Chapter 41:

Triumphant By What You Love

X = Y

A gruesome brawl at the factory, the palace to the Eternal Ruler, ravaged the lives of many people. Good or evil, whether one considered their life as valuable, died concomitantly. Osugitachi Ehamame fought using the Martial Arts skills he acquired from meeting Eien. Wielding a gun, masquerading as an average person, he obliterated his foes, shooting bullets that penetrated their cranium.Bookmark here

"My liege...What are you doing down there?" Osugitachi contemplated.Bookmark here

Another car parked up, and out of it stood two brothers ready to tackle the world. Kei and Rei began sprinting towards the factory after witnessing a myriad of parked cars.Bookmark here

"What the heck is happening here? Those aren't police cars." Rei stated.Bookmark here

"This is much bigger than I thought. Hurry." Kei responded.Bookmark here

Sounds of screaming, shrieking, and battle cries drowned by gunshots and the sound of metal clanging grew, gradually becoming cacophonous. Perplexion exuded from the brother's minds, stringently diverting their focus away from their agreed goal. The dilemma they faced was not recognising which side each gang member was on. They were fighting amongst each other, but there was no apparent winner. The outcome was entirely ambiguous to their ill-informed eyes, deceived by the ongoing action that spurred ahead.Bookmark here

"Where's the guy behind this?" Rei said to Kei.Bookmark here

"I don't know." Kei responded.Bookmark here

Inspecting the area calmly for any clues, Rei remembered the other factory he fought inside. Taking a couple of steps forward, he noticed an aperture in the ground, leading down into the abyss of uncertainty.Bookmark here

"Hey, Kei. Follow me." Rei exclaimed, sprinting through the mob.Bookmark here

"Wait what!" Kei exclaimed in surprise.Bookmark here

"Fine. I'll go!" Kei thought, dashing in behind Rei.Bookmark here

Stampeding through the crowd, devastating anyone who tried to attack him, Rei punched through the wall of gangsters and was unsympathetic to those he greeted with his fist. Kei evaded any fights he did not want to involve himself with, and Rei cleared a line through them, eventually passing Osugitachi Ehamame.Bookmark here

"What?!" Osugitachi thought.Bookmark here

Osugitachi spun his head, admiring the onslaught and adding to the massacre. A single glimpse explained the dire situation to him. The sight of Rei hurled his heart into overdrive. The discordant shouting became muffled by the intense feeling of dread, and the footsteps he heard became dissonant with the world around him. Suddenly, another figure sharing the same visage beamed past him, which further added to his demise. Futility enveloped his face, and he realised it was impossible to prevent them from reaching Eien.Bookmark here

"My liege..." Osugitachi reprised.Bookmark here

Osugitachi returned to crushing the foes that stood in his way. His allegiance to Eien was indissoluble as he decimated the lives of their adversaries, falling to the ground like flies attracted to fire.Bookmark here

Running down the stairs gallantly, Rei entered the spherical room, and to his left was a large tunnel that led into the sewer system. Broadening eyes, and a face gawking at Eien, was the only response he had to the brutal carnage and its aftermath in front of him.Bookmark here

Eien sat there, his legs crossed, admiring the figure of a woman that Rei benighted. Rei rotated his head sporadically, noting all those dead around Eien, and the blood that scattered everywhere, leaving marks and staining the water that drifted through the metal grates aligned with the wall. His fearful expression grew into one that resembled ignorance and quickly devolved into one of understanding.Bookmark here

"What" Rei mused.Bookmark here

Kei appeared behind him, and he was mesmerised by the atmosphere. A dense, steep hill was what his mind was climbing. He tried to grab the light that would bring insight into the situation through his cognisance, but a spark never ignited his mind. Akin to his brother, Kei became aghast by the perturbance created from the mystique surrounding the man mourning near a body. He stood benignantly, respecting the death of that woman he was once negligent of, impelling regret that surfaced, morphing his demeanour.Bookmark here

"Hey...Kei...Is that him...?" Rei asked, beset by the inviolable aura Eien exerted.Bookmark here

