Kings of Fortune

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Episode Thirty - Sleepless Night

The crew lies in a circle around the single lantern still aflame. Everyone is asleep except for Zylo, whose eyes are still wide awake stuck deep in thought.

‘There are too many things changing. How do I just accept that? I don’t even know what I want in life anymore.’

Zylo turns and looks at Juniper sleeping across from him.

‘Suddenly and unexpectedly, she’s the one in my life. Her crimson hair’s gotten longer since I’ve met her, draped over the side of her beautiful face hanging beside her sharp eyes… Where are we going with this, Juniper? I’d really like to know. Beneath that tough exterior and your spunk, I know there’s a sentimental side. All of it I like. All of it I …’

Rubbing his tired eyes, he knows his body wants to sleep but his busy mind won’t allow it.

Zylo turns over and sits up, realizing Vetus Fei is still meditating by the garden. She’s been there for hours.

He quietly stands and tip toes across the room struggling to avoid hitting any obstacles with his feet. Lightly striding past the tatami mats, he quietly opens the door and enters the dark garden kept lit only by the moonlight.

‘Fei is still sitting there silently with eyes closed. Is she asleep?

The cobalt moonlight etches out the silhouettes of leaves and branches across the garden, highlighting Vetus Fei’s small body in a spotlight. Her legs are crossed, silent, unmoving like a still flower.

As he creeps closer, Zylo fails to hide his presence when the small rocks crunch under his feet along the path.

Without opening her eyes, Vetus Fei speaks, “Zylo. You’re awake?”

He considers denying his identity, but decides to respond, “Y-Yeah, I couldn’t sleep. How’d you know it was me?”

“You have a very particular scent, a familiar one. Come.”

Zylo slowly steps closer. “What are you still doing out here?”

“Preparing the energy for my final deed. But I suppose it’s been a few hours already. What is it you’d like to discuss?” She slowly opens her eyes to see him.

“Nothing, really. I was just curious.” Zylo continues walking.

“I don’t think it’s nothing. There’s something you wish to understand…something about yourself you can’t quite grasp. Am I incorrect?”

‘She isn’t incorrect…I think.’

Zylo gently places his foot onto the stone step raised across the pond. He lightly walks to the island, careful not to tip over and disrupt the tranquil mood. “Well, there’s a lot of things about myself I don’t understand.”

Fei nods, appearing to already know his words. “Today, when you fought Kitsune, you revealed something you wanted to understand the most about yourself. Do you remember what that was?”

‘Hmm? Kitsune hunted me, I was angry about that. But I’m over it now.’

“Well, Kitsune hunted me. I was upset about that.” Zylo sits on the soft grass beside Vetus Fei.

“Is that all?” she urges.

‘What do you mean, Fei? He took me from Rachel.’

“He took me from my girlfriend, and I’ve had to murder people to get back to her. That’s frustrating, but I’m over it now. What else is there?” Zylo says.

She’s hinting at something but he doesn’t understand. “Your premise is correct, but you’re certainly not over it. You were angry. The fact that he manipulated your fate and took the control away from your own life infuriated you. It left a splinter in your heart all this time.”

Her words melt in his ears as every bit of her statement coincides with Zylo’s own thoughts.

‘She’s right. I couldn’t stand the fact that someone else could decide the end of my life. There was still much I hadn’t done, so much I failed to do. Maybe I was even mad at myself.

But I know. This life is mine and how I walk this world is for me to decide. I understand that now.’

Vetus Fei continues, “Twenty-six years as Leon and you’ve barely any accomplishments to show for it. Eight months as Zylo and somehow you’ve regained control of your life, fully appreciating the beauty of the world around you. I’d say your journey has been going quite well,” she smiles caringly for a moment, but only a moment.

She continues, “However, I must tell you Zylo. You have a darkness. There is a rage burning within you filled with the desire to destroy anything that stands in your way. Today, you wanted to kill Kitsune.”

Zylo gulps in his suddenly dry throat, “I know.”

“Your anger will consume you, unless you learn to fully understand yourself. Realize your desires, overcome your adversities, and you will inevitably know where that fury comes from. Once you have that, you will truly become…immortal,” her hand modestly covers her lightly chuckling mouth.

‘Deep down, I understand the frustration comes from a number of things. I regret my failures as Leon, and fostered a hatred toward Kitsune for tearing my life away. Most importantly perhaps, this anger burns fiercely with my knowledge that no matter how hard I try, I can never return to that life.

I will never again be Leon.

My life is forever changed, and I’ve only just realized it. My apartment, my job, Rachel… these are all things I can never have again. Kitsune and Renzo accepted the change and quickly moved on as Baya, but I’m slow I guess. There is no going back to my old life.

There has never been a way back.’

“Becoming Baya is a one way trip,” Zylo solemnly mutters. “We lose so much being hunters that there’s no point in going back, I realize.” He looks to Fei’s eyes for confirmation.

She smiles again, “So you have.” She confirms it.

“I was mad at first. Very mad. But now that I see it…I feel better for it, in some ways.”

“That’s good.” Vetus Fei elaborates further, “Hunters are not meant to return to the life they once lived. Instead, hunters are supposed to understand regret as a waste of valuable time, and a waste of precious life. An individual achieves nothing by returning to their past lives, aside from obsessing to relive what they have already lost.”

“Then, what are we supposed to do?” Zylo asks.

“Live. The journey of the hunter is meant to bring the individual to a realization that change is inevitable, and living life correctly in the present, is the only way to avoid regret in the future.”

“I didn’t know that…”

“Not many do, until the journey reveals it to them. Luckily, this is the part of your journey that reveals itself to you. Faced with adversity, how will you handle it? With blind rage? Or with enlightened courage?”

A gentle calm fills the air and Zylo closes his eyes, inhaling deep from his nose. A cold wind washes over his body and breezes through his soft, snow white hair. But he doesn’t shiver.

He is still. Tranquil. Realized. The breath exhales slowly from his mouth, and his eyes are opened.

“Thank you, Vetus Fei.”

She smiles, “Good night, Zylo.”

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