Demons of the Past
Chapter VIII - Some scars don't close
Behold! The dawn of the brightest day of our lives!...
only... there will be no rise of the Sun...
Jin landed on his feet, before the fallen monstrosity.
It was dead.
Bowing his head, he closed his eyes as he eased in peaceful grief.
It was over... at last.
"He did it!..."
King sounded ecstatic but his voice fell in utter stillness.
"He did it! It's over! He has defeated the War God!"
But even he didn't have faith in his words.
"We must find him!" Sato Nakaraki insisted. "At once!"
Darkness within, darkness without. The War God Toshin lay dead. And with him, everything else died. The memories of the disaster and of the good moments before. The reason for living and the fear of death and life alike. His eyes remained sealed and he didn't wish to open them. There was nothing to see, nothing to feel, nothing to hope for or hang on to by remembering. He was all empty inside.
'Mother... I have avenged your death...'
He wasn't contented... not at all. Tears almost surged into his eyes as with slow movements he unbuckled his gloves. A gift perfect to lead to destruction. Both of the purpose it was donned for and the beholder alike...
The familiar and unemotional voice didn't make him lift his head.
"Someday... I hope you will be able to understand..." he uttered apathetically but without resentment, as he discarded both gloves to the floor.
"You have won."
The strictness of the voice didn't disturb him. But when he turned around, facing the armed soldiers, cold anxiety slipped into his heart...
Their faces were dreading at what they saw lying dead before him... and still they looked upon him firmly... Young men a little above his age... more or less... armed with their machine guns pointing at him... and Heihachi Mishima was standing in their middle.
"What's going on?" he asked, unable to accept that he knew.
"I'm really sorry, Jin-san..." the elder said.
Jin closed his eyes desperately.
"At least... tell me why." he said, gulping down his sorrow.
"You are evil..." Heihachi said "and I cannot see it happening again..."
Jin gasped in pain, turning his head to the side.
"So Lee had told me the truth..." he uttered.
"I'm afraid so, Jin-san..."
Hesitant eyes looked down on him as he shook in violent rigours. Then as Heihachi retreated, bewilderment came into his eyes, facing all those guns pointing at him.
"Please give me a chance to prove myself!" he asked with fading voice.
Anguish was written on his face. But Heihachi didn't look at it. He didn't see his wobbling eyes as he tightened his fists, looking away.
"Fire." he only said.
The soldiers conformed to the command.
"NOOOO!" Jin screamed at the top of his, voice, what else could he have done, throwing himself forward in a vain attempt to flee? to beg? to attack one of the guns, to prevent it? It went all for nothing. In a confusing rattling, all weapons fired him and his body succeeded to the repeated shooting, waggling helplessly as he collapsed on the ground.
And Hell screamed.
And Heaven silenced.
Heavily the young body fell and a pool of blood splashed as it received him... The hand he stretched fell weak, the eyes desperately tried to hold on to life, full of tears he couldn't keep and couldn't justify, life slipping away with them, flickering from his eyes...
The shooting had stopped and the body succeeded into spasms as life abandoned it.
Heihachi walked closer, opening his way among his troops...
The young boy was still alive, still writhing at the brink of death. He shook his head in dismay. Where was the youth he admired before? Where was that bold, promising young man? Was that him, that blood covered, nearly dead body on the floor?
Then the head was raised and strangely it met his face...
Not a thought of remorse crossed Heihachi's mind at meeting the brown, full of wounded emotion, eyes. The hand stretched ahead tried to reach up to him in a last attempt... for what?
It was too late to save him, too late to reconcile... All glory vanishes before Death... It was too late to turn back time either. It had been too late too long ago.
It would finish here... He had to ensure that.
To his command, the man next to him handed him his gun. Heihachi lifted the barrel and aiming right at Jin's forehead, past the pleading hand, he fired.
The youthful head jerked once and the beautiful brown eyes looked without light in them anymore. The blood clotted ebony hair fell heavily down on the floor, the body stopped jarring.
And Hell cried.
And Heaven died.
Following Sato Nakaraki among the now empty corridors, they run to the deepest places of the stadium. Desolation greeted them but they still run. A rattling sound reached them the minute they came to the lowest quarters, before a large door.
"Hurry!" Sato Nakaraki bellowed and didn't even halt to look at the dead body of a man by the corner.
Heihachi lowered his armed hand.
Again, an emotion he knew well off came clear inside his head. It was over. And with that... the Mishima family was relieved from its doom... but alike it would die...
