Cruel Punishment

Bedlam (Part One)

Boots clattered as they exited the elevator and walked down the main hall of the hotel. The clerks behind the registration desk gasped as they saw a blonde-haired woman accompanied by two armored Zaibatsu soldiers walk by. Without saying a word, the woman and her guards swiftly exited the building.

Anna breathed deeply as she walked towards a black SUV that was parked at the end of the street. The armor she wore was heavy, stiff and restricting, but she tried her best to get used to her new attire. She had to if she wanted to survive the night.

Nina quickly walked ahead of them, towards the car and opened the trunk. Bryan haphazardly tossed two duffel bags filled with Anna and his belongings into the vehicle. They wanted to cover their tracks and leave no evidence of their stay in the hotel behind. Nina quickly shut the door and sat in the passenger seat of the car. Bryan and Anna took their seats in the back and without hesitation, Dragunov put the car in gear and sped off.

Anna quickly removed her helmet and took in a deep breath of fresh air. Her suit was tight and stifling. Bryan did the same.

"Shit…" Bryan muttered tiredly under his breath.

Nina shot him a concerned glance. She noticed Bryan was squirming uneasily in his seat.

"I apologize if the suits are a bit uncomfortable." Nina said as she focused on the road ahead of her. "I tried my best to pick the right sizes."

"How long do we have to wear these for?" Anna calmly interjected.

"I strongly suggest you wear them for the duration of the night." Nina said quietly. "I am certain that your covers will be blown at some point…The armor… it will protect you." Her voice was somewhat somber.

No words were spoken after that. The car fell silent for what seemed like an eternity after Nina's final comment. Her words and how she said them changed the atmosphere completely. Nina sighed sullenly as she blankly gazed out her window. Anna looked down worryingly as she wrung her hands in her lap.

Bryan noticed their saddened expressions. He fully understood how they felt however, he knew that now was not the right time to sit and sulk. He cannot act as if he was already defeated before the battled has even begun.

"So… what should we do when we get there?" Bryan asked calmly.

"Head for the lab first… That machine you're after will be there." Nina said quietly. "…. Along with Dr. Abel." She muttered under her breath.

"What!?" Bryan said astounded by the name he had just heard.

Nina turned to look at him. "Yes… he's alive…" She said disappointingly. "I was shocked as well when I found out."

"But that means Heihachi is alive as well…" Bryan said dumbfounded

"That is highly probable but it doesn't matter right now." Nina turned back around in her seat and focused on the road once more. "Just go into the lab and retrieve the android, then…" She trailed off.

"Then what?" Bryan pressed.

Nina's mind fluttered with thoughts. She still hasn't fully fleshed out her plan.

"…Go to the parking lot and take the secret elevator to the roof of the Zaibatsu." Nina said unsure of her words. "We'll meet there and take one of the helicopters to escape."

Bryan passed a hand through his hair as he gave Nina a concerned look. He couldn't help but feel a little skeptical about her plan and judging by the tone of her voice, he knew she didn't feel too confident in it either.

"So where will Jin be in all of this?" Bryan questioned.

Nina turned to face him. She hesitated for a moment before answering. "He will be… in his office."

"Are you… Are you serious!?" Anna said suddenly. She was wide-eyed and full of shock and disbelief. "That plan will never work! Our covers will be blown the moment we invade his lab! You really expect us to take Jin's personal, secret elevator to the roof!? The very same elevator that goes directly to his office!? I-It's suicide!"

Bryan groaned as he rested his head on the back of his seat. "Your sister is right Nina." He drawled. "That plan is a fuckin' death trap... If Jin is smart, he would disable all of the elevators in the building as soon as he knows that we're there." Bryan sighed as he lifted his head to look at her. "We'll be trapped with nowhere to run."

Nina let out a defeated sigh. "I know… but it's the only plan I've got." She said quietly. "Jin gave me 24 hours to bring you two to him. If I don't… then I am as good as dead as well. This plan is all that I can muster with the amount of time I was given."

Bryan was at a loss for words. He leaned back in his seat and blankly gazed out of the window. He wanted to remain optimistic; wanted to believe that things will work out in their favor somehow. But after hearing Nina's poorly thought up plan, he was beginning to think otherwise.

