Beneath Us (BL)

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Chapter 23

This chapter is a big boy! Oh boy, I hope you have snacks readied because you’re going to be here for awhile. Love you guys. ^_^

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“You don’t look so good Big bro,” Shen Yan commented idly, pulling the mask down over his face. He crouched further down around the dumpster.

“Do I ever?” RT snarked, putting his hand up to his ear. “We’re in position, send 3 in.”

“I don’t get why we’re doing this,” Shen whispered, cocking his gun and peeking over the edge of the dumpster. A large hand grabbed his shoulder, yanking him back down. Shen continued. “I mean, the Prince, who we work for, doesn’t even know we’re doing this. Don’t you think that’s a bit illegal?”

“We’re working against him right now,” RT replied. “Now shut up or you’re going to get us caught.”

“We’re moving in,” Mattius said over the comm. “There’s only one guard out front and it looks abandoned.”

RT hefted his rifle up over the top of the dumpster, using his scope to eye the entrance. He waved at Shen Yan before bursting around the edge. Shen hung close to RT’s back, peeking around with his own weapon, half raised, half down. A man popped around the corner, weapon raised with a shout on his lips. RT brought him down before he could even utter a word, the silencer working its miracles.

“We’re in,” RT whispered before kicking the front door down. Shen Yan shot past him, clearing the room. RT followed behind, slinking down along the wall. The room was abnormally large, filled with huge shipping containers, all a blood red color. He heard gunshots and he pointed the rifle towards the sound.

A flock of soldiers appeared, firing an inch from RT’s feet. He shoved Shen Yan behind a shipping crate at the last second, readying his gun. He fired back with accuracy, ducking back behind the crate before he could get hit. Shen Yan shrieked beside him as a bullet flew through the very top wisps of his hair.

RT dropped his clip and popped a new on in before firing. “How many?”

Shen Yan whipped around his side. “Eighteen on top and three coming towards us on the ground.” A gunshot echoed through the room and Shen Yan heaved. “Ok, now there’s two coming towards us.”

“We’re almost through!” Mattius shouted.

RT dropped another clip with a curse, cocking the weapon before aiming straight at one of the men’s heads. “I’m running out of bullets already!”

“Take mine!” Shen shouted, pulling out his last remaining clip and tossing it over. RT caught it with ease before tossing it back.

“You need to keep it to protect yourself! I’ll take care of myself.”

“There’s eight men coming towards us!” Shen Yan hissed, shaking hands aiming straight for the temple of a younger soldier. “Nine!”

“You need to figure out a way to get through to us, we need time to break through,” Like commented, but he was drowned out by the sound of something hard hitting concrete.

“What do you mean?” RT snapped, leaning back against the crate. He looked up at the catwalk ahead of him and back towards the approaching soldiers. “It’s supposed to be a straight shot.”

“I mean Captain, there’s a four foot concrete wall separating our entrance from yours,” Luke growled. “We’re hitting it with everything we got, but it’s going to take time.”

“Fuck, we don’t have time,” RT replied. “Come around the front. Forget that, we’re about to get overrun.”

“Yes sir! You heard the Captain, move your asses! We need to get to the front in double time. Move bitches, MOVE! We’ll be there soon, Captain.”

RT opened his chamber and a bunch of empty cartridges fell out. “Last clip is done. Do be a favor.”

Shen Yan tilted his head in confusion.

“Stand in front of me and touch your feet with your long, spindly arms,” RT ordered and the boy’s eyes widened in confusion. RT kicked him in the ass, and the boy ran in front. “Sorry, this is going to hurt.”

He took a running jump, digging his heels into the boy’s shoulder blades. He flew high up above the crates and slammed into the catwalk, hanging tight with whitening knuckles.

“Holy shit!” Shen Yan cheered, pumping his arms up in the air. Gunfire erupted around him and the boy shrank down once more, disappearing behind the shipping containers.

The guns focused on RT once more right as the man hefted himself over the railings. He wiped the sweat from his brow and pulled his long blades out from the pouch on his thigh and followed the curve of the catwalk. The men on the catwalks rushed at him, but their shots were wild. RT was faster. He ducked behind them, shanking them in the neck and dropping them to the ground like sacks of flour. A soldier dropped his weapon entirely, pulling out his one blade only to be sent flying over the edge of the railing. The man screamed all the way down, snapping his spine as he smashed into the crates below like concrete. The momentum swung RT over the railing and the man barely held on as he slid over the edge. He planted his feet against the edge and swung himself up and drove both his feet into one man’s chest.

