One last job. It is to be her last job as an assassin for Echizen Riiyu. But things aren't as easy as she thinks, and things soon took a turn for the worst. It might just turn out to be her FINAL job. FemRyo
FemRyo. Yukimura Seiichi is the Prince of Japan. Echizen Rika is an agent from a secret organisation sent to protect him. But things soon grew complicated when Yukimura fell for Rika without knowing her true identity, and complications arouse when assassins soon came for his life.
As promised, this is the rewritten version of Vim and Vigour, renamed as Forgotten Mists, as I find the new title more appropriate. I really meant to get this out five days ago, but FFnet seemed to have some problems with their servers then. Anyway, there will be several major changes made to this version, as compared to the previous version of Vim and Vigour, and I'll appreciate it if you can review! Enjoy!
Warnings: AU Universe. Non-canon. Murder. Gore. Character deaths.
Disclaimer: I do not own Prince of Tennis or any of the characters, but the OC characters belongs to me
Chapter One: Number 13, Exilia
"Why are you so reckless?"
"Do you really want to die?"
"What the hell is your problem? Why are you being so reckless like this? Don't you even care about your own life?"
"You're really leaving, aren't you?"
"I'll allow you to take a leave of absence. I won't allow you to leave Hades just yet. I'll let you cool off for some time, *****"
Echizen Riiyu cracked opened one eye as the sounds of light footsteps reach her ears.
Most of the girls in the local high school that she attends as a sophomore – Phoenix Star Academy avoided her like the plague after an incident when a school bully had tried picking on her, and the next thing that anyone knew, the bully had to be patched up for five broken ribs, a bruised jaw and a sprained wrist. After that, everyone in the school knew better than to pick on Echizen Riiyu. Not unless they have a death wish.
There were lots of rumours surrounding the fifteen, barely sixteen year old girl when she had first arrived nearly a year ago in the school. Phoenix Star Academy is actually a school for the elites or for the most brilliant, and even then, it isn't easy to get in. And if rumours are to be believed, the mandatory entrance test that she took for the school is enough to get her into the senior year, but she turned it down, and went at the same pace as everyone, though she entered high school a year earlier than most of those in her age group.
The now sixteen, barely seventeen-year-old girl is one of the top students in her school, having came into top repeatedly, and most of the students in her year level had long given up on attaining the number one position of the year, and instead tried to get the number two or number three positions instead.
Despite her cold and standoffish behaviour that earned her the name of 'Ice Queen' in the school, Echizen Riiyu is pretty much popular with the boys, and a few of the girls who had a brain outside studies and boys as well as jealousy. She has to empty her locker three times a day if she doesn't want it to get flooded with love letters. One of the student councillors of the ruling body of the school despite being only a sophomore, a few of the 'boys-with-no-brains' learned the hard way that when Echizen Riiyu says no, she means no.
Riiyu had always been a topic of discussion in the school when she had first arrived, as not only is she good at her studies, she lives alone in that rental apartment complex a street away from the school in the Toyko district that most of the school's students who came from far away stayed in during the school year.
A particularly nosy reporter from the school's reporter club later found out that she is an orphan, and that particular piece of news had spread extremely quickly around the school, even for Phoenix Star's standards. Needless to say, Riiyu wasn't pleased, and the next day, that same reporter was bombarded by pranks the moment that he had stepped in through the school, and which had lasted the whole day. And until today, no one had ever gotten any evidence to prove that it was Riiyu who had done the deed.
As a result of her mannerisms and character, it caught the interest of several of the boys a year above her, and who are also from some of the wealthiest families of Japan, and also some of the top students in the school. It also didn't help that they are also some of the most popular in the school. They didn't start off on the right foot with Riiyu at first, as they later found out that Riiyu had quite a bad experience with the boys in the school upon her first arrival, that she decided that all the boys in the school had their heads screwed on backwards and wants her for only one thing, that she tends to react quite violently towards anyone who so much as look at her wrong.
Later, the younger sister of one of the boys in that particular clique befriended Riiyu by chance when they were paired together for a project, and Tachibana Ann then took the chance to introduce Riiyu to her brother and his friends. They started off as mere acquaintances, but later, they became friends, though one has to twist Riiyu's arm hard enough to force her to admit that.