He handed the gun back to the man next to him.
"Take him!" he said, not for a minute sounding sad. "We will give him a proper burial."
With that he turned around, not wanting to watch the dead body anymore... Not wanting to see once again his last hopes massacred... again at his own hand...
He sauntered away, his weary eyes downcast. After all these years of his life... it was the time he could say it was all over... forever... for good... then why wasn't he any happier?
And then yells stunned him and a freaked shriek of sheer horror reached his ears but before he had time to look back, right over him flew in explosive speed one of his corps and before his shattered eyes, the poor soul was literally splashed upon the wall, his head crushing flat upon the wall and brushing down a trail of blood and organic fluids, bone splinters and brain...
Immediately he snapped behind, his mind not functioning at all... and in that moment, a presentiment, a horror familiar and the cognisance attacked him all at once. Still he was never ready to face what he saw...
Among all his corps, all lying down, a creature stood, one of woe and almighty anger. It wasn't the youth he had ordered shot, although he looked too damn much like him... The face was much like his grandson's face, although the eyes were glowing in a gold, feverish glow as they wobbled into their sockets... Right where the final bullet was implanted, by his very hand, a glowing red bulb of a fleshy sphere like a third eye glowered, among brushwork of dark blood, the barrier of lightning that should expel the demons within, the mark of his purity, one of cleansing integrity, one that would only be content at the justice...
Heihachi's eyes dropped. Justice was the reason of the appearance of the signs on his forehead. Signs that were out to protect him. Signs that should bar hell from entering him. Signs of what he should obstruct, the marks of the Fatal Lightning. It was there. Right upon his forehead.
The creature stood there, quivering and behind bangs reaching to the chin, the formerly soft lips gnarled to a malignant grimace, not of vengeance... one even stronger, one of pain and decadence. One he knew was the same to the one he had seen once before...
All around him, bodies laid, with their throats slashed open, gashing with blood, their members dislocated or just lay nearby, immobile, too weak to even whine... and the hands that had brought this massacre, trembled before him, the soft fingers curled into fangs dripping with blood, the naked body, cold with the blemish of death, the wounds of the bullets sealed by that faintly bluish skin, still that of a human however cadaverous, shivered...
Heihachi faced the demonic creature with eyes wide from horror. He knew what it was... Even though half his nature was still pure and virtuous to resist it, if not the still human skin being a sign, the eyes that poured with tears were... And he recognised what he had before his eyes... once again...
"WHYYYY?" came the yell from the ravelling lips in a question full of desperate pain... or it could just have been an incoherent growl, one that made no meaning but the question echoed into his ears (like it was placed more than half a century in a young boy's eyes) only now... it wasn't asking for an answer...
He closed his eyes... full of horror... and he cried... Tears streamed through his lids down on his sulky cheeks. He couldn't win... he couldn't face death... he succumbed right before the chiselled youthful death, crying before him. Through his nearly sealed lids, he saw the monster rushing towards him. So terrified he was he didn't even move an inch. His knees failed him like they had never failed him all his life but before he could collapse to the gladly expected unconsciousness, he was grabbed by the torso from tentacles ripping through his flesh to lift him from what in fact was his ribcage... Before he had time to scream in agony, he was hoisted with ease and hurled with frantic speed. In his last infinitesimal moment of life, through the manic swishing of the air in his ears, he felt all of himself crashing upon the wall...
Only the creature stood among the massacre, hiding his face from him, quivering as it tried to hold back its vengeful power and Heihachi looked at him and for the first time he realised that the real Force had been right before his eyes all the time...
The door slammed open and Lei wriggled as he brought his hands up to resist the flap hitting back on him and the rushing people storming inside. With wild worry in his eyes he looked ahead, Sato Nakaraki dashed forwards with frenzy and next to him was the beautiful Anna Williams. Hwoarang was right behind with his fists clenched and so was Julia, her heart pounding in her chest. King caught up soon with Armor King right on track. Ling Xiaoyu with the advantage of her small frame managed to push herself among them... and in a gasp held back, before the slaughter everywhere in the room. And then her eyes moved from the savaged corpses squirming on the floor, most just because of the deathly rigors, to fall upon the creature of doom that had created this...
He looked around, a wild glistering look registered upon his face... That wasn't Jin. And if it was, then horror should be reckoned at seeing the curse that had come over him... For his finest construction was radiating with the glow of death and such was the face he bared. Yet even his gnarling lips and the horrific inhuman sanguinary glow within his eyes and even that new third bloody gorge that kindled in the middle of his forehead, among cryptic signs a hellish hand had embellished, were not enough to hide the sorrow burning in his heart.
