BE AWARE: This is an un-edited, un-beta read, un-proofread etc etc bonus story!
The main focus is on Silas and Shinta but, of course, the other characters will make their appearance as well. I’m not sure how this story fits in the general Himura Saga, and perhaps it never will be more than a side story. Who knows, the whole Himura Saga started out as short stories, and look how that ended.
I’d love to hear your opinions on it, so if you have the time, drop me a comment below. 🙂
“I don’t like it. We should be protecting him, not set him up as bait,” Feilon said.
“But it’s the only way to lure them out into the open and put a stop to this,” Shinta refuted. “We have waited it out long enough. It’s obvious they won’t stop now.”
“I’m going,” Silas said resolutely. “I’m sick and tired of staying cooped up inside like a caged animal!”
“Silas, it could be dangerous, we have no clue who we are up against,” Feilon insisted.
“Argh, Eclipse tell him!”
Eclipse raised his hands in defeat. “Maybe the boys are right, Feilon, this has been going on for too long. Maybe it is just a prank, an obsessed ex-boyfriend who can’t let go and we’re all disconcerted over nothing, or it is more serious. Either way, we can’t let it control our lives,” Eclipse said. “Besides, I have faith in Shinta. His strategic plans have never failed us, so if he thinks he can control the situation at the cocktail party, I don’t see a reason we wouldn’t seize the chance to put an end to it.”
“Thank you!” Silas sighed.
Feilon still didn’t look too happy about it, but relented. He knew Shinta would never unnecessarily jeopardize Silas’ safety, but something didn’t feel right about the whole situation and he sincerely hoped he wouldn’t come to regret agreeing to this.
Being the fledgling of one of the most powerful Methuselan Clan Leaders in the world, there weren’t too many things Silas felt in control of, and he hated how to most people that was all he was. His music was one of the few things he had built up from scratch. He hadn’t even allowed Eclipse to help him out. This was his. His music and his connections. He had busted his ass for years to get where he was now, damned if he’d let some psycho fuck it up.
The party wasn’t just any party; it was the culmination of all his efforts. He’d been invited to a cocktail party that would give him the opportunity to introduce him to big names in the music industry he tried hard to enter. It had taken him years to get as far as he had and a chance like this could lift his career to the next level.
Several more threatening letters had arrived in the weeks leading up to the party and although he didn’t show it, Shinta was unnerved by the unrelenting string of threads towards his protégé and best friend. Being a member of one of the richest and most influential families in the world, Silas had been the subject of threads on more than one occasion, but never had they been this tenacious. Usually, it would stop after he changed his phone number or when they didn’t get the reaction they had hoped for, but not this time. Though Silas pretended he wasn’t worried, he could see the other boy was nervous and on edge. No, this had to stop.
“Are you ready?” Shinta asked Silas as he stepped into his bedroom. The other boy had been taking forever to get finished, so he had gone in to see if he was alright. When he saw Silas was trying to bring order to the chaos that was his hair, he plopped down on the bed to watch his friend fidgeting with his hair.
Silas nodded but didn’t seem to have his usual glee before going to a party.
“Hey, look at me,” Shinta insisted, holding his friends’ face in both his hands. “I’ll be right there with you. I won’t let anything happen to you.”
Silas nodded. “I know you won’t. I simply want this to be over.”
Shinta grinned. “You just want to get back to your skirt-chasing days.”
That finally brought a smile back on his friend’s face.
When they finally came down, the others were already waiting for them.
“What about you?” Silas asked when he saw the twins too were gearing up.
“We’ll be on standby. The Makhai will secure the entire block around the venue,” Raenef explained.
“We’re not going to take any chances,” Shinta added.
Shinta watched amused from the sidelines as Silas was leisurely making his way from one group of people to the next, easily chatting up the girls as he went. No one noticed the slight stiffness in his shoulders or the surreptitious glances around the room.
When he saw Silas reach for an hors d’oeuvre from one of the many trays that were being passed around the room, he quickly made his way over. Before Silas could bite into it, he took it from his hands and ate it himself. “Was it poisoned?” Silas asked, alarmed.
“No, but there were shrimp inside, and you hate those.”
Silas smiled. “Always looking out for me.”
Shinta bowed and slipped away into the shadows once more. When he was in his official role of bodyguard, he always kept a respectful distance.
