Chapter 6: Zannor

Zannor and Sin sat at the long table with Faye. The morning had passed them and it was time for lunch.

Faye was silent as she ate her meal like nothing was bothering her and it was an ordinary day.

Zannor sat across from her, not hungry.

Sin was seated at the end with his elbows on the table and his chin resting in his hands as he watched the two siblings. The situation had the potential of going so many different ways, and he was admittedly excited to see how everything turned out. His first guess was that it was going to be a disaster, but maybe they'd surprise him.

"So…" Zannor finally started to break the long awkward silence between them.

"Why'd you leave?" Faye spoke before her younger brother could. The way she asked it bothered him. It wasn't out of concern, or even curiosity. She said it like she was mad at him, blaming him for something he had no control over.

"Pardon?"

"Why'd you leave? You just disappeared without a trace or a word to anyone. Where'd you go?" she asked with bitterness in her tone, as if she took his disappearance personally. But he knew his absence wasn't devastating to her.

The human exhaled while trying to think. He should have thought of an answer to that question before she asked it. He and Sin should have discussed the details to include that would make the most sense and sound sane at the same time. Now he was stuck tongue-tied. "It's a really long story. I don't even know where to start."

"That's alright. I have all eternity to hear why you abandoned your family for no reason at all."

"It's not like that, Faye," Zannor defended himself to her, not fond of her attitude. "I didn't just up and leave because I wanted to. I had no choice." She went quiet again and he sighed in disgust while looking away from her. He could read her thoughts and opinions about him just by her expressions and tones. "You haven't changed a bit. You going to try and turn this around on me too, Faye? Because all of this is my fault, isn't it?"

"Don't be absurd, Aaron. You're such a drama queen. I'm just asking you a simple question and you can't even answer it. Do you have something so precious to hide? What reason did you have that made you drop off the planet, leaving me alone with dad and Ian, huh? You couldn't handle mom's death? Did you go to cut your wrists again? Oh, so sad. Did you have to go crawl in your little emo cave and cry yourself to sleep, Aaron?" She drew her finger down her cheek in mocking pity.

"That's not the reason I left! That has absolutely nothing to do with it! Why do you have to turn everything I do into something bad? Were you even concerned that I left at all? What if I was taken by somebody against my own will? Would you even care?"

"Oh please. No one took you. Don't be so melodramatic."

"Well, what if I was?"

"No one did, so it doesn't matter, Aaron." She shoved food in her mouth and chewed as she spoke again, "Gah, you're annoying as ever. You probably should have just stayed in your emo cave. Do the world a favor," she scoffed.

He might have been overreacting now, but it was only because he was starting to remember just how much he loathed his older sibling from their past. She gave him hell in their childhood, and it didn't seem like she was going to break her old habits.

Sin had never seen the human so pissed off before. He wasn't even sure on how to comment. Sibling rivalry wasn't something he wanted to get involved with, especially with this particular family. It was annoying because still no questions have been answered from either side.

"What, are you giving me the silent treatment now? You're so immature."

Zannor paused between every word while trying not to yell. "You know what? I'm happy I left you. I'm just happy I left this place and you and everything about you. It was the best thing that ever happened to me. I wouldn't change things even if I could."

"Yeah? Then maybe you should just go back to being dead if you hate your family so much."

"I don't hate my family, Faye. I'm just frustrated with you. That's all."

"You're so pathetic. Sure, just blame me like you always do."

"I'm not blaming you or anyone for anything! You just- gah!" He ran his metal fingers through his hair, not knowing what to do with all of his emotions. There was always nonstop tension between him and her. He thought he forgave her in his years away from her, but being back changed his mind completely.

As children, all she ever did was bully him. Harass him, beat him up, tell him lies, and guilt trip him for things he wasn't even involved with. She competed with him for everything, even for the affection of their parents. Whenever she felt like she wasn't getting enough, she'd try to convince him that he was getting less.

"What happened to your arm?" she asked, not concerned that it was replaced, but curious.

Sin finally made a sound when he simpered.

"What's so funny?" Faye asked the demon.

"Sorry, his arm incident was mostly my fault. He forgives me though, don't you, Aaron?"

Zannor glanced at him and his glass cup shattered into dozens of pieces.

"What was that?" Faye asked in alarm.

Sin wiped the water off his face. "It happens sometimes."

"So, why do you call yourself a God, Faye? Did your ego finally block whatever cogent perception of reality you had before I left?" Zannor asked, not wanting to explain that he had supernatural powers.

"Your brother and I have found the secret to immortal-."

"What about dad?"

"Don't interrupt me. He died before we found it."

"You're lying."

The two siblings locked glares with each other, both staring the other down.

"How dare you accuse me of lying?"

"Because you're a liar! You're just one big, lying, selfish, conceited bitch!" he yelled and they both stood up, practically hissing at each other.

"I swear if you were not my younger brother, I'd have you thrown into the torture chambers right this second!" Faye screamed while slamming her fists on the table.

"That never stopped you before!"

They both looked like they wanted to throw away the table separating them and tear the other apart.

"Whoa, let's all just calm down here for a second," Sin said while starting to get out of his seat and back away. "Let's handle this like adults, please."

