Here's the next chapter, and in which the viewers will discuss the revelation of the Gambit being sabotaged followed by their reactions to the next set of memories regarding Oliver's time away.
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Meeting Yao Fei
Location: Hall Of Justice [Justice League Headquarters]
Setting: League Auditorium
Everyone in attendance sat in stunned silence upon hearing Mia's revelation while Tommy, the Lances, and the younger Queen siblings worked to absorb the shock of what they had been told.
"Sabotaged!? The Gambit was sabotaged!?" Sara softly exclaimed in surprise though still loud enough for everyone else to hear while Oliver continued to sit there with a stunned look still written upon his face.
"What the hell do you mean the Gambit was sabotaged!?" Quentin growled furiously, demanding an explanation.
"Just what I said guys. It was sabotaged. Someone placed a bomb onto it and set it to go off when it sailed into a Category 2 storm, making it look like the storm itself caused its sinking. Something that no one would question. Furthermore, the target of that attack was Robert himself and although he survived that attempt, the objective was still obtained as you saw since it set things in motion which led to his death," Mia calmly explained to him and everyone else.
The look of shock on everyone's faces then turned to horror after hearing this latest revelation and in regards to Robert, with the exception of Moira who began to feel fearful that the truth behind his death was about to come to light and what it would mean for her relationship with her children.
At this point, Oliver was breathing heavily as his fist clenched in anger, but it was his sister who voiced the question they both, along with almost everyone else, wanted to know.
"But why would anyone want to kill dad? He never did anything to anyone," Thea asked desperately and with anger and sadness in her voice as tears started to stream down her face once more.
"Let's just say for now that he was mixed up with some dangerous and powerful people but later went against them and so they found him to be a liability that needed to be dealt with. In fact, when he shared with your brother that he was not the only one who failed the city, he was referring to them," William answered, taking over for his sister.
"Further details will be revealed to all of you within the set of memories you're watching though not anytime soon. But you'll all receive your answers eventually. I promise."
As much as his explanation provided some answers to this, it also brought forward other questions that the Queen siblings and Lances wanted answers to and even wanted to demand that their hosts explain everything to them immediately, including the identities of these people who masterminded Robert's death, how he and they had failed the city, and other unanswered questions.
But they realized that demanding those answers would not do them any good and that their hosts probably had a good reason to have them learn information from the memories projected before them rather than just telling them the info outright. And so they all decided to do their best to calm down and be patient though Oliver and the Lances each vowed to look into the matter themselves when they returned. Quentin privately deciding to launch his own investigation into those responsible for almost killing his baby girl and boy would there be hell to pay once he got his hands on them.
As for Oliver, he promised himself that he would hunt down his father's murderers and show them the monster that Talia had helped him create once he'd found them.
A thought then occurred to both Quentin and Laurel at that moment. While they were still a bit angry at Oliver, for both different reasons and the same reasons, they wondered if they could truly hate him for supposedly almost causing Sara's death and her being away from them for so long since it turned out that outside forces were ultimately responsible for both of those issues.
In fact, would it be fair to him to hold Sara's disappearance against him since what had happened was beyond his control? He may have invited her with him on that boat, but he had no idea of knowing that the Gambit was sabotaged. These were thoughts that the father and daughter duo would continue to have for some time as they watched the memories.
Seeing as no one else was saying anything at the moment and that things had more or less settled down, Mia then uploaded the next set of memories and the screen came back on and began playing.
As the lifeboat washed ashore, Oliver decided to give his father a proper funeral, wrapping his corpse in one of the covers of the lifeboat as he mourned for a moment. Feeling sick, from what he had just been through, Oliver wretched and vomited and coughed out before the seagulls were about to eat on Robert's corpse before Oliver scared them off.
Thea sniffled and began weeping once more, turning her head and tucking it against her mother's shoulder, not wanting to see her father buried and also feeling a little queasy at seeing the seagulls trying to eat on him. Moira held her close and pressed a kiss to her hair while crying with her, blaming herself for this while also silently cursing the one she ultimately held responsible for what had happened to her husband and what her son was forced to go through.
Oliver watched in silence as it caused him to relive this moment all over again. He could even feel himself holding onto his father's body and carrying it with him in order to give him as a best of a respectable burial as he could, smelling the slight stench from the body as it began the earliest stages of decomposition. His eyes watered with tears at that moment and he started to tremble a bit before he began to use some of the mental exercises taught to him by Tatsu Yamashiro and Talia at that moment in order to maintain his center and keep himself calm.
Quentin could not help but feel sympathy towards the younger man and he knew that he would not wish for either of his daughters to ever have to be in the position to bury his body. At least not like this and under those conditions. And the other parents in the room silently and unknowingly echoed his sentiments.
