Dragon Raja and the Core Tokens: Grief

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The Fight

The date was December 23rd, 1979. Two days before Christmas, which meant tomorrow was evaluation day. Every year on Christmas day the children would feast and enjoy one last night together before one student was decided to be sent to the capital, although the last several years no evaluations were made due to the lack of a breakthrough.

Renata was walking towards the Klyuv, her supply bag in her hands, knocking on the door, the only person who answered was Kyndall. she looked down at Renata quizzically

“Can I help you, Renata?” The redhead asked

“O-Oh! Hi Kyndall, I was looking for Z-” She explained

“Last time I saw him he was by the father tree” Kyndall pointed

Confused, Renata nods sheepishly “Thanks Kyndall-” She hummed, turning around and heading towards the Father tree just as Kyndall said.

Z sat on his knees, looking down at something he was holding in his hands, rather curiously she walked closer. Once she was in view, her heart sank.

It was MingMing, Z’s pet snake he had all those years ago, the snake laid limp in his cupped arms, droplets collected on top of the limp reptile, they were Z’s. The hot tears were streaming down his face, but the boy’s expression was emotionless.

Renata cautiously walked towards him, setting her stuff down and sitting beside him, she gently hugged him to be a silent comfort as the boy mourned over his companion, the two had a silent understanding of one another as the two buried MingMing under the snow beside the trunk of the tree.

Z looked on absently as he thought to himself

“Have I ever told you the Fable of the Wolf?” He finally speaks up in a raspy tone

“What fable?” She muttered out, tilting her head curiously

“Once there was a hungry wolf, that knew that in order to gain what is desired, It must go in disguise...So they gain the herd’s trust being in sheep’s clothing, then they use all kinds of excuses to take them away, and in that way one by one...” He paused

“The wolf gets the heard...” Renata finishes

“Precisely...You see someone here is that wolf Renata” He gestures to his scars

“Who is it..?” She questions, looking to Z intently

Z looks towards Hertzog’s quarters and then back to her. Renata, now rather taken back stumbles on her words,

“Z...are you saying...you mean- Professor Hertzog is a bad man?? But why would he?? Surely not-” Renata finds it hard to muster the words

“He goes for other students, but he locks me away first, he's no better than the man who took me before we met...He thinks because nobody likes me...”

“That nobody will notice you gone-” Renata teared up

“But he cares for us so much- And Asen- he-” Renata gasped and covered her mouth in horror

“Asen will be heartbroken- that’s his father-” She stammered

“He better get over it if he wants to outlive the herd” Z snapped at her, Renata flinched and let go of him. Z now laced with guilt softens his tone

“Renata you have to believe me, we can’t stay here, I feel a strange power on the rise, we have to leave, soon” Z urges

“Look, I’m not saying you’re lying, but it’s hard to believe, even if we do leave, I’m not going unless Asen comes, I’m not leaving my brother-” She says firmly

“Asen doesn’t like me, Renata, I would gladly take him he wasn’t so naïve-” Z huffed, bringing himself to stand. Renata goes to stand with him

“We need to talk to him, If you want me to stay with you, he needs to come to” Renata persisted

“Asen is a romantic, he believes that no one cannot harm because his whole life here has been bells and roses. Asen has everything he could ever want and you think he’s going to take kindly to me, someone who he’s never liked telling him how his father is an abusive, madman?” Z snapped

“We have to try, My ground stays,” Renata says firmly

“Fine- Fine” He growled out, his red eyes flaring in grief and frustration “Call him, let’s get this over with-”

Renata sighed and walked with Z, calling out through the mountains their exclusive signal to find him, after searching for roughly ten minutes the call was received back, Asen was in the Orphanage’s park with Vera, talking with her happily, the two were low key flirting, the two were hiding their repressed feelings that got interrupted by Renata’s calling. He spots her and waves her down, Z walking behind her with crossed arms and an unamused look on his face.

Once the two were close enough to Asen, Renata waved kindly to Vera

“Asen can we talk to you for a moment?” She asked

“Yeah what’s up?” Asen turned towards her, giving a civil nod to Z, who just rolled his eyes lightly

“Asen, maybe somewhere a little more. Private-” She gestures to the Hall. Asen looks in that direction and hesitates before nodding, he waves Vera off and the three-set foot towards the Hall, walking in and shutting the door tightly, Z scans the building to make sure nobody was in before they both sit Asen down. The brunette, unsure of what was going on already seemed rather suspicious of the whole ordeal.

“Soo...What’s up..?” He looks to Renata

“Asen...There’s something really important we need to discuss, You have to promise to listen to Z with an open mind...” Renata grabs Asen’s hand and pulses it gently

Asen hesitated before nodding slowly “Okay...?”

Z eyes him before letting out a heavy sigh “Look, Asen, there's no easy way to say this, but, Renata and I are planning to ditch Black Swan Bay, and Renata is persistent in taking you with us, you are her family, so I can understand, but we need to do it soon, so we need to know you’re on board.” The Albino explained

Asen immediately sits up, furrowing his brow “Ditch Black Swan Bay?? Why?? Renata are you serious??” He turns to her, now mildly frantic. Renata continues to hold his hand

“Z is being abused here, being treated like a lab rat for far too long, Z thinks something bad is going to happen here-”

“-And soon” Z adds

“Who’s abusing you?” Asen turns to the white-haired kid

“You don’t want that answer Romanova” He glared

“I think I have a right to know-” Asen glared back, gripping Renata’s hand rather tightly subconsciously

“Hertzog is,” Z said coldly. This causes Asen to lose his words, processing it, the hall was now silent, in thick, tense air.

