|Sheol Must Fall
Author: Psychoblue PM
Remaking my story "Sheol." A young Thai woman travels the world for the lover that has betrayed her, her adventures inadvertently drawing the attention and admiration of those around her and becoming caught in the conspiracy of the international crime syndicate known only as "Sheol."Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure - Chapters: 15 - Words: 80,178 - Reviews: 1 - Updated: 03-26-13 - Published: 03-06-13 - Status: Complete - id: 3106505
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Note: I've actually been meaning to do this for a long time, but real life kept getting in the way. My life was getting REALLY terrible the past several months, but now that it looks like the worst is over, I'm going to take the opportunity to use my weekends and finally get this done. Sheol was my very first venture into original fiction, and I was still a very inexperienced writer when I first wrote it, still learning the final intricacies of world building. Now that I've matured as a writer, I think it's time to revisit this story and give it the justice it deserves. Hopefully when this is over, I can proof it and get it to a publisher I met when I was getting Blade in the Snow out on Amazon. It'd be so cool to get this on bookshelves, and then into theaters, and God willing, a game publisher so I can see this game at EVO one day.
Pipe dream, I know, but hang on tight! It's time to make this story better.
With her boat pulled up to the dock, Areva let out a quiet sigh before slinging her duffel bag over her shoulder and cradling her new trophy under her opposite shoulder. The long boat rides to Bangkok were rarely fun, often being plagued with unsavory passengers or crocodiles attacking the boat causing delays, but today's ride home to Ayutthaya was refreshingly pleasant. There weren't any unruly passengers holding up the boat schedule, and the crocodiles were unusually distant today, perhaps finally getting the message that they weren't going to find what they were looking for by attacking the boat.
Even more refreshing was the fact that the pirates and bandits that would occasionally intercept the boat kept their distance from them this time. As much as she loved her homeland, Areva couldn't help but admit that it had some serious problems that needed to be dealt with. In ancient times, Ayutthaya was the haven of warrior kings: mighty monarchs that fought for country and man alongside their soldiers. Even though that kingdom had long since faded into nothingness, there were still people who lived there and told those legends to children and tourists, saying that one day the era of the warrior king would return and cleanse the country of the corruption that had taken hold of it with drugs and weapons.
"(Thank you very much for the trip, Chaad)," Areva said with a smile as she bowed her head to the mustached boat driver. "(I'm glad that I didn't have to get involved this time: I am still a little bit tired from the tournament and I don't think I would have been much help with bandits.)"
"(The reason they probably stopped bothering us is because they're tired of you making them look like fools)," Chaad replied with a nod of his own as Areva turned around to leave. "(I might have to start giving you free rides in exchange for you being my bodyguard through those waters. From what I hear, the bandits on the northern tip of the ride are telling the other gangs to not mess with you anymore!)"
Stepping out of the boat and onto the dock, Areva inhaled deeply the shore air and smiled wider. This was a good day, and she shouldn't have had to saddle herself with worries of things that might have happened but came to pass with no ill consequence. Areva was the pride of this small town: a warrior princess from one of the nearby villages as skilled in the art of Muay Thai as she was blessed in physical gifts. With long black hair going down her back and a stunning figure and face that was the envy of the other women in town and even in the tournament she won the previous day, Areva Petchyindee's beauty and fighting prowess had attracted many visitors to Ayutthaya who hoped that she would one day stop with the tournaments and pursue a career in acting like some of the other martial artists in nearby villages went to Bangkok to pursue.
Always the center of attention, Areva was immediately flocked by several young children who clamored that she tell them tales from the tournament. The fighters were strong, as always, but just like all the other tournaments for the past couple of years, Areva was head and shoulders above the rest with her mastery of the once-forgotten art of "venom:" manipulating one's inner energy and wielding it outwardly to increase power and proficiency. There were only two other martial artists she knew of that could manipulate that inner energy to use in combat. The first was her father...and the second was her lover.
This is why this will be a good day, Areva thought as she walked past the docks and into the village market, with the children still tailing her as she recalled the more notable fights in her tournament. Today is the day I will approach him not as the shy girl that was afraid to tell him how I feel, but as a champion that rose through the ranks so that she could come to him as a winner. He doesn't accept anything less than the best from himself, so I shouldn't give him anything less than the best.