Oliver grabbed Robert's body and put it on the rock hill nearby before he found a notebook in Robert's pocket that piqued Oliver's interest as he picked it. Oliver took a look but all the pages were blank, much to Oliver's confusion before he found a strange insignia on the first page of the notebook.
Oliver pocketed the notebook before burying his father under a pile of rocks but then suddenly, he cried out in pain as he was shot from behind into his right shoulder by an arrow.
Almost everyone nearly jumped out of their seats, startled, while Moira, Thea, Laurel, and Felicity gasped and placed their hands over their mouths, the first three's hearts beating rapidly in fear for him while the others wondered what on earth had just happened.
Oliver fell down, leaning onto Robert's grave, screaming in pain as he turned around to see an archer in green hood in the distance at the shores of Lian Yu as he notched another arrow.
The footage continued as Oliver passed out from being shot by an arrow and when he woke up, Oliver saw that he was in a cavern, the arrow still sticking out of his shoulder.
Oliver stared at Yao Fei in confusion as the Asian took off his hood as the Asian explained that he shot Oliver to protect him, in Chinese as on the screen were subtitles translating Yao Fei's Chinese.
"Why would that think he's protecting you Ollie by shooting you in the shoulder?" Thea asked her brother, feeling confused and perturbed.
"Yeah man. That doesn't really make sense to me either. I mean how exactly did you getting an arrow into you keep you safe?" Roy also added, frowning and feeling puzzled by it while wondering if the hooded archer was some sort of nutcase.
"Because there were a lot of dangers on the island, dangers that I was unequipped for and unprepared to face," Oliver explained. "By shooting and then taking me to the cave, he helped prevent me from running into certain things which would've brought great harm towards me."
"But couldn't he have done it another way instead of shutting you? If the island was really that dangerous, then why not just walk up to you and introduce himself and then somehow convince you to get to safety?" Felicity also questioned, feeling just as perturbed as Thea did.
"As a veteran myself, and based upon certain movements of his and the way he seems to operate, I'm gonna assume that he's a soldier of some kind. Perhaps a military veteran of his own country. And what you've gotta understand is sometimes us soldiers have to make very difficult decisions on the battlefield in order to survive and not just for yourself but also for your fellow soldiers," Rene spoke up and answered instead of Oliver.
"Sometimes those decisions are very painful and especially directed towards the ones we're removing out of harm's way, but they need to be done in order to prevent something far worse from happening. I've had to make those kinds of decisions myself and it goes to show what being a soldier sometimes means," he added while Diggle, Lyla, and even Quentin nodded in agreement while understanding as fellow veterans where he was coming from. Same with Sara and Nyssa.
The other guests, including Thea, Felicity, and Roy, also nodded in response while having a better understanding of the matter, Roy especially and due to difficult decisions he'd had to make while growing up in the Glades, though the non-combat women still felt that Yao Fei could've still somehow done it a bit differently and which Thea also silently grumbled to herself. Though Oliver overheard his sister's grumbles and smiled.
Yao Fei handed Oliver a bowl of water and a handful of herbs. Oliver then realized that Yao Fei was trying to feed him as he took a small pinch of herbs into his mouth and choked and coughed at the taste before drinking water from the bowl in Yao Fei's hand. Yao Fei grabbed the arrow and pulled it out of Oliver's shoulder as Oliver cried out in vain before he passed out again.
All of the female audience members, except for Sara, Nyssa, and Lyla, all winced at the scene, imagining how painful that must have been for him while privately thinking that they'd never want to have to go through that experience of something being extracted from their flesh.
When Oliver came to, Yao Fei was next to him, sleeping. Oliver got up on his feet but his injured shoulder was not making it easy for him as he grinned, trying to ignore the pain before Oliver ran out of the cavern into the forest. Oliver stumbled before getting up as he continued running. Oliver then then stopped, trying to catch his breath as he paced down the forest and as he stopped, Oliver heard some creaking before suddenly, the net covered under the leaves, closed under Oliver, trapping him as he was hanging above the ground.
"Oh my goodness Oliver. My baby boy," Moira gasped in shock while Thea squeaked, the former's heart clenching in pain at seeing her son caught in this precarious position and just some of the dangers Yao Fei and Oliver were talking about. Laurel's mouth had also dropped open and her hand was upon her chest and Tommy's eyes were wide while he quickly leaned forward in his chair, both of them feeling deeply concerned for Oliver while wondering how he'd extract himself from this situation.
Oliver vainly tried to struggle out before he passed out again. As he came to, Oliver gasped to see a blade of a knife a few inches from his face as Yao Fei was standing next to him. Yao Fei cursed Oliver for being a fool in Mandarin that he was wandering alone on the island. Yao Fei cut him loose as Oliver fell down, groaning, while Yao Fei warned him that they would kill him.