"Hey...who are you..." Kei asked him.Bookmark here

Eien stood up, activating his Eternal Rule, glaring indignantly at Rei. Menacing in stature, frightening with sight, aggravated by the hatred that impaled his heart, Eien slowly walked up to the brothers but stopped in the centre of the room. After a single word resonated from the mouth of Rei, he understood who he was. Bookmark here

"Who are you! Say your name!" Rei exclaimed, becoming irritated. "Are you Eien Shihaisha? Tell us!"Bookmark here

"Eien...Shihaisha? Me...I'm Eien..." Eien mumbled to himself, staring at the ground, pondering intermittently.Bookmark here

His apathetic, malevolent smile returned to his face. Staring at the brothers with respect, gazing at them with malign intent, he raised his hands, preparing for battle.Bookmark here

"Wait! First, tell us. Are you Eien Shihaisha! Are you the one who burnt our house down! Five years ago!" Kei exclaimed bravely.Bookmark here

"Five years ago...Yeah...I've sent many people back to the fire...They no longer exist, and I do not exist either." Eien retorted.Bookmark here

"You're the one who started the fire in this city...and the one who those guys above us are fighting for..." Kei said in disbelief, his face expressing terror, stuttering.Bookmark here

"YOU KILLED OUR PARENTS IN THAT FIRE!" Rei exclaimed, his anger erupting from his soul. "YOU'LL SEE HOW WE FELT WHEN I DO THAT TO YOU!"Bookmark here

"Then you shall no longer exist, and the flames will take you all." Eien rebuked, smiling indifferently.Bookmark here

Rei, overtaken by his anger, activated his Eternal Rule, glaring at Eien. They clashed with a punch to each other's fists, but Rei was surprised by the dominant presence enshrouding Eien. Kei spectated, feeling the magnificent force they created. His heart trembled, and his concern for Rei exploded as he ran next to his brother, watching Eien stumble backward.Bookmark here

"What was that..." Rei asked, bewildered by that temporary feeling. "Do you have it too...the Eternal Rule..." Rei said pensively, realising instantly.Bookmark here

"What's the Eternal Rule?" Kei questioned, horrified by his power.Bookmark here

"It's a fighting technique that I learnt to defeat the person who killed our parents. Him. I didn't know he had it...Kei, stay back. You can't fight him." Rei added confidently, shrouding his benevolent intent.Bookmark here

"I want to...This is why we're here, to arrest him and put him away forever." Kei added, fearful but resolute.Bookmark here

Eien dashed in before the brothers could prepare themselves, and he lunged at Kei, spearing him with his right fist, following with a right hook and then a Side Kick into his chest, flinging Kei away. The pain increased exponentially, divergently spreading through his being with each punch, and the kick knocked him back, leaving him to writhe on the floor.Bookmark here

"Kei!" Rei exclaimed, horrified and disquiet by Kei's inflictions. Bookmark here

"I'm...okay...but I can't move...My ribs..." Kei stuttered, barely holding himself up.Bookmark here

Kei was lying on his side, looking at Eien furtively. Rei turned to look at him, who was smiling devilishly. His anger perpetuating his intent, and his viciousness came out to play. His eyebrows dropped, and Rei became intolerant towards Eien, wishing for his destruction. Eien and Rei dashed into each other, locking their eyes together and fighting perilously.Bookmark here

Eien performed a Straight Punch into Rei, who dodged immaculately, swivelling his body. While he did, Rei became unnerved by the visage that turned its head synchronously with his body, glaring at him, infusing unease and peril burdening his psyche, which wreathed into hesitation.Bookmark here

" what it's like when I fight..." Rei introspected.Bookmark here

Eien, taking advantage of Rei's hesitation, manifesting itself into doubt, latched onto him by his arms using his hands. Rei grabbed his arms back in the same manner, and his growing resentment for Eien grew large enough to swallow him whole, kindling his enmity. They were dichotomous and synchronised with each other, like two candles burning brightly, their wicks slowly diminishing.Bookmark here

