“Congratulations brother!” a voice came from the place where the button was kept as Ken turned all his attention towards the mingled sounds of claps and speech.
A young man, who seemed to be a bit younger then Ken appeared from the dark, behind the red button. He was quite handsome and charming. He was wearing a white round-neck t-shirt in the inside and a blue sleeveless coat on the outside. He had eyes similar to Ken and had a very fair complexion.
On the down, he had long black trousers with matching ‘army-like boots’. He had short hairs and was wearing a sweatband on the wrist of both his hands. But the most striking feature about his attire were the two shiny swords that hung majestically to his waist. The blades had a jade handle and the beauty of the blades were such that they looked like hand-drawn masterpiece made by a God-gifted artist.
“Congratulations on making it this far. I excepted no less from the man whom I looked up to”.
Staring at him with cold eyes, Ken didn’t reply anything as his eyes followed the person as he was walking upto him.
“It has been twelve long years, since the last time we met.”
“Yes! It has been a very long time, Satoshi.”
Satoshi, as Ken said walked upto him and hugged him. Ken looked at Satoshi but showed no emotions towards him.
“Oh! Brother, I am so happy today. You have no idea how much I missed you in these past few years”. (Separating from Ken)
“You have grown quite a lot”
“And so do you, brother!”
“So, are we done with the greetings? We shall get down to the business!”
“Ha!ha!….you are cold as ever. I still remember the time when I came to meet you in your room. The expression from then and now are surprisingly the same!”
“and you are still cheerful as you were back then.”
“Oh! God. Mother would be so happy to meet you!. She was quite worried when you ran from the house”<walking down towards the button>
“Look! I’m not interested in all these things. Let’s make it quick ”
“How rude of you brother! I guess you have forgotten all the manners which mother and father taught you, back then” with an absolute devil smile, Satoshi turned towards Ken and taking out his blades he rushed towards Ken.
“Clang!” the blades rattled against each other as Satoshi smashed his blades against Ken’s. Jumping back and forth, Satoshi launched series of attacks on Ken as defended himself each time. The passage in which the fight broke out was narrow and there wasn’t much space in there.
Satoshi used this to his advantage as he ran on the walls and used them as a launch pad to generate extra force for attacking Ken. And his strategy worked as Ken started to fall back, step by step to counter the force with which Satoshi was attacking.
Jumping from the wall, Satoshi’s blade landed on Ken’s as the two came really close to each other. “You are strong! As you were back then”.
“And you are naïve as always” Ken kicked his feet as Satoshi fell down but owing to his muscular and agile body he instantly got back to his feet.
“I knew it. If I had been with you a little longer I would have learned so much from you”
This time, Ken made the first move as he fiercely dashed towards Harry.
“Clang!” their blades met again as Satoshi handled Ken’s strike, easily with his dual blades.
Pushing his partially wounded body to its maximum extent, Ken delivered three instantaneous strikes as he moved to left and right with lightning quick speeds but each attack went in vain as Satoshi parried each strike with an equivalent counter.
Jumping backward, Ken maintained sufficient distance from Satoshi. “You are good!”
“Thanks! Brother. I’m so blessed to get a remark from my elder brother”.
“It’s enough. Drop this brother’s act!. Nobody is listening to you here”.
“You want me too! ” blazing towards Ken, Satoshi put his sword right into Ken’s stomach as blood came out of Ken’s mouth.
“You want me to drop the act. And here I am, Ken” Ken looked at his gut, then at Satoshi as he wasn’t prepared for this surprise attack.
Removing his bloodstained blade, Satoshi moved backwards and continued “You know, when you left the house, it became so boring for me. I searched for some new entertainment but none matched the joy of what I enjoyed when I looked at you. Even out pet dog, Strange started to feel the void which you left.”
Getting hold of himself, Ken wiped off the blood that came out from his mouth and replied, ”Entertainment! Yes needed I was an entertainment for your whole family. For the bunch of crudes and un-refined”.
“Those are some really harsh words! I would allow you to say these things about our mother and father” looking at his blade as blood drops fell from the tip of the sword.