Anna looked down worryingly. She knew this was their final mission. It was the most dangerous one they have ever embarked upon and it troubled Anna deeply to see Bryan look so defeated. He was the strongest out of all of them and if he, of all people, is unsure about tonight there was no way in hell she can remain confident and optimistic about the outcome.

"I know it sounds terrible, but you must have faith in me." Nina said; interrupting their thoughts. "I will make this plan work." She said as she forced some confidence in her words.

Faith? Anna questioned to herself. Faith was something they all lacked at that moment… and for good reason. But without it she believed she wouldn't have made it so far in this journey.

"You're right…" Anna chimed in quietly. "We must have faith in each other… we have to if we want get through this alive."

After the many small talks of encouragement she had received from Bryan throughout their journey, Anna never thought the day would come when they had to switch roles. She needed the old, arrogant, Bryan back. They all do.

Nina raised a brow curiously at her sister. "For once, I agree with you." She said with renewed poise.

Anna was taken aback by her response, but she nodded and smiled softly in acknowledgement.

"Dragunov will try to prevent the Mishima soldiers from patrolling the lab while you two are down there. As for me… I will be in Jin's office." Nina said determinately.

"Huh!?" Bryan said feeling thoroughly baffled. "Isn't that the worst fuckin' place to be?"

Nina sighed. "I have no choice…I am supposed to report to him as soon as we get there." She said quietly. "But at the same time, it can also be advantageous for our plan."

Bryan was confused by her words at first but he quickly realized what she insinuating. "Oh, I get it." Bryan said with a smirk. "You'll keep an eye on what Jin is doing while we're there. You'll somehow inform us or Dragunov to what he's going to do."

"Yes." Nina concurred. "More importantly, I will make sure that private elevator stays operational while you two make your escape. It can only be disabled from Jin's office and I will not allow that to happen."

"Alright… So how you're gonna meet us on the roof?" Bryan pondered.

"I haven't' figured that out yet, but don't worry, I will be there." Nina said with a hint of uncertainty.

"Huh…" Bryan said skeptically as he crossed his arms. "You're plan still gotta lot of holes in it Nina…" He trailed off.

"I understand your cynicism but… If we just keep a level head on our shoulders we will get out of this alive." Nina said reassuringly.

She was right, Bryan thought. The odds may be stacked against them but he be damned if he behaved like they have already lost. It was weak to think that way and he knew he is anything, but weak. He suddenly felt ashamed for how he felt over the past couple of days. He acted as if he was living out the last days of his life and even if they were, he was determined to go down in a blaze of glory. He will not be remorseful or full of regret. He needed to renew his resolve and confidence.

Bryan chuckled. "Alright, let's get this shit over with." He said cunningly and smirked.

Anna softly smiled when they heard the renewed determination in his voice.

"Sergei…" Bryan said loudly as he kicked the back of the man's seat. "I hope you got a good pair of lungs 'cause you better fuckin' yell or somethin' if those soldiers start heading towards us!" He said jokingly and laughed.

Dragunov simply narrowed his eyes and grunted as if annoyed by the man's remark.

An armed Zaibatsu soldier lifted up his hand to halt a black SUV as it made its approach towards the check point. The vehicle slowed to a stop in front of him. The soldier slowly walked over to the driver's side of the car and waited as the darkly tinted window came down.

The soldier immediately grew nervous when he realized who the passengers were. "G- Good evening captains!" He said and quickly saluted both Dragunov and Nina. "Master Kazama is expecting you Ms. Williams, he wants you to report to his office right away."

"Thank you soldier." Nina said sternly.

The soldier nodded and was about to let them through, but he noticed something odd in the car. "A- Are there any other people with you?" He asked sheepishly as he peered into the vehicle.

"Yes, two tired soldiers who were out on patrol. I decided to bring them back to base to get some rest."

"Oh…" The soldier said feeling a little embarrassed. "I'm sorry I had to question you captain. It's –"

"I understand." Nina interjected. "You are doing an excellent job at keeping the Zaibatsu safe soldier." She said sternly.

"Thank you ma'am!" He said and saluted once more.

The soldier stepped back and let the car drive through the check point.

Bryan quietly chuckled under his helmet. He was amused by the ironic compliment Nina had given the soldier.

"It's time to get serious." Nina muttered sternly; feeling both bothered and relieved by the man's laughter. It was good to know that Bryan was back to his normal self.