The man flew backwards in shock, smashing against the wall hard enough to splatter his brain. A bullet pierced RT’s shoulder and he hissed before tossing the man over the railing.

“Heads up Captain!” Mattius shouted before a line of bullets erupted right before RT. The man dropped to the ground as the soldiers fell around him. He managed to get his feet underneath him and knock a man down, ramming the blade straight through the trachea before plopping down. “All clear.”

“Anyone dead?”

“All good, Big Bro!” Shen Yan stated.

RT stood up, clutching his bleeding arm before launching himself over the ledge. He landed hard on the top of the shipping containers, denting the tough metal. He slid down to rejoin his soldiers on the ground floor.

“Aaron, we need the medic!” Luke shouted and the blonde headed kid rushed over with his kit.

“You were shot?” Shen Yan asked in horror, watching the blood slowly drip down RT’s pale muscular arms.

“It’s fine, open the crates.”

Mattius busted the locks off with the butt of his rifle and Luke pulled the doors open. They were hit, immediately, with the horrendous stench. Bodies littered the floor, men, women, children. All in various states of decomposition. Mattius covered his mouth and nose with the sleeve of his shirt.

“My god,” Luke whispered. He stepped closer into the container and lifted one of the woman’s arms, littered in tattoos. The ink was a mixture of blues and blacks with various oceanic looking creatures. He turned one of the legs and ran his finger over the webbing between the toes.

“They’re from the coast. The water tribes.”

“Do you know which tribe?” RT pressed and Luke shook his head.

“The tattoos are hard to read. The bodies are too horribly bloated sir, it’d almost be impossible to read the tribe tattoo,” Luke replied before getting back up. “Please tell me all these crates aren’t filled with bodies.

“Most likely,” RT replied. “This is the Prince’s doing.”

“You think he did this?”

“If the King did it, then he would boast about it. All these bodies… they were being hidden. And the Prince, he’s changed. He’s been changing in the last couple of years. He’s killed people, boys. I’ve seen him do it.”

“It doesn’t mean the Prince is behind this. Any of the corrupted officials could have done it. We know the royal family kills people. It doesn’t mean he’s behind whatever massacre this is.”

“Close it up,” RT stated quietly, turning away.” We need to get out of here before the reinforcements show up. If either of us get caught, a lot more people will die.” “

“Sir, it can’t be the Prince. I know him. You do too, he’d never do something so horrible. He isn’t his father, he’s a good man. He let your Kukouk boy stay, he’s recreating the Kukouk themselves. You can’t doubt him man.”

“He’s become unhinged, paranoid. If he wants to set the world in turmoil, killing the water tribes and enslaving those that survived would be the trump card. He’s one of the only ones who know just how powerful and numerous the tribes of the ocean are.”

“You really believe the Prince could do something like this?” Luke asked, turning to face RT with a darkened look.

RT nodded. “He can. He’s good at hiding his true intentions. He always has been.”

“I thought that the Oceanic Tribes stayed far out on the water, further than even normal people cared to go. How did he even find their location? No one knows where the sacred tribe is.”

“I got word from Eric a couple of weeks ago that someone had hit the Oceanic Tribes and not just any tribe. The sacred tribe. And from what I know, they hit it hard. Those that survived were sentenced to death. Last night, though, when I sent troops to check in on Tian’s people, they said they found news on the Oceanic Chief’s son, Ne’igalomeatiga. Alive but horrendously sick. No one knows where he went. If word gets out that the next Chief of the Ocean is alive and enslaved, there will be war over the water. A brutal war”

“Is that bad?” Shen Yan asked with a tilt of his head.

“Yes, Kid,” Luke hissed, ruffling the boy’s hair. “Even with Tian in power, he may not be strong enough to take on the rightful heir to Triton’s Trident. It could mean the destruction of the Capital as we know it.”

“We have to pull him out before it’s too late. If I can get him out of there before Tian gains control over his powers..”

