X = Y
Walking up the stairs, both brothers were in excruciating pain, hiding it from each other to feel courageous and lion-hearted. To stand alongside each other again, valiantly successful in their mind, but a beholder would conclude their defeat. Earnestly, they strode towards the light, vividly imaging it was a sign of peace, and their lives would end tranquilly if they walked further ahead. That was the extent of their fatigue, but for Rei, it was brutality inclining towards slaughter inflicted on his body.
Disillusioned by blood-shed and ravenous criminals annihilating each other with fists and guns, the brothers gawked at the bloodletting, expressing severe disbelief that a fight of this calibre raged onwards, without end in sight.
Osugitachi noticed that the brothers escaped the abyss they entered not too long ago, but Eien was not present. Presumably vanquished, fear arose from Osugitachi, who continued to murder the gangsters that rebelled against his liege.
"They're here...but where's my liege...Eien..." Osugitachi pondered, devastated by that abrupt revelation.
The overt, banal, irksome sounds of sirens blaring in the distance grew closer. The sounds of gunfire, the battle cries, and the moaning of injured gangsters were too overbearing for anyone to hear. The police parked on the side, seizing all the cars and pulling out batons and guns. The cavalry that arrived was colossal compared to the two gangs at war.
"Hey, Rei. Let's go, quickly! Whilst the police are still here!" Kei exclaimed.
"Yeah! Just stick with me. We'll get out of this alive!" Rei yelled.
Rei dashed through the mob, weaving and bobbing his head, punching anyone in his way. Above, below, or to his sides, Rei protected his brother from harm, shielding him like an iron wall. They moved lethargically after sustaining many injuries that inhibited their movements.
Ultimately, they made it to the factory's exit, taking cover amongst the police force that raided the factory, and the ensuing brawl continued. The police effortlessly detained all the criminals and stopped the war, apprehending everyone.
Osugitachi Ehamame was a lone survivor, fighting against the police using Judo to submit him, but his arrest was inevitable. Osugitachi was outnumbered against the police and was thrown to the ground, locked into submission, cuffs shackled around his hands. His face was kissing the ground, and he was pulled up by his arms, relishing his time in power and his developing relation with Eien. A friend to him, but a nobody to the world, Osugitachi was pleased with the outcome, accepting his defeat, humbling himself.
"This is it...Eien. It's over...People like us were never meant to have that power..." Osugitachi thought to himself.
Escorted out of the factory, the remaining gangsters in handcuffs were lead to the multitude of police cars parked on the street. Gradually, more units were lining the streets. The ambulance and cleaning services collected the corpses, piling them up like droves.
"It's really over...Do you think he'll try to escape this time?" Kei asked Rei, peering at him.
The underneath of their eyes was black, weary from their journey to find their parent's assailants over the past week, harbouring hope that nothing unexpected would attack them.
"I don't know...After all the things he did, he knows he can't escape. How long do you think it took him to realise that it was over." Rei responded.
The brothers were observant, watching all of this unfold, but unfamiliar faces approached them fast. The Superintendent of the Akugawa branch Police Department, Tatsuoko Koedan, came rushing in towards them. A squad of police officers sprinted towards them, behind Tatsuoko, along with the Superintendent of the Tekafumo branch, Danjuro Hagaki.
"What's going on?" Kei asked, bemused and terrified.
"I'm sorry, Detective Kei Hirojima. We're arresting your brother...your twin..." Superintendent Tatsuoko regretfully said.
"What..." Kei responded in disbelief.
Kei was immediately overwhelmed by horror. The illusion that everything was normal was nothing short of a farce. His heart quaked, his existential angst blighted his cognisance, causing tumultuous thoughts to affect his mentality. His eyes broadened, and his face seethed with dread, proclaiming the ineffectiveness of his actions if he chose to rebel.
"Twins? I've heard good things about you, Kei Hirojima. I'm sorry for everything, but your brother isn't exempt from the law. No one is." Superintendent Danjuro Hagaki spoke sympathetically.
