BURNING FOR THE GLORY OF PEACE is going pretty smoothly. It's a really fun story that I'm enjoying as I write it. Today, I'm posting a fight scene with the magic that I really liked. I hope you feel the same about it. There are a few spoilers in this fight as a lot of things change in this chapter.
Chapter 18 (Broken)
When John heard his name called, he pulled the potatoes up, just short of burning. Oh no. Please ... say he isn’t here. “Taisei?”
Taisei walked forward from the row of police cars. “Yes, it’s me.”
The police officers who surrounded John glanced over their shoulders. An elderly man — not the police captain from the hospital — directed the police officers behind the barricade of police cars. Sirens echoed from behind.
I’m completely surrounded. John licked his lips. “Why?” Why did you have to come here?
“To arrest you.” Darkness released a feral growl. “To take away your peace. Your life. The better question is — why can’t you kill him?”
John bit into his lower-lip. Because he’s my best friend.
“Your best friend? Even though he has been working with Ami and Keisuke against you?”
That’s just a filthy lie.
“There you go again, denying what your heart knows is true.”
Taisei moved closer and narrowed his eyes. “Why, what?”
I ... . John curled his toes before rocking back and forth. “Why is this happening to me?”
“Sometimes bad things happen to people who don’t deserve it.”
“Is it punishment for looking back on the night Haru raped me with fond memories?” Because I desire her above everything else? More than peace. More than my own life?
“No,” Darkness said, “that’s just you being honest with yourself for once.”
The police officers closest to John looked to one another as if John’s revelation changed their opinion of him. Maybe they no longer thought of him as just another dirty foreigner.
John scanned the faces of every police officer. No ... I guess that one racist bastard isn’t here.
Darkness cackled. “That’s because we’ve already put him in his place — a hospital bed. And if we’re lucky, he’ll stay there for the rest of his bigot life.”
Taisei mouthed the word, “Raped,” while he shuffled through the ring of police officers that encircled John. Taisei smiled before holding his hand out towards John. “Our minds —” His voice cracked “—do strange things to overcome trauma.”
“Is it considered trauma since you enjoyed it? Despite the guilt, regret and fear, it made you feel alive.”
John nodded. I know. I thought I hated her at first for making me like it so much. For doing it to me, but I’ve come to realize that my night with her was the happiest I’ve been since before ... . He tightened his stomach muscles. “Then ... I guess it’s because I killed my mother.”
Taisei’s body went ridged, and he stopped moving. The blood drained from his face. His pupils dilated. His eyes widened.
In his thoughts, John kicked his mother in the stomach while she tried to suffocate him with a pillow. He reached out to his nightstand and grabbed the first thing his hand touched. He swung the item.
It sounded like paper being shred.
Something warm and wet sprayed out across John’s skin and clung to it.
His mother gurgled.
John threw the pillow aside and sat up. Tears filled his eyes while he watched his mother convulse on the ground, a gash through her throat. John glanced at the item in his hand.
A knife. Why was there a knife on his nightstand?
John shook himself from the terrible memory and swallowed. “Even in self-defense, I should not have struck her down. This must be my punishment for wanting to live.”
“Stop living in the past.” Darkness’s voice felt soft against his mind. “It will only bring you pain and prevent you from doing what must be done in order to obtain peace. To obtain our one, true love … Haru.”
Thank ... you. John’s gut relaxed.
Taisei shivered. “That’s also not your fault.”
Despite his newfound resolve to kill if necessary, John searched for an escape path that he knew wasn’t there.
“Don’t.” Taisei’s hand moved towards his gun. “John ... we have this place surrounded.”
So, you’re willing to use force in order to stop me. John found himself at peace.
Taisei shook his head. “You can’t run.”
Unfortunately. “I know.”
“John ... calm down.”
John smiled. I’m the calmest I’ve been for a long time.
“Because you’ve decided to accept the truth,” Darkness said.