So engrossed was Areva in thoughts of the handsome young man that claimed her heart that she almost didn't notice the uniformed man standing in front of her. Lifting her head just in time to avoid a collision, Areva found herself face to face with a tall, stern-faced man wearing the uniform of the Thai Customs department. With bandits and pirates abound, it was not uncommon for officers to visit the village to track down any leads on them, as Thailand had become a haven for drug and weapons trafficking for the Asian markets the past few decades. "(Excuse me, sir,)" Areva said with a bow of her head, to which the soldier replied with a slight nod but no smile.
"(...congratulations on your tournament win, Ms. Petchyindee)," the officer grumbled before reaching for his belt and pulling free his hand radio. "(This is officer 47S5: possible suspect has just stepped off of the ferry from Bangkok. I think we can cross her off the list as she was not present when the crime took place.)"
"(Ask her some questions just in case. We can't rule out the possibility that she's an accomplice)."
Areva's smile dissipated and a look of concern replaced it. True, there were often times where a crime would take place in the impoverished Ayutthaya where officers from the main city would get involved, but this was the first time Areva found herself a suspect to one of those crimes. "(Ms. Petchyindee, where were you last night at 11:00 PM?)"
"(I...I was in Bangkok returning to my hotel from the tournament,)" Areva answered nervously as she followed the officer to a nearby bench. Placing her bag and trophy down, Areva waited for the children to get the message and leave them alone before continuing. "(What's going on?)"
"(There was a fire near your village: we're suspecting arson. It was dark so it's hard to find any suspects, but we sent one of our men to investigate. He should be back soon, so we'll get to the bottom of this and hopefully catch whoever is responsible," the officer replied with a frown before stepping aside and allowing Areva to move on. "(Sorry to trouble you, Ms. Petchyindee. We just had to make sure.)"
A fire in her village: not a good start to the return of the conquering heroine. She looked to the sky and towards the direction of her village: no smoke, so the fire was already put out. No one in her village owned a phone, so she couldn't call to make sure everyone was alright, but if there were any murders, the officer would have surely mentioned it to her. Maybe it was just an accident, Areva told herself to try and recover her good day. As long as no one is hurt, then this can still be a good day.
Try as she might, however, Areva couldn't help but feel concerned for her village. Much of her village's income came from her tournament winnings, and any kind of fire damage could spell possible doom for the village's prosperity. The only other source of income for the village was farming, and with a drought only very recently ending, the village leader was considering abandoning the village and use his old contacts in Bangkok to have everyone start new lives in the city. Very few of the villagers were keen on that idea, and Areva didn't want her father ordering his countrymen to move to a place where they didn't want to live.
Deciding that she would head to the village just to make sure everyone was alright, Areva was about to head off when her heart skipped a beat as someone very familiar passed her by. Just as she was starting to despair, her mood immediately brightened as the handsome visage of her lover turned to face her, though the serious expression on his youthful, bespectacled face told her that something was bothering him even more than what was bothering Areva. Furthermore, he was wearing his black button-up shirt with red pinstripes and light blue khakis, which he hadn't worn since he first came to Ayutthaya to train with Areva's father.
Was he leaving Ayutthaya, just as Areva finally mustered up the courage to say something to him?
"Keiichi," Areva said with a whisper as she walked over to him. "Keiichi," she said louder, remembering the limited English she picked up so that she could converse with the foreign object of her affections better. "What's going on? Are you leaving already?"
"...hello, Areva," Keiichi replied with a frown, putting his hands in his pockets as his eyes shifted away from the woman that he had enamored, whether it was intentional or not. Looking to the trophy still sitting on the bench, the Japanese young man addressed that. "I see that you managed to win another championship. Somehow that doesn't surprise me."
"I...I did it for you, Keiichi," Areva replied with a thin smile, noticing how uncomfortable Keiichi was becoming around her. Even when he first came to her village, Keiichi was always so guarded as if he was afraid that opening up even the slightest bit would result in something terrible. No doubt Keiichi had heard the news about the fire, and that was why he was so distant. Areva was sure that she was finally making progress with getting Keiichi to open up to her, and the fact that he was now wearing the purple-and-blue tassel she had given him as a gift told her that he did care what she thought.