Lei walked ahead one tiny step, looking at the demon with his fists unclenched but nowhere near eased, quivering all over as he stood before the wall he had broken with the body of the man he had hurled through. He was beyond words, beyond breath as he looked that creature in the eyes he couldn't reach and in despair he let a breath.
It was Julia's low, snivelling voice as she clasped her weeping face and walked ahead, her hand trembling as she reached out for him...
...and in that moment, horror came to the miscreant's face as his eyes nearly poured but the tears were burned before they left the lids at seeing the dread his mere view had the power to effect and in a sprint back he went, heedless of the scream calling at his name, running past Heihachi's lying body and plunging upon the wall...
In a mighty explosion, the wall relinquished to the creature's force and broke a wider hole through where it leaped into his death...
Instantly they all run to the hole, all but Julia who nearly collapsed and had it not been for Hwoarang to clasp her before she fell, she would have fell crying on the floor.
Lei stopped himself right at the edge of the wall and he looked out...
The reckless juvenile had spread his arms and from his back sprouted two large, black hellish angel wings, dark as the night reigning the kingdom of the dead. The feathered wings unfolded to a magnificent spread and the creature in a fearsome squawk flapped them, flying higher and higher to the sky, a long wailing leaving his lips, screeches of satisfied vengeance and absolute sorrow, for the price that had been only too heavy... Gracefully the creature flapped those wings, flying far away into the sky, abandoning that world forever.
'Father... Is that the hell you've been facing every single day of your life?
You had been faced with this detestation and the hatred of the people at the same time?
How did you endure it?'
There is no life after facing disgrace.
Heihachi knew that as he opened his eyes, for he no longer felt a thing. Not even weariness, or pain, he was all in place... but where was he? What was this forsaken place, glowing with fiery effulgence?
All these people... Didn't they see the flames guzzling the dark cold bricks of the walls? Echoes of wooing lamentations reached his ears and his heart was plagued in heavy sadness, one he couldn't release... Spooky shadows loomed around him and the fear swept in through his heart as he met the disdaining stare from the eyes of Sato Nakaraki, standing before his fallen self. The venerable man looked down on him with disgust and repugnance.
"May you live long... and may you live long to remember this day!..." he said with loathe.
Heihachi cringed in what might have been an attempt for tears, before the grim eyes of his former most trusted man... and in horror, he saw over his shoulder... a sight horrendous with his blazing eyes baring all the atrocity of Hell and the fright it clogged him with, was one he could never defeat and never get rid off, for as long as eternity goes.
Alone in the Dark, once everyone was gone, Yoshimitzu clattered his steps to the fallen mammoth, his sword at hand. Once he came above the head he stopped. Holding the handle with both hands, he ritually lifted the sword, the beaming edge pointing down. Then, in a swift motion of perfect acuteness, he impelled it in the monster's neck.
All screams of Doom rushed upon him as in a last spasm the monster gave away its powerful blood and through its gullet it sprung and showered Yoshimitzu as he stood before it. But he was not afraid. Devotion brings courage to defy the strongest of curses.
The War God was far from dead. Only defeated for a moment in time. But for now, this thing wouldn't matter.
Pulling his sword, a living image of horror carrying bloodshed and death, Yoshimitzu walked away and far from the decreasing to foul mould mass of what used to be the monster employed by the War God for his fight. He wanted to reach his destination while the blood was still warm upon him. To fulfil his promise.
It was the end.
Toshin was defeated and the whole world had for a moment bent over the events but as for Tokyo and a great part of Japan was in a standstill for a few more days. As the main gear motivating the overwhelming town was halted, great changes had to happen. The dawn of a New Era is never an easy going transaction.
The Mishima Financial Empire was revered and all nations appraised them for diminishing the impeding danger hanging over everyone's head. Yet the young man who had performed the deed was nowhere to be found.
Lei Wulong knew better than all how Jin was revolted from what he had learned for his grandfather, but also kept esteem for him, if for nothing else, for his support and help in preparing him to meet Toshin as equal. But alike, he left the Mishima residence and his rights as the only heir. And to that, he had earned his respect.
Thinking about it there was nothing more left for him. As for his investigation to the Mishima Financial Empire... he knew it wasn't necessary anymore. Heihachi had more than learned his lesson and unearthing the real self of the Conglomerate would be as good as taking a corpse out of the grave; not a pretty sight. The way things ended, the all powerful Mishima was confined under the very feign he had created for himself and however he greeted his teeth, to his death he would be forced to play by these rules...