“Our mother and your father, you mean.” using a spell, Ken fused a firebolt with his blade as the two again rushed towards each other.
“Clang!” “Clang!” the swords met once again as Ken and Satoshi constantly attacked each other. At a moment, Satoshi pushed back Ken while in the other, Ken turned out to be more dominant.
Changing their positions simultaneously, the two matched each other’s speed and moves as the sound of metal echoed in the long, narrow passage.
The corridor lit up as the burning metal raised the temperature of the narrow passage causing the sweat to pour down from the face of both the gentlemen. It seemed like a display of light as the dancing, orange sword met the two beauties that stopped its way.
“Our mother and your father you say!” moving away from Ken as their blades stopped and both of them gained some breath.
“That’s rude of you Ken. Father gave you as much love and affection as he gave me.”
“He barely knew me and like a said earlier, drop this act”.
“You filth. You should show some gratitude towards the person who gave you roof to live.” <putting his swords by his shoulders, as his blades dangled in the air>
“Yes! I sure am grateful to him for atleast marrying my mother and giving her what she wanted”.
“Oh! Yes. Before I forgot, I have got a present for you” with a smile on his face, Satoshi opened his player’s box and took out a long metal chain. Then, rolling it off in his hands he showed the chain to Ken as the hanging chain rattled against each other in the air.
“…………” <Sound of chain rattling reaching Ken’s ear> Ken’s eyes widened with fear as he covered his ears with his hands, dropping his sword on the ground.
“What happened Ken. See I have something for you. Isn’t it nostalgic?” Harry shook the chain more vigorously as the intensity of the sound increased.
“Put that thing down. Put! It down” Ken screamed as he tightened the hands covering his ears. For the first time, Ken showed expressions of fear and pain as he shook his head here and there to dissipate the noise reaching his ears but it was all in vain as Satoshi moved slowly towards Ken causing the intensity to decrease.
“I said put that damn thing down” shouting once again, Ken fired a firebolt towards Satoshi as the firebolt brushed his swords handle and hit the wall near the button.
“That’s not how you thank a person who gives you a present” Satoshi prompted as he delivered a solid punch on Ken’s face using the chain as Knuckle.
Blood came out from Ken’s face as he lost his balance and fell down on the ground.
Sitting down on his knees, coming down to Ken’s eye level, “You know I was thinking about bringing strange here. He is near his end and feels quite lonely without you. Hahahahah!……..”.
A series of flackbacks stuck Ken’s mind as began to think about his past. “…………” Ken screamed in fear as he closed his eyes and held his ears tight.
“Come’on Ken. You only asked me to drop the act and when I finally did, you closed your eyes. That’s not done”.
Suddenly a firebolt came from Ken’s behind as Amber reached the scene. Ken immediately sensed her NIXp as he opened his eyes and was relieved to see Amber. Getting up on his feet, Ken looked at her and said “Look Amber! This is our final opponent. We together will defeat this opponent and Win this competition.”
Amber held Ken’s head with her hands and replied, “Look at me, Ken! Look at me!. Calm down. What happened to you. Look at me and tell me why are you so lost and mad?”
“It’s a long story, Amber. I’ll tell it to you sometime else. But first, we need to defeat this person.” As Ken picked up his sword, he regained his posture and sense of mind. Closing his eyes, he talked to himself and asked himself to calm down a bit and maintain his composure.
“I’m sorry Amber. I behaved like that earlier. Now let’s focus on him”.
Satoshi put the chain back into the storage as he said, “And who are you miss?”.
“How does it matter who she is! Remember her face cause we both are going to defeat you. Get ready Amber.”
Amber took out her blade as Ken moved slightly back to reach come in line with Amber. Then whispering something in her ears, Ken dashed towards Satoshi as they started the same sequence of battle again. But this time, Ken’s attacks were less powerful and inaccurate as Satoshi didn’t even use his blades and easily managed to avoid any hit from him. Perhaps the trauma which earlier caused him to blank out in fear was still somewhere in his head.