"No...you can't...I'm a detective. I have authority...Don't take Rei away from me...I'm not going to allow it. Please..." Kei added, verging on tears.
"Hey...Kei...It's fine." Rei said, smiling kindly at Kei.
"What did he do? Tell me!" Kei yelled, expressing underlying anger.
"He hospitalised thirty people, either killing them, or sending them into a comatose condition." Superintendent Danjuro Hagaki affirmed.
"What...when..." Kei replied with incredulity.
An amalgam of clashing emotions made Kei uncertain of what to feel. From awe to distress, veneration to heart-rending anguish, such confliction torn him into pieces.
"No! This isn't fine! It's not fine!" Kei yelled, reprimanding Rei.
"Yes, it is, Kei-" Rei smiled, but it quickly morphed into surprise as Kei curtly intervened.
"You haven't changed...You can't go..." Kei added inconsolably.
"What do you want me to do? It's over! I ran away from the police all those years ago, and now you want me to run from them again? I thought you wanted justice? This is-" Rei was interrupted yet again, maintaining his empathetic smile.
"This is not what I wanted! I wouldn't wish for this..." Kei yelled, tears flowing from his face, whilst Rei faced the officers.
"Officers. Listen. Eien Shihaisha, the leader of all of this, is down those stairs. End this all, please...for our sake." Rei said calmly, smiling.
"Four of you. Go down there and secure Eien Shihaisha." Superintendent Danjuro Hagaki said, commanding the officers valorously.
"Yes, Superintendent! Stick together. Secure the area down there first, and do not let him move." The officer in charge of the newly formed unit stated.
Four officers from behind Danjuro ran towards the aperture leading into an abyss.
"Are you going to resist?" Superintendent Danjuro Hagaki asked, now feeling an inkling of regret, empathising with Kei.
Superintendent Masazaki Hamabe replaced Rei's supportive position, now helping Kei walk. Rei moved out of the way, now smiling mischievously.
"Then...I'll fight for you in court-" Kei was interrupted by Rei this time.
"Hey, Kei. I've got your back, and you've got mine. Always..." Rei smiled tenderly, making light of the situation.
Rei placed his fists out in front of himself, inciting his acceptance to the officers. The officer in front cuffed his hands, and he walked away with a light heart and a mind at rest. Those departing words voiced by Rei resonated with Kei, and his heartfelt apology conveyed through his final words expressed gratitude and sincerity. He accepted them wholly, whilst swollen tears streamed down Kei's face, and he slumped down against the Superintendent.
"The pain...my chest..." Kei said in agony, holding his chest, gripping his clothes.
"Let's get you to the hospital." Superintendent Masazaki Hamabe stated, taking Kei with him. "Rei Hirojima. A fine man indeed. He sacrificed his life to save the person who sacrificed other people's lives, stopping the cycle of blooshed." he added unfeignedly.
Upon hearing that sonata of valour, obeisance and lamentation coalesced inside Kei's psyche, shattering his calm outwardly presence. Like rivers with no known end in sight, tears abundantly formed and streaked down his face. He turned his head away in shame, not being able to protect the brother who did to him for those five years, yet the reverence and deep admiration for his brother never would fade that day.
Meanwhile, Eien loomed over the body of Iroha Hasaka as the four police officers entered the spherical room. Despair disseminated throughout the expanse, and the police officers ran in, equipping themselves with batons that rested on their belts. Encircling Eien, they were perplexed by his inactivity. They watched quietly, waiting for the dreary Eien to react to a stimulus, whether it was their movement or a faint breeze that would awaken him.
In his mind, he thought of every single moment that brought him to this point. The remorse that mauled his heart, perpetuating from the memories of his life, and the sorrow he felt was something he failed to embrace. Though, he accepted its existence, acknowledging its vital requirement in life for humanity to exist, which lead him to act how he did.
This is the story of Eien Shihaisha, the Eternal Ruler. Twenty-five years ago, in Machira Town, gangs were roaming around, enshrouded in darkness. Secluded from the world, they operated without those on the surface knowing. A boy was born on this day out of wedlock, in the shadows of terror, where no one could record his birth.