Sato Nakaraki avowed willing to reply to his interrogations immediately as he placed his resignation, but Lei said this would take some time, as he withdrew from the case. Soon someone else would come to take his place over these events and, confidentially advised him to travel abroad, just in case, perhaps accepting Anna's invitation for a trip to Ireland...
In the lobby of the hotel accommodating the fighters, among an insurrection of departees and luggage, Lei Wulong embraced his friend Marshall Law cordially and again the two men, like they had when they were young, promised not to lose contact. But Lei knew it wouldn't really go beyond a postcard. Working life was far harder than it seemed to their carefree selves once upon, so that look they exchanged when they retracted, that which said they would never forget one another for as long as they lived, meant the world.
What more should he expect? They both had their lives to attend to... and he surely wouldn't want to lose the life that was awaiting for him back home where he knew that in an apartment receiving broad daylight and having a panoramic view of the city, Hsien-Fei would be waiting...
Again, with a smiling face he turned to young Forest Law. He definitely wasn't a minor anymore, the staunch look in his eyes said so. Yet he couldn't but smile as he offered his handshake.
"Best wishes to you, young man," he said gleefully and his handshake was returned by a firm hold.
Then as Forest bent to pick up his handbag, Lei saw behind them the young Korean with the crimson sleek hair looking hesitantly at their team. Once Forest noticed him looking beyond, he turned around and took a step behind and Marshal Law, understanding the newcomer wanted to see him, straightened his body, returning the stare.
"Mr Law..." Hwoarang's indecisive voice said and walked on.
Marshall Law didn't reply as he looked at the youth.
"I know you're leaving but..."
In discomfort he flinched his eyes away before returning them upon the man he was talking to.
"I understand my master, Baek Doo San was your friend..." he said with no faltering. "You have practically helped him open his dojo once upon and I know I'd be asking for too much but now that he is dead... well, it's not like me pleading but, I can't see the dojo going down and..."
Marshall Law's face was no less stern but he intensively heard the young Korean and he was obviously touched. Hwoarang looked away, sniffing back a sigh.
"He had asked me to so many times... but only now..." he said to himself and then realising he was showing his feelings, he shook them off along with his head and looked up determinedly.
"I know TaeKwonDo but I don't know how to run a dojo." he stated. And Marshall Law nodded that he understood.
"Well, Baek was my friend... I could only help him in a time like this..." he said for the first time since Hwoarang came along, but his eyes didn't see a faint spark of hope in the boy's eyes. By the time his thinking face looked at him, the spark was constrained into the steadfast stare.
"I'm not into TaeKwonDo, son and sadly my hands are full, having my own dojo to administer..." Marshall Law said regretfully. "If we both lived in the same area, that might have been easy..."
Hwoarang's head hung for a second but he wouldn't permit his disappointment to show. He returned his face firmly.
"I see..." he said regretfully.
But Lei would never forget that glimmer he saw in his friend's eyes when he had spoken afterwards.
"I do know of one who could help you though..."
Hwoarang looked up hopefully.
"He's not a TaeKwonDo master either but he is the best dojo master I have ever come across... and he is really good with children, where it matters the most... only..."
To that he halted, he had to compel the upsurge in his voice.
"I find it hard to suggest my own son..." he said.
Forest jumped in a startle, for even though he had hoped for that answer, he never really believed it would ever be proclaimed and though he was before others, especially Hwoarang, whom he believed to be one to especially loathe sentimentalities, he couldn't avoid blurring. He looked at his father and as he returned the stare, he read the regard he had so long struggled to gain...
His eyes moved over to Hwoarang. He saw how he fought to smother his sentiment of nuisance, even though he wouldn't admit to himself either that he was deeply moved, as he was when in similar situations his master had praised him, only kept a restless eye upon him.
"I know you have other plans for your life, son..." his father's voice snapped him, "but I would like to ask it as a favour I owe to an old friend... Of course you don't have to agree but..."
Forest Law, despite his mind telling him otherwise, smiled. The chances appeared at once before him.
Some experience and then, he would be ready to start his own school. It would be small in the start, he could picture it and might never grow as big as the 'Flaming Dragon' or the 'Killing Hawk' but it was too early to tell. Besides, it would be HIS school. HIS dojo. Where he would be the master and see HIS efforts being fruitful, or if not, he wouldn't have to absolve to anyone. It would be HIS victory. One that no one could ever take away from him.
