Tale of Souls Chapter Twenty Six
A figure behind me lazily grabbed me by the neck and started to fuse. I started choking and coughing, trying to peel the individual off me. The touch wasn’t familiar, but the extra memories were. The glossed over green eyes, the dried out reddish auburn hair – the scorched skin from electrifying himself trying to break free of his programming. I can survive Rana’s attack, but he won’t no matter what I do at this stage. If this is even the same Rana from our time, I can’t process the memories fast enough.
“STOP ATTACKING MY BROTHER NOW.”
Ok, I don’t have to wait for memories. Rana’s out of his tied up chair, and this other Rana must be a clone or another version from another time.
“Or WHAT?” The voice, the one trying to take my life – yelled out.
“Well what do you cherish most, your life? Your ability to exist? Matthew, Lucas?” Rana’s pleading wasn’t going to get him far, but at least the hands around my neck eased. I have no clue what the effects are going to be in the next five minutes – but at least i’m still alive.
“The boys are nothing more than clones that were planted inside me to keep me tied as the Makar’ran weapon program desired. There is nothing more to cherish, there is no more programming – I am nothing anymore.”
“Does it matter what they were, it matters what they are NOW- and if it were safe enough to get them out of their beds right now – I’d show you.”
Did Rana know this was going to happen?
“What matters more is someone fucking explains who the hell is trying to murder me. I get whoever it is – is me, but WHICH ME.” I growled, and turned around and noticed who it was. The name escaped me, and the changes from the fusion attempt are starting to screw with my mind.
“This isn’t, you’re thinking too literal Justin, this is the original version of Kristoff from our time – he was split off from himself before you two went to the lines with Mike. He’s also missing time because in between any other shunts, someone flipped a switch on him.”
“So he’s been here all along and you didn’t tell me?”
“I DIDN’T TELL YOU BECAUSE I KNEW AURA WAS COMING, we have nothing left “ Rana snarled, pointing at Mako and Tensei who were both near death and asleep. “This isn’t MEANT to be like this, we’ve done our best to FIX THIS.”
“Nothing left is about right.” Kristoff spoke quietly, his eyes slowly changing to several colors in both eyes. You could feel the emptiness inside of him, the lack of will to fight anything. Though the will to obey was still there.
“SO WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL ME.”
I didn’t need a mirror to tell me that my eyes were doing the same thing. I didn’t need a mirror to know that Kristoff was the next me in line. They failed to keep us in check, and they failed to get rid of us. Though I don’t know if they failed on all parts, Lily and Reiko in their fused form are gone from most timelines due to a minor mistake – and the fact they murdered her about five or six years ago. They’ve been trying to take everything from us so we wouldn’t fight back. We’re the key to all the doors to the future, and they refuse to give us up just yet.
“Because it’s the core programming initiative, Ragnarok Weapon 004 – Murder the Failed first three.” Kristoff’s hair burned bright red for a moment before leaving no more than a simple streak of deep red while the rest was a cold lifeless black.
This is not going to go well if we can’t get him to settle. I need to be able to figure out how to send him to the lines and get himself whole again so he doesn’t become Aura’s pawn. I may be too late.
“Stop staring down the barrel of the .45 – You’ve got a future and you know it.” I snarled and stood up to Kristoff and risked the only thing I knew how to risk.
“Future? I have no past. There’s nothing left.”
“Does this stem from what happened with Felix?” I thought hard for a moment, thinking back to the yelling and screaming in the lines with Kaji.
“Probably, and he’s never sorted his own issues with it – so it’s just bottled up and bottled up until it got too late. “ Rana glared at Aura for a moment, “What have you done to him”
“Amplified his fears, other than that – on my way over here days ago I managed to find him and rip him in two. I promised you all that you wouldn’t win. If your deaths are on the cards because he’s lost his will to fight his programming – then that’s up to the cards! As for me? I don’t care if I live or die at any time – you humans are meddling pieces of shit, and the Makara faction has no need of you anymore.” Aura cackled and grinned, “I don’t recognize your race anymore, and since you were assigned human at birth you all can go to hell and die… Including the weapon toy I brought with me – he’s too weak.”
My eyes, like Kristoff in front of me, changed to multiple hues and textures in the slats of each eye. My hair is doing much the same as his did moments, if not seconds ago. I only have moments if not seconds to fight the oncoming death defying programming that they installed in me two decades ago. The best thing I could do was muster what left of my abilities i’d hidden away in shame, fear and regret. Waking up so many times when I was younger burned and electrocuted by my abilities – I tried to remove myself from them. Yet between that and the visions, it’s what ties me to who I am.
The fusion never was an innate ability, it was an alchemical experiment that has been done on millions if not billions of individuals over the centuries and through the other versions of time. Across quadrants, galaxies – across space, time and everything else. Screw having a super soldier serum when you can just pick and choose what upgrades you desire.
I walked to Aura with my eyes starting to spark electricity, and growled.
“You think you’re hot shit, you think that you’re smart? Dogfart, useless man. You can’t harm me, this isn’t even my body.” Aura kept her cackling, and blinked and started to show fear as the electricity started to glow and arc off other objects in the room. I didn’t even have to lift a finger, because I wasn’t the only conduit in the room.
“Be careful.” Rana held his hand out while grabbing Kristoff and gave into the conduit factor, allowing our combined ability to flourish.