Echizen Riiyu pushed herself off the wall that she is leaning against, and waited for the owners of those footsteps to appear. She had dark hair that just reaches a little below her shoulders with dark green hints to it, with golden cat-like eyes. She is also wearing a white slightly off-shoulder shirt with a black jacket worn over it, with black jeans and blue and white sneakers. A black choker with no visible pendant on it, apart for the silver clasp that held it together could be seen around her neck, and she wore a pair of silver ring-like bangles around both wrists – with three on each wrist.
The visages of Tachibana Ann and her elder brother, Tachibana Kippei, with Sanada Genichirou and one Yukimura Seiichi came into view just then – all obviously back from cram school. The four stopped slightly in their tracks as they saw Riiyu, and Ann then smiled and waved at her friend before turning towards the other three.
"Well, we should go," said Ann, tugging onto her brother's sleeve. "Sanada-san, you're walking this way as well, right?"
"Huh? Oh yeah. Ouch! Yeah." Sanada let out a light yelp as Ann stepped on his toes before following the pair of siblings as Ann had quite a firm grip on both their sleeves. "See you tomorrow, Seiichi!"
"See you tomorrow, Riiyu!" Ann called cheerfully to her best friend, before she turned her head and winked at Yukimura without letting her best friend see, and she then dragged the two males with her away.
Yukimura Seiichi sighed. 'That Ann,' he thought. He then smiled as he approached Riiyu. "You're here again? Didn't I say that I don't need anyone to guard me? I'm not some helpless baby."
Riiyu rolled her eyes as they walked the path that they always took to the apartment complex where they both lived in. By some strange twist of fate, both of them are actually neighbours, with their apartments just side-by-side with each other.
"Oh yeah? What about that time when you were almost mugged, and almost got yourself kidnapped if I hadn't walked by?"
Yukimura almost flushed at that memory. "That only happened ONE TIME! Just that ONE TIME!" he nearly shouted. At Riiyu's look of amusement, he looked away, trying to fight down the blush on his face. "Besides, I'm older than you, aren't I? Nearly two years ahead, in fact. It should be me that is protecting you, not the other way around."
"Sempai, I know how to disable a person with my bare hands alone with seven different ways." Riiyu interrupted. "And four of those ways hurts a lot! I think I can protect myself and you better than you think."
The sound of motor engines just then saved Yukimura from any further embarrassment, and they both turned around only to see two motorbikes sped past just then, obviously having a race of some sort. And in the distance, they could see various lights, and the faint cheers of several people. Both sighed as one, knowing what it is this time.
"They're up to that old racing stuff again." Yukimura muttered. "I thought that they'd learned their lesson from last time. Are they not afraid to die?"
Riiyu stiffened, an action that slipped Yukimura's notice.
You're sure reckless, Riiyu. Are you not afraid to die?
Riiyu frowned just then, and glanced out of the corner of her eye only to see a shadow ducking into a nearby alley, and she frowned to herself. She then turned towards Yukimura. "Will you be alright going back by yourself? I have to buy some stuff for tomorrow from the twenty-four hour store around the corner."
Yukimura was taken aback, but he nodded. "Of course. I'll be fine," he said. "I'll see you later."
Riiyu nodded before Yukimura walked down the pathway that they always took back home. The dark haired girl then quickened her steps with her feet barely making any sound before she arrived at a bridge with barely any lights, and there wasn't even a single soul in sight.
She then stopped in her tracks, both hands stuffed into her pockets. Riiyu then settled in a relaxed pose for the next several moments, waiting for what was to happen next. When nothing but silence greeted her, she then decided to take matters into her own hands.
"Alright. You both can come out now. I know that you're there. I'm not that stupid." Riiyu spoke nonchalantly out to supposedly empty air.
In that instant, the muffled gunshots of two guns reaches her ears, too low to be caught by any normal person hearing, unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how one tends to look at it, Riiyu isn't your average person, and neither are all the others in her old organisation. The dark haired girl pivoted around on one foot whilst slipping off one of the ring-like bangles around her left wrist before knocking the two bullets away from her with it before it could even touch her. All in a matter of mere moments.
Riiyu narrowed her eyes as two guys melted out of the darkness, both dressed completely in black, with guns in their hands. The teenager twirled the ring that she is holding around the index finger of her right hand, suddenly missing her own gun, and she frowned at the two that she could see.
"I see. Your target is me after all," she stated matter-of-factly. "If you knew who I am, then you must be from 'them'. But it seems like they didn't tell you one small important fact. While we of Hades use the traditional weapons at times, we don't use them all the time. And our senses are all superior to that of most people. You can't hit me with a gun like that."