The car entered and parked in the underground lot. They all exited the vehicle. Nina sighed wearily as she saw Bryan and her sister fixing their suits and gathering their equipment from the car. She wondered if her half-baked plan would really work.

"Alright." Bryan said as he grabbed a machine gun from the back seat of the car. "Let's get this shit over with."

"This helmet is so uncomfortable." Anna whined as she tried to adjust and make it more tolerable.

"I fuckin' agree." Bryan muttered from under his helmet. "This suit is squeezing the shit outta my balls." He said as he tugged at his pants inappropriately.

Nina crossed her arms and rolled her eyes at his comment.

Anna let out a sigh of disgust. "You could've kept that bit of info to yourself, you know." She said condescendingly.

"Hey, sharing is caring." Bryan quipped and chuckled.

"Alright, that's enough." Nina sighed as she shook her head disapprovingly. "It's time to get serious here. We all have our roles to play and we have got to play them to the best of our ability… alright?"

Everyone nodded in agreement.

"Good." Nina said bluntly.

Bryan chuckled. "Okay now that this little pep talk is over, let's get to work." He said as he lifted his gun to rest on his shoulder. "I'll see you guys on the roof." Bryan waved at them as he walked off with Anna walking closely behind him.

Nina was hesitant as she saw the distance grew between them. "Wait!" She called out, stopping Bryan in his tracks. He turned around to look at her. She felt slightly upset that his helmet kept his face hidden. She really wanted to see him one last time.

"What's up?" Bryan questioned concernedly as he saw the worried look on her face.

Nina quickly regained her stoic poise. I cannot falter now, she thought. "… Be careful…" She said. Her voice was quiet yet stern. She wished she could give him a proper farewell but she knew it wasn't wise with all the security cameras all over the place.

Bryan nodded before continuing with his mission.

Nina kept his eyes on him and watched as he exited the parking lot and entered the Zaibatsu.

He smirked as he sat behind his desk. He peered out the tinted windows of his office and was thoroughly pleased as he saw his city and his future laid out before him.

A Zaibatsu helicopter came into view. He quietly chuckled as he saw it quickly wisp by.

The city was in lock-down; under his ruling thumb. It and all of its inhabitants belonged to him now; his property. It will become the birthplace of a new future; one where he is in control. Everyone feared and despised him as he planted the seeds to start a new global war. It will be him against the world and he was certain that he will be the victor.

Suddenly someone knocked on the door, jarring him from his insidious thoughts.

"Come in." He commanded as he turned around in his chair.

Nina slowly opened the door before entering. She saw him sitting behind his desk. Her hands suddenly went numb with fear. He looked worse…a lot worse. His transformation seemed to have advanced. His skin had darkened, his eyes glowed the brightest shade of red, and the black aura that whirled about him seemed to have thickened. He looked more frightening than before.

He grinned at her sinisterly with fanged teeth as she slowly approached his desk.

Something caught her eye as she walked towards him. Nina noticed that the floor and desk around him was littered with black feathers. Some swirled and floated around her before landing at her feet; adding to the pile. The scene looked eerily beautiful but it also made her shiver uneasily since they seem to manifest from nowhere.

"Good evening… S-Sir." Nina said hesitantly; unsure if it was appropriate to call him Jin anymore.

"I hope you bring good news." He said amusedly. "Have the rats been caught?"

Nina couldn't help it, she was taken aback by his voice. It was… different. It sounded ethereal; unearthly. She never heard anything like it before. It frightened her to the core.

"Well?" He pressed.

Nina stiffened her posture. "N-no Sir… I'm afraid not." She said nervously. "But if you give me some more time I am cer-"

"Disappointing." He said; swiftly cutting her off.

Nina swallowed hard as she saw his face furrow in anger. His eyes were fixated on hers.

"I've given you more than enough time Nina." He muttered.

"I know sir. I assure you that I am trying my best to find them." She said somewhat pleadingly.

His eyes narrowed probingly as he looked at her. Her eyes, her posture told him that something wasn't right. He sensed that she was lying. "I smell deceit." He said irritably.

Nina swallowed hard. "I am not deceiving you Sir." She said as her confidence began to falter. She sneakily pressed a button on her phone that was strapped to her waist. She hoped that he didn't notice.

He rose from his chair then slowly walked around his desk towards her. Nina stood her ground and tried her best to look unafraid but she couldn't help but feel nervous as the man gradually close the distance between them.