Taisei wrapped his fingers around his gun. “In a few minutes, Keisuke and Ami should arrive and everything —”
John’s peace snapped. “No!” I can understand the police actions, but this betrayal? “I will not bow before those who have inflicted this situation upon me!” His jaw quivered. His muscles tensed.
Taisei stumbled backwards. “What are you talking —”
John burned, flaring one of his stomach ovens while he wrapped his link around a red-stringed bell.
Taisei drew his gun.
In the gun’s reflection, John’s eyes glowed a deep crimson.
The glorious scent of burned potatoes filled the cul-de-sac.
The other police officers’ heads jerked back and forth, clearly struggling to keep their eyes on John.
Taisei’s entire body trembled, but his stare never faltered.
With his teeth bared, John growled. His vision blurred. He clenched his fists tight and lowered his eyebrows. “Never again!”
Fire sprang from his fingertips.
Every police officer’s trigger-finger twitched. Including Taisei’s.
John molded the fire and threw it into the police in front of him.
“Die!” John flung the fire forward and slammed it into the police cars. “I will never again be a prisoner!”
The police cars exploded, and bits of metal flew off in every direction.
While pumping more fire energy from the red-stringed bell, John clapped his hands together and spun around in a circle.
The ball of fire turned into a massive inferno and rolled through the police officers like a wave, rising and crashing in a fluid motion. It consumed the cul-de-sac, and more explosions rippled from the police cars that had crept around to surround him.
Once everything in the immediate area had turned into ashes, John released his hold on the red-stringed bell and stopped burning.
The fires died out.
Thump, thump, thump!
His heart beat against his chest and spikes of pain pierced his ribs.
Tears filled his eyes.
“Hyuga!” John held his fists into the air and howled. “You will pay for making me do this!”
After finishing another bag of potato chips, Keisuke pushed his body harder while he ran towards Washinomiya Gates.
Ami followed closely behind him and munched on her second bag of potato chips. The immobile trees blurred as if they were sprinting in the opposite direction. Ahead, a little boy stepped out onto the sidewalk.
“Ami!” Keisuke leaped over the little boy and stumbled to regain his balance after he landed.
“Stop being so stupid.” Ami juked around the little boy and grabbed Keisuke by the collar. She hoisted him off of his feet and set him upright.
Keisuke shrugged free. “Thanks.”
“If you practiced with the feather more, you could run faster.”
Why is she complaining so much? “We’re making good time.”
“We would be making better time if you would have brought the car around.”
You mean my car. “It would have taken much longer to get it to the other side of the station.”
“The delay would have allowed me to finish my investigation.”
Keisuke blinked. “We know where John is now.”
“At the time you interrupted me, I wasn’t asking for John.”
Ami zipped around Keisuke and spun to run backwards as fast as he was running forwards.
How does she do that so well?
“At first, I thought it was my imagination.” Ami cracked her neck. “But every time I felt someone’s eyes on me, a chill ran down my spine.”
Keisuke narrowed his eyes. “So?”
“The ghost I kept seeing was Hyuga.”
“Thus, when you came in, I was going to ask the clerk if they had seen anyone remotely resembling Hyuga since he might be in disguise.”
Keisuke’s heart pounded. No ... .
In his mind, the short, old man wearing an oversized, out-of-season coat hid his face among the crowd. Was he old? Or was his hair just gray?
After gasping, Keisuke swallowed. “I think I saw him on the security footage.”
Ami started. “You are joking, right?”
Keisuke shook his head. “I saw a strange man wearing a winter coat while he slipped through the ticket gate. He hid his face, and I assumed he was old due to his gray hair.”
“A brown coat?”
“Is that what you saw him wearing?”
With her mouth agape, Ami nodded. “The few times I thought I saw him, at least.”
“Well, shit.” Keisuke gritted his teeth and took a deep breath. “I hope we’re not too late.”
After slipping several of his infused items into his pockets, John dropped his backpack on the ground next to Taisei’s crispy corpse. Why did you have to come today?
Darkness hummed. “Because Ami and Keisuke told him to find you for them.”
John fell to his knees and pulled Taisei’s severed head into his lap.