“When he gains his power, that mountain is going to go down right on top of him. Isn’t it? That’s where the fish boy is.”

RT nodded. “His powers are already starting to become aware. No matter what, we have to protect everything Tian will come to represent. With our lives even, if it comes to that. The enemy is closer than we think.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Sir we have a problem,” Alexander, the Prince’s second in command shouted, grabbing the man’s arm.

The Prince turned around with irritation etched into his brow. “What is it now? Can’t see I’m about to go into a meeting? With my father?”
“Sir, the crates were broken into last night, all the soldiers killed,” Alexander whispered, pulling the man aside. “We could be in trouble.”

“Shit,” the Prince whispered before looking back at the room where the meeting was being held. “Keep your mouth shut, I’ll deal with this when I get back. Stay here.”

“Yes your highness.”

The throne room doors shut behind him. He shuffled into the seat beside his father, the ceremonial sword sat in front of him. Like a testament to his worth, unable to be unsheathed by his hand. Its diamond hilt taunted him as his father passed by, sitting on his throne. The elder’s posture was stiff and he cast a glare to the side at the Prince. The Prince gulped as the officials entered slowly They bowed lowly to his father, but didn’t even dare to bow towards the Prince.

“Your highness, we come with urgent news. There has been unrest across the seas. Our trading partner was sent...a crate… of bodies,” His prized minister, Axa stated.

The King’s face twisted in horror. “Bodies? What bodies?”

“Bodies of villagers from their own city. Plus… 400 concubines from your own palace.”

The Prince choked back the smile that threatened to spill out onto his face. “We have to find who’s responsible! Track down every hand that went near that crate in the shipment.”

“The king glared at him. “I want everyone who had to do with that crate tortured and hung. I want the name of the mastermind behind it.”

“Terry...Father, check Terry out. He might have possibly done it.”

“Terry? But’ he’s loyal. He’s been loyal to me for years,” the King shook his head. “It doesn’t make sense…”

“Terry sounds suspicious. No one could place him the night the concubines went missing. And he was found asleep on the docks the next morning sir,” one of the secretaries added shyly, head bowed almost perpendicular to the ground. “S-sir, please, perhaps Terry is responsible.”

“Send for him, torture him until we get the information,” the King ordered with a shaky nod of his head. “Quickly please. We can’t risk starting a war across the seas.”

“Yes sir!”

“Onto the more important matter, we need to discuss the new heir to the throne. Now that your only son has been rejected by the ceremonial sword.”
“Perhaps he should have a retry,” A cleric offered. “We know that the Ceremonial Sword picks the strongest out of all the heirs, but with only one heir available, we believe we’re in a crossroads.”

“The Ceremonial Sword didn’t choose him, that means there’s another sir,” one of the minister’s supplied. The Prince fixed him with a deadly glare. “Without an heir, your lineage comes to an end. The next one that the sword chooses will not be a Byron.”

“I have every right to be the next heir,” the Prince spat. “I am the son of your King!”

“You are the son of a lowly, ugly concubine who was murdered. Even your nanny hated you. You aren’t important,” the King warned with a hate filled glare.

“We must start looking for anyone that resembles a true Byron, and not this thing that takes after its whore of a mother.”

“Perhaps we rid ourselves of his influence and foul blood?”

The King thought for a moment, rubbing his chin ever so slightly. “Perhaps.”

“FATHER! You can’t, I’m your son!”

“You don’t make the decisions here,” The King spat, raising his hand as if to hit the Prince once more. The younger boy ducked his head out of muscle memory, but the hit never came. The King cursed before lowering his hand. “Let’s start the search, just in case.”

“Perhaps your mother, did she have any other children before being exiled?”

“My mother is dead. She was exiled right after my birth,” The King answered. “There was no way my mother could have ever been loved by another man.”

“Perhaps she carried the Royal Blood on?”

The Prince shook his head with dark eyes. “My grandfather had her ovaries severed himself. There’s no possible way.”

Alexander was waiting for him as soon as the meeting ended. The Prince stalked out of the room with his shoulders lowered and his hopes even lower. He stared back at the Ceremonial Sword angrily, thinking of a hundred ways to smelt it down and grind it into dust and shove it down his father’s throat.

“Sir, how’d it go?”