Walking over to where her trophy was standing, Areva noticed that Keiichi didn't follow her to the bench, again causing her to doubt herself. Picking up the trophy and walking back to where Keiichi was standing, Areva held the trophy in front of her. "I...I beat a lot of people to win this trophy," Areva managed to say, hoping that she could find the right words for Keiichi. "I came back and I heard there was a fire. I was...worried about you."
"...I don't deserve to be worried about," Keiichi said lowly, turning his head away from Areva and towards the distance. "You deserve better than me, Areva. You have a bright future ahead of you: you don't need someone like me dragging you down."
"Don't say that," Areva retorted as she put the trophy down and quickly wrapped her arms around Keiichi, placing him in a tight embrace. "I did this for you. Ever since I saw you, I knew that you belonged to...(no, that's not right), you should be with me." Correcting herself as she realized those words might not be the best way to say what she wanted, Areva placed her head on Keiichi's strong chest where the elegantly colorful butterfly tattoo was exposed from the unbuttoned portion of his shirt. He felt warm, and his heart was beating rapidly. When they first met, Keiichi's coldness made him an outcast from everyone in the village but Areva's father, but Areva knew how warm Keiichi could be if he were given the chance to do so.
A few seconds passed, but it seemed like an eternity before Keiichi gently returned the embrace. With a smile on her face, Areva allowed herself to become lost in his embrace, but it ended all too soon when the sound of shouting spoiled the moment. With Keiichi pulling away from the embrace, leaving Areva surprised and slightly hurt, the couple was approached by one of the customs officers that had been roaming around the marketplace. "Hold it right there," the customs officer shouted in English, no doubt addressing Keiichi. "Don't move!"
"Damn," Keiichi cursed as he started to back away from Areva and prepared to run. Before he could do so, Areva reached out and forcefully grabbed his wrist. With his eyes shifting to Areva, Keiichi shot her a look of anxiety and a slight hint of anger. "Let go of me, Areva. Let go right now!"
"Keiichi," Areva said with a tinge of confusion, the thoughts of the fire report going through her mind as she started to piece together why Keiichi might have been leaving. "What's going on? Why are you in those clothes?"
"(Because he's trying to evade arrest,)" the officer growled as he caught up to the two of them and stood next to Keiichi with a pair of handcuffs in his hand. "Keiichi Kobashi, I need you to come with us for questioning. I just returned from the village and they're accusing you of burning down huts and murdering Siam Petchyindee!"
It took a couple of seconds to realize the implications of the officer's words. When she heard reports of the fire a few minutes before, she was told that it was only near the village rather than in it, which allowed her to hold onto hope that everyone was alright and she could continue with her happy day. She didn't even consider the idea that her father, once considered the strongest Muay Thai fighter in all of Thailand, could have been caught up in that mess. Even though he had retired from injuries, he was still a very strong man and very much respected as a hero.
"Keiichi?" Areva turned back to Keiichi and felt her heart sink into her stomach as she noticed the frustrated, guilty expression in his face. "(I don't...no, it's a mistake. It's a mistake, right?)"
"(We'll decide that at the station, but right now it's not looking so good for him,)" the officer told Areva before turning to Keiichi and again brandishing the handcuffs. "You came to our country claiming to seek enlightenment, and then you betray our hospitality by committing arson and murdering the man who took you in and taught you Muay Thai. If I'm wrong, you better explain where you were last night at 11 PM, right now."
A light buzzing sound entered the ears of Areva, and she ignored it in light of this very dire situation. However, the buzzing sound quickly became louder to a point where everyone in the market square started to hear it, causing them to look into the sky in confusion to see what it was. A few seconds later, one of the shoppers pointed to the sky, identifying a dark blue object that was rapidly growing in size. With a hasty but effective landing, the object came down into view: it was a dark blue sea plane with some type of foreign writing on its rear door in dark red. Though there were several instances where sea planes would come to the village, this was the first time that particular plane had come to the village.
"...Areva," Keiichi said softly as he looked down at the handcuffs and then to the officer. "Do you trust me?"
"...yes," Areva said softly as she trembled with anxiety, desperately trying not to believe that Keiichi could have done what the officer claimed he did. "I...I trust you."
"...then I'm sorry to have betrayed you."