Oliver heard something as he realized someone was nearing him as Oliver struggled to get up, ignoring the pain in his shoulder. Oliver left as later, men in black military outfit, with guns, were checking the net that someone had cut down before they left.
Needless to say, everyone was feeling tremendously grateful that Yao Fei had been there to rescue Oliver while the latter's friends and family shuddered at the thought of what could've happened if those men, whoever they were, had gotten ahold of him.
"Um, Ollie? Who exactly were those guys?" Tommy questioned his bff, curious as to what was up with them.
"No one good," Oliver answered grimly and did not say anything further to which Tommy responded by dropping the matter for now and realizing that based upon the former's tone, they must've been people that he'd never want to run in to.
Oliver was back in the cavern, staring at the worn photo of Laurel that he had pulled out of his wallet before Yao Fei entered, with a bird in a bamboo cage, putting the cage down as Yao Fei said "Shengcun", much to Oliver's confusion, not understanding. Yao Fei repeated "Shengcun" as Oliver was still confused, wondering if Yao Fei was referring to the bird in the cage. Yao Fei again repeated the word, which now frustrated Oliver as he did not understand what Yao Fei wanted. Yao Fei then left the cavern as Oliver stared at the photo of Laurel in his hand, apologizing for cheating on her.
"You're really sorry aren't you Ollie?" Laurel asked him softly, tears starting to fall from her eyes while feeling emotional over the fact that Oliver had continued to carry her picture with him.
"More than anything. I promise," Oliver answered her with conviction. Laurel nodded in return, feeling a bit closer towards forgiving him though it would be a very significant amount of time before it would come to fruition since she still felt a bit of resentment towards him and also her sister. But that resentment no longer dominated her mind and emotions and her heart was beginning to soften as she viewed his current struggles as he worked to survive what had been currently dealt to him.
A while later, Yao Fei was cooking a rat on a stick, roasting it above a small fireplace, while Oliver, hungry, took notice. He attempted to take the rat but Yao Fei grabbed Oliver by his hand and threw him down as Oliver yelped, grumbling.
"Now just a minute!" Moira spoke out with a bit of anger. "That was most uncalled for and can't he see that my son is starving?!"
Thea on her part nodded in full agreement with her mother's words, feeling quite put out with this Yao Fei character over flinging her brother to the side when he just wanted something to eat. And the same went for Laurel, Tommy, and Felicity. Hearing his mother's words and noticing the expressions on the faces of the other three, Oliver decided to address this.
"I believe what Yao Fei was teaching me at that moment was that I needed to truly understand how hard it would be on the island and that no one was going to give me any freebies but I had to fight for my own survival and as hard as I could, including satisfying my hunger. And so if I wanted to be fed, I needed to step up and do it on my own instead of waiting for handout," he explained to them all, which mollified them somewhat while Quentin even found himself agreeing with what sounded to be a tough love approach from Yao Fei, wondering if the Queen scion would've been a lot less annoying before the island if his parents had taken a similar approach with him.
Moira and Thea still could not help but feeling mildly annoyed though, but decided to let it go.
Yao Fei pointed at the bird in cage as he made gestures with his hands, again repeating "Shengcun" before Oliver turned to the bird, realizing that Yao Fei was saying that Oliver had to kill the bird, if he wanted to eat, much to Oliver's dismay.
Yao Fei scoffed, as Oliver stared at the bird for a few hours, starving, while Yao Fei was approaching a table and was making ropes. Oliver seemed to be disturbed at the thought that he'd have to kill to survive. Finally accepting that it was the only way he could eat, Oliver opened the cage, grabbing the bird as he looked at the harmless animal in remorse, apologizing for what he was about to do. Oliver looked up, not being able to watch at the sight as he grabbed the bird by his head and he coughed in disgusts he heard the bones crack as he killed the bird with his bare hands.
"Poor Oliver," almost all of those watching thought as they observed this heart wrenching yet definable moment in his life while Moira, Thea, and Laurel's hearts went out to him as they and even Felicity became misty eyed.
Oliver then roasted the bird above the fire until it was eatable as he had it on a stick and got to eating his meal. While disgusted, Oiler was happy to finally have something to eat after weeks of being on the island before Yao Fei sat across from him, saying "Shengcun" again as Oliver nodded, assuming that Yao Fei was referring to the bird. To Oliver's surprise, Yao Fei corrected him in English that "Shengcun" actually meant "survive".
"Aw come on man. That guy could speak English this whole time? Why didn't he just say so earlier or even better, start with that?" Tommy voiced a bit loudly, feeling put out on behalf of his friend.