He turned and his however timid smile regarding Hwoarang was bright as the sun.
"Only until you learn how to work it yourself," he said.
Hwoarang's face didn't reveal his own burst of joy.
How nicely the word echoed...
A smile almost came to his lips but he withheld it. His face was complacent and earnest. Like it ought to be.
"So, when do we start?" he said.
Once again in Paul's hotel room, Nina Williams recovered from her bruises. Her sister Anna would never have defeated her had it not been for catching her unprepared. Perhaps, however she didn't care to believe it, her efforts had indeed aimed to rescue her from the clutch of the War God and the foul life of an assassin she lead. The hatred for her was ever the same, only for once... she was too tired to pursue it. Once she realised that twenty years of her life had gone by like that, it no longer mattered. Even her ambitions of emerging the first female champion of all times and getting the most highly paid executions to make a fortune twice that of her father seemed senseless.
Paul Phoenix had been sitting all the time, looking at her. She could remember him now... She had met him during the Iron Fist and where in the first tournament he defeated her, he had still showed fondness towards her, one she didn't reject... when in the second tournament they met again... they had shared a moment of passion and she remembered that too. He looked different then, surely more of a hunk than he was now and his eyes were not as wan then. Yet the same warmth was harboured in them whenever he looked at her...
"Are you happy now that I remember?" she said sourly.
Paul didn't even gesture.
"I remember being an assassin..." she went on. "...and as such I cannot love you..."
Dropping in his hands, Paul breathed heavily out.
"Then... you might as well kill me..." he said behind his palms.
Nina walked silently towards him, as she was famed for.
"I'm possibly out of job, out of assignments and out of house... probably out of existence either... I remember that bitch they call my sister and I don't care to hate her. I don't even care I failed to kill Kazuya. He's dead anyway."
Paul looked up into her eyes. That same look he had given to her that day that was so many years before and in her memory it was only yesterday. Indeed... he had taken her for a ride, they had made love under a tree and at the same night, she attempted to kill her target. Then she woke up... and the face was still the same.
"I remember what you had told me that day..." she said.
Paul smiled unnoticeably behind his beard. That growth of hair made him look older but so had his skin been lined by time. And she didn't smile when his hand reached out for her and embraced her waist.
Bowing her head, she laid her hands upon his shoulder. She didn't want to ruin that moment with useless words.
It was his father playfully messing up his hair as he acknowledged once more his smartness and sprightly smile... His face was chubby, a sign of prosper and good life he had earned through years of hard working. His father's smile would never beam again...
Not even in his mind.
For he possessed nothing more to make his father smile. But how could he have done otherwise, when in jail he learned more of the evil instead? The big house, that's exactly what it was. Hell upon earth, a city within the city hosting it, where no laws were enforced. Passing by that place, Eddy lost all his kindness and he knew... there was no way back. There could be no return to his former life, as even if he removed the silver rings from his eyebrow and ear, the hole wouldn't seal back. The scars would never close and his father wouldn't smile at him anymore. His face would frown into sorrow if he could see him now...
If only he could...
Eddy stood at the end of the city limits. He didn't wish to return and take the aeroplane of the flight booked for all the participants of the Tournament. He wanted to go on foot and maybe hitch a hike if he felt like it. But he wanted the walk until the nearest urban area. If he could just clear all images from his mind and make places for new... then maybe...
He wasn't afraid. What was he to be afraid of? Thugs or serial killers taking ignorant hikers on a lift? Dared they try... He could defend himself and really... he didn't consider possessing much he ought to defend.
With his duffel hanging on one shoulder, he walked on, fast at the side of the road. The sun was shining as he left the city of Tokyo behind him. The road was busy; cars drove insanely fast... what were they out for in such haste? Or was he the only one who saw no point in the day in and out routine he could no longer even hope to be a part of? Why wouldn't they just stop, just right there, in the edge of the street and admire the beautiful nature, yeah, those parched weeds and the bees buzzing in the wild flowers, just enjoy their good life while they still had it?
Should they have to wait until they lost everything to realise what they had?
The sun was bright and aching into his eyes but for once, Eddy Gordo removed his sunglasses. If the sunrays hurt his eyes, then maybe, just maybe he would find a convenient excuse to cry. The sunrays would have been indeed a good excuse... maybe, just maybe they could penetrate the film of his eyes and burn the memories he had, those of the jail that formed the man out of him and those he never wished anyone, least of all his father, to see...