In a shaky breath, Asen finds the courage to speak up “What..?” He muttered out “no-No! You’re lying-” He argued

“I know it’s hard to understand-” Z began but was cut off by the brunette

“No-! You’re wrong!” He shot up, letting go of Renata’s hand

“Oppai is not a bad person! He’s a dying man trying everything he can to save us, kids! Why would he hurt you?!” His tone rose

“What do you mean dying Asen...?” Renata spoke up, looking at her brother quizzically

Asen hesitated before speaking again, stressfully running a hand through his hair,

“O-Oppai... has Heart murmur- he’s dying-” Asen confesses

“For how long??” Renata interrogated

“F-for a few years now...I’ve been healing him here and there-” He shakily explains “He’s been working so hard for a breakthrough- to provide resources to the founders to provide funding before he passes-” Asen sat down hesitantly

Z processes the information quietly, bringing his knuckle to his lip “That explains why he’s testing on me so frantically...The man’s desperate”

“Asen has he ever done or said anything that made you question?” She asks gently

Asen shook his head frantically before pausing “Wait...a-a a few years back...he- tried to have me experiment on Kyndall...but it went south, we aborted-” Asen explained

Z turned to Renata “That was around the time it started” He told her

Renata softened and looked down “Asen- Professor is growing desperate, he’s trying to sacrifice lives to save the majority, that’s wrong-” She explains

“You don’t know that-” He argued

“Asen the proof is staring straight at your face-” Z argued back

“Yerunda!" He shouted angrily, slamming his hands on the table, this causes his sister to flinch,

"Asen calm down- please think rationally" Renata stood up

"Think rationally?! This Asshole is placing accusations on Father and you're letting him!" Asen barked, pointing at Z

"He's not your father Romanova-" Z argued coldly

"Shut it!" He snapped

"He's a Madman who tortures kids to satisfy his false sense of justice-" Z stood up glaring him down,

Asen's eyes flickered golden as his anger rose "You're wrong!" He shouted, gripping his hand into a fist so tightly that his knuckles turned white

"Get your head out of your ass and listen to what we're telling you- Hertzog doesn't care for you, he doesn't love you. He's using you like he's using me-" Z argued

Asen's hand launched out of nowhere, socking Z in the face. hard. Z in retaliation began to strike back, the two were in an aggressive fight in the hall, Renata begging them to stop but the two boys were too focused on one another. The two tossed and tumbled, landing on the floor. Asen had Z pinned to the cobblestone floors his anger getting the better of him. Hitting the raven-clothed man again and again.

"STOP IT!" she shouted. Renata used her skill to force two metal drawer handles out of their sockets and hooked them on either boy's hand, launching Asen across the room and bolting his wrist to the wall, Z's arm bolted to the floor, the two now separated.

Z laid on the ground, coughing and attempting to catch his breath, his face bruised and his body aching. Asen had blood dripping from his nose and his eyes kept flickering between Gold and blue. The Russian brunette was high off his ass in adrenaline. Renata was shaking from fear of the whole event, she unhooked Z and helped him stand which he struggled to do,

"Go back, I'll meet you there" She comforted him

"This isn't over-" Asen glared daggers at Z, Attempting to pull himself away from the restraint.

"Asen when you stop acting like a child- Maybe you could be saved-" Z spat blood out to clear his mouth before hobbling out to hide out in the Klyuv. Once he was far enough Asen turned to Renata, before he could speak she snapped at him

"What the Hell is wrong with you! You never fought a day in your life!" She stormed up to him, smacking him across the face. Asen didn't resist, just turning back to her with a cold stare

"How dare you...Taking his side, Were family!" He snapped

"Yes we are, which is why I can say this to your face, You are wrong! Asen, you need to think about it! He's Lying to you! I know you love him-" She said before Asen cut her off

"And you don't??" He argued

"No!" She shouted, letting her tears fall, A thick silence fell between him

"What..?" Asen teared up

"No...I don't- Asen he's not a father to me like he was to you...Asen He's been with you for your whole life, but not mine, we had a family-" She began

"That didn't want us! Were war kids! Nobody wanted us! Except him! He does! and He loves us! We have no reason to believe that Z is telling the truth!" He argued, his eyes filled in tears

"Why would he lie Asen, why would he cause so much pain if not, to tell the truth, Z doesn't lie, he is a blunt and honest man. He says things how they are, abrasively albeit..."

"Renata...you can't tell me you really want to run away from here..." Asen pleaded

"I don't! Asen I really don't but what choice do we have-! Z strongly believes something is coming, my life's goal is to protect you Asen..." She cups his cheek gently, grabbing a tissue from her bag to clean the blood that dribbled down his nose

"You have to understand I love you more than I love here...I need to protect you, and sometimes...that means making hard decisions. Please think about it, truly, Z is trying to help, he's not the best at this, but he truly is trying to look out for you" She explains in a shaky breath

Asen let his tears roll as he let her clean him up

"Get some rest- please.." She releases him from the hold. Renata then gathers her supplies and gives Asen a gentle hug before heading out to care for Z,

Asen is left alone in the hall to process what just happened.

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