Chapter 3: A Decision
The trio had reached the end of the training regimen. Almost nothing was said between Shen and Akali, making Kennen believe that perhaps something was wrong with the two. Did something happen without his knowing? He couldn’t answer that one. He was always the first one to leave their resting period, but this time Akali was the first. Kennen cocked his head when he saw his colleague leave the two of them without so much as a good bye.
“Is there something going on between you two?” The yordle asked Shen. The ninja took a deep breath.
“No. She is upset about another matter,” Shen replied without even looking towards Kennen. “It would be best to leave her be. She can be a bit irrational, despite her duties.”
Kennen didn’t find any sort of usefulness in ever having a conversation with Shen. He answered questions vaguely and spoke with a vocabulary he could barely keep up with. Instead, the yordle found it best to just listen to Shen and follow what he said as best he could. With that thought, he left his leader alone in the gardens to continue his meditation. Besides, he and Fizz had a nice little trick they were going to pull on Rumble.
Shen took a breath of relief when Yi joined him, sitting next to the ninja. “It seems that your colleagues find no use in looking within themselves,” Yi said as Wukong sat down on the opposite side of the ninja.
“We’ve had this conversation before. They do not have the responsibility of judging as I do,” Shen explained, noticing Wukong staring off in the distance. “If I had no such duty, I’d surely be out, enjoying myself as they do.”
“Ah, but you know the importance of your position. Not many others would be willing to put aside their lives to fulfill a task such as the one you posses,” Yi said before smacking Wukong over the head with a stick that appeared from seemingly nowhere. Shen laughed slightly as Wukong held his head and curled up on the ground, groaning in pain.
“I do not completely forsake my life. I still do…things to keep myself entertained,” Shen replied.
“I’ve always been meaning to ask you. How is it that you are able to keep yourself free of bias?” Yi asked.
“I simply do what must be done. It takes meditation but also strong loyalty. A loyalty that sometimes I wish I didn’t have. I am only following orders, but it brings me to perform actions that do not please me at times,” Shen responded. Yi merely hummed his understanding before whacking Wukong again as the monkey tried to disturb the ninja’s meditation. Another silent laugh escaped from Shen.
“Do you understand me Shen?” The council member asked. Shen’s attention instantly snapped from its occupation to register what the man had said. Did the council really want him to do such a horrible act? Shen sometimes questioned the council, but he was a loyal man and treachery was never an option for him.
The ninja nodded, “Yes sir. I understand the circumstances,” He whispered. “If I am allowed to ask a question, wouldn’t such a task disrupt the balance in the cycle of life?” Shen asked trying to get out of the situation he was forced in.
“A man on a wire slipping right must tip himself left to stay upon the wire. Such is the case now. It is your place to judge these things, but we have noted you of the consequences,” The councilman replied. “If there are no more questions, I will be on my way,” He said before disappearing in a puff of smoke. Shen merely stood in his place motionless. Most decisions he made could make men’s knees buckle. Sometimes, even Shen was troubled with what he was asked to perform. Not once had he needed to make a decision so…cruel.
The walk back to his room was quiet and full of thinking. Contemplation took away from Shen’s appreciation of the calmness of the institute at these times. During the night, the number of champions walking around had greatly decreased. Only few champions such as Viktor or Twitch who had a goal to which they joined the League to accomplish worked in the labs of the institute. Others such as Orainna, who needed no sleep, did their own things.
When Shen arrived at his room, he saw a very familiar figure sitting down in front of his door. The woman he had seen so often come to his room looked up at him during his approached.
“It seemed obvious you were upset about your discovery. Is there a specific reason you have shown up?” Shen asked, unlocking the door to his quarters. Akali stood up from her sitting position and looked towards her leader. She looked sickly, almost drained of life.
“To ask for the reason why you keep information from us,” She said coldly, walking in behind Shen as he entered the small home the institute provided. She closed the door behind herself and stared daggers at Shen.
Shen sighed deeply, remembering the judgment he had been asked to do only minutes ago. No, he couldn’t tell her what the council had told him. It would make her angry, desperate for him to make a decision that could end up being wrong.
He walked over to Akali, placing his hand on her cheek, “If I could tell you everything, I would. Believe me when I say that there are things that are better not known by anyone else. My duty is to keep the balance in Valoran and I intended to do that, even if it means keeping things from you and Kennen. You two are my comrades and I would never want to burden you with the information I need to know,” He said, almost in a whisper.