Rei became the embodiment of justice, and Eien became the embodiment of destruction. Rei performed an Ashi Barai (Leg Sweep), throttling his right leg into Eien's left leg. Realising instantly, whilst glaring at Rei's eyes, Eien moved back, pulling Rei forward and performing a Kouchi Gaeshi (Minor Inner Reap Reversal). Eien tugged Rei over his left shoulder, and a shockwave passed through Rei's thoughts. He felt the air and the ground around him, immediately thrusting his left leg into the ground and holding onto Eien.Bookmark here

His foot impacted the ground, and Rei performed a reversal, and a Morote Seoi Nage (Two-Handed Shoulder Throw), hurtling both of them into the ground, both smashing their backs into the ground.Bookmark here

Without equivocation, they threw themselves into each other once more. Eien performed a flurry of punches, aiming for Rei's face, holding onto his offensive Taekwondo and Muay Thai combination stance. His feet were in an L-shape, and his fists were close to his head. Rei copied Eien's battle stance but entered a purely offensive Muay Thai stance. His legs were apart, and the position of his fists was identical to Eien's.Bookmark here

Throwing Haymaker's, Hooks and Jab's at each other, Rei avoided them easily, swerving his head and moving his body. They were constantly circling each other, turning and dodging. Rei threw identical punches back at him, but Eien easily dodged all of them.Bookmark here

Their mettle was unsurpassable, and the masterful abilities they possessed were nigh unparalleled. Eien briskly performed a Tornado Kick with his right leg, aiming for Rei's head. He lifted his left arm casually, blocking it and Palm-Heel Striking his leg away, knocking Eien off balance. Rei performed a Tornado Kick, lifting himself off the ground and aiming for Eien's head with his right leg, reprimanding him for such a futile effort and depicting who the dominant fighter was.Bookmark here

Dragging his right foot that was stricken backwards, smiling heinously, Eien swivelled clockwise, performing a Low Spinning Sweep Kick with that same leg. They both avoided each other's attack, one using the air and the other utilising the ground. Eien stood back up, and Rei landed. Exploiting his accumulated momentum, Rei attenuated his power, allowing him to redirect his energy. He performed a Narae Chagi (Double Roundhouse Kick), smashing his left leg into Eien's right arm that he used to block, then quickly dashed his right leg into Eien's other arm.Bookmark here

Within that moment, both of them performed a Straight Punch aiming for their face. Bookmark here

But. Something peculiar happened.Bookmark here

The stars had aligned, and everything set into motion — a single stroke of ostensibly perceivable genius, covered by a miracle.Bookmark here

Rei, his fist halfway to Eien's face, pulled his arm out of the punch and performed a Left Hook into his liver, landing and staggering him. Eien was astonished that someone managed to hit him with such vigour and might comparable to his strength. Rei stopped, staring at his fist, bewildered by Eien's incapability to dodge a mere punch.Bookmark here

"How..." Eien exclaimed, speaking rancorously. His face stirred, expressing untainted ire. Bookmark here

"I don't know...It'd was impossible to hit Master Seijiro and even Nagai..." Rei spoke, surprised.Bookmark here

"This is...unbelievable. I thought Rei left and came back as a murder who just fights...He's one-upped me again..." Kei thought to himself, embroiled in their fight.Bookmark here

His mind could think of nothing but triumph and victory that Rei would attain, derived from the determination and perseverance his brother possessed.Bookmark here

"How long did it take you to learn the Eternal Rule..." Rei asked sternly.Bookmark here

"My entire life! I've destroyed people like you with it..." Eien exclaimed belligerently, gradually decreasing the volume of his voice.Bookmark here

"That wasn't my question. How long did you train it?" Rei asked again.Bookmark here

Eien turned his head to the left, looking at the dead body of Iroha Hasaka. She lost her smile, but her charm never faded. The thoughts of her rushed into his mind like a freight train. Eien turned his head to face Rei again, disheartened and alienated. The iniquity in his heart began dying from a mysterious emanated light gifted to him, its origin unknown, and that feeling horrified Eien. Rejecting it entirely, he returned to a state of rage.Bookmark here