"What the hell is your deal with me!"

"You're so annoying! I did everything perfect and mom still liked you best! Nothing I did ever pleased her! But you'd do nothing and she'd think the world of you!"

"Get over yourself and realize that the world doesn't revolve around you! Try treating people like normal human beings for once! Mom never played favorites!"

"You're wrong! Dad was the same way!"

Sin took a daring chance and stepped up on the table. He walked over to the center and stood between the two fighting relatives. "Relax, both of you."

"Don't tell me what to do," Faye said bluntly.

"Oh, right, sorry." Sin turned to the human. "Aaron, you shut up and don't let it get to you."

Zannor sat back down while taking in a big deep breath to calm down. He shouldn't be feeling this much anxiety towards her. He was only making it worse by engaging and reacting like he was.

Sin sat down on the counter. "Now I know I have to sit between you two. I realize there's a deep-rooted problem between you both from the past with your parents and all, but let's try and see past that for the moment, alright? Let's act like civilized people and talk of the present issues before us now. Can we do that?"

Faye finally sat down as well with her arms crossed over her chest. "Whatever."

Sin smiled at her, being the biggest suck up Zannor ever knew. "I know what happened to Aaron when he disappeared from your home. Well, some of it. The honest truth is that he wanted nothing of it. All he wanted the whole time is to get back home, but with people like me, we made it hard for him. If you want to blame anyone, please blame me. I'm sorry for any trouble caused from Aaron's absence."

"I'm over it. I don't care anymore," Faye lied, still very bitter. "What did you say your name was again?"

"Sin."

"What's your last name?"

"I don't have one of those."

"What do your close friends call you?" She was beginning to take a greater interest in him. His presence was intriguing.

"Are you seriously hitting on him right now? He's not your type, trust me."

"How would you know what my type is? And I'm not hitting on him! I'm politely asking for his name! Nothing wrong with that!"

Sin scratched his head in thought. "Let's have a tour of the house! Get our minds off the temporary irritations."

ooo

Faye ambled close to Sin in their tour around parts of the palace as Zannor stayed behind them. Somehow, someway, the woman suddenly felt attracted to him. The reasoning was beyond both the Guardian and the demon.

The palace was extravagant. It was beautiful, but going overboard with extremities. The walls soared over them to the elevated ceiling. The glazed stones shined without a single spec of dust or smears. The architecture was expensive and intricate, chiseled away just for her. Paintings and portraits of herself clung to the walls as well as lavish decors. She had her own museum of antiquities that she likely had no full appreciation for. The broad halls didn't seem to end, doors on all sides that led into even bigger chambers. She had a room for everything. If she wanted a garden for her bathroom, she'd have it. If she wanted a bathroom for her bathroom, it wouldn't surprise him. The girl was spoiled and all too proud of it.

Sin kept his hands in his pockets, not wanting to touch anything. He wasn't used to seeing something so vast such as this.

"How do you like it, brother? Impressed?" Faye asked with an evil grin. It was a simple question, but she still looked like she was ready to slaughter a nunnery or something.

"Sure, you could say that."

"Yeah? What was your home like while you were gone?"

Sin turned his head away with another snicker.

"Shut up. It wasn't that bad. You've never stepped foot into it anyway, Sin."

"Oh, I remember Scribe's details about it during that tree ride in the forest. It sounded epic."

"Scribe? Awe, did Aaron make some friends?" Faye asked in ridicule.

"I wouldn't say friend," Sin corrected. "More like a royal pain in the ass."

"Aaron, I am curious as to where you've been all this time. What rock have you been hiding under and why haven't you aged more than a decade? You couldn't have possibly found immortality. Is there even proof that you're my brother? You could be a delinquent," Faye said, testing him. If she would look at the blood tests, she'd have her comfirmation.

"Just how many years have I been gone anyway?"

"You answer my questions first."

They walked into a living room with dark red couches and chairs. Ornate crystal chandeliers hung high over the den as maids stood near the perimeter of the room, ready to take orders.

Faye picked up some of her robes and sat down.

Zannor sat far away from her and snatched Sin's sleeve when he walked by, forcing the demon to sit next to him.

Sin was surprised, but acted casually and crossed one leg over the other to get comfortable. "So, Aaron, how do you want to go about telling your sister what happened to you?"

"You talk as if it were something complicated," Faye stated, annoyed.

"That's because it is. You're going to think I'm crazy or just stupid when I tell you anyway."

"I already do. Spit it out."

"I was taken by an albino man to a different world that only had elves and demons. I lived on the streets till I learned the language and joined an underground group. I ran into Sin a year back and we had a fight. That's what happened to my arm and that's where I've been the past 11 years: a different world."

"Do I look gullible?"

"Well, your whole story on being an immortal God seems a bit out there too."

"But it's believable and true, unlike that crap story you just told." She looked at Sin. "What's the real story?"