With those final words, Keiichi inhaled before breathing outward and spraying something dark and staining in the officer's face. With the substance getting right in his eyes, the officer screamed in agony as he stumbled away trying to wipe the dark purple substance off of his face, completely blinded by Keiichi's strange tactic. Areva was just as shocked, too, moreso that Keiichi would attack an officer like that than the fact that he unleashed some kind of stinging mist from his mouth. She opened her mouth to say something, but she couldn't find anything appropriate to say.
How could she say anything to the man that not only stole her heart, but crushed it with the revelation that he murdered her father, the man who took him into the village to teach him the sacred martial art that was the nation's pride?
Rather than say something, Areva instead decided to chase Keiichi down and get to the bottom of this herself. Watching Keiichi make a bee line for the docks where the sea plane was docked and waiting, Areva charged forward to catch him, but her footing was almost immediately disrupted by something tripping her. Stumbling to keep balance, Areva quickly turned around to see what had caused her to trip...and noticed that it was the boot of someone whose face was obscured with a newspaper. Almost immediately afterwards, the newspaper was tossed to the side to reveal a devious-looking man with bleached hair wearing a dark blue uniform with the same dark red trim that the sea plane sported.
The bleached man put his thumb and index finger to his mouth before blowing out a loud whistle, at which point there was a disturbance among the other people in the market square. Emerging from the market throughout various stands were five other men and women wearing the same uniform as the man that had tripped her. An ambush of foreigners?, Areva mumbled as she turned to the dock to see that Keiichi had just sat down in the back seat, where the pilot was already waiting for him. Can't worry about them now!
But it was already too late. The plane quickly took off from the dock and took flight, leaving Areva helpless to do anything but watch as the man that she hoped to finally confess her feelings to was whisked away from her, leaving deception and betrayal in his wake. Rapidly, Areva pieced together what she could do to find out where that plane would take Keiichi, and determined that the men and women in the unknown uniforms must have had something to do with Keiichi's retreat. Turning to the man that has tripped her, Areva looked into his eyes covered with sunglasses and mustered up enough wherewithal to speak to him in what she hoped would be a language he understood. "Where is he going?"
"Nowhere you need to worry about," the man said with a smirk before turning back to the bench to sit down. "He asked that we didn't hurt you, and as long as you come along quietly-"
"NO," Areva blurted out before running forward and leaping into the air, pouncing onto the man's back knee-first and forcing him to the ground on his stomach. Wrapping her arms around his head to place him in one of the holds Keiichi shared with her during their training, a "sleeper hold," Areva screamed in the man's ear and his gasped for air. "Tell me where he is going! Now! Tell me now!"
With the sound of footsteps rapidly approaching her, Areva turned her head to see the other uniformed foreigners charge her. Turning to the man she was holding captive, Areva let out a growl before lifting her elbow and conking him on top of his head, knocking him out instantly before she stood up and turned to face her attackers. Bandits were nothing new in Ayutthaya, but she had never seen any who wore the uniform these people were wearing. Moreover, none of them looked like they were from the area: one man was black, three of them were white, and the woman appeared either Japanese or Chinese.
Peeling off her t-shirt to reveal her black zip-up tanktop and purple-and-blue tassels around her biceps, Areva quickly assumed her fighting stance and narrowed her eyes. "Tell me where Keiichi is going," she said quietly as the group prepared to ambush her. "I don't want to fight...but if I have to..."
The black man charged her first, lifting his fist for a basic punch. While the punch might have been basic, Areva's response to it was anything but. Weaving to the right to avoid the punch, Areva made the black man pay for his error in judgment by lifting her leg and applying a round knee directly to his ribs that were exposed from the lifted arm. Feeling something give way inside the man, Areva stood to the side as the man collapsed to the ground roaring in pain. To make absolutely sure that move would fell him, Areva placed her venom into that attack, giving her knee a brilliant blue glow that was made visible to her attackers.
Immediately, they knew that Areva was not going to bow down just because she was a woman and there were more of them.
Deciding one-on-one wasn't the way to go, two of the men and the woman charged forward while pulling out something from their belts: a rod of crackling energy that Areva had seen some of the customs officers use when they were subduing an unruly bandit. Recognizing how dangerous the rod could be if it touched her, Areva quickly ran through the market square to give her some room to fight, which the other villagers gladly obliged by clearing a path like the parting of the Red Sea. As expected, the group of armed attackers dispersed slightly to give Areva some room to attack without worrying about being struck from behind.
