NSFW; absolute trigger warning: violence; non-consent
Everyone fell into confusion, scattering into every possible exit, thinking of no one but themselves.
Some had the good sense to use water programs to put out the flames, but smoke had filled several chambers and hallways filled with desperately exiting people. The explosion had caused several beams to collapse, crushing other people.
The area in front of the stage was now smoke, darkness, wood splinters, soot, and fire. A large open cavity had appeared where the front seats used to be.
Ren did not know where everyone went, everyone just scattered around him. He heard screams, shouts, trampling, stomping feet. But it all felt beyond him. They were muffled sounds.
His plan had failed and gone terribly wrong. It was the only thing that registered to him.
This should not have happened. Ely should have been shocked, then should have toppled. Some screams, some confusion, but nothing more. In the confusion, someone in their group would rescue Rowan, and another would capture Johann and Ely and force them to deactivate the trance code. Ely would be humbled and stopped, Rowan would be saved, and he would have had his revenge. But everything was NOT going according to plan.
Johann had run to stage left, abandoning both his girlfriend and his friend, that spineless musician.
Chie had run off, leaving him to coordinate the movements of their group in a safer place, like she would.
It was not one of them who scooped up Rowan from the midst of the blast zone. It was Lan. His red hair was unmistakable among the other various hair colors that scattered away.
The chief was nowhere to be found. Miss Bei was gone.
Ely recovered from the electric surge. She got up slowly. She looked at everything in a daze. Then she calmly headed toward the stage, looking left and right.
Ren programmed a small travel cloud and followed her through the falling debris. She was not going to get away.
Ely headed from stage left to a small side exit, which led to a small alley. She did not notice him following her.
Ren reached the top of the steel staircase of the side exit as Ely ran through the alley. He raised his right arm and aimed for her back.
“Encode. Straight Blast. Activate!”
A surge of power flew and hit her. Ely shuddered from the shock then fell to the pavement.
Ren immediately flew up to her. This time there would be no mistakes. This time he would do it himself, and do it right.
He dropped down beside her and dispersed the travel cloud. This was his chance. He was going to take it. No one will steal it from him. He would finally make Eloise feel everything he had ever felt about her.
He planted his feet firmly onto the ground as he raised one metal crutch over her.
He swung down and clubbed her head.
She withdrew her head away from him. She cowered before him.
It felt incredible, wonderful. He was stronger than her now, more powerful. He wanted more. He lifted the crutch again and swung.
She gasped in pain as she turned over.
“So you feel pain too! You get hurt too! Don’t worry, I’ll let you feel more!” He laughed. He laughed again.
He swung again.
He struck, and struck, and struck, until he drew blood at the forehead. He struck at her face, wounding the cheek and splitting one edge of her lip. He rained heavy blows on her upper body and struck at her back.
“Scream already, Ely!” He drove the rod into her abdomen. “Or I won’t stop until you’re dead! That’s what you say to all of us you love to hurt so much, right? Do it yourself!”
She curled up into a ball as the blows kept coming.
“Come on!” He reversed the metal crutch and began hitting her with the armpiece, drawing blood wherever it hit. “Scream and cry! Tell me I’m stronger than you now! Give up and bow to me!”
Her arms and legs lined with welts from the metal rod of the crutch. Some welts had trickles of blood.
He threw down the crutch and pried her open. He kept her pinned to the floor with a hand over her neck. He tore away the skirt as he pulled it up. He clawed at her underwear. “You no longer have a hold on me,” he snarled. “I have you now. I will make you fear me like you have feared no one before or ever will. I will drive into you and you will never, ever, forget me. IF you survive the most memorable sex you will ever have.”
She was too weakened by the blows to kick him away.
He opened and lowered his trousers. He was bulging and ready.
He forced himself in. He penetrated and thrust, feeling neither mercy nor ecstasy, only domination. He thrust repeatedly, not seeking groans of pleasure, but cries of pain. He did not stop until he heard it, and did not stop after he did.
