After treading through open landscape for hours on end, you finally reach headquarters. The night sky that flutters above you is glittering from the endless array of stars. A cold breeze sweeps by every so often, but apart from being able to see your cool breath, the weather does not seem to effect you in the slightest.
The main gate for Forte Valkyrie quakes in the distance and slowly pries itself open upon making eye contact with its leader. You swiftly walk past General Orez, the man in charge of assuring that the main gate only opens for those who are authorized. He cheerfully salutes you as you step past him.
"Glad to see you've returned safely, Commander Kiryu!"
Right, you remember. I still haven't told the others that Rem is no longer with us. The longer I wait, the more troublesome it'll be. Rem warned us to keep it a secret for the time being, but hasn't that time already passed? If the soldiers begin questioning this on their own, things will get complicated.
You step inside Valkyrie and briefly survey the surrounding area. Everything seems to be in order. The occasional soldier steps past you, never forgetting to salute you, of course, but this floor seems to be quite empty. After all, besides the prison and the exit, there is nothing to do down here. Rem always believed the first floor was the ideal location for a battle; if the enemy manages to breach the front gate and move past the first floor, it will be troublesome.
You head into the elevator and it takes you up to the second floor--the main area for the Commanders and yourself. Before long, Thrigon appears from behind and smacks his palm up against your back.
"So you were at a tournament, huh?"
"Piccolo, before he headed out to West City with the others."
"Has he come back yet?"
Both of you take a seat at the far end up the main room, leaning up against the wall.
"Nope, not yet. So did you win?"
"Heh heh, damn it." You gaze down at the ground--somewhat conflicted, somewhat uninterested, in meaningless chatter. "Kiryu, what exactly did you do when you were over there?"
"Our reputation has skyrocketed. I've been skimming a few newspapers and I'm seeing nothing but positive publicity about us. Not only that, but there's been a crazy amount of new recruits this last little while. More than I've ever seen. Like, not just the three guys you sent over here. I'm talking about a serious number of people. It's insane bro."
"The three guys I sent?"
Thrigon immediately stands up and snaps his attention to you, clearly shocked. "Yeah, Tien, Iron Mantis, and Lind Thrasher. You sent them, right!?"
"Oh. Yeah, those guys." Thrigon lets out a huge sigh and takes a seat beside you again, calmed down. "Tien came too? I didn't see him after the tournament. Figured he just wasn't interested."
"Quite the opposite, apparently. The guy fell in love with your final match. Said something about not even caring about who won. He hasn't really done anything besides train since he got here. You may have sparked something in him, you know?"
"Huh. Who knew..."
"Kiryu." You look over to Thrigon and wait for him to continue. "...So? What exactly did you do over there?"
"Ah," you say to yourself, remembering his initial question. "It isn't so much what I did, as it is what the Red Ribbon Army did."
"What do you mean?"
"They lost the support of the people. Because of the whole Dragon Ball scandal, they took away all of their troops and crime exploded. Not just in East City, either, apparently. From all over. And then, one of the highest ranked men in their entire organization came to the tournament and went out of his way to try and kill the one man who protected East City after the RRA decided to leave. Heh. They're done."
"To tell you the truth, I'm not at all surprised about the positive news about the Freeborn Military. The Red Ribbon Army, those who they looked up to for so long, has done nothing but screw them for the past couple of months. We don't need to do anything, really. Just being
a big military that doesn't f*** everything up is enough for the citizens. Though, me slaughtering the guy who tried to kill their savior certainly sped things up."
"I want a base built in East City. Nobody will reject the idea anymore. Sending a Commander, or hell, even a few Generals there, should definitely be enough to protect that place. It isn't about killing the competition, Thrigon. Once we get the support of the people, we win."
"On that topic, I had a question I wanted to ask you."
"Me, Kaiba, Echo, and Joseph are the only Commanders left. Dysect disappeared, Pitou betrayed us and died, and you got promoted. We need more Commanders to keep things running smoothly. At least two."
"That's a good point... Any suggestions?"
"Well, there's a lot of solid Generals here: White, Krillin, McGuy, Blue, Watson, John Giant. They're trustworthy and strong; with the right leadership, we can make them even more powerful too. Of course there is also Piccolo who is quite strong himself, but we, well, at least
I don't, know if he can be trusted. Same goes for that Tien guy. He's strong as hell, but I'd be lying if I said I trusted him."