The two guys frowned, and the one on the right growled in his throat, sounding rather like an animal. "You really are…" He swallowed before taking one step forwards. "So you survived as well, Number XIII, Exilia."
Riiyu narrowed her eyes. While there are some people who would know of her as 'Number XIII', there aren't many who would know her by the codename of 'Exilia', the Executor.
"How do you know that name?" Riiyu questioned. She then narrowed her eyes when she spotted the tattoo of one of the two, with the tattoo being tattooed on the wrist of the hand wrapping around the gun. A tattoo of a pair of wings, with a smaller pair of wings in the center. "I see. So you're from them after all. After over a year of inactivity, you've appeared at last. Then I guess that I do not have to hold back." Riiyu grasped the ring that she is holding with the fingers of her right hand, with electricity sparkling from it every now and then. "Shall we dance?"
Apartment Complex, Tokyo District
Riiyu finally made it back to her apartment, almost like a zombie as she stared at her hands, almost like she could still see the blood there. She knew that two unexplained deaths would be all over the papers for weeks come tomorrow.
'How long must I continue doing this?' she thought, standing in front of her door. 'Reiko, you are right in the end…' She closed her eyes, thinking of her twin sister. 'It can really drive you mad if you keep living a life like this.'
Riiyu then sighed and fumbled for her keys, and inserted it into the lock of her door. She then raised a brow in slight confusion when she realised that her door isn't locked.
Quickly, Riiyu looked left and right only to see no one else around before she slipped off one of the rings around her wrist, and entered her dark apartment quietly. She could just distinctly make out the images of two figures in her apartment, and frowned. Did they already know where she lives?
Quick as lightning, Riiyu was nearly atop the assailant nearest to her, and kicked his feet out from under him – Riiyu was fairly sure that it's a he at least, judging by the build – and brought the ring down onto her assailant, only to hear a loud clang of metal on metal as he blocked her ring with whatever weapon that he had.
"Riiyu, stop! It's us!" A familiar voice reaches her ears just then that caused her eyes to widen in recognition at the same moment when the lights of the apartment were turned on.
Kevin Smith was lying flat on the ground beneath her, blocking her ring with a gun that he had with him, whilst Ohtori Choutarou was standing by the switches, one hand on the switches.
"Kevin? Choutarou?" Riiyu questioned before releasing her hold on Kevin, much to his relief. "What are the both of you doing here? How did you find me?"
Choutarou approached them both before giving Kevin a hand as he pulled the blonde to his feet, with said blonde grumbling something beneath his breath about paranoid Numbers.
Meanwhile, Riiyu was quite suspicious of the presences of these two in front of her. The old organisation she was with that she had left over a year ago because of that particular incident…those two are members of that organisation as well. And all members of that organisation kill those people who are a threat to the country and to the royal family of Japan. Hades is an underground organisation that protects the king and the country from the shadows with any means necessary.
Kevin Smith is a little different from most of the members of the organisation. He had an uncanny talent that allows him to gain all kinds of information, and it is probably that talent of his that allows them to find her. He is the only one in the organisation that rarely kills, if at all.
Kevin rubbed the back of his head with one hand before tossing Riiyu the gun that he was holding a second ago. "Here."
Riiyu frowned as she caught the gun with relative ease and stared at it, recognising the gun as her old weapon – the weapon that she had used when she was still in Hades as an active member. The dark haired girl had a faint inkling what they're both here for, and she frowned, looking at them both. "What?"
Choutarou rolled his eyes. "Don't you 'what' me!" he said. "You know what that means. The Superior sent us to get you back, Exilia."
Riiyu scowled at Choutarou. "Don't call me that," she hissed. "I left over a year ago. I'm not a Number anymore. And I'm no longer part of the Hades organisation as well."
Choutarou and Kevin exchanged dumbfounded looks. Obviously, they thought that she wouldn't turn them down. Riiyu sighed. "What did the Superior tell you both? Repeat it. Word for word."
"Well, he sent us both to drag you out of your 'self imposed solitude', and that we need all the hands that we can get. Especially since we're facing a coup from within Hades itself, and not to mention the outside threats that we're handling as well."
Riiyu scowled. "That's it? Word for word?" she questioned, and Kevin and Choutarou both nodded. She snorted. "Figures. He never changes." She slammed the gun down onto her desk with alarming force, causing the entire desk to tremble. She then pulled the curtains adorning her windows apart, looking down at the city of Tokyo with all the city lights.