He withdrew only when he drew blood. He withdrew at the height of his engorgement, making her scream in pain. Only now did he feel full pleasure, as he spilled it over her, quivering, trembling, in the height of his victory. He brought his trousers back up to his waist, but the evidence of his victory still soaked through.
He readied his free hand. “Encode! Distance: point-blank. Voltage: first setting. Straight blast. Acti—-”
Someone grabbed him from behind, twisted his arm over his back, pushed him to the ground and pinned him there, all in one rapid smooth action. Only one person he knew could do that.
“Deep Sleep, activate!”
Only one person he knew could make him….lose consciousness….so fast…
Damn them, Soji and Beika….
A slap snapped him awake.
“Get up, Ren,” an angry Beika said over him. “I took off Deep Sleep an hour ago. Get up!”
He opened his eyes and slowly sat up. He was in no mood to be agreeable. “What do you want, Bei.”
“Oh, so it’s ‘Bei’ now, is it, not ‘Miss Bei’?” She lunged at him and pushed him back to the sofa. “Is this how you repay our kindness? Is this how you use all we taught you? We did not teach you so you can be just like them!”
Soji took her by the shoulders and drew her away. But she continued, her voice echoing through the room.
“I did not support you to be a bully! I did not teach you to hurt others with your strength! I did not want to create a heartless being! I should have left you alone! I should have let you stay the stupid helpless weakling you are! I should not have encouraged you! I should have…I should have….”
“Enough, Master Beika, enough.” Soji kept her arms firmly away from Ren.
“Let go of me, Soj!”
“Yeah, chief, let her hit me, I don’t care,” Ren challenged. He sat up straight, glared at both of them. “But I don’t regret what I did to Ely one little bit. I will do it again.”
“And be what Ely is, yourself?” Soji asked.
“So what?” Ren glared straight at his eyes and clenched his fist for them to see. “Do you think I’ll stop with just her? There are others who need to be put in their place!”
“Not by you, and not your way!” Beika said.
“It has to be me!” Ren shot back. “No one’s going to stop me. Not even you two.”
Beika landed another slap. “So many people have been kind to you. None of them wanted you to exact revenge. None!”
His cheek tingled from the pain. He raised his fisted hand at her. “None of you asked ME what I wanted for my life. You just helped without asking me. But now that you’ve given me the strength to fight back, to give revenge….I will. And none of you will stop me.”
Soji let go of Beika and headed to the window. “Stop now, Master Beika. Ren, do what you want. But…no ask for help from us. Never again.”
Beika stared at Soji’s back. “What….are you saying?”
“If we see you need it, we help,” he spoke quietly. “But, not if you ask. No more.”
Soji suddenly placed his back to the wall beside the window, and watched the street by peering from the side. His lips firmed into a straight line.
“By all He controls.”
He ungloved. From a pocket he took out his programming sash and wrapped it around his right arm. He readied to program. He aimed his hand at something beyond the window.
Beika left Ren on the sofa and walked up to the Selati. “What’s going on, Soj?”
It was then that Ren heard shouts past the window in front of the apartment and the coffee shop. The voices outside the window were filled with malice.
“We don’t want the Selati here!”
“Stay in your country!”
“Eating off us!”
“How dare you people wreck our music hall!”
“You’ll pay for that!”
“Go back where you came from!”
“Ingrates! After all we’ve done for you!”
Soji kept a straight lip and a tight jaw.
They heard sinister laughter and projectiles hitting glass: eggs, tomatoes, stones, shoes. The laughter and the sneering filled the air, and increased as the crowd around the shop swelled. Yet Soji remained seated, his fists clenched over his lap.
Beika began shouting through the window. “Stop it! Don’t judge people you don’t know! You’re better than that!”
“Why should we listen to a Selati protector!” several voices shouted back. “Bring out that Selati and we’ll give him what he deserves!”