Jumping backwards, Ken shouted ”Amber now!”
Amber rushed towards Ken as her footsteps echoed in the corridor. “…………..” blood drops fell on the ground as Satoshi looked towards his stomach.
“Haha…………………!!!!!” blood oozed out of Ken’s mouth as Satoshi laughed like a mad person with his hands on his face.
“………..” (sounds of blood falling from mouth) Ken looked down to find the long sword coming out of his stomach. Then he looked behind towards Amber who walked by Ken’s side towards Satoshi.
Satoshi welcomed her with open arms as she walked right into Harry’s arms and hugged her. Satoshi lifted her head with his fingers and kissed her intensely as Ken looked on with no expression on his face. He knew that he had been betrayed. Harry, time and again warned him about Amber.
There have been instances where Ken, himself had doubts on her <like in the fight with the Cerberus when out of the blue, she took his name> but Ken didn’t paid any serious attention to it. But now, he fell straight into his ignorance.
“Elder Brother meet Amber, my girlfriend and my love”. Holding Amber in her arms as they both looked on.
“You………you betra…..” mumbling to himself Ken fell unconscious as his health bar flickered. The sword which Amber used wasn’t any odinary blade. It was mixed with highly poisonous substance and the poison started to spread into Ken’s body.
Satoshi, holding Ken by his overcoat dragged him along the way as Amber looked at him with dead eyes as a trail of blood followed Ken’s body.
“Is he dead?”
“No! my dear, I heard his health bar flickering a few moments back. He isn’t out. He is just unconscious”.
Nearly an hour passed since Satoshi dragged Ken inside the hall.
<slight heaviness in eyes as everything seemed blurry and unclear> ”Where is this? Where am I?” expressions of pain on his face.
“Are you awake? brother”
“Who is this? ” <Blurry visuals of Amber and Harry infront of him as he snapped of his unconsciousness>
“Harry are you okay? Stay away from them”<as he summoned a firebolt in his hand>
“Ken! it’s alright we are not in danger. You are safe.”
“What are you talking Harry. These people are our enemies” Harry didn’t reply anything as Ken kept blabbering.
There were five people present in the hall at that time. Harry, Ken, Satoshi, Amber and Satoshi’s friend. All four of them looked down towards Ken, who lay down on the floor.
“What happened to you, Harry? Don’t tell me that you also…….. ” sitting up against the wall.
“ Listen Ken. It’s not what it looked like. I didn’t do anything wrong to do you”.
“You didn’t do anything wrong? You betrayed me. Stay away from me or else”.
“Or else what? look at yourself Ken and look these people. They could easily shred you into pieces. And do you think I had a choice? You were broken and dejected. I was going to get eliminated either way. ”
“You made your choice. Fine, then why didn’t you pressed that button and finished it already?”
“I didn’t do it because that man, stopped me”. Satoshi moved to the front as Harry went back and waited.
“Brother, do you know why I didn’t press that button?” punching Ken’s abdomen as blood came out of his mouth.
“Do you?” this time, even with a harder punch as Ken fell the ground. Keeping his feet on Ken’s face, he continued “I didn’t press the button because I wanted you to know how weak are, same as you were back then. You know, when dad used to beat you and I came to you, I always thought how could a person be so smiley and cheerful despite going through so much pain and ignorance?”.
“I thought you were brave. But I was wrong. You were just trying to act all cool and mighty and you put up an act. So, today I’ll show you what kind of filth you are.” Kicking his head with a front up kick.
Sounds of flickering health bar came to Ken’s right ear as he went nearly unconscious.
His eyes closed slowly as he saw Satoshi cheering Harry up as Amber and others laughed at something. Panting heavily, Ken knew that this was his end. He barely had any power left as his body felt too weak and meek. He tried to lift himself up but his arms and legs felt like as if they are boulders of endless mass and density.
Suddenly, a series of flashbacks came to Ken’s mind. His whole life seems to flash infront of his eyes as slowly and steadily his eyelids went down on his eyeballs.