“What are you two planning?” Kristoff shook his head for a moment, noticing he’d been shocked a little out of his programming, if at least his depression. “ Hang on, where am I? “
“You’re back home, and you’re not all of you – you’re only part, keep your mind focused. I have a way to get an edge on this.” I smiled, sent the other two a thumbs up, “I’d say there can be only one, but there’s three of us awake and willing to deal with this – so let’s get moving.”
I walked closer to Aura who was backing herself into a corner. She screamed, a blood curdling scream that opened doors and broke barriers in spirit and sound. Within seconds for some unknown reason, her younger self appeared in the doorway.
“You would kill me in front of myself?”
“UNCLE I HALP.” The younger Aura has the ability to shapeshift, not very easily at her age – but she manages sometimes to figure out how to mimic abilities. Jumping up and down like the hyper child she is – the mind of a six year old and the body of a fifteen year old – due to her Hoshi’an heritage mix. She’s older than Psilas due to the fact his birth date jumped around because of the different timelines. She stood near Kristoff and Rana and screamed.. Loudly and proudly. “I BE PIKACHUUUUUU”
A smile broke on Kristoff’s face, which meant that something was working. Nobody’s intending on killing anyone, but if I can either scare the older Aura off – or get enough damage in she exits Yasuo’s body somehow. Unless this is her shifting abilities, and Yasuo’s safe in the lines. Then again, Yasuo was a latent shifter and refused until recently to even engage with his abilities due to issues he’d seen with other people from Warai and Hoshii that used it for all the wrong reasons.
I put a finger underneath her chin, avoiding fully even touching her at first.
“Tell the truth, and you won’t get hurt, tell the truth about what your motives are and how you plan on getting your ass home when this is all over with.” I looked straight into her eyes and could instantly envision what caused her to strike. I realized there was a lot more than just junk food at stake.
“What can you see you stupid human, what is it that you think you can feel?”
“PEEEEEEKKKKKKKK” The younger Aura trying to scream, and ends up with her fathers hand around her mouth.
“Shht, let your uncle finish this without you screaming so loud sweetie and I’ll get you pop tarts when you come back home.” Ryan put a hand on his daughter’s head and another on Kristoff’s shoulder. He looked like shit, like he’d been attacked just like Makoto.
“Apart from what the future told me the last time I was there, I can sense the abandonment after our failure. You turned because you had nowhere else to turn to, and your corruption led you back here but at the same time your childhood kept you from anything worse than you’ve already done.” I focused myself on the memory she was projecting, which was somehow something I didn’t know she could do – nor could I expect to read it in return until now.
“How dare you.” She snarled and tried to lash out, I grabbed her arm carefully.
“I dare because your grandfather is my husband, I dare because your parents are my family. You may not be mine, you may be my niece… Yet we’ve all had a hand in being there for you. There is nothing wrong with the emotional detachment you’ve felt after we failed several times, but as your younger self can prove to you – we have every intent on fixing this.”
“What if I turned just to spite you all.”
“You were used and abused, just like your father, just like I was, just like Kristoff and Rana were. Just like your grandfather was a century before you. God that makes Sai sound like he’s an ancient being trying to bone a kid – but time on your ancestral homeland is not the same as it is on Earth. You know this because you’re only just at the emotional maturity of a freaking twenty five year old by now. It’s NORMAL to feel anger at things that have gone wrong and made you lose everything.” I grabbed her other arm at the same time and risked being killed myself to pull her into a familial embrace.
“No, whether you’re a shifter like your family, or you’re riding your papa’s meatsuit – It doesn’t matter, I’m not going to kill you. You’re one more reason for us to fight. Look at yourself over there, with your father. She’s only willing to harm you because you’ve harmed those around her. As with you to us, we failed – we inadvertently HARMED those around you because we failed to prevent your abuse and the things that lead to time folding in on itself.” I started to well up a little inside, and a tear escaped my eyes… “I lost, no- we lost our mother, our father, our stepfather and everyone we were close to as children to the time folding in on itself. More so the Makara murdering everyone – to get to you, to get to us – and prevent us from fixing things.”
“You can’t expect to understand my pain.”
The younger of the two Auras standing in the room stopped hopping around and squeaking and came over and embraced her older self and I, sandwiching herself awkwardly.
“SQUEEESHU.” Aura, of course being the youngest in the room grasped onto the concept that we were trying to give her older self redemption. “Nobody expects you to be happy self, we just want you to be OKAY.”
Ryan snickered and replied, “She means that none of us expect perfection, your redemption will come in time. We don’t expect to understand your pain as we weren’t there, we want to help fix time so we’re there to prevent as much of it as we can for you in the past. As far as anyone can tell, the way the future you came from existed was only by way of how the Makara’s were planting and damaging things.”
“I try and murder my uncles, and I try and ruin my chance at freedom, and… daddy you’ll forgive me?” Aura, the older one tried to hold back tears, and peeled her younger self off, and left the embrace we’d shared. She ran to Ryan and dropped to her knees, “I want to help, but I’ve been nothing more than a thorn.”
“You’re MY baby thorn in the side Aura, you’re as spastic as your grandfather, and your papa. You’ve been hurt, and it’s no wonder you were led astray. You’re also as naive as your father and uncles were as a kid.” Ryan knelt in front of her and smiled, messing with her hair and picking something out of his pocket. “This may be illegal from your time, but hopefully with permission your younger self will let me give you this.”
“DADDY WHAT FLAVOR!!!” The younger Aura piped up, knowing exactly what was going on – Some people get redemption by giving items of familiarity. In this family, food is somehow a common theme. In specific? A fucking packet of pop tarts. I can tell we’re on our way to redemption ourselves – but at what cost after this?