His mother was a member of a small gang. She had nothing to turn towards, nor a future she could believe in wholeheartedly. His father was a brilliant doctor, assisting the same self-declared freedom fighters in destroying the police who unfairly tormented, and demolished, the lives of innocent civilians.
Eien's mother was a ruthless, vicious woman who had a soft spot within her heart. His father was a kind, sincere, selfless individual who wished to save everyone human that lived. Two people who had conflicting ideals fell in love and gave birth to him.
His birth was a mistake, they proclaimed. His birth was unintended, the yelled. The weight of a child, and the responsibilities that came with it, were too overwhelming for them. They disappeared from the gang, separating from each other, leaving behind a boy at the mercy of the world.
Thinking that their actions would have no ramifications, the nameless boy grew into someone who would soon be unrecognisable to them. The love of a mother, and the respect from a father, he did not know. The touch of a mother, and the pride of a father, would not know him, even if fate had them meet again.
Growing up inside of an abandoned, dilapidated warehouse, he sat there day and night, waiting for gang members to feed and clothe him. He learnt how to speak and read, but they had no intention to teach him. He was astute, learning from what he heard, and examined his surroundings. Unamiable and pitiless, they disregarded the three-year-old who stared torpidly, hopeless, enervated. His eyes could see them circling him, shouting similar things, drilling a single vile idea into his mind.
"Your mother and father left you, kid! You have nowhere to go!" they shouted, laughing hysterically.
"You're disgusting to look at! Don't stare at me. No wonder your parents left you!" another said, staring repulsively.
"Go away! You're a waste of space. Your parents hated you! That's why they left!" they added, cackling sinisterly.
"What can you do?! You're useless! You don't mean anything to anyone! Your life means nothing!" the rest shouted, loathing him.
The nameless boy was nothing but a burden to the gang. But, one day, inside of the abandoned warehouse, they brought wood and documents to burn. With their lighters and matchsticks, they ignited an enormous pile of flammable material. Enthralled by the warmth he felt and the luminescent flames, he walked closer to it, sitting down beside it. His hand tried grasping the embers, but they slipped through, rising to the sky. Helpless to its magnificence, feeling magnanimity enveloping him, his existence beguiled, immersing him deeply.
It was tender, and it adored him. It was affectionate and kind, promising never to betray him. The flames were unchanging. The feeling of belonging unravelled his heart, opening the doors to a new world where he felt serene and blessed. The flames that rose, that continued to burn brightly, illuminating his dark path, he revered it all, embracing it entirely. That towering presence, like a mother looking lovingly at his child, he never knew he needed it.
At the age of five, he wandered the streets of Machira Town, alone in the dark. Desolation in his manner and destitute, the rain battered his being, unrelenting in its stride. The world rejected him, never taking a chance to understand the truth that lay dormant within himself. In his hand was a torn teddy bear he found on the streets. Lacking fear or empathy, he picked it up, curious about what it was, but it was inefficacious in fulfilling his needs.
He carried on walking, but he did not know what he desired, for he was neglected, and that neglect embellished itself, making him feel estrangement. An old man who radiated with wisdom and experience took pity on the nameless boy. His lifeless eyes were something precious to the elder, wishing to instil life and help the boy. The thought of witnessing a flower flourish and blossom was what he desired, the fulfilment enrapturing him, giving more meaning to his life.
The nameless boy, taken by the elder to his home in another town, travelling for two days, found respite in his new abode. Bestowed unto him, the name Jakuemon Furutoku now belonged to him, and him alone. No one could take his name away, for it was his identity that he could cherish, but he was unable to.
He grew strong with the help of a pitiful man, who wished nothing but the best. Finally, he would be loved, but it came at a steep cost. The master was unrelenting in the regime he imposed onto the boy, admonishing him, reprimanding him. A cold shoulder was far from the fire that adored him.