"...Have you gotten smarter recently?"
"Sorry, sorry... I've just never seen you make a logical argument. I'm impressed."
"Shut the hell up."
"Hah. I'll think about it tonight. If I'm going to have a new base built in East City, I'll definitely need to promote a few Generals into Commanders. It might also be time to tell everybody that Rem is gone, but I don't know how well that will go over. Is Dysect really not coming back?"
"Kaiba went and talked to him, but, the guy refused to come back. Dysect is...messed up. I'm not going to pretend to know his story, so I ain't gonna say anything more, but he seems like a ticking time bomb."
You slowly shake your head. Dysect was always your superior when it came to combat. That gap may or may not have closed, but there has never been a doubt in your mind that he is one of the most competent fighters this world has ever known. Losing him is nothing to laugh at.
"Are you okay with me replacing Rem?"
"...I can't say." Thrigon exhales heavily and gently smacks his fist against the ground. "I consider you a really close friend, Kiryu. I pride myself on knowing you better than almost anybody else. You're definitely the best choice out of us Commander's to be Rem's heir, so in that sense, I can accept it."
"But...I just haven't accepted Rem's death yet. I...I can't accept it. He came to me when I was in a desperate time and saved me. Gave me a new life; a better one. For him to just be gone...forever...and I didn't even get to see it? To say goodbye? I just, I just can't accept it."
Thrigon rubs his arm over his eyes and looks away. You notice this, but make sure not to stare.
"Thanks for the answer."
"Yeah," Thrigon says while standing up and stretching. "'Night Kiryu."
Rem...you're gone, but you still haven't left. Will they ever accept me as the new leader? Will I ever accept myself as the new leader? There are all these questions, but you aren't here to answer them... You fold your hands over your forehead and slowly shake your head. "Did you...let yourself die?"
Blood spills onto the cold pavement of this underground chamber, sinking into the crevices of the ground. Commander Dysect rolls over onto his back and chokes on the endless amounts of fluids that continue to flood into his mouth. Using all his remaining strength, he pushes himself up against the wall and leans up against the sharp edges of the wall, panting all the while.
"I lost to that weakling...disgraceful."
Dysect uses his sole arm and grips the thigh closest to him. He tugs on it ruthlessly so that the palm of his bloodied foot rests flat on the ground, thus bending his knee.
"If I died here, nothing would change...nobody would care. Caw!" Another pile of blood squirts out of his mouth and splatters across his ripped pants. "...Yet I'm still struggling to live. Why am I clinging to my pathetic existence? 28 years of wasted life! I've accomplished nothing in this time!"
Angrily, Dysect rips off the remainders of his crimson painted shirt and wraps it around his aching forehead. His eyes slowly lose their strength--now drooping.
"Am I afraid to die? Afraid of what awaits me once I depart from this world--alone? ...No, that isn't it. Perhaps...perhaps I just can't accept dying after wasting so many years of my life. That's why I tried to take down as many Red Ribbon Soldiers as I could. Ending this miserable existence on a low point is unacceptable!" Dysect squeezes his palm tightly and rests his eyes.
"I will not die a failure..."
Silence. Not a sound can break into the confines of your bedroom. It has been a long while since you had a quiet night. Perhaps you haven't adapted to it yet. Once again, you toss over in your bed and rearrange the pillows to try and get comfortable. You can't seem to fall asleep.
Frustrated with your inability to get any sleep, you throw all the pillows off your bed and sit up. The air conditioner is keeping the room at the ideal temperature. You stand up throw a few jabs at the air, thinking that some exercise might help you sleep. After a few minutes of constant jabs, beads of sweat slip down your naked chest and sink into the carpet beneath. Each punch ruptures the air by making an odd screeching sound.
Finished with the light workout, you wipe the sweat off your body with a towel and have another seat on your king sized bed. You frown, feeling quite anxious. You aren't sure why, but something in the air has your instincts awakened.
"Tomorrow...I have a lot to do. Maybe that's why I can't sleep." You lay back down with your arms folded behind your neck and stare up at the ceiling. "At any rate, I need to figure out what I plan on doing tomorrow..."
A) What will Kiryu do tomorrow?
Author's Chapter Notes:
Beginning Of The Final Arc...