One of the very first rules Areva's father taught her was, if dealing with multiple attackers, make sure you have enough room to take them down one-by-one. If one goes down convincingly enough, the others will panic.
The woman was the first to attack, spinning vertically before bringing her rod down in a chop. Quickly backflipping away from the chop, Areva returned to her feet before leaping forward with her knee again blazing with blue energy. The venom-charged knee struck the woman directly in the chest, sending her sprawling backwards before landing on the ground in a heap, clutching her chest while coughing. At the very least, this gang of bandits didn't have any qualms about allowing women in their ranks and teaching them martial arts.
The other two men caught up to their comrade and knelt down next to her to make sure she was alright. The woman whispered something to one of the men before handing him her rod, which he brandished in his opposite hand while the other man gingerly lifted the woman and carried her off to one of the other stands to have a seat. The dual-armed man rapidly and skillfully spun his batons around and around, displaying a mastery of them that could only come from training in them, or something similar to them.
After a few seconds of showing off, the man lunged forward with one of the rods, put Areva spun around the attack and delivered a powerful spinning backfist to the man's jaw. Unfortunately for Areva, the man did not fall down as easily as the other two men, still standing up though slightly dazed from the attack. Surprised that the man didn't fall down after getting hit right in the jaw, Areva lifted her leg for a high kick, but it was parried by the stun baton and sent a painful shock through her body, forcing her to back off while the man pushed forward.
Caught in close quarters with potent electricity threatening her, Areva crouched down to avoid the man's scissored attack and rose back up with an elbow, striking him right under the chin and lifting him into the air. Rising up along with him, Areva delivered another glowing knee to his chin, this time forcing him to drop both his weapons. With Areva landing gracefully on her feet, her attacker crashed down hard onto one of the market tables, groaning in pain while he was covered with exotic foods and spices.
That only left the man who had cared for the woman. "I thought I wasn't seeing things," the man with the rough beard said as he placed his rod back in his holster. "You can use ki just like the bosses."
"Ki?" Areva repeated quizzically. Is that what they called venom?
"Well, Bradley over here has been figuring out how to use ki, too! Just you...you...BRADLEY," the bearded man drifted off before looking around to see where the final man went off to. After a few second of looking around, both he and Areva found where he went off to. Rather than actively engaging in the battle, "Bradley" was instead perusing around a nearby stand with a wad of bills in one hand and some beaded necklaces in the other. Now that Areva had a moment to observe him, Bradley did have a slightly different air about him than the others. While the other men were no slouch, Bradley was built like a tank, with massive shoulders and a thick torso and a messy mullet of curly light brown hair. There was something else different about him: his aura was noticeably different, lacking the untrained malice of his comrades.
"Bradley! Pay attention," the bearded man shouted as his comrade finally realized someone was calling his name. "We have a crisis over here!"
"In a tick, Mike," Bradley replied in a thick accent that Areva recognized as Australian, due largely to how often tourists would come from that part of the world to visit Bangkok during the tournaments. "Just buying some souvenirs for the missus. Lauren would be the envy of all of her office mates with necklaces like these..."
"...where is Keiichi?" Areva repeated as she took a step towards Mike, causing him to reach for his rod and growl in frustration. Through with wasting time, Areva lifted her leg and kicked the rod out of his hand, leaving him completely unarmed. Tossing a kick of his own, Mike went on the offensive only for Areva to left her leg and block the attack before reaching out and placing Mike in another hold that Areva taught her: a standing armbar that forced Mike to kneel down while Areva applied pressure. "Tell me where he is now!"
"Hm? WHOA," Bradley exclaimed as turned to see Mike scream in pain. Hastily slamming his wad of bills down on the market's table and shoving his necklaces in his shoulder bag, Bradley rushed into action and made such a loud commotion that Areva looked up and saw the big man charging her, forcing her to let go just in time for Bradley to barrel into Mike at full speed and sending him sprawling backwards. "Oh crap. Sorry, Mike, I-"
"Shut up," Mike growled before pointing towards Areva. "Mr. Kobashi said we just need to scare her, so scare her!"