"What has happened to you?" Kevin asked at last, seeing as Choutarou is dumbfounded at seeing the usually impassive and cool-headed Number lose her cool like this. "Is it about that incident from back then? I wasn't there at that time, but—"
"The Superior killed them!" Riiyu snarled, not turning around to face the two boys. "He as good as sent them to their deaths against the Angel Syndicate! Then the rest of us who survived… What is the thanks that we get? Nothing! Exile for one. Imprisonment for another. A death sentence for the third who is still hiding somewhere in Japan that not even I could find him! I am the only one among us that managed to escape from any sentence like that. Then when I wanted to leave Hades, that poor excuse of a leader refuse point blank to let me leave. I have to actually threaten him with bringing this matter to the king and Reiko that he finally compromised by allowing me a 'leave of absence'. But I've had it. I want out. I had enough of this life!"
Kevin and Choutarou exchanged looks, not knowing what to say. That incident from over a year ago was still shrouded with mystery. No one knew what had happened back then during that disastrous mission to take out one of the most dangerous syndicates that had ever existed that had all but killed over half of those involved during that mission. Only four survived out of the ten that were sent. And of those four, three suddenly vanished from Hades the next day, and the last one who had been Riiyu left not long after that, though there were tales of a major shouting match that the Number had with the Superior before the latter had allowed her to leave.
Echizen Reiko had been Riiyu's older twin sister and her only surviving family member after her family had died when she was about six or seven. The twins were then separated for some time after that, and the Royal Guard then took in Reiko as an apprentice – the personal bodyguards of the king and the royal family, whilst Riiyu was taken in by the Hades organisation, an organisation that also protects the king and the royal family in a sense, only in a darker way.
Kevin sighed, breaking the uneasy silence. "The Angel Syndicate is on the move again," he said at last. "I had to beg Reiko practically on my hands and knees for days before she finally gave in and told me where you are. Though she threatened me with severe bodily harm if I should tell the Superior where you are." He exchanged looks with Choutarou. "We need you back, Riiyu. We need your help."
Riiyu chuckled bitterly before she turned around and faced them, and both boys flinched slightly at the scornful and bitter expression in her eyes as the dark haired girl sat on the edge of her desk. "I'll pass," she said. "The Superior didn't show any of them mercy when he treated them like they're beneath him. Like…like they're lower than the earth that he walks on. He didn't show them any mercy. He didn't help them. So why should I help him? Why should I help a fool of a leader who treats his subordinates as nothing but chess pieces?"
"I don't know what went on between the both of you, but there are people who don't deserve to die in there," said Choutarou gently. "People like Niou and Shishidou-sempai. People like Marui-san. They are only a small number, that is true. But they were your comrades, your friends at one time, are they not?"
Riiyu said nothing for several moments as she picked up the photo frame sitting on her desk, picking it up to look at it. The visages of the ten people in the picture looked back at her, with a younger version of herself in their midst. This photo was taken before they have set off on that disastrous mission that had all but killed nearly all of them when they have gone up against the Angel Syndicate – a dangerous organisation that both the Royal Guard and Hades have been fighting against for the past three or so years.
Riiyu closed her eyes before placing the photo frame back and glancing at Choutarou and Kevin who both have hopeful expressions on their faces. "All that I have left of them now are memories…and pictures," she said sombrely. "The Superior made it that way. We almost lost our lives in that mission. I knew. I knew that we wouldn't be enough to make that mission a success. But did he listen? No, he did not. He wants to leave the best of the best as a last backup plan and sent just two of his best Numbers in as one of the cannon fodder, the only two who might have a chance at making it out alive." Riiyu glared. "Me and Shiraishi! The other two must have the devil's luck to actually make it back alive. And what happened after that? What is the thanks that we get for crippling the Angel Syndicate at the cost of the lives of nearly half our comrades? Nothing!"
Kevin and Choutarou winced at her anger.
"Kaidoh got himself exiled. Sengoku got himself imprisoned. That guy's ridiculous luck saved him from death again. Shiraishi got a death sentence hanging over his head when he was the only one with enough balls to tell the Superior to his face that he is nothing but a fucking murderer! He ended up having to fight through an entire battalion of soldiers just to get out of Hades' headquarters alive! And me? I ended up getting imprisoned for two entire months just for saving my comrade's life! And when I got out, the Superior actually had the balls to tell me that I can either obey his orders or face a similar fate. Well, guess what? I choose neither. I choose to leave. I actually had to threaten him that I'll take this matter to the king if he pushes me over the line! Do you even think that I wanted to help a person like that?"
