“I hope you understand the consequences of your actions.”
An old man tied to a chair had a trail of blood trickling down his mouth. The left side of his face was swollen and it was obvious that a hard punch had landed there.
“Mr. Kaizuki, I admire your valor.” The man before him smiled brightly at his words and gripped the crowbar tightly. “There are not many people who can stay composed at the door of death.”
The crowbar hit right on his chest and the old man’s vision blackened in pain. He spat a mouthful of blood and fought to grab a breath.
The man with the crowbar walked back and sat on the couch. He smiled contently as he watched the old man suffering in pain.
“Tell me where you have hidden your granddaughters and that boy you chose for them.” He asked and continued “Rest assured, I have been ordered by the Fourth Lord to not kill them. They will live after Kaizuki family’s riches and power fall in my hand.”
“Hahahaha.” The old man laughed when he heard these words.
He took a good look around the hall. It was his hotel. And the once elegant hall now smelt of gunpowder and blood. Dozens of bodies lay on the blood wet floor. All his men had been killed. But the enemy had paid a dire price as well. He glanced at the remaining men that had their guns pointed at him. There was no fear in his eyes and he smirked at them. “You will all die. All of you.” His lightly told them.
The man on the couch disdained his words when he heard them. The old man was arrogant as ever.
“At this moment, Kaizuki, you are not the most powerful man of Japan. Your life is in my hands, so, shut up and answer my questions…”
“…Where have you hidden them?!” He growled.
“Hazuri Okada, you went all out, didn’t you? You risked everything you had built up in the last forty years to get rid of me.”
“I risked and I won.” Okada laughed and his happiness emanated in his voice. “From today onwards, I am the most powerful man in Japan. And Japan will finally be a part of the secret orders.”
“Since when did you turn from a wise man to an imbecile?”
The old man looked at his enemy in disdain.
“Do you even know anything about the secret orders? You just know that these two organizations control the world but do you know anything more than that?”
“I will be the king of the Fourth Lord of The Wiseblood when this day ends.” Okada smiled and said happily. “I will get to know everything that there is about them.”
He did not want to waste his time talking to this old man.
“Tell me where they are, Kaizuki. I don’t have time and if I fail this task, then your family will join you in hell. At least, think of their lives if you don’t care about yours.”
“Do you know why I never joined these two orders? I am not a man who likes to serve under the command of someone.” The old man paid no attention to the threatening glare of his enemy and continued. “All these years neither The Wise Blood nor The Myriad Eye could do more than to push me to join them. And I never wanted to get involved in their war and their ideals…”
“…However, 5 years ago, I did have the desire to join one of the secret orders. But my pride got the better of me.”
The old man sighed and looked up at the chandelier.
“The Fourth Lord desires to control The Wise Blood, and so he used you to eliminate me. You are nothing but a pawn on his chessboard…”
“…You will die for what you have done.” His voice turned grave. “And the Fourth Lord will get his wish to instigate the man in command of The Wise Blood to accept his war declaration.”
“I will die for killing you?”
Okada laughed at his words but seeing the seriousness in the old man’s eyes, fear whispered in his heart.
“Why would eliminating you instigate the First Lord of The Wise Blood?” He nervously asked.
The Old man wanted to laugh at his question but stopped and palely smiled. An image of a youth flashed in his mind and his heart warmed up.
“You don’t even know that the one in command of The Wise Blood is never the First Lord. It’s the one that all 7 Lords address as The Supreme Zero.”
He said nothing more than this and closed his eyes.
“What is your relationship with The Supreme Zero?”
Okada’s agitation rose as he walked over and buried a punch in his chest.
“Answer me, Kaizuki.” He yelled. “Tell me what you know.”
The old man grunted and laughed under his punches but never answered his question.
He wanted to deny the old man’s words but some part of his heart screamed to him that it was all true. His death would arrive and he would never accomplish his dream.
The old man was in his eighties and how long could someone his age survive the heavy punches? The life seemed to leave his body as he no longer felt pain, but the hits stopped raining down on him.
