EVERYTHING HE DID FOR YOU! YOU SHOT HIM!!! I HATE YOU!!!”

Suddenly, after what had seemed like forever, Ariel looks coldly at Alex, who was trying to make his escape.

“YOU!” she screamed as she raced after him.

Grabbing onto the swords he was carrying, Ariel turned him around and kicked him firmly enough to have him lying on this back. Taking him back, Ariel roughly beats his head onto the concrete floor and pounds him on the chest. His men quickly too her off him and were about to assault her just as she as took her swords out.

“BRING IT!!” she screamed in anger.

The men swiftly back off and run in the opposite direction. The police brigade had busted into the station and arrested them, leaving Ariel enough time to run back to Mike, Joe and Kris.

“Joe…” Ariel heard Kris say quietly from afar.

“IT’S THE TWIN SWORD WARRIOR!!” screamed one of the officers. “ARREST HER!!”

“NO wait!!!” screamed Mike from afar. “You don’t understand! She’s one of us,” he pled.

“She’s a fugitive on the run Captain,” the officer responded. “It’s time for her to go.”

“NO! She wasn’t part of the gang! She didn’t do this,” Mike said pointing at Joe. “Alex shot him, I saw it with my own eyes!”

“That’s not why we’re arresting her, sir. She’s been a fugitive ever since she murdered David Lun, her stepfather back in Shanghai,” he explained.

“What?” Mike asked. He didn’t know that Ariel had been running from the law when she came to Taipei.

Slowly, the police carted away Alex and his gang along with Ariel. Quietly, Ariel cries herself to sleep as she believes that her past will never leave her alone.

 

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