"As I said earlier Tommy, the island was dangerous and it was going to be difficult to survive. And therefore he could not make things easy for me. He purposefully made things difficult for me so that I could be prepared for when far more challenging moments inevitably arose," Oliver responded to him firmly, hoping that he and everyone else would finally understand why Yao Fei had been a bit hard on him during certain moments.
Tommy sighed and shrugged, understanding where Oliver was coming from while grudgingly accepting that his caretaker felt that he had his friend's best interests at heart. But it did not mean he had to like it.
Yao Fei explained that if Oliver wanted to survive on Lian Yu, the bird in his hands would not be the last thing Oliver was going to kill. Then he pulled out a photo of Laurel, advising for Oliver that it would be best to forget about her because staring at the photo of Laurel was going to get him killed.
For a moment, Laurel found herself a bit annoyed by his words, particularly in regards to her photo getting him killed and especially since she'd given it to him as a source of comfort. But then she decided to stop and let her lawyer side kick in as she carefully analyzed Yao Fei's advice and realized that as much as her picture was meant to get him through his time away from home, she realized, and as painful as it was to acknowledge and not withstanding her anger over his cheating, that it could end up distracting him and therefore prevent him from being prepared for whatever he'd have to face.
And she could see that, and especially with him getting caught in the net, he needed to be mindful of his surroundings.
She then sighed and reluctantly accepted Yao Fei's words as being necessary for Oliver in order to ensure the latter's chances for survival.
She and almost all of the others also shuddered at his words in regards to him having to possibly kill once more and they all wondered how many people Oliver would have to be forced to put down during his time away from them.
Sometime later, they were outside as Yao Fei shot a rabbit with an arrow, explaining Oliver that it was going to be their dinner. Oliver asked Yao Fei to let him shoot from the bow as Yao Fei offered his bow to him, advising Oliver how to shoot. Yao Fei instructed for Oliver to shoot at a tree nearby, while Oliver notched an arrow and let go of the bowstring. The arrow flied, missing its mark.
Yao Fei said something to in Chinese that confused Oliver again before Yao Fei explained that Oliver was going to die badly, much to Oliver's annoyance.
All the viewers chuckled at the scene and Yao Fei's words, including Nyssa, finding themselves amused.
"At least your firing skills improved Ollie," Sara said to him softly and with a warm smile, which he returned and also with another chuckle of his own.
Yao Fei ordered Oliver to get the arrow as Oliver sighed, annoyed. Glowering, Oliver handed Yao Fei his bow before going to search for the arrow that he had fired. As he was going deeper into the forest and found the arrow, suddenly, some masked soldiers grabbed Oliver, cuffing him before throwing him into a hole and closing the bamboo grate. Oliver begged for them to let him go as he grabbed the grate before one of them whacked Oliver's fingers with the butt of his rifle as Oliver screamed in pain.
"OLIVER!" three of the women in his life screamed out in horror as his mother and sister, along with Laurel, nearly leapt out of their seats while cupping their mouths in terror. Tommy on his part was holding onto his arm rests tightly, body tense, as his gut clenched painfully. The other attendances seated had strong looks of concern, and fear on some of their faces, as they watched Oliver being taken away and manhandled by those men.
The screen went black once more as it waited for the next set of memories to be uploaded.
"Before we continue, I must warn everyone here that what comes next will be very painful to watch and it will be one of most terrible moments of Oliver's time away. So please be prepared," Mia spoke to her guests, feeling that they should receive a warning about what was to come.
Oliver on his part grimaced, not wanting anyone to see what was about to happen, especially his family, and even wanted to object though he reluctantly accepted that their hosts must've been doing all of this for a valid reason. And so he braced himself for what they were all about to witness.
Zoe then uploaded the next set of memories and the screen began to play once more.
To Be Continued
A/N And that's it for now.
Regarding Yao Fei, and while I personally cannot remember or am not sure of some of his actions such as shooting Oliver to protect him and having him kill his own food, the explanations I presented seemed to make the most sense to me though I respect if anyone disagrees with my explanations regarding said actions.
And despite what I'd written about Oliver unleashing the monster onto his father's killers, I do not believe in any way, shape, or form that he was a monster despite what season 5 tried to pull. I only wrote that because it's how Talia defined the Hood identity when she helped him forge it Oliver would probably want to bring down the Hood full force upon the ones who caused him and his sister to be bereaved of their father and his mother of her husband.
If anyone wishes to object of my use of the word 'monster' here, please let me know and I'll remove it.
As for Oliver's mental exercises, I don't know if Talia also gave him training in that but I personally saw it as a possibility while writing this chapter and especially since it makes sense for Talia to also teach him the mental exercises taught by the League to maintain emotional control if she was possibly training him in the ways of the League.
Have a wonderful day.