Okada panted crazily. He was mentally tired. His heart sank with every punch he had delivered and he feared for his life now.
A man who controls the secret order was what kind of an existence? He couldn’t even fathom the power that man held. He no longer cared about the task he had been handed by the Fourth Lord. It didn’t even matter now. His greed for power had probably led him to dig his own grave.
An hour passed and the old man had still not regained his consciousness. It was the longest hour of Okada’s life. He had tried to think of a way out of this mess but he couldn’t. In the end, his only hope was that Kaizuki would live. Perhaps he would be forgiven if he offered to become a servant and begged for his life.
When the old man regained consciousness, he found himself lying on the couch. He was not tied or cuffed but his sore body made it hard for him to sit up. He was sure that he had some broken ribs and the numb left shoulder told him that it was broken as well.
“Good, good. You have finally woken up!”
The old man turned to his side and saw Okada nervously smiling. He understood why he was still alive and his lips curved in a smile that disdained his enemy.
“Do you think that keeping me alive will save you from that man? You have no idea how dangerous he is when you harm the people he cares about.” His voice held pain as he continued his words.
“He killed 11679 men with his bare hands, in the span of just one year. Because they had killed his family and he lost the people he loved the most…”
“…He killed everyone that was directly or indirectly responsible for the death of his family…”
“…And do you know how old he was at that time? He was only 19 years old.”
Silence loomed in the hall and everyone who heard his words felt a chill run down their spines.
“He knows about our war and is on his way here. You have no escape now.” The old man said and sighed.
The words served as the last push and Okada fell in the abyss of despair. He could no longer think of anything and only one word rang in his mind, ‘Death’. He looked to his left and there was the dead body of his right-hand man. Next to that body was the body of his organization’s think-tank. He remembered how they both had advised him to not put faith in foreigners who only desire to conquer this country.
He embraced the regret that wrenched his heart and got up from his chair. His hand grabbed the pistol on his waist and drew it to the old man. He wouldn’t let him live if he was not going to live.
The old man looked at weapon pointed at him and the despair in eyes of Okada told him that this was the end.
“Shazan.” He whispered the name of the youth he had not seen in 4 years and closed his eyes to embrace his death.
‘Forgive me Rysar, I couldn’t protect your grandson and let him walk the path you never wished for him to take.’
The sound of the gunshot echoed in the hall and a body fell down on a ground with a thud.
The Oldman’s eyes snapped open and he saw 2 shadows moving faster than his eyes could clearly focus. The cries and screams of the enemies rose and one after another their bodies dropped down on the floor. Some had their necks twisted. Some had their throats ripped open. There were even some with their eyes skewered.
By the time Okada’s mind could focus on something other than the pain he felt from his snapped arm, he was the only man left standing before the two masked fellows. The cloaks they wore were black and had an emblem of blood colored flame on them.
His eyes quivered and he trembled in fear as he looked around the hall. His remaining 23 men had been killed in just under a minute.
“M-monsters.” The fear dried his throat.
The sound of light steps penetrated his ears and he looked at the entrance of the hall.
A youth dressed in a black suit entered and walked towards him. Okada couldn’t believe his eyes as he looked at the young man’s face. His shock had drowned his fear. He was not ready to accept that it was the same man but when his eyes fell on the girl that followed the young man, there was no room for doubt.
Yes. That was the name of this Italian Casanova, who was among the richest people in this world.
Okada couldn’t believe that this young man was The Supreme Zero, Kaizuki had mentioned. No one would believe it, he was only 24 years old and so famous that he was always before the eyes of the public. How could he be the head of a secret order?
However, his question was soon answered as he felt the fear envelop his heart. The deep brown eyes locked on him and he felt like his body was being pressed by a mountain. Breath escaped his lungs and he plopped down on his knees.
Okada could not take away his eyes from the deep brown abyss that sucked his soul. He felt an excruciating pain assault his mind and the taste of blood filled his mouth. His vision dyed in the shade of red, as blood teared out of his eyes. And soon the eternal darkness embraced him.