The evening was progressing nicely, and so far things had gone smoothly. Silas had met some nice producers who had offered to help him and he even met a club owner interested in letting him perform his music live in his club. Nothing seemed out of order, yet Shinta was sure something was brewing under the surface. He constantly checked in with the rest of the Makhai team stationed outside and with Feilon, but they too could detect nothing out of place. He was beginning to think that whoever had sent the threats wouldn’t show when his attention was caught by a man chatting up one of the waiters while simultaneously signaling to another man standing several feet away from him. From the angle Shinta was standing at, he couldn’t quite see what the man was doing, but when the waiter made a direct beeline to where Silas was standing, he knew something was up. He signaled the others to be on the alert while he made his way closer to Silas.
Silas gratefully took the glass of champagne offered by the waiter, yet wasn’t too surprised to feel Shinta at his side. With practiced ease, his Makhai unobtrusively took the glass from Silas and tasted the content, confirming his suspicion. Along with the exquisite taste of the Cristal champagne came the slightly bitter taste of poison. Any other person would have missed it, but Shinta had been trained by the best when it came to poisons, and he recognized it immediately. The dose had been high enough to kill almost instantly with one sip for a normal person. Due to his training as a Fuuma, Shinta was almost immune to most poisons, and it would have taken a lot more than just one sip for him to die from it. If the poison had even been administered by a fellow Methuselah, if not it wouldn’t have killed them at all.
Methuselah weren’t exactly immortal, but they came pretty close to it. They couldn’t die of old age, nor could they be killed by humans, not even with a stake through the heart—though it would hurt like a bitch. The only thing that could permanently end a vampire’s life, was by the hand of another vampire.
He casually disposed of the remaining champagne in the closest flower pot while his eyes were already scanning the room.
“Please tell me you just didn’t like the taste…” Silas said with a small voice.
Shinta wasn’t in the mood anymore for jokes though. “They’re here.”
Shinta quickly informed the rest of his team what transpired, but all he got in return was static. He cursed. Their equipment had never failed before, therefore the only other explanation was that whoever was behind the threats, had somehow managed to disable their communication network. Which meant they were good.
He started to lead Silas to one of the two exits from the room when he noticed movement from both sides. A waiter, whom Shinta was sure wasn’t on the staff list he’d checked earlier, stealthily placed himself in front of the exit they were moving towards. Conveniently cutting them off from the room where two other Makhai guards had been stationed undercover. Shinta was weighing his chances of simply taking out the waiter to clear the exit, when the lights flickered. Shinta felt something approaching at high speed even before a tiny reflection of light alerted him to the needle-thin darts flying seemingly out of nowhere towards his charge. By the time he realized what they were, it was already too late to dive for cover, thus he maneuvered himself between the darts and their intended target. He deflected two of the darts with one of the hidden blades he carried, but the last one lodged itself into his right shoulder.
When their assailants realized they had failed to take out their target again, they decided to take a more direct approach. They made their way over to them, no longer keeping up the farce of being guests. Their brusque way alerted the guests something was wrong, and people panicked. Shinta also dropped all pretenses and pulled Silas away from the windows and in the direction of the other exit, while making sure to keep himself between their assailants and his charge.
Suddenly more darts came flying from multiple directions and Shinta quickly pushed Silas out of the way. That’s when all hell broke loose.
Their assailants were on them, and it took all Shinta’s power to keep them off their backs. He had been trained as an assassin specializing in poison and close-range hand-to-hand combat wasn’t his forte. His weapons were all laced with poison though, so he only needed to scratch his opponents to deal a lethal blow. He quickly took out four of them, but the other two proved unwilling to meet their maker. They were more experienced as they had closely watched and analyzed his fighting techniques, using it against him now.
Thus far, he’d kept Silas out of harm’s way, but he knew it wouldn’t take long before they would be overpowered. He had been hit several times now with the darts, and by the burning sensation the small wounds caused, he knew they had been laced with poison.
“You’re a tough one, kid, I’ll give you that. But the poison is already spreading through your body like wildfire. In fact, I’m surprised you can still stand. You’ll meet your end here, and you know it,” one of the assailants taunted.
“I’ve got no problem with that, but I’ll take you with me to the deepest corners of hell,” Shinta replied.
His opponent laughed. “Even if you do manage to kill me, there are more men outside. Your little charge over there will not get out. When our boss wants something, he gets it. And this time, it’s his head,” he said, pointing at Silas.