But he knew his thoughts to be a lie and however immune as he was to fraud, he knew that however he had been corrupted and how his father would be sorry to see him like that, he would give his life all over again, only to see as much as his wistful face... because...
They had their quarrels, like every father and son do, they had their moments... and he knew that once his father would realise what he saw, knowing there could be no other way for him to end, seeing behind the former convict the child loyal to his word, he would have cried... and he would still have loved him, even if he wouldn't pull him to his arms, even if he wouldn't mess his meshed hair anymore...
But even if he found the courage to show his face, his father would never come back and he could never look at him again. A spark was gone and upon his burned up soul, only the cleansing rain of his tears could fall and wipe everything away to leave an empty desolation, upon which he should start building from the start.
One tiny river trailed down his eye and he hurriedly rubbed it with his thumb. And the next one. As he walked on and his cheeks had been all wet so that tears were flowing all over them without being distinguished, he just walked on, waiting for the sun to dry them. Upon that wet film, a new spark shone and in his mouth, he whistled a long forgotten song...
'I can see clearly now, the rain is gone.'
Sighing, Julia took a few more steps to the window. Her suitcase was packed, the handbag ready... Ticket, passport, money, keys... All checked. But...
Toshin was gone... the threat that had hovered above the souls of mankind had disappeared...
Why wasn't she happy?
Her fingers clasped at her cheeks and then she respired at the memory... Jin... so sad, so desolate...
So helpless he had been...
So close to her and there was nothing she could do...
It was at the second time she noticed the rapping on the door. Slothfully she went to open but once she dragged the door away, she never expected to see what her eyes saw.
At the woman's face beamed a broad smile at fiery painted lips and equally heavy from eyeliner and mascara eyes but still her flamboyant face was beautiful, proud and bold as she looked at her. She hadn't changed a single bit, she still bared her native jewelry she was so proud of, she was properly alive and Julia only gaped, her jaw hanging, her lips trembling and tears overflowed her eyes.
"Mi... mi..." she only stammered and brave Michelle, blurring herself hurriedly pulled her to a firm embrace that was just as stormily returned.
"What... I... I thought... whatever..." Julia stammered disorderly and Michelle pulled away, walking in the room and taking her along from the shoulder.
"Come in... we have lots to catch up to."
And Michelle told her how Toshin had confronted her but the pendant she held, that one which two generations of Mishimas were after had protected her life, even if she couldn't resist the Demon. She was entrapped in his Chaos but because of the pendant's protection, her soul was not consumed but confined in the trepidation that was no life but no death either...
"I was hovering into the Emptiness for endless time... The sense of time was gone and everything was a complete nothingness... No sounds but no silence either, no light but a non-existent dark alike..."
Julia held at her hand and looked at her smiling face.
"But I heard your voice... I heard your words calling me back to life... and that was everything I wanted... Your courage had saved me..."
"Michelle..." Julia said happily and squeezed her hand, so as to say that it was her thought that gave her the strength. Yet to her surprise, she read sadness in Michelle's eyes.
"If only I could free the rest as well..."
"But you couldn't..." Julia said balmy. "The pendant could only save you and that because it bared the powers of the ancients... but it wasn't strong enough to save them all..."
Michelle's big eyes blinked slowly and her long lashes met together.
"Your words speak the truth... but... they'll never convince me..."
"I know." Julia said mirthlessly and for a little they were silent, looking upon each other with admiration. Michelle admired the blooming woman in Julia's face and she was now a friend equal to her and repressed her joy at seeing the same admiration in Julia's eyes.
"We'll go back home... Mother will be so happy and the tribe will be so proud of you... A new warrior... You have made us proud Julia..."
To her words, Julia weakly smiled but said nothing of her thoughts.
"What is it?" discerning Michelle said, bending her head to catch the face of her little sister. Yet Julia avoided her eyes.
"Michelle..." she finally uttered.
She knew it wouldn't be the proper time but she had promised as much to herself. And maybe, if Michelle knew, she could help her make up her mind...
"There's one more thing I need to take care of." she said resolutely as she raised her head and Michelle looked upon her.
"You see... there was one boy... Jin... something happened to him..."
Michelle's face beamed with recognition.
"The son of Jun. Is that right?"
"Yes," Julia admitted. "Something horrible has happened to him..."
"I know." Michelle said soothingly and a mild smile came to her ever brightly painted red lips.
"Lei believes he's not all gone... and King... Hernando thinks the same..."