The old man saw all that had transpired and his heart tightened. The boy who once always laughed and wore a heartwarming smile, now looked like he was the death itself.
“Grandpa Kaizuki.” The young man respectfully said and slightly bowed his head.
His eyes got wet as he traced the affection in Shazan’s voice. The young boy had always addressed him as a grandfather.
“You will still call me ‘Grandfather’?”
“Of course.” The girl behind the youth smiled and said. “We are forever a family.”
The old man smiled and shook his head.
“You two haven’t aged at all in last 4 years.” He said and tried to sit up but his sore body failed him. “Tell me your secret.”
Shazan apologetically smiled and went forward to help Kaizuki sit up. If that secret could prolong the old man’s life, he would have told him.
A cooling sensation spread in the old man’s chest and the pain eased a lot. He could breathe now without any difficulty.
“Just stay still, okay? Don’t push yourself.” Shazan said and took his hand back.
“Where are Yue and Himari? And that boy named Yuuto?”
The old man felt guilty in his heart when he heard the names of his granddaughters from his mouth. He had promised his old friend Rysar that he would marry his granddaughter to Shazan if he ever had one. But he had engaged both his granddaughters to the boy he had selected as his heir.
“I had placed them in the secret room in this Hotel. They are safe.”
“We apologize, grandfather. We made you suffer.” The girl said apologetically. “The Fourth Lord harmed you just to get Shazan to accept his war declaration.”
“You don’t need to apologize for anything. It’s me who should…” The old man wanted to apologize but the young man didn’t let him.
“Grandpa, we need to take you to receive medical attention. Don’t stress yourself.”
“If you still see me as your grandfather then don’t interrupt my words again.” The old man admonished him.
“Whatever happened today was my fault. I should have accepted your offer 4 years ago. If I had become your king back then, this day wouldn’t have arrived.” He looked at the pair and continued his words. “I am not a good man. You know that. A man like me doesn’t deserve to be cared for. This was a war and I hate to say this but I lost. I should be dead right now if you hadn’t come in time.”
Both of them wanted to say something but the stern look in Kaizuki’s eyes stopped them.
“I should have not turned you away that day. It was my pride that stopped me from accepting your offer and I paid what I deserved. I failed to look after you when you needed me. I don’t deserve to be called your ‘grandfather’.” His words reflected the lament in his heart.
“We understand your reasons. You did what you had to do. And like Keira just said, we are family. So don’t apologize to your grandchildren. It hurts.” Shazan smiled lightly and said with respect.
“Huh…” The old man scoffed and looked annoyed. He didn’t like how this young man easily forgave him because it only made him feel guiltier. But soon his mood changed and a smile crept on his face.
“How’s Arianna?” He asked.
“She has grown into a beautiful girl and is perhaps the most mischievous one in the family” Keira happily answered.
“Of course, how could this lad’s sister not be beautiful and it seems like her personality hasn’t changed at all.” The old man laughed heartily. “How’s your daughter?”
“Rose turned 3 years old, last month. And she is just like her aunt.”
“Silverstein’s are always troublesome.” Kaizuki sighed and smiled. “Get those doctors to the Mansion. I don’t want to go to a hospital. Never liked the atmosphere that place reeks off.”
Shazan nodded to the two men behind him, who then bowed and left the room.
“What do you plan to do with the Fourth Lord?” Kaizuki asked and immediately regretted.
“He will pay for not listening to my warning.” A grim expression adorned Shazan’s face.
The old man wanted to say to not act rashly. But he knew that he didn’t need to tell this to the man before him. It didn’t matter because Shazan seemed to have already decided on something. And he was not a man who changed his decisions.
“Will you accept a gift from your grandfather?”
“What is it?” The young man asked curiously.
“It’s my guilt and something which is very precious to me.” There was sadness in his voice. “You will need to promise me something if you accept it. Will you do it?” Kaizuki looked at Shazan and asked seriously.
“Yes.” There was no hesitation.