“Maybe he needs a lesson in humility then, cause he will not have his way this time,” Shinta said conversationally as he lashed out at the same time with his hidden short sword.
Grabbing a smoke bomb, he grabbed for Silas’ hand and ran for the nearest exit.
Shinta had hoped his backup would have realized something was wrong by now and would be ready for them, but instead, a hail of bullets whizzed towards them the second they entered the hallway. They ducked behind a huge vase, but when that didn’t prove to hold up against the onslaught of bullets, they made a run for the hallway towards the kitchens. They raced through the kitchen, paying no heed to the confused staff.
Shinta thanked his stars for making it a point to imprint the blueprints of the venues to memory, as he now knew any nook and cranny of the place. They were now on the second floor of the venue on the backside of the building. He made a quick left at the end of the kitchen, still dragging Silas behind him, where he knew a small landing would lead them to the fire escape that ended in a small alley. He figured they would be safe there and be able to make their way down to the street and in sight of their backup.
Shinta carefully opened the door to the fire escape, but as soon as he poked his head out, bullets were flying. He hastily pulled back inside and closed the heavy fire door.
“How many of them are there?!” Silas said.
Good question. Shinta thought. For he too was surprised at the manpower they were up against. Not only were they highly trained, but they also had lots of men on their side. And where the hell were their own men?! “Don’t worry, I’ll get you out of here,” Shinta said.
As the words left his mouth, he realized the tables had turned on them; It was no longer about hunting the stalker, now they were the ones being hunted.
“What about the back-up? Didn’t Raenef say there was a team on standby? Maybe we should try to make it back to them…” Silas asked.
“I don’t know, Silas, they somehow managed to cut our lines of communications off, so I can’t contact the others. They should know that something is wrong by now and I’m sure they’ll do what they can.” He couldn’t tell Silas something must have gone awfully wrong for their backup to still not having arrived. “For now, we have to leave here, they now know where we are.”
They made their way through a maze of empty corridors and hallways, trying to stay out of sight as much as possible.
They were eventually cornered on a small landing on the east side of the building. Shinta pushed Silas back into the corner and once again drew his short sword. He pretended to lash out at the closest attacker, but at the last moment veered to his left, leaving his flank open for attack. His opponent, thinking he had him, grinned and swung his sword in a downward arch, but just as it was about to slash Shinta wide open, the blade came to a screeching halt on the iron railing of the staircase sending sparks everywhere. With wide eyes he numbly watched as Shinta turned and thrust his sword into his throat, killing him instantly.
The second attacker wasted no time in swinging his blade as he was still hulking down the last flight of stairs like a grizzly bear. The man looked made of pure muscle and Shinta realized he had to take him out fast, because there was no way in hell he could block the hits of this man. Keeping his own body as low to the ground as he possibly could, he charged at the man, using his own smaller form to his full advantage. He swept from below, ducking under the blow of his attacker and slashed the man’s calves. The man roared and toppled over down the last few steps, his weight bringing Shinta down with him, knocking the wind out of his lungs when they hit the ground hard.
For a moment Shinta was stunned, desperately trying to suck the air back into his burning lungs. The man had come to his senses again and before Shinta had regained his breath, a pair of strong hands tightened themselves like a vice around his throat. Just as his vision blurred, the stronghold on his throat all but disappeared. A spray of blood washed over his face as the man pinning him down coughed up blood and convulsed on top of him.
Took him long enough.
After several long seconds, the man stopped moving at all, as the poison from Shinta’s sword had finally found its way to the man’s heart, killing him swiftly.
“A little help would be nice here…” Shinta called out to his friend while struggling to get out from under the man’s bulky weight.
As if he finally came to his senses, Silas hurried over to him and helped to pull the man off. “Still alive there?” Silas asked worriedly.
“Being smothered to death by old men is not on my bucket list, thank you very much!”.
“You could have fooled me.”
Shinta chuckled. They had been through so many shitty things together, and humor has always been the one thing that kept them both going. “If you tell anyone I was nearly hugged to death by the Hulk here, I’ll kill you myself!”