For a little she hesitated looking into Michelle's eyes and then her face dropped.
"To tell you the truth I think it too... or at least..."
She didn't need to look at Michelle to know she was gently smiling.
"...so I hope..." she ended in a weak breath.
"Then I say you'd better go look for him," Michelle said and Julia looked up in her smile. Michelle nodded once in her own solacing way.
"I'll wait here. There are a lot of people I missed and want to talk to..." she ended and Julia nodded back in a smile.
"And then, Ling Xiaoyu has invited me to stay with her for some time... A week or so..."
"No need to answer to me," Michelle said and patted her arm. Her smile was bright and confident at her.
And Julia returned it, genuinely happy, after such a long time...
Hwoarang and Forest Law run the Killing Hawk dojo. It was a difficult task but with Forest's knowledge and Hwoarang's TaeKwonDo expertise, problems soon were solved. Both youths participated in numerous tournaments, storming the winning prices. As Hwoarang watched his name ascending the stairs of fame, so did Law witness his bank account increasing. He was getting closer to open his own dojo one day and Hwoarang's suggestion of a combined arts school seemed all the more brilliant...
Lei Wulong and Chin Hsien-Fei got married in a subtle ceremony. Many of the Iron Fist contestants had been present.
Hernando Garcia won the title of the wrestling champion once again. With the help of Roberto Gonzales and a significant fund from the Mishima Financial Empire, the orphanage of Santa Maria provided better living conditions and salvation to many more helpless children.
Julia returned with Michelle to her homeland. For once she was resolved to continue her studies, so that she would have better grounds to stand up for her tribe, before having to go to using her hands for it.
Ling Xiaoyu went back at school, only now she was the owner of an amusement park and at her family's suggestion, she studied and this once far more eagerly, so when she would be an adult, she could be a proper manager of her business...
Jin Kazama returned to the rest of the world. Readjustment wasn't easy but the marks he had at school as well as the remainders of an account at his name, granted him a place in a medical school abroad. He started studying doctoring.
But it wouldn't have been without the help of his friends.
Once everyone else was gone, Lei Wulong, Julia Chang and Hernando Garcia went out to seek for him.
Nobody had seen him... yet horror came into their eyes at the mentioning of a demon, flying into the night.
It was more insight and luck that had lead them to him... or perhaps calls mysterious, beyond their spheres. They had ultimately found him in a desolate cave upon a barren mountain.
He was there, sleeping peacefully when they found him... but he was not alone. As if the sight illuminated the darkness, all halted back before the vision. Lei couldn't tell as of the rest, but his eyes wetted.
"He's there..." Lei muttered once he found his voice again and Julia clasped her fist.
Hernando made the sign of a cross.
Jin was again the young boy they all knew. His skin had retained the healthy suppleness and absolute tranquillity was restored in his half sealed, not asleep but not wanting to open eyes. Upon his soft lips, a smile had settled as a blossom and he lay at the plaiting hands of two spiritual creatures...
Lei's eyes studied the threesome in deep merriment. The female spirit glowed in pure white, so bright it almost blinded them. Her face was a picture of chastity and a smile glowed upon it, her eyes twinkled like drops of water upon a flower as she stroke upon the young boy. Yet it was the other figure, one of a man, that Lei couldn't take his eyes off. Although a dire black effulgence emitted from his frame and one could swear his eyes were two deathly life absorbing ravines, utmost serenity was upon his hard face as he looked at the boy who's head he held on his chest, softly cradling him as he endorsed to the slumber over his lids, his palm gently caressing his face. Lei looked at this face he never thought he would have ever seen, a face of such entire devotion and adoration for the treasure he held in his arms...
The female spirit turned her gentle eyes upon them and made Jin awake... The young boy did so and he too turned at them. Smiles were on their faces, two identically sweet and grateful smiles that they couldn't but return.
Jin got up and looked at the female spirit, reaching a hand at her... but he couldn't touch her. With a melancholic smile he pretended he was and nodded once, standing up. His eyes were lowered, full of sorrow as he walked on, towards them.
The two spirits stood tall, one next to the other and Lei watched how she clutched at his hand for strength and how he embraced her, so he wouldn't feel weak... As Jin looked back for one last time, both were looking at him with loving contentment, one with gentle sorrow for missing him, the other with reserved esteem.
Jin came among them and smiled sadly but happy as well. Julia took his hand and Hernando padded his shoulder. He nodded once and followed them outside.