Akali’s gaze remained unmoved. Instead, she turned her back on the man. “I don’t care that if it’s a burden Shen. If these things are as horrible as you say, then you shouldn’t have to deal with them alone,” she commented.
“It is my duty to do so. You have not been trained to judge without bias. If I were to tell you what it is, you would beg me to judge differently, I can’t have that,” Shen said calmly, trying to relax his colleague. She turned to look at him with apologetic eyes.
“I know,” she said almost in a disappointed tone. “Please tell me you are making the right decisions.”
“As right as I can.”
With that Akali wrapped her arms around Shen, resting her head on his chest. “I shouldn’t have doubted you Shen. You’ve kept us all alive in the fields of justice and are willing to die for your friends and team members. I wish there were more men like you,” She whispered.
Shen was never a stranger to love. He felt it for all of his family and friends, but the love he felt around Akali was much…stronger. He almost didn’t want anything to ever happen to her. It wasn’t the type of love that Garen and Katarina felt for eachother (Come on, it’s totally obvious). But it was more like a guardian’s love for the one he watched over. As the two stood there holding each other, Shen became more aware of this love he felt for Akali.
“I think it’s time you get some rest,” Shen finally said, breaking the silence.
“Do you mind if I stay here for the night?” Akali asked.
“You look sick; let me make you some tea before you go to sleep.” Shen said, pulling away from Akali’s embrace and making his way to the very small kitchen within the lodging. Akali planted herself on the couch placed next to the wall, awaiting the tea Shen had promised.
She began nodding off as Shen worked around the kitchen, preparing the warm drink. As Shen sat down next to her, she became aware that she was falling asleep. When she looked towards the man, he handed her a cup full of the dark liquid. She took the cup in both hands and sipped it gingerly. It was hot, warmer than what she was used to, but it was good. She would have to add ‘making tea’ to the list of thing Shen could do. It was becoming a long list.
The two sat in silence, sipping the tea. Both were thinking of their own current situation. Akali’s mind was filled with what she would do once the child was born. The questions she had asked herself when Shen first told her still echoed in her mind. Shen on the other hand, was thinking of how he would perform the assignment he was given. He didn’t want to let his feelings intervene with his decision, but that was becoming more difficult. He would need more time to weigh the causes of both choices, but for the time being, he would enjoy Akali’s visit.
Shen was the first one to stand up; lifting Akali’s sleeping body from his couch. To him, she was as light as a feather. He carried her to his bed and prepped her for rest before wrapping her in his sheets and fluffing the pillow her head laid on.
He smiled at her before planting a small kiss on her cheek, “Good night Fist of Shadow…” he said before sighing, and “…you’re going to need it” were the last words the escaped his mouth before he turned and left the room.
It was time for him to weigh his options, the very few that he had. Both would end badly in his opinion. One would end in a tragic situation; the other would end in him breaking his vow of protection.
A small conversation from the encounter with the member of the council echoed itself in his mind.
“The child will be too powerful.” The old man said coldly.
“Is that for certain, or a prediction?” Shen replied.
“Prediction, but it is a well justified prediction. I’m hoping your feelings will not get in the way for you to see that.”
“I never let anything get in my way. But I cannot act on something that can’t be purely accounted for. The child could well enough become the best Eye of Twilight that could succeed me just as I did for my father. Mayhaps it could succeed Akali as the Fist of Shadow,” Shen argued, he saw no reason for what the council asked him to do.
“That is true, but it could also become the greatest threat to mankind there is. The combined traits of you and Akali could make a dictator who will bow to no one,” The man responded. “However, it is your job to decide these things; I am only making sure you know the consequences.” And with that, the man disappeared.
Shen sat down on his couch, staring at his surroundings and contemplating his situation. Did he really have it in him to harm Akali in such a way? She had been nothing but following and loyal to him. He was conflicted to say the least. The decision itself exhausted him. Shen laid down on his couch, looking up at the roof and letting his eyes close, putting him in a deep sleep.
Author's Note: OMG!!! Whats going to happen next? Will Shen harm his own lover for loyalty towards the order? Or will he betray all he knows and obeys to give his own child a life? All these questions to be answered soon.
I probably shouldn't put these up so late, but heh, i've got nothing better to do :P