Everything became black.
Nothing existed around him.
John sat in the field of despair, clutching his best friends head to his chest. Yes! They are the ones who killed Taisei.
“We must have revenge!” Darkness spread throughout his body, intertwining with his muscles.
Yes. All who have brought this grief upon me must pay. They must suffer.
“They must die.”
Yes. John’s head spun. His stomach twisted in knots, and hot vomit rose into his mouth.
Darkness pulsed, consuming his heart.
Tears rolled down his cheeks. His body quivered.
John puked all over the ground in front of him. I understand.
The vomit vanished into the black field of despair.
Other than the surrounding landscape, everything seemed so clear now. Darkness was truth. Life was Darkness. Peace could only be built through Darkness.
I’ll kill all of those responsible for ruining my life. John dropped Taisei’s head, and it rolled away from him, vanishing. First ... Keisuke and Ami will —
Clap, clap, clap!
The world around John flickered before the carnage that Keisuke and Ami had caused grew out of the blackness.
While clapping his hands, Hyuga walked through the bloody debris. For some reason, despite the blazing heat, he wore a brown overcoat.
Change of plans. John stood. Kill Hyuga first.
“Kill Hyuga first!” Darkness said like an echo.
John growled. “You!”
“Me?” Hyuga arched an eyebrow.
“You killed my best friend!”
John lifted Taisei’s head out of the puddle of puke. “Look at it! You did this?”
Hyuga laughed. “How do you figure?”
“It was you who ruined my peace. You who got me arrested. You who got me fired. You who —”
“Let me stop you there.” Hyuga waggled his finger. “I never forced you to do anything.”
John gritted his teeth before baring them. “I could be living a happy and peaceful life right now if you hadn’t come into my life!”
“Not for much longer.”
John started. “What are you talking about?”
Darkness screamed. “Don’t listen to his lies!”
John’s body moved forward on its own. He dropped Taisei’s head.
Hyuga squeezed the bridge of his nose. “It’s the reason I picked you up in the first place.”
After clenching his fists, John growled. “Talk!”
“The American military is designing a wireless control device.”
“Wireless control device?”
“It’s based on something the Japanese government invented called Painted Chains. With private funding from the prime minister, a little, fat man was able to construct a device that could control power-users.”
John’s eyebrows touched the top of his hair line, and he froze in place. “You’re joking.”
Hyuga shook his head. “I wish I was. By using the database that Moe helped create, the American Military will ruin your peace far worse that I ever could have.”
Thump, thump, thump!
John’s heart pounded, and his hands trembled. “That’s ... impossible.”
“Again, I wish it was.”
Before John licked his lips, his mouth became dry. “Then I’ll deal with them as soon as I’m done with you.” And Keisuke. And Ami.
“I don’t think you quite understand the severity of this issue. Everything will —”
“You clearly don’t understand the severity of my hatred!” John burned and charged forward. He touched one of the feathers in his pocket, and his body became a blur.
Hyuga burned and grabbed onto a feather of his own.
John moved his link to a purple-stringed bell.
Lightning wrapped around his fists, and a long, single-bladed claw extended from them. The blade Arced outwards with a serrated edge on the inside and a smooth blade on the outside. The end was shaped like four fishhooks placed back-to-back and side-to-side.
Hyuga froze in place and blinked. “Oh.”
Using the momentum from the feather, John jabbed with his clawed fist.
“Well done.” Hyuga tumbled backwards and sprang to the side.
John whipped his other bladed fist — the right hand — around while he pulled his lead one back into a guard position.
Sparks filled the air when the blades touched other.
His right blade zipped across the air as if it were a rubber band being released.
Hyuga ducked under the wild swing.
John moved his link back to the feather and leaped forward with a flying knee.
In the blink of an eye, his link had switched back to the purple-stringed bell, and a long-spiked kneepad wrapped around John’s knee.
Hyuga moved his link to a light-blue-stringed bell. His link bulged and grew thicker than John’s.
Is he stronger than me? John inched closer to Hyuga.
