Chapter 9: An Answer
Blood splattered on the ground painting a picture of gore. The man wriggled and tried to hold on to his life as he gasped for breath, but his cold body hit the ground. Akali stood over him, her kama soaked with his blood. Once the threat had been neutralized, Akali’s attention immediately turned to her comrades.
She rushed over to Kennen, placing her hand over his chest. No intake of breath. Moving her hand to his neck, she found no pulse. Immediately overtaken by sadness, she closed the eyes of her fallen partner. “**** you Kennen!” She whispered harshly. Before the tears could fall, she heard a harsh coughing.
Her attention turned to the sign of life. Following the sound, she knelt down beside Shen.
“Don’t talk, you’ll only speed up the process,” she spoke. Shen’s mask kept her from seeing the expression on his face, but the dark red circle where his mouth was told her that no matter his expression, his condition was not good. His breathing was slow and hoarse, a sign that Akali wished wasn’t present.
Almost as if he was mocking her, Shen began to laugh. His deep laugh only angered her as she began to try and tend to his wounds. “Shen, this is not the time to be laughing,” she said calmly, giving him a stern look, and yet, he did not stop. As she reached to cover one of his wounds, his hand shot up, grabbing her wrist in his tight grip.
“Stop,” he commanded. “No amount of mending is going to help me. Just get out of here.” Despite his wounds, Shen’s tone was calm. Akali was shocked by his statement. He had always been the one to care for her and Kennen when they were near death on multiple occasions and never gave up on them. Now that he was the one in need, he was denying her help. Perhaps he knew more than she did and saw that there was no hope for him. Akali though, was not about to let Shen suffer the same fate Kennen had.
“No Shen, you’re coming with me! I’m not going back alone,” Akali was borderline shouting at Shen. She pulled her arm free of his grip and took hold of his arm. Shen made no attempt to move and only watched as Akali attempted to lift him. She didn’t understand, her finely toned body should have been able to lift Shen with ease, but yet, he didn’t move.
Akali grasped his arm with her free arm and began to pull harder but to no avail. She stood, confused as she looked her dying companion. “You grow weak,” Shen said as she stared at him. “How Akali, how have you let yourself grow so pitiful?” Akali’s eyes widened. What did he mean by such words? With his last breaths would he tell her his honest opinion?
Shen began to stand up, even as Akali began to pull him. Once standing, Shen shoved Akali to the side, one arm grasping over the wound in his side. “You don’t deserve to be the one that survives,” he said coldly as he began to walk away from her. Akali watched as Shen slowly shambled away, his body shaking with each step.
It wasn’t long before he collapsed to his knees on the ground which was then followed by the rest of his body. She was weak, was what he said. She couldn’t save either of her partners and yet, she was the one still breathing. Tears began to collect in her eyes until everything went black.
“Akali?” Kennen’s voice knocked the ninja out of the darkness. She turned to see her comrade giving her a worried look. “You were mumbling in your sleep. Are you alright?”
Akali merely stared at him, almost in shock that he was alive until she realized what she had witnessed only seconds ago was a dream. She let out a quick sigh of relief and smiled at Kennen, “Yeah, I’m fine,” she said calmly. She was glad to see that the events that had taken place were only in her imagination, but still, what omens were they giving her? The fact that she held no answers only seemed to slightly creep a worried feeling in her. She could always chalk it up to nothing. She could tell herself it was a simple dream, but even then, she knew that perhaps it held a deeper meaning.
The sun was rising and yet they had not reached Noxus. Her worry for Shen had only increased as she rode the carriage to Noxus. What had happened to him during the night? Was he still, dare she ask, alive? Akali became more worried the more she thought about Shen in Noxus. Even telling herself that he was just fine didn’t seem to calm her down but more than a little.
During the night:
“So where is he?” Shen asked as Talon and he walked through the streets of Noxus. “I’m growing impatient.” Talon had said very little words and merely walked, refusing to answer any questions Shen had. It was beginning to bother the ninja, which was not usually a good idea.