It was only as everyone else was gone that Lei looked back again. The two spirits stood next to each other, slowly dissolving in their tender embrace and then, for the first time, after all these years, he met His stare. It wasn't a smile and the potency was ever the same in his eyes, only the power within them now was even stronger and bright as the pure glow of his female companion. Lei looked at that stare, one that completed the one he had given him the last time he had seen him, when his lips couldn't utter his words. This once, in utter silence, he told him everything he had wished.
He didn't walk away, watching them until they would vanish from his vision to forever unite in one spirit, as it was always meant to be. A warm sensation flowered into his heart at the memory of the smile upon her face and the redemption in his eyes...
Involuntarily he chuckled once, softly so as not to be heard. At last they have found peace. At last they were together. As they deserved to be...
Thrilled with happiness and with a light heart, he turned to walk away, almost in a skip. Into his mind, came the sweet vision of his fiancee, with a bright smile that beamed of love and he knew he wanted to be seeing that smile for the rest of his life and share with her a love such as he had seen.
'I'm coming to you, Hsien-Fei...' he thought to himself and stepped out under the sunshine.
Heihachi Mishima lived for some more years but during them, he was lost in a stillness inconceivable... He slept badly at nights and wasn't contacted by anybody. During these years he aged rapidly and the once upon all powerful King of the Iron Fist had turned to a scary weak old man... It was the downfall of the Mishima Financial Empire. A little before he died, it had been closed down.
The old man was extremely quiet in those last few years. It is said that when he died, only then he regained his voice. In a last raucous rattle, he yelled aloud with a forceful growl... as though he was thrown right into the utmost pit of Hell...
They took your life
they couldn't take your pride (U2, Pride)
I wanted sometime on my own... The things I went through were enough to fill a lifetime and I know they have formed my life in a way I could never have predicted. I... I had some rough idea, but... I never imagined I would have reached to that...
so dear to call your name...
I gave away most of my money... I estimated just how much I would need to go abroad and study doctoring... I guess healing must be in the family, right? I planned it all so I can find a residence and fund my studies, I'll make it, my marks gained me a scholarship... They are My marks, not my name's... Nobody believes it but you know it, don't you? I'll work too and...
It's not that I don't accept your gift, father... but I feel the need to use it like I know you too would want me to... for good deeds... Therefore, I gave a good portion to Hernando Garcia for his orphanage. That should pay off the mortgage... and I put the start for Ling Xiaoyu's amusement park she so gravely wanted... that park which should be a playground for all... and the rest...
Sato accepted to be in charge of the institution for homeless people and animals... He is very reliable, I know that. The settlement is almost complete...
I hope you don't mind that I called it the Kazama institute... it is a mausoleum to both of you... I've placed a dedication on the front gate... I think you would like it. It is surrounded by a park so serene you think time has stopped and you could lie down on the grass and let yourself sink into sleep... like a shelter where everyone would be welcome to rest their troubles and will not be shunned should be... Where no one can kick them away and they won't have to live on scrapes of mercy...
Besides, you have both given me gifts greater, no world can take.
Mother... I owe my balance to you. I hope I will always have your clear insight and assiduity when I must stand up for what I believe... and father... I know now what you have given me. It's pride and I thank you every moment for it.
I'll need your guidance to go on my way. I need it to keep up and not be tampered on the road I must follow, where I hope I'll make things right... for both of you. For I now see that my path is a road so slenderly balanced on a thread above the Void of all Evil... It takes a slight blow to trip deep down below...
I came to know you father and I know I cannot but follow your tracks...
Heavens and Hell... I'm so scared!...
Kneeling solemnly before a small sanctuary, Jin Kazama closed his eyes and joined his hands to a deep prayer. When he opened his eyes, for once, after very long, he was again completely calm... and peaceful.
He stood up and took his gold medal from his jacket, devoutly placing it upon the small altar. Again for a little he remained on one knee.
'I do want this one... it is mine... This is my promise... that I'll come for it again...'
Then he stood up.
He looked around. The place was a remote glade, outside the range of the Mishima property, in the serenity of the forest. The sunlight came through dense leaves like golden weaves upon the small shrine where three offerings were placed... one for his mother, one for Lee, Takashi and all of Toshin's victims and one for the ancestors past. He knew they would be contented there.
He turned back at Sato Nakaraki who was waiting behind to drive him for the last time. His own prayer wasn't as lasting but he too beamed from tranquillity. Jin nodded at him and the gallant man smiled in return.
There was a long way to go.
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