Silas held out his hand to pull Shinta back on his feet. Once he was on his feet though, the universe tilted and he had to lean heavily on his friend not to fall. He quickly did a mental check of his body and noticed that his breathing was still labored and his heart was racing. Both his hands and feet felt as if a bad acupuncturist had tortured them, a feeling he knew would soon progress into numbness and eventually paralysis. And then there was the pain, a burning sensation throughout his entire body that was increasing at an alarming rate. He knew he had to get them out of the building and to safety soon, or the poison he’d taken in by both the champagne and the attacks would finally catch up to his immune system and succumb him. Though he was trained to withstand the effects of most poisons and had developed quite a high tolerance for it, not even his body was completely immune to it. The running and fighting had only spread the poison that much faster through his system and with the dosage he had coursing through his body, his chances did not look promising.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” Silas asked, sincere worry now lacing his words.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” But his voice sounded winded, even to his own ears. “Come on, we better find a place to hide out until the back-up team finds us,” he said, pushing himself off the wall and towards the stairs, stifling the pain as best he could as he did.
Shinta expected the top floors to be crawling with the enemy by now, and the gunfire they had encountered in the alley was a solid reminder they had the exit covered too.
Come on. This is what you do best. Think!
Being raised a Fuuma, assassination was his trade. But what he really excelled at was his analytic skills that could see almost a dozen steps ahead, making him a brilliant tactician. Seeing possibilities where others saw none. Right now though, their options were diminishing fast.
Since the strength in his arms was quickly weakening, he reasoned their best chance was to find a place they could hide in. With a bit of luck their people would find them first, if not, it would at least offer them cover.
Shinta grudgingly pulled out his handgun. Though he was trained in using it, he hardly ever used it outside the shooting range as, like most vampires, he preferred the use of more traditional weapons. But as the strength was quickly seeping from his arms and hands, those were no longer a reliable option.
They finally made their way into the basement, and after almost tumbling down the rickety stairs, they hid behind a pile of stacked wooden crates, providing them with some cover and an unobstructed view of the basement door.
Shinta was drenched in a cold sweat and his heart was about to explode from his chest. He’d lost almost all feeling in his upper and lower extremities, the rest of his body was wracked by pains, and his vision was swimming. The only thing keeping him going was the all-consuming need to keep his friend safe.
Silas wasn’t just his charge. From the moment he’d met the other boy, there had been a click between them. Silas was his best friend, lover, and brother in arms. He’d die for Silas, and not because it was his duty.
“You should sit down, Shinta. You can barely stand on your feet!” Silas urged.
“I’ll be fine. More than enough time to sleep later.”
Silas dropped the argument, knowing he couldn’t sway his friend once he’d put his mind to something. “Do you think the others made it out ok?”
“I’m sure of it. They weren’t after anyone else but you. The others should be fine,” even talking became quite the task now.
“I should have never pushed him for letting me go to the stupid party. I should have listened for once…”
“Silas, it wasn’t your fault. If anyone’s, it’s mine. I’m responsible for yo–” A sudden rattle on the basement’s door silenced them both.
A quick glance between the two friends before Shinta quickly pulled out his sword and pushed it into Silas’ hands.
Shinta swallowed. He knew how to use it, but Shinta handing him the weapon did not bode well.
“Don’t hesitate,” Shinta said, flicking the safety off his rarely used handgun and took aim at the door as best he could through his swimming vision. He could barely see anything at all and he aimed below the only thing he could still make out, the emergency light above the door. Not much to go by, but their only chance of survival.
The seconds seemed to last forever as the feeble lock on the door was being rattled. Neither Shinta nor Silas had any illusions about the rusted thing holding up against any kind of force.
Suddenly time caught up and everything seemed to happen at the same time as the lock gave in and the door swung open. Through a cloud of dust they could make out the silhouettes of people making their way down the stairs.
Silas didn’t wait for them to come any closer and fired two shots, hoping at least one would hit their targets. But it was like firing blind, as his vision was clouding and blackness was creeping in left, right and center. Shouts were coming from the top of the stairs, but his ears were ringing and he couldn’t make out anymore what they were saying. It wasn’t until he felt Silas pulling down his gun arm that he was aware Silas was yelling at him as well.
It took all his willpower to focus on what Silas was trying to tell him.
“It’s okay, they’re here, they found us!” Silas said, relief clear in his eyes.
Shinta turned to the basement stairs, still not entirely sure what was happening. All he could make out through the haze in his mind was more and more people coming down the stairs. Flooding the basement and rapidly making their way over to their little hideout. Shinta tried to aim his gun, but his arms wouldn’t obey and spasmed helplessly at his sides, the gun slipping from his fingers, falling to the concrete floor.