"Get up, Jakuemon! The weak are the ones who remain on the ground! The strong are the ones who fight!" he exclaimed angrily, frightening the boy.
His emotions were reserved, and he rose like the flames, apathetic, seeking something but incapable of understanding its true nature. Berated by his master's words, inflicted with wounds tunnelling deeper through his skin, he learnt how to hunt and fight. He lifted the trunks and stumps of trees, lumbered wood, slammed heavy steel doors disguised as panels, and understood how to live independently.
It was now time, for the ultimate fighting technique in the world would crown him as a being transcendent of humans. The fourteen-year-old boy, prepared in the eyes of his master, would surpass those before him. They sat down together, the master showing affection towards him, but the haze in his eyes prevented the boy from discerning the sentiment.
"Jakuemon. You will learn the Eternal Rule. I will teach you, and you will accept it." the master spoke harshly.
"Eternal Rule? What is that..." the boy asked inexpressively.
"The ultimate fighting technique. One that has no true counter." the elder replied.
For a single year, he assimilated with the principle of the Eternal Rule, learning faster than the elder had ever seen. Assuring himself that the boy was ready to dismantle the world and rebuild it anew, he brought him into the Subterranean after hiding him for those ten years. Every onlooker became amazed by his raw power — his skill was unmatched, and his aptitude was unparalleled compared to those in his fighting class. The degree of his endowment and the extent to which it reached was unfathomably remarkable.
The cheering of the crowd, the praised he earned, meant nothing to him. He did not know how to respond, nor did he know an appropriate way to react or whether it was acceptable for him to feel something. He was stolid. Completely. Emotionless. Entirely.
A month had passed, and a sinister presence loomed around the ring in the arena of the Subterranean. Aghast, frightened by his power, their excitement turned into raw, harrowing terror. They understood who the Eternal Ruler was, the vast capabilities of his merciless power at his disposal, with his menacing grin visible that extolled his despicable actions.
Blood dripping from his fists, and the corpse of an unsuspecting victim, dressed the boy in his true colours. The elders wanted no connection to him, forcing the master to take responsibility. For, the world was unfair to him, and he wished to belong, but they aspired to kill him, scheming behind his back. Immoralisitc, the boy knew no better than to kill, never being taught the difference between good and evil. The compassion, sincerity, or tender love that a person would be given, he never received, for you cannot give what you do not have.
His master acted clemently, releasing him from his care behind the elder's observant eyes, allowing him to be free from the world. Indifferent about his situation, the nameless boy wandered through the mountains, back to his home. Machira Town.
Wearing a kamishimo, he entered the place he once called home, the dilapidated warehouse. The gangsters questioned who he was, but he was disobedient and malignant. He fought those who opposed him, and they accepted him, and there was a group of them at the back, adulating his power.
"Your power...Someone strong like you...Why are you here?" asked the one called Jin, wearing a black kamishimo.
"Who are you three? Do you want to return to the flames?" the boy responded, smiling apathetically.
"No...no...What is your name?" the one called Ehamame said, astonished by his strength.
"My name? It is Eien Shihaisha. I do not exist, and no one else should. Only the fire will..." the boy added.
"What is it that you want." the one called Toyoda asked.
"For the fire to return...for no one to exist like me..." Eien added. "I will kill anyone that stands in my way..."
"Osugitachi. Do you trust him?" Toyoda asked.
"Take us with you! I want to destroy the police! My older brother was a doctor...and they arrested him even though he was a good man! Now I'm stuck here, finishing what he started." Ehamame exclaimed, pleading to the boy.
"What about you two? Do you wish to follow?" the boy spoke ominously.
"Yeah...your power is incredible...but first we need money to do anything." Jin advised.
"That will be hard, but with his power, it will be easy. I can hack, but its no good if we get caught when executing the plan." Toyoda added.
"Then do what you can. I will do whatever I need..." the boy spoke with his menacing grin growing wider.