“You all make me ashamed I’m a Pendika! If it wasn’t for Soji, if it wasn’t for a Selati we’d all be goners by now, if it wasn’t for Soji…..”
But Soji clamped a hand over her shoulder. “No, Master Beika. Don’t say. Pendika don’t listen.”
“What?! I’m Pendika too, you know!”
“No. You Master Beika. You are not them. They never listen.”
The taunts and shouts from the street continued.
Ren hobbled to the window. He peered at the crowd and saw only commoners and programmers not connected to the training halls. Not scholar or program trainees, not teachers. They were all itching for trouble. The sinister laughter past the window increased. The people giving those sinister laughs increased.
Ren began to chuckle as he watched. He chuckled more. He laughed.
He laughed heartily, to the faces of the healer and the Selati. His abdomen hurt from the rapid laughing. He held his abdomen, controlling the pain.
“The sound of bullies. Laughing at you. Laughing over you. For once, it’s not for me. For once, it’s for YOU!” He laughed again, long and loud. “It won’t hurt for you two to have it happen to you for once. Maybe you’ll understand why I want what I want if you hear it. It’s the sound of victory by people who don’t deserve it. It’s the sound of pain delivered near you, hurting before they even hit you. Listen, why don’t you, you Selati coward!”
“Ren!” Beika exclaimed.
Soji kept his jaw clenched and ignored him.
They heard glass breaking from the ground floor. “If you’ll destroy our buildings, we’ll destroy yours!” More glass broke in a spray of sound.
Soji immediately ran downstairs, followed by Beika. From the window, Ren saw many people bring out programming arms, while others lit fuses to small explosives.
“Fire torch, Activate!”
Soji’s voice rose above theirs. “Muro di ghiaccio! Attivare!”
But one ice programmer against so many sources of fire was outnumbered. The wall of ice melted quickly. Flames rained onto the coffee shop, setting the tables, chairs, and the floor quickly blazing, faster than the ice programmer can make ice walls.
Ren felt the heat from the second floor. He rapidly made a travel cloud and flew out the window, landing beside the mob in front of the coffee shop.
He remembered Beika’s slap and Soji’s twisting his arm.
He raised his right hand, aimed his index finger at the crossbeam of the coffee shop, and shot a Straight Blast.
He relished the shocked face on Beika, the disappointed one on Soji. He smirked back at them.
He saw the Selati raise a hand and glare at him. “Pugnale di ghiaccio! Attivare!”
“NO, SOJI!” Beika shouted.
The ice dagger was thrown, misguided only by Beika pulling down his arm and pulling him away from the now uncontrollable fire.
“Ren! You ingrate!” Beika was unable to contain herself.
“You never know your place, healer!” he shouted back.
But Ren could not make himself run off somewhere. He wanted to know how it all ended. He wanted to see that over-smiling Selati fall into despair and chaos. The Selati would never be one of them now, those well-meaning stupid people who pitied without understanding pain. Because now he would have pain. That should wipe that ingratiating smile off his face for good.
Some of the rioters started throwing eggs and squashed tomatoes at Soji and Beika. Others kept throwing explosives.
The police came too late with their water programmers and anti-riot personnel.
Soji silently watched the flames consume the store, with clenched fists and tightened jaw. He did not weep. He did not scream.
“Master Beika.” He called to her, his voice even, almost stern.
As she came close to him, he reached out and wrapped his arms around her waist. He wrapped her in a firm embrace.
He held her for many moments, as Beika held his head and kept him close. But still he did not show anything besides a face clamped in a frown.
He released her, and dropped his memory jade into her palm. “Master Beika. Do not follow. Do not ask. Do not find. If you do, I might kill.”
Beika tried to grab his hand, but he pulled away and turned his back on her.
“Do not follow. Do not ask. Do not find. Keep away Maestro Rossa.”
He disappeared into the darkness.