The next thing he knew was that he was being held by his Master. Not that he could see him anymore, but the Bond with his Master told him who he was, and he dazedly realized the back-up team must have arrived. They found us….
Now that they were finally safe, he could feel the life quickly leaving him. Just one more thing…
“Master… S…Silas… Please take over–” Before he could finish his request though, he collapsed.
Shinta was only vaguely aware of being lifted and voices all around him, but all he could feel was a numb cold, spreading quickly throughout his body.
“Shinta!” Insistent shouts broke through the darkness and with all the will he could muster, he opened his eyes. He wasn’t sure he’d succeeded as it was just as dark as before he opened them. But whoever was talking to him seemed happy, and the jostling of his body stopped.
“Shinta what antidote do you need?” an urgent voice.
“Shinta stay with me! What did they use? SHINTA!”
He was already drifting away when a sudden surge of energy shocked him back into awareness again, making him groan as the pain also flared back into existence.
“Shinta! What did they use? Tell me!” Feilon insisted.
Ah yes, the poison… He knew there was something important he needed to tell them before passing out. He tried to form words, but his tongue seemed glued to his mouth, and his vocal cords seemed to be non-existing.
Feilon seemed to understand his problem and started listing colors. “Red? Yellow? Green? Blue? White?”
Shinta desperately tried to wrangle some kind of reaction from his uncooperative body at hearing the right color.
“White? Is that the one you need?” Feilon asked.
A frustrated jerk of the boy’s head seemed to suggest otherwise.
An almost imperceptible nod, and then the boy started convulsing, making any form of communication impossible.
“What are you doing? What’s with the colors? We need to know what poison he ingested!” Silas said angrily.
“I know, that’s what the colors are for. He has all his antidotes labeled with colors so that in case of an emergency, we too know which ones to use,” Toshiro explained while going through Shinta’s gear.
Stowed in a side pocket, Toshiro found the small red case he knew was there. His fingers almost flew over the keypad to open it. In the case were over two dozen small vials, each with small tags on them with handwritten symbols. Each contained deadly toxins and its antidotes. Toshiro searched through them until he found what he was looking for; A vial labeled with C17H23NO3 and a blue strip taped around the bottom of the vial.
“Are you sure this is the one? Maybe we should run a blood test first… Besides, we don’t even know the dosage…” Silas argued. Shinta had warned him on various occasions that an antidote was often nothing more than a poison that counteracted another poison. If used incorrectly, it could kill as surely as the one you were taking it for.
“There is no time for tests. He’s dying,” Raenef said as he pushed even more of his Mana, or life energy, into the convulsing boy whose lips and fingers had now turned to a ghastly blue-gray color. “We have to rely on his intelligence. He prepared these vials himself, I’m sure he measured them by dosage.”
Feilon nodded when Toshiro looked to him for guidance. “Raenef is right, we just have to have faith in him now.”
Toshiro hesitated no longer and filled a syringe with the clear liquid inside, careful not to spill any. Once done, he made sure there was no more air in it before handing it over to Raenef.
“Hold him down,” Raenef instructed.
Once they had him tightly pinned Raenef quickly injected him with what was hopefully the antidote.
For several long minutes the only sounds in the room were of the still writhing boy’s choking sounds.
“Shouldn’t it have worked by now? Maybe we gave him the wrong one… Please Raenef do something!” Silas said panicked while pulling on Raenef’s arm.
Eclipse pulled him in his arms. “Raenef’s doing everything he can, you know he is.”
When Shinta’s condition only seemed to worsen, Raenef used even more of his Mana to force the antidote through his system even faster, hoping it wouldn’t be too late. After several more long minutes of agonizing pain, his body suddenly fell limply to the stretcher, frightening them all.
“NO NO NO! SHINTA!” Raenef suddenly yelled.
“What’s going on? Raenef?!” Feilon said, alarmed.
“He’s going into cardiac arrest!” Raenef said, already performing CPR.
The next hour went by in a blur as they could do nothing more than witness the drama unfolding before their eyes. Raenef did the best he could, trying to keep the boy alive, but he too was running out of energy and couldn’t hold on much longer. The doctor was administering a whole range of medicines in a feeble attempt to keep his vital signs as stable as they could.
“He’s going to make it, isn’t he?” Silas said hoarsely.
No one answered.