“Not if you accept me,” Darkness said, “and we become one.”
A katana made of ice formed in Hyuga’s hands, and he slashed upward, cutting the spikes from John’s kneepad. He spun, bring the blade around in a wide arc.
John flared his stomach-oven and moved his link to a ballpoint pen.
The ice-katana slammed into his steel-hard skin.
John grunted, and the impact sent him sailing backwards. “Fuck!” That still hurt.
Darkness screamed and made his eyes water. “Focus!”
John landed hard on his butt and touched the feather. Tumbling backwards, he flipped to his feet.
Hyuga slammed his fist into John’s face.
John’s nose broke, and he reeled backwards. He’s too good.
Darkness scoffed. “Don’t give up until you’re dead!”
After kicking dirt into the air, John caressed the crystal vial with his link.
His nose set, and the blood dried up. The weariness in his muscles vanished
Hyuga laughed. “You are truly the perfect apprentice.”
John growled and linked to a feather to leap directly into the air. He switched over to a red-stringed bell and tossed a ball of fire towards Hyuga. I hope this works.
“It will! Just believe!”
With his hands held behind him, John released a small wave of flame to throw himself forward. In the shadow of the fireball, he grabbed onto the purple-stringed bell and reforged his claws.
Hyuga dispersed the fireball with a wave of his hand and gasped.
John stabbed Hyuga in the shoulder.
Hyuga’s link touched the light-blue-stringed bell. A second link extended from his stomach and grabbed onto a feather.
In half a racing heartbeat, Hyuga spun and cut John’s claw to pieces.
John scrambled in the air, helpless. “It can’t be.”
“You have done wonderful to force me to use a second link.” Hyuga moved his first link onto the feather, as well.
Hyuga’s form blurred.
Something slammed into John’s stomach.
While grunting, John flipped through the air and landed on his back. Impossible ... .
Darkness squealed. “Your ... second link.”
Hyuga landed atop John, knees first.
After grunting again, John reached for his stomach-fridge.
His first stomach-oven stopped burning.
John gasped. I’m ... out of potatoes.
Hyuga’s eyes stopped glowing. “Maybe now you understand.”
“Fuck you.” John spat but only managed to cover his own face in spittle.
“At least hear me out.”
“It’s not like I have any other choice.”
“Good boy.” Using his overcoat, Hyuga wiped the spit from John’s face. “First, we have to deal with the prime minister before he can sell the last pieces of the Painted Chains technology to the American military. To do that, I’ll need you — an American — to get past his security and destroy the information.”
“So, you need me because I’m white.”
“That and your amazingly strong link.”
John scoffed. That sounds reasonable enough.
“If it’ll lead us to peace, than I can agree to it,” Darkness said. “Plus, if we’re working together, he will give us the chance to stab him in the back.”
Great idea. John relaxed his muscles. “You said first.”
“After that is when it gets tough.”
John arched an eyebrow. “So ... breaking into DIET, destroying the prime minister’s technology and — I’m guessing — killing him is the easy part?”
Hyuga grinned. “From there, we go to the Yokosuka military base and hunt down the database containing all the Japanese power-users.”
“We destroy it and get out, huh?”
“No. We steal it and kidnap as many high-ranking officials as we can get our hands upon.” Hyuga licked his lips. “We must gather an army and the list will make that easy.”
“And the high-ranking officials?”
“They will tell us where the American military is building the wireless control device.”
It’s a very good plan. John chewed on his lower-lip.
“It’ll lead to war.” Darkness pulsed.
And that’ll lead to peace. True … peace. John locked eyes with Hyuga. “I like the plan, but —”
Two new strands of burning potatoes filled the disaster zone.
John gritted his teeth and trembled. His eyes widened, and his muscles tightened. The hackles on his neck rose along with the hair on his arms.
Hyuga leaped off of John and scrambled backwards.
A white-hot bolt of lightning shredded the air a few inches from John’s nose.
John huffed for breath before growling. When he turned to see Keisuke and Ami, he clenched his fists.
Next: BURNING Chapter 5