He glared down at her as they stood only a few feet apart. Nina took a few steps back. His presence, his aura was almost too much for her to bear.

Suddenly, he smirked. "It's a shame… you showed so much promise."

He quickly and without warning, smacked Nina hard across her face. She cried out in pain as she fell to the ground.

He laughed loudly. His cackle echoed throughout the office. Nina slowly sat up as she cupped a hand over her wounded cheek. She bled profusely. She knew her wound would require stitches. Her eyes watered as she tried to tolerate the pain.

"It's such a shame that I must tarnish such a beautiful face." He said sarcastically as his clawed fingers dripped with her blood.

Nina painfully rose to her feet while keeping a hand over her cheek. She was scared. She hated to admit it, but she knew she was frightened at this thing that stood before her. Despite her fear, she refused to give up now. Her comrades were depending on her.

"Now I wonder… should I give you another chance?" He said as he examined and played with the blood on his fingers.

Nina stood firm as she tried her best to mentally prepare herself for a fight.

Suddenly one of the Mishima soldiers burst into the room. "My Lord! My Lord!" He yelled completely out of breath.

"What is it?" He muttered angrily by his sudden intrusion.

"We are under attack!" The soldier blurted out as he bowed apologetically. "The people we were searching for, they are in the lab!"

"WHAT!?" He said disbelievingly. "How?" He questioned, but he instantly knew the answer. His eyes quickly darted at Nina who was already running towards him.

Nina let out a battle cry as she leapt into the air and kicked the man directly in his chest. The attack sent him crashing into his desk.

He bellowed out in anger as he stood up from the remnants of his desk. His yell echoed and reverberated throughout the office. His voice sounded more supernatural than before.

"Treason! Treason!" He yelled as he pointed a finger at her.

A gust of wind suddenly whirled around the room sending black feathers swirling around them. The soldier let out a fearful scream before exiting the office.

Nina tried her best to fight against the wind that was threatening to knock her off her feet. She suddenly felt something grabbed her by the throat and tossed her across the room. Her body slammed against the stone wall before she landed on the ground. Nina groaned in pain. The wind slowly died down as she looked up from the ground.

Nina stared at him confusedly when she saw the creature yelling as if it was in pain.

"No!... Stop it!" He bawled out as his hands cupped both sides of his face. "Treason!... She must die!... She must!"

Nina stared at him wide-eyed as the creature continued to argue with itself. She suddenly reached for her phone but cursed when she realized it was no longer strapped to her waist. Her eyes quickly darted around the office until she spotted her device.

"Shit." Nina muttered under her breath when she saw her phone laying a few feet away from Him.

"GET OUT!" The creature roared before punching himself in the face. Moments passed before bright, red, blood began to trickle from his forehead. He began to laugh hysterically as he felt the liquid drip off his chin.

Nina watched in horror as two, black horns grew from either side of his head. She was for a loss of words and her confidence was quickly diminishing.

"There's no way." She muttered to herself in disbelief. "There's no way we can beat this thing."

The creature abruptly stopped his laughter as if he had heard her whispered words. He quickly turned to face the frightened woman.

Nina gasped. His stare sent waves of fear shooting down her spine. She clumsily tried to get to her feet, but it was too late. In a blink of an eye, the creature was already on top of her gripping at her throat. His sharp talons threatening to pierce her delicate skin.

Nina wasn't ready. She had trained very hard ever since she was a little girl to become the person she was today. "The Silent Assassin.' It took a lot of training and dedication to rid herself of emotions. Emotions were for the weak. She had to lack empathy for herself as well as others if she wanted to be skillful at her profession.

However, all of that training, all of that poise was lost in an instant. She was afraid of death even though she had taken the lives of many others. She thought it was shameful. With the career she chose, she expected that her life would be stolen by someone else eventually. She expected it… even accepted it. At least she thought she did. Now, as this creature threatened to take her life, she was scared. She didn't want to die. She wasn't ready to die. She wanted to live.

Nina couldn't take it anymore. She was overcome with fear. "HELP!" She screamed at the top of her lungs.

"Treacherous and pitiful!" The creature laughed at her as his grip tightened.

"Somebody! Help Me!" Nina yelled as she looked towards her phone that was on the other side of the room. She hoped it was still on and working. She hoped someone heard her cries for help.

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