He was either to support Zannor in the truth while looking like a crazy idiot, or come up with a story that she could relate to. "You brother was taken many years ago for illegal testing. They were looking for a way to make the body and mind last longer, kind of like immortality, but not quite. Lot of drugs that screwed up his head were used. I was one of the test subjects as well, but I wasn't there for as long as he was. Neither of us really remembered what happened in the past 100 years. I doubt those tests worked for complete immortality like you have, but it stopped our aging. Well, we're here today, so something went right. We were being held outside the kingdom, so it felt like a completely different world. We were trying to escape, and I'm not sure how that teleporter got us into your home, but it did." The way he said it sounded too convincing. The guy was an excellent liar.

"Oh, that makes sense now. Why didn't you just tell me that instead of making up some story?" Faye glared at Zannor who was giving Sin a look. "So, are you two like together or something?"

"Together?" Zannor repeated, confused as Sin just let out an uneasy laugh.

He understood the question. "No, we have no interest in each other like that. I don't like guys like that, period," Sin answered.

She leaned back in her chair, satisfied with the response. "Good to know that my little brother didn't turn into a weak fag while away."

Sin felt bad for his human friend. The guy probably got crap like this from Faye from the start, got it when he entered Ariela, got it from Deagon in the resistance, and now he's having to put up with more of it.

Zannor leaned back in his seat as well, not responding to his sister this time. She was a lost cause. There was no point in arguing or trying to prove himself anymore.

There were a few moments of awkward silence, but Faye broke it with a question. "Do you guys want anything?"

Sin realized that she was mainly asking him. "No, I'm fine, thank you."

"Faye, in all seriousness." Zannor caught her gaze. "When I was gone, what happened? Like with dad and Ian?"

"You want to know what happened to dad? He died because mom left. He died because you left. He couldn't handle life anymore, so he just left like you. He died, like you."

Did he kill himself over the grief of his lost family?

Zannor wanted to cry. Here he was, finally reunited with his family, but the only ones left alive just wanted him to stop existing or go back to being missing. She was blaming him for it too.

"Can you explain to me what happened?" Zannor asked calmly, maintaining his sentiments.

"We had a world war while you were away, and continents were being blown off the face of the planet. That's when he came along and helped us. He showed us immortality and eternal youth. He helped us build this kingdom. He made it just in time when the world was falling apart. So I saved all these people from the outside. I took them in and gave them hope and life. Because of him, I am their savior and their God. In return, they submit to me and I rule over them. If they can't listen, I can caste them out to where they came. They can go die if they're not interested in obeying me."

"Who is he?"

"He said not to say his name, but he was there for us when we needed him, unlike some people."

"I was taken. Does that mean nothing to you? I wanted to get back to you, but it was out of my control. Me being missing wasn't my fault. What do you want from me, Faye? I'm sorry I wasn't there for you. I don't know what else to say to make everything better between us."

"Why are you making all this about you?" It wasn't getting through to her.

"Are you even listening to me?"

"There you go again. Always about you. When are you going to take responsibility instead of using your sob story as an excuse?"

Zannor rested his head on his hand with his eyes closed. He couldn't communicate with her. Not without completely losing it.

Sin leaned over to the Guardian and whispered, "I sense a demon."

"Are you serious?" Zannor whispered back. "How'd it get in? I sense nothing."

"What are you two talking about?" Faye asked skeptically.

Sin was about to respond, but cried out in pain when two lanky arms wrapped around him from behind and a mouth of fangs sank into his shoulder. He threw the black demon over and it let go of him.

Faye stood up and guards rushed over with their guns armed and ready. They shot at the spider-like fiend, but the bullets had little effect.

It hissed and crawled back over to Sin who was on his feet and holding his bleeding shoulder.

Zannor was about to shoot it, but his sister pushed him down and aimed her own gun at it.

She fired, but still received no results as it attacked Sin once more, sending him down on his back. "What is that thing?"

Two more mouths grew out of the demon's neck like snakes, biting into Sin's skin.

The shape shifter wanted to create a weapon from his morphing abilities to use against the creature, but he had to stop himself. He couldn't take the form of another animal to fight it off either.

Faye continued shooting, as did the guards. Some were taking out tasers and bigger weapons.

"Get out of the way!" Zannor shoved her and put his pistol to the demon's side. He shot it once and the devil flew off of Sin in screeching pain. It hissed before he nailed it again with another Syncan bullet. After a third hit, it vanished. He looked around see if it'd appear elsewhere. He realized that everyone was staring at him.

Sin didn't comment and just kept his hand over his shoulder.

"What was that thing?" Faye questioned, "and why were you able to hurt it and not anyone else? You're hiding something from me and I don't like it. You let it in, didn't you?"

"I didn't. Why would I let a creature like that in? How could I let a creature like that in?" How did it get in, he wondered. He wanted to know just as much as Faye did.

"Can we get a medic over here to help him?" Faye demanded of the guards.

"Nope, I'm good!" Sin announced, loud enough so that they could hear in the distance.

"It bit you. Of course you're not okay."

"Didn't even break the skin."

"I could have sworn I saw blood," she wasn't entirely convinced.

He took off his trench coat and pulled his one sleeve over his shoulder to show her his lack of bite-marks. "See?"

"Sin, what was it?" Zannor whispered to him once the demon put his coat back on.

"It was from the Somnium, I think."