The Prince pulled Alexander over to the side, far away from those still pouring out of the room. “I want the second crate delivered to the Capital of South East Asia. I want the unrest to be unbearable. We need to hurry things up.”

“But sir, any faster and we could screw up the delicate balance we have struggled to achieve.”

“My situation is much more dire then that. If we don’t act now, I will be exiled from the Capital like my mother. And when I’m ‘exiled’, they will kill me,” the Prince hissed, glancing up to where his father strode down the hall with his advisors close behind. “The only reason they kept me this long was because of the Ceremonial Sword, the same sword I failed to unsheathe.”

“I’ll attend to it right away sir,” Alexander slunk away at the same moment the King came to his side with a vengeful smirk. The Prince stiffened, clutching his own hands tightly until the nails sank into his pale flesh and drew out his scarlet blood.

“Your assistant seems to be in quite the hurry, trying to find some leverage to be useful?” The King sneered, resting his hand on the Prince’s shoulder. He dug his nails deep into the younger’s flesh and the Prince desperately tried to keep the pain from reaching his mouth. “Between us, though, I never even thought you had an actual chance of taking my place. You’re still the same pathetic child that was dropped off at the Castle door. The same child I could kick down so easily.”

“You’ll regret what you did to me,” the Prince snapped, meeting his father’s eyes with a hard grimace. “I’ll make you rue the day you laid a hand on my mother.”

“I didn’t kill your mother. The only way to find that murderer is if you look in the mirror.”

The King turned around and sauntered away. He paused briefly, turning back around. “It really is a shame, though. You would have been a better heir if you had more of a backbone. When you first arrived, I really thought a lot of you. We both killed our parents after all.”

“You look too much like him,” his mother hissed, pushing him down. “You have to leave, leave and never come back! You can’t even stay at a job long enough to be useful.”

John was only 10 years old, but his mother couldn’t even look him in the eye. She hit him and kicked him down whenever he got to close. Despite that suffering, John loved his mother more than anything. Up until that day, he had never even known who his father was. She had told him in anger, every tiny detail of that horrid man and what he’d done to her. She got married months later and had her first child. While they lived in a tiny house close to one of the larger villages on the outskirts of the Capital, John lived in a tiny shed outside. He hated his family with a passion. Forced to work instead of going to school like the other children. He’d taught himself to read, and earned his own worth before he’d even become a teenager. He hated their faces, their voices that always seemed to prick at the back of his head. A never ending pain. The day he killed his mother was also the same day he’d gotten a job at the butcher’s shop at the end of the village, an elderly man named Ken Straton. He’d shown him how to take an animal carcass apart. Humanely.

His step father had come into his tiny shack, wielding his bat. He spat in John’s face, angry over something tiny and trivial. John had seen red right as his stepfather swung and suddenly, it was John standing over a blooded form. His brain had been splattered all over the ground, messy and disgusting. John dropped the bat in shock, senses finally returning to him.

His mother had heard the screaming and came running only to see John bloodied and smiling. He looked up at his mom and reached his hands out to her. Blood oozed from his palms. “M-mom, I don’t know what happened. I don’t… I don’t…”

His mother had screamed in horror, stepping backwards. “You monster! Y-you killed my only family.”

To a 10 year old boy, those words hurt more than anything he’d ever known. He picked up the bat and swung, straight towards the woman. She dropped like a sack of flour, cranium cracked open like an egg.

“BAD!” He screeched as he dropped the bat at his feet, hands shaking horrendously. “Bad mom. You’re a bad mom!” And he laughed, a maniacal kind that didn’t quite reach his crazed eyes. He clutched his mother’s cooling hand tightly and while the laughter wracked his body, the tears wouldn’t stop falling. At that moment, a 10 year old boy had learnt how to hate himself.

“Your highness?” Someone whispered, a hand resting on his shoulder. “Is everything ok?”

The Prince turned around with a sigh. He wiped the tears that threatened to spill away. “Of course. I’ll be in my study if you need me.”

At that point, the Prince had killed so many people that he could no longer keep track. But the death of his mother would always be the one thing he regretted the most. She’d been just as pitiful as he, beyond saving. He’d put her out of her misery, but he wished he would have kept her alive, locked up somewhere. Just like RT’s child, Maniar.

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