“Patience Shen, isn’t that what you are taught?” Talon replied. Shen grunted in response. “We will be there soon, just give him some time, he’ll show up. The assassin’s pointed to a man lying on the wall. “There.”
The man looked sickly, his hair black but was greasy and messy. His skin was pale with a slight shade of green hanging over him. His eyes looked as though he had been staring down a chimney for far too long. The skin around them were sunken and held a purple and yellow shade. His clothes were little more than rags hanging by thin threads of cloth covered in stains of blood, vomit, and other bodily fluids. The biggest defining feature of the putrid man was the large gash that spread across his chest. The wound was surrounded in coagulated blood and dried puss. A nearly black bruise surrounded the gash. Shen looked at the man in pity.
Shen was about to talk until Mordekaiser made his appearance. The sickly man looked at the giant metal behemoth and gave a relieved smile as Mordekaiser reached down. Almost instantly, the man began to age rapidly until his bones turned to dust. “Mordekaiser!” Shen called out, prompting the metal beast to look towards him. “I have questions.”
“Then ask,” was his only reply.
Shen hunched over the journals of General Du Couteau, reading every word the man had written. “You said you’ve already gone through these,” Shen said to Talon who leaned on the corner of the room. “If you have already read this, what’s the point of making me?”
“I’m not perfect, Shen. Perhaps I missed a few things,” Talon replied, undoing the straps that held his blade to his arm. The ninja couldn’t prove to be a threat when his weapons were lying outside of the door. The two remained silent for a short while before Talon decided to break the silence. “So, what are you planning on doing now that you know who is responsible?” Talon inquired.
Katarina walked down the hallways of her father’s manor. Every time she walked through the manor, she appreciated the architecture. It was elegant, yet dark. Looking at the walls always brought a small smile to her face knowing that no other family in Noxus could boast such an elegant home.
As she passed by her father’s study, she saw two ninjato leaning on the wall next to the door. Confused, she approached the door, hearing Talon’s voice. Almost immediately, her curiosity perked up. She heard no other voice, raising her suspicion even more. She pulled a knife from its sheath and tightening her grip on its handle. She pushed the door open, seeing a man sitting on her father’s desk. During her initial entrance, she didn’t see Talon.
Shen’s eyes looked up at the loud bang of the door hitting wall. A knife flew towards his head. In one swift movement, he caught the knife, spun it in his hands and tossed it back, striking the door. Only silence followed the loud thunk of the knife sticking into wood.
“Is this how you treat all of your guests?” Shen asked, looking back down at the journal. His demeanor was calm, as if he wasn’t near death only milliseconds ago. He took a deep breath and flipped the page of her father’s journal.
Katarina was confused. This man was sitting at her father’s desk, looking at her father’s journals and seemed to barely be interested in the assassin that stood in the room with him.“Who the f-“she started but was interrupted by Talon’s voice.
“Shen,” Talon answered her incomplete question. “He’s a guest of mine,” Talon stated. Katarina shot him a sinister glare- a look that most men would have feared, but Talon didn’t seem to change his visage at all. Had he felt fear, he didn’t show it in the slightest.
“And who gave you the right to bring guests into my home?” Katarina asked, her voice was low, almost like a growl. She didn’t shout, but the anger was apparent in her tone. “Get him out of here now,” she commanded before walking off.
“He’s searching for your father,” Talon said after a few seconds of silence. The thump of boots striking carpet immediately stopped before they became louder, followed by Katarina’s return to the room.
"What did you say?" Katarina questioned. Her voice held both intrigue and confusion. What she heard could have been a miss hearing of what Talon had said as she walked off.
“He’s searching for General Du Couteau, your father," he stated.
Katarina’s eyes narrowed at him. The room was thick with tension for Katarina's verdict. It came almost as a surprise to Talon. “Fine," she spat before walking off.
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Author's Note: MERRY CHRISTMAS!! First of all, I did have some help with this chapter. Dorryza and KobuZero helped me on this chapter a bit. Dorryza did a badass job of editing this and Kobu gave me some good suggestions. I had fun writing this and I guarantee the next chapter, you will enjoy it. I have big things planned for the next couple of chapters.