Chapter Twenty Eight - Close the Story

The sirens of fire trucks and an ambulance ring from the main road and pass by underneath the city-wide alarm. The building around seems to have been mostly abandoned, but the streets are filled with people rushing towards the shelters with police officers and firefighters guiding their ways. Yuen is holding Ikaris' bloody form in his arm as he cannot let her touch the dirty ground. He cannot give Ikaris to an ambulance. If Ikaris is taken in to a hospital, the information would easily reach Out-force and the damage would spread to those around her and she would be defenseless if she was attacked while recovering or in surgery.

"How have you been keeping yourself safe like this?"

"I'll….be fine. If you…just a bit…essence." Ikaris' voice is weak and that is why Yuen knows immediately what she had said is wrong. Her wound is beyond something an amateur could handle by wrapping a bandage around it. Yuen is used to fights, so he performs first aid on himself for most of the wounds best kept a secret. But the wound on her entire body is bad enough to make even Yuen lose his cool.

"Hey, hey. Can you hear me?" Yuen lightly slaps at Ikaris' cheek. "Don't fall asleep on me. They're still going after you. If you go out now, they will capture you for sure."

Ikaris' breathing is shallow but more due to the blood loss than to pain. Her pale lips trembles, "Everything will turn out okay…but..."

Yuen's face lights up for an instant until the word "but" belated catches in his mind.

"I … need essence…" Ikaris let out a small breath. "There's not a lot…essence around… it's going to… take a while with this amount…not enough to heal."

In that broiling night, she shivers like on a snowy mountain in midwinter. Yuen looks down at his hands in disdain.

"Isn't there anything I can do for you? Isn't there anything for I can do to help?"

"…?" Ikaris falls silent for a bit. "Being here… isn't that enough. You're my knight…that's all I wanted. Just be with me so I don't have to be alone."

In other words, there was nothing for him to do. There was nothing for him to do but sit with her until his end came. Maybe she would still be able to escape, but that was impossible and Yuen knows it. Orin would not lose their track this easily, and it would take hours before Ikaris could move again. The only thing he could imagine them both escaping was if someone came and rescue them. If he could, he would call Midori at the moment, but he did not have his phone anymore. Riota had taken that away from him when he was captured.

There was no such thing as lady luck, and even if there was, he was sure lady lucked despised him.

"Dammit…" Yuen bares his canines like a beast. "How could this happen? What the hell is this!? How is this fair!?"

Ikaris' trembling grows worse. What Yuen found the hardest to bear was that she was receiving the punishment for coming for him. She had wanted to protect him and now she was like this.

"Why did you believe in me," he spats out. "I can't do anything! I can't save anyone. I can't even save the girl suffering before my eyes. I'm nothing but a failure! The only thing I was ever able to achieve was being a monster."

Ikaris smiles meekly. "Don't say that. I made my choice… I would have done it again. You're special to me."

"…Special?"

Yuen remembers something that Ikaris had once told him.

"You remember what you said back at my apartment. You wanted to test out that theory with us sharing one essence because I had the special essence you have been looking for. Neither of us in our condition can defend the other. We have to try that, here and now."

"…But you… might die."

"Do you want to put everything you did for me in vain? This is our only option."

"...But, I don't want to see anything bad to happen to you."

"Nothing's bad is going to happen to me. I'm making the decision here so trust me."

"...hmm."

Yuen's hand grabs Ikaris' hand. He smiles at her as Ikaris nods and closes her eyes. He sets her head next to his heart and breaths. He would put all his faith in this one last move. But even with tears coming from his eyes, he knows he is lying to her. He has no intention of trying to withstand Ikaris' stealing his essence. All he wants to do is give all he has left for her to escape. That was all his dying body can do now. That was all he could ever dream of doing.

A few more minutes and Yuen's body will give up on him. He has already lost all feeling on his lower half and at best, he has only lost a gallon of his blood. A few more minutes and the life he once had would all come to an end. But even if he could not save himself, saving the girl live was his choice. He was no hero, only a monster and that was the best a monster could ever dream of doing. His only road for redemption was death and he would gladly take that road, if it meant saving her.

He was willing to do this. For once in his life, he was sure he was doing the right thing. He could smile at this friends and tell them that he made the right choice. He could tell them that he had helped. This was all he ever wanted, to finish what his friends started. This was for everything his friends had been trying to save. She was their hope, their dreams, and their legacy.

He was ready to accept his fate, if it meant to save her just for one more night. Without thinking, he looks up as if to howl at the moon in the night sky. He is smiling and crying silently to himself. For on that night, Yuen's life ended.


Hiya! This is Clear World wanting to leave another note for everyone who has been following this story.

Thank you! This marks the end for my second act of this story!