"Mr. Kobashi...Keiichi," Areva exclaimed as she resumed her fighting stance while Bradley cracked his knuckles. "Tell me where Keiichi is going, or I'll hurt you!"
"No need to be like that, pet," Bradley said as he outstretched his arms in an open fighting stance. Judging from his size, Areva guessed that his style focused on grappling which meant that she had to be careful. However, rather than go for a more intricate type of hold, Bradley instead reached out to grab her while leaving himself completely open. "He just wants to-OOP!"
Bradley soon found out that wasn't the smartest first move to make as Areva struck him right under the chin with another rising knee strike. With her opponent stunned from the attack, Areva locked her fingers around Bradley's head and brought him down to his waist, where Areva's knees were waiting for him in the form of rapid strikes. After six strikes, Areva leaned down and delivered a sparkling uppercut to his nose, sending him stumbling backwards before he finally stopped and rubbed his bloody nose.
"T-that hurt," Bradley sputtered through a bloody mouth as Areva charged forward for another flying knee. This time, Bradley caught her in mid-air and pushed her down onto the ground with a power bomb, kicking out a large amount of dust and dirt as, for a brief instant, his body flickered with florescent energy. "I just met you and already you're letting loose with the fireworks. What the bloody hell is wrong with you!?"
Bradley reached down to grab Areva, and for a moment the woman started to think that she was in serious trouble...but rather than follow up with a more painful grapple, Bradley instead throttled Areva back and forth by the shoulders. "Why are you Thai people always so bloody tight? We just came here to do a job! Yeah, someone got hurt along the way, but we'll make sure that his family is-"
"He's my father," Areva blurted before delivering a glowing elbow to the top of Bradley's head, dazing him enough for Areva to break free. Charging her blue venom into all of her limbs, Areva let out a deep breath before unleashing a rapid flurry of elbows and knees, tearing through Bradley's uniform with cutting attacks and showing him what real mastery of venom looked like. With one final, tenth strike, Areva sent Bradley stumbling to the ground with a combination elbow/knee strike and quickly mounted him. "You killed my father...and now you tell me where Keiichi is..."
"...nothing to smile about, pet," Bradley groaned.
"What...talking about what?" Areva responded.
"You're smiling...kind of creepy," Bradley answered as Areva's grin turned back into an expression of confusion and anxiety. "L-last I heard, Mr. Kobashi was going to finish up what he set out to do here and head to Sydney: said there was someone he wanted to meet. I was tagging along since my mum and dad live there and I haven't seen them in-"
"Sydney," Areva interrupted, grabbing Bradley by his collar while remaining mounted to him. "Australia? Keiichi is in Australia?"
"Shut up, idiot! We were told not to-"
Areva silenced the uniformed man that attempted to interfere in her interrogation with a quick backhanded punch to his jaw and he leaned down, knocking him out instantly. Bradley, not being completely daft, relented and continued telling Areva what he knew. "Sydney isn't a stroll down the river, love. If you want to find him, you'll have to catch a plane. Better make tracks because that sea plane is one of Sheol's best: he's probably halfway to Bangkok by now, and he's probably got a whirlybird waiting for him!"
Though she didn't have any idea what a whirlybird was, Areva at least now had an idea of where she could find Keiichi. As she realized that the battle was over, the young woman looked around at the bodies strewn about and the villagers staring at her curiously while she took deep breaths and attempted to take in everything that had happened. Keiichi came to her village claiming to seek the next step in refining his "shoot wrestling" martial art, and now there were people from Thai customs after him, and these strange foreigners claiming that he came there to fulfill some kind of mission. It was all so sudden, as moments ago Areva was ready to tell Keiichi that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with him.
Was that all a lie? Was Areva just being duped by Keiichi? She had to find out, even if it meant leaving Ayutthaya again, and possibly all of Thailand.
Taking a deep breath, Areva let the rush of battle dissipate as she watched Bradley slowly stand up while clutching his damaged body. "Keiichi told me about you, y'know?" Bradley said with a groan. "He said that if we took you with kid gloves, we'd all be on our backs. We just figured he meant that if we messed with you, he was going to make us pay for it...never would have thought it'd be you who'd do us in. You're amazing."
Clapping her hands together and placing them in front of her, Areva closed her eyes and bowed her head to him and her other opponents. "Thank you," she whispered quietly before walking over to her duffel bag and trophy.