Riiyu slammed her hand down hard onto the desk that she is sitting on, pure fury on her face. "Do you think that I had just been sitting and doing nothing for the past year ever since I've left? I know that the Angel Syndicate is on the move. I ran into two of their members a few hours ago – their minions maybe. I left their bodies in pieces by the side of the road. They can be the meals for the crows for all I care. But I've already seen too much, experienced too much. If even Reiko failed to convince me to join her in the Royal Guard, do you seriously think that you'll succeed? I had enough. I had enough of this life. Another battle…another fight with the Angel Syndicate, with Tenshi… No more. I don't want any part of it. Count me out." Riiyu declared. "You can say whatever you wish. Call me a coward or whatever. It isn't like I hadn't heard it before. That's what Reiko said to me when she tried to convince me to help them three months ago. You can say whatever you wish, but don't expect me to put my neck on the line like that again. Hades and the Superior can go ahead and die for all I care. I won't even shed a single tear at their funerals. I don't owe them anything. Not any longer. I repaid my debt to them for having raised me all these years when I've nearly died for them countless times over the past years. I don't owe them anything any longer. And if you both want my advice, I'd be advising for the both of you to leave as well."
"So then we should just sit back and allow Tenshi to continue playing God?" Kevin questioned with a frown. "We should allow those traitors to remain within our midst? You knew. I knew. Choutarou knew. All of us knew that nearly half of the Numbers were implicated in this. And now with both Shiraishi and you gone, the fighting strength of Hades and the Numbers has gone down. The both of you are some of our best."
"I don't care," said Riiyu dismissively. "I've already told you – Hades can go ahead and die for all I care. The Superior can go and fuck himself. I'm washing my hands off this. The last time that I interfered in this, I watched over half of my comrades die in front of me. No more. I had enough. I'm not interfering in this."
"But you're protecting the Prince, aren't you?" Choutarou questioned.
"Only as a favour to the king and Reiko." Riiyu interrupted. "When I went to the king for his assistance in allowing me to live as a normal member of society, seeing as how I technically don't exist as I'm an assassin of Hades, he helped me with the transcripts and documents for me to enrol into Phoenix Star Academy on the condition that I guard his son and heir – one Yukimura Seiichi." Riiyu glanced out of the window towards the direction of Yukimura's own apartment. "Besides, Reiko asked me to. The Prince knows all the members of the Royal Guard. But those of Hades aren't known to him. Hell, I doubt he even knew of our existence." She then turned back towards her friends. "So you both can stop wasting your breath. I'm not lifting a single finger in this. Not even if the king himself asked me to."
"One last job, Riiyu!" Kevin interrupted, determination in his eyes that told Riiyu he isn't backing down as well. Riiyu can be as stubborn as a mule. But Kevin can be worse than her. "One last job. After this job, Hades will be no more. We can choose our own lives then."
Riiyu frowned. "What do you mean by that?" she questioned.
Choutarou sighed. "Exactly as Kevin said it," he said. "After this mission to wipe out the Angel Syndicate and to flush out those traitors staging a coup, Hades will be no more. More than half of the Numbers are implicated in this matter. We don't even know whom we can trust, and whom we can't trust. The only ones that we knew aren't involved are you, me, Niou, Marui-san and Shishido-sempai. As for Shiraishi-san and the others, I'm not so sure. After how Hades had treated them, they're bound to want vengeance as well. And even if we can assure the safety of the royal family and the king as well as the Crown Prince, after all this, Hades' strength won't be like how it once was. If those staging the coup and the Angel Syndicate are indeed an evil created by our own actions, then it's our responsibility to end that evil. We have to clean up after ourselves." He looked at Riiyu straight in the eye. "One last job. Just as a favour to us? One last job. This will be our last mission."
Riiyu was silent for a long time before she sighed. "Fine. But I'm not fighting as a member of Hades," she said. "I'll fight as a neutral party. But I'm getting the remainders of the old group back – Shiraishi, Kaidoh and Sengoku. And trust me, I have ways to get them back. This will be our last job." She declared. "And after all this…I'm out."
A/N: As you can see, I've made several major changes to this story, as compared to the previous version. The person in charge of Hades isn't exactly that great of a person, as compared to the previous one. What do you think of this version? I hope that you like it, and please read and review!