For five years, the boy and his friends — his generals — infiltrated gangs, working for hire and making money. They slaughtered without remorse, stole without questioning their morals, and gained their trust. Leaving the dead in their wake, they established an empire with the bodies of the people they killed as its foundation, and the Eternal Ruler was their king.
On a fated night, they entered the residence of a wealthy family. Gathering intel, they knocked on the door and found the tenants inside. They broke in and attacked the father, knocking him out. The mother was crying, frightened for her life. They stole everything, and the generals commanded their king to leave, but he saw an opportunity and seized its fruits. In their living room, the mother was on the ground, kneeling beside her husband.
The boy grabbed a matchstick and ignited it, setting fire to the entire house needlessly. They left with the riches, but there were ramifications to his actions, and they would grow so large even he could not restrain them. There were two children to him, standing there, sorrow imbued their hearts, and they felt hopeless, for he lacked compassion to care.
They moved into Toshi City months after, and the boy met a benevolent woman who embraced him with her arms, never letting him go. They were inside her tailoring shop, and the boy became proficient in sewing and using the sewing machine with a month's practice. They were sitting down together, sewing with a needle, and he wore the clothes she bought him out of kindness.
"Eien. You like the fire, don't you? Then you'll enjoy the fireworks show tonight! There will be all sorts of colours and it'll be fun!" the woman exclaimed.
"Fire?" the boy responded.
"Yeah! We have the rest of the day! Let's do something fun." the woman exclaimed, standing up and grabbing his arms.
"Fun?" the boy responded in confusion.
The boy and the woman went to an ice cream shop, and they sat down on the grass in a nearby park, admiring the scenery. The joyous children who ran around, heedless to the world, were enjoying their time. Delight transpired within the woman, and they ate together. She gazed at the boy, eating messily, and she brought out a soft velvet handkerchief. With it, she wiped the ice cream off his lip and cheek, smiling at him when he returned a look of confusion.
"My, my, Eien," she said, giggling with joy. "If you want more, then you can ask!" she responded, taking a bite into the cone, expressing glee.
After finishing the ice cream, she stood up, and the boy stared at her emotionlessly. She grabbed his cheeks and stretched them out, forcing a strange smile.
"Smile, Eien! You look so kind with a smile!" she exclaimed, wiggling his cheeks and giggling. "See! Even you can do it too!"
"A smile..." Eien responded.
She let go of his cheeks and gazed, loving how innocent he was to emotion or how he reacted in the awkward situations she placed him in.
Late into the night, the boy and the woman sat on a grassy hill, surrounded by other couples and families, spectators to the firework show. They burst into the sky, exploding vividly, with vibrant colours. The boy became engaged at first, but it turned into awe, transpiring into an endearment. He was enthralled, absolutely absorbed in the fire's luminescence. The feeling of seeing it, and the woman sitting beside him, loving his being, is when he felt a sense of belonging. He was acquiescent, but it never flourished further.
"Isn't it pretty, Eien!" the woman spoke softly. "In the night sky, you only get to see this once.
She felt something rest on her shoulder and turned to her right. The boys head was relaxed against her shoulder, sleeping peacefully. She smiled, comprehending how tired he was from their day-long adventure, admiring the fireworks.
"Eien. I wonder all the time...what my life would be like without meeting the people I did. Without my father and mother...and most importantly, without you."
The loneliness in her heart settled, disappearing forever. For that boy was the key to her heart, and she was the answer to the love he was searching for without ever realising.
Four years passed, and the once nameless boy grew accustomed to his life at her store, living with her, cherishing the memories with her, but never sympathising, for he was incapable. At the pinnacle of his power in the gangster world, he never wanted to involve her, with the sliver of kindness gifted to him, vowing to protect her.
Now sitting in front of Iroha Hasaka's body and the police encircling him, Eien looked up once more. He felt strange, and something was gliding down his face. He touched it and stared at the substance that glistened on his fingers, intriguing him. The police understood what happened, and how he felt, but he was the only one alive in a sea of bodies and miasma. They cuffed him, with his right arm broken, and he walked out of the spherical room, loving Iroha Hasaka without knowing he could.