"I'm not going to tell you! I am Eien Shihaisha. The Eternal Ruler!" Eien spoke harshly.Bookmark here

Rei pulled his hood down, revealing his true self to Eien. Disconcerted by an abrupt reveal, Eien grinned, happy to inflict demise upon Rei, showing no remorse. Instead of showering mercy as a ruler, blood would descend, honouring him as a tyrannical emperor.Bookmark here

Darting into each other, they were at the zenith of their power, kicking and punching, circling and dodging, weaving and attacking each other flawlessly. No holes nor gaps appeared in their movements. Their injuries were insignificant to them, and the adrenaline in their bodies suffused throughout their muscles, invigorating them to fight until death.Bookmark here

"Even against another Eternal Rule user, I can't defeat him like this. Sovereign Subjugation stops him from predicting my moves, but at the same time, Absolute Authority and True Supremacy are there to help him dodge." Rei mused.Bookmark here

Eventually, Eien's flurry of fervent strikes, filled with vehement loathing, pushed Rei to a corner, forcing him on the defensive with the wall to his back. From Roundhouse kicks to elbow strikes, knee strikes, counter-punches, hooks and straights, Rei was blocking all of them.Bookmark here

By destiny's stride, a glitch in the world, an idiosyncrasy occurred, beholding Rei. A stream of bright red, flowing smoothly, glistening like diamonds in water, created a discordant symphony. Flowing down from his fists, Rei was bemused by the blood that poured streamline from Eien's fist.Bookmark here

"Is his body breaking from using the Eternal Rule? But can't he feel it? What is he?" Rei thought, concentrating indefatigably.Bookmark here

Patiently waiting, observing prudently, Rei entered a trance. His eyes were waiting for Eien to err, and his mind was waiting for an auspicious moment to strike. There! Eien's punches became sluggish, and retraction time for his arm began increasing. His strength was depleting, but Eien was oblivious to it. He plunged his mind into chaos, and he could only discern what was in front of him. Negligent of the outside world, his insight was slowly perishing.Bookmark here

Rei entered Eien's space, his domain, disrupting his focus, standing menacingly in front of him, but remaining low. He grabbed Eien under his arm and placed his right arm behind him, grasping his back. Rei achieved his goal, moving them away from the wall and pushing Eien back, severing his balance. Eien grappled back, but it was inefficacious, and that caused concern and dread to bleed through his face and heart. Wrapping his right leg around Eien's left, Rei pulled him backwards, performing a Kawazu Gake (One Leg Entanglement), flipping him into the air and slamming him onto his back, whilst Rei fell on top, digging his elbow into his chest.Bookmark here

Rei stood up immediately and attempted to run towards Kei, but Eien turned around hastily, grabbing Rei by the foot, tripping him over and hauling him back. Rei turned around, sliding across the floor, still being pulled towards Eien, who had a dastardly smile upon his face.Bookmark here

He jumped onto Rei, mounting him and grabbing both arms, but Rei skillfully moved both legs under Eien, kicking him in the chest and knocking him away. Now, free from the shackles that bound him, he ran into the centre, recuperating. Eien, like a merciless thunderbolt, dashed in towards Rei.Bookmark here

Eien executed a Downward Roundhouse Kick using his left leg, targetting Rei's head, but he blocked with both hands this time, feeling the fatigue infecting his arm. Rei's guard broke, and Eien turned using his acquired momentum, and he performed a Bandae Dollyo Chagi (Spinning Hook Kick) with his dominant right leg against an unguarding Rei. Inexplicably, Rei lent back and avoided Eien's right heel barely. Cunning as he was, Eien was relentless and swivelled again, performing a Jumping Spinning Hook Kick.Bookmark here

Aggravated by his attempt to hit him with the same technique, mocking his intuition and intelligence, Rei grabbed his leg. Stripped of hesitation, showing no indication of mercy, Rei flung him in the air, holding him by the ankle. He slammed Eien into the ground, who had a look of devastation plaguing his face.Bookmark here

"How..." Eien thought to himself in desolation.Bookmark here

Eien quickly got up, but Rei performed a Left Hook into his liver again, staggering him. Rei executed one final Straight Punch into Eien's lungs, and he tried his hardest to grip his arm, but to no avail. Rei's arm slipped through Eien's fingers, like oil to water, imparting his chest and producing a massive crater. Eien's lungs became decimated, and he struggled to breathe, nearly asphyxiating but regaining composure — breathing heavily, exemplifying his defeat.Bookmark here

Eien stumbled backwards, falling onto his knees. Both he and Rei were in the centre of the spherical room situated under the factory, and Kei was kneeling on the ground behind Rei, struggling to stand. Belittling him with his glare, Eien could not fathom his loss, nor could he comprehend that, in truth, the look from Rei was a symbol of compassion. Bookmark here

"Stand down. You have lost this fight." Rei spoke overbearingly, the fire still burning in his eyes. His perpetual anger ceased, transforming into a stagnant feeling of respect.Bookmark here

Rei stood there, soaring above Eien in morality. There was no competition in that regard. Victorious, the culmination of those five years of training led Rei to victory, triumphant, overpowering the Eternal Ruler. Bookmark here

"No..." Eien spoke in denial. "Die!"Bookmark here

Eien reminisced about Iroha once more. He remembered Osugitachi giving him a gun that he placed in his pocket before they arrived at the factory. He pulled it out and aimed directly at Rei, who froze in fear, death staring at him, with the barrel and sight bolted onto him.Bookmark here

At that moment, gunshots resonated throughout the air, deafening the present onlookers. A bullet ricocheted off the back wall, creating an obnoxious clinging sound. However, Eien fell to the ground, with his right arm spurting blood. The damage he sustained was non-lethal, and he dropped the gun to the floor, his arm dropping beside him. The gunshot sound emanated from behind Rei, and he felt a bullet pass his left shoulder, grazing it.Bookmark here

Rei turned around swiftly, staring in astonishment. Three metal cases were rolling on the floor beside Kei, who endeavoured to stand, creating clanging noises. The gun was already pointing at Rei, but Kei had already fired three bullets. The first missed, but the second pierced Eien's arm above his tricep, and the second penetrated the area between his neck and shoulder. A look of detest on Kei's face riddled his entire demeanour, painting it the same colour. Eien fell to his knees, picking up the gun he dropped with his left and throwing it against the wall, shattering it into pieces.Bookmark here

"Kill me..." Eien said, staring at the ground.Bookmark here

Rei turned around, walking up to Kei and helping him up, supporting him with his arm. Kei stared at Rei in confusion, but he could feel the brotherly bond between them reconnect after its absence.Bookmark here

"Rei..." Kei said. "What are you going to do now?"Bookmark here

"Listen. Eien. I'm not going to kill you. I don't know how you feel, and I never will. That woman means something to you. I can tell when all you do is stare at her. Live your life. You killed our parents in a fire, and you already know how it feels to lose a fight. The Bushido. You should know what that is if you learnt the Eternal Rule from the Masters." Rei spoke admonishing him, devoid of hatred.Bookmark here

Eien stood up sorrowfully, holding his arm, walking towards Iroha Hasaka's body. He sat in front of it with his legs crossed, and the brothers watched him.Bookmark here

"I do not exist. No one else should exist. I will return everyone to the fire, using fire." Eien said grievingly.Bookmark here

"Who is that woman to you?" Kei asked.Bookmark here

"No, Kei. Leave him. This is what the world really looks like. This is what it makes you feel." Rei added.Bookmark here

"Let's go. There's no way he can escape. The police should be here." Kei added.Bookmark here

The brothers left a distressed Eien Shihaisha behind, mourning the loss of the only person in the world dear to him. He could never reciprocate the feelings she showed him, nor did he understand what they meant. He could only feel and embrace them. They meant something to him. He never knew what that was, and he never would.Bookmark here

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