The Darkest Days of the Fallen
Chapter 1: Faint Whispers of the Life
The earth shakes and the sky darkens. The rumbling causes buildings to become unsteady, a several collapse. Thunder can be heard ripping through the air, taking with it the electricity of the city.
A group of friends cling to each other as they run into the streets from the crumbling hospital. Screams and shouts surround them.
"Don't let go!"
A bright light suddenly rips through the dark sky in front of them, shining a bright white. The rain starts to pour more, faster, almost flooding the broken streets.
Their world began to crumble and fall apart around them.
Three weeks later…
The sun was just starting to set in the western part of the broken city. The hanging dust clouds cast an eerie effect over the city making it look gloomy and unlivable. Water had been hard to come by of late, so Max was very fortunate to find such a big source so close to where they were staying. Though it was very dirty on its surface, so he had to hold the water jugs deep under to prevent too much dust from getting in.
As he waited for the bubbles to stop he looked over the city before him, trying to remember how it was before the Fall. The Fall, an appropriate name considering how the world had literally fallen all around them. No one really knew or understood what had happened; Max and the others had been trapped from the rest of the outside world.
Four large pillars of light had apparently ripped through the skies, causing terrible storms and earthquakes. It seemed that each pillar of light scarred the sky itself by leaving a brightened trail from its origin point.
Strange creatures had started to appear as well, creatures that shouldn't exist in the real world. These creatures were monsters of various forms, mostly bug-like and slimy. Anyone who got too close them would be attacked viscously and even eaten. they were also the reason no one could get close enough to inspect the origins of the lighted pillars, the closer one got to any one of the pillars, the more monsters they would find, almost as if they were guarding them.
Max sighed as he pulled the last jug out of the water, being careful about the dirty surface. He lifted the rope that held both jugs over his shoulder and started his trek back to their current home. It wasn't far from where he originally lived, with his dad in the hobby shop.
It was the old beyblade gym that he and the others use to meet in back in the day. Though the way things were now, there was no time to beyblade, so the gym was abandoned. It also was the safest place around. Being two stories it was hard for any of the cumbersome creatures to get into, and it served as a great look-out point.
As it came into view Max could see Kai at his post on the roof, his white scarf blowing in the wind. Kai simply nodded to acknowledge Max's wave as he walked to the door. Kenny was waiting by the stairs with Hillary to help Max pull up the water jugs and any supplies that he had managed to find.
"How have things been since I was gone? It's a little quite."
"They left," Hillary said quietly. Max was confused. Who left? Why?
"Hiro went to go find a real doctor and maybe other people. Daichi, Rick, and Tala went with him to help."
"So now there are five," Max simply stated. He knew that sooner or later they would all end up separating. Tala had never finished recovering from the injuries he received from Garland when the Fall happened ,so he was frequently ill. It would be better for him if he could find real medical treatment.
Although with Hiro being so frazzled lately, it was a good thing that Daichi and Rick were going with him. No one could really blame Hiro for being wound so tight? Not just the world going to hell, but loosing his brother right before…
Max had to stop his thoughts. He hated the fact that he couldn't allow himself to think about Tyson's death, but he knew he'd probably break down himself if he did.
"Ray has been awake though. So that's at least some good news," Kenny chirped in, trying to lighten the silent and sullen Max.
"Really? Is he actually feeling better?" Max was surprised. Ray had been feverishly ill for the last two weeks, another reason why Hiro was so concerned to find a doctor.
As Max climbed the stairs he could hear Ray's coughing from the back room. He still sounded sick, but the fact that he was up and awake might be a good sign. Max probably would crack if he lost another friend.
While he climbed the staircase to the second floor, Max briefly took inventory of the limited supplies they kept stored by the old beydishes that were now stacked in a corner. At least the ones who left didn't take all the food, its hard enough to find it in cans let alone not spoiled. He continued down the hall to the next room where they usually slept. Ray was sitting up in the corner of the window, a tattered blanket wrapped around him.
"Hey there," Max greeted as he stepped over the beds which were made from old practice mats. "I heard you were up. Feeling any better?"
"Better then I have been," Ray responded with a small smile. Max couldn't help but feel a little sad when he saw Ray smile like that. He knew that even though Ray still felt sick, he would always put on that sad smile, to try and help lessen the impact of his predicament and keep the others from worrying.
"So what have you been up to day? Just staring out the window?"
"Not really. I've been thinking mostly. I've had a lot of time for it."
"Thinking about what?" Max already knew the answer; Ray hadn't been able to cope with the change in the world as well as some of the others. He was constantly worried about his friends from his village and any of the other beybladers that he hadn't seen since that horrible day.
"Just the others, really. I know you're probably tired of hearing it though." Ray shifted to a more comfortable position in his window seat. "But I also wonder if Tyson is really able to rest."
"What? And why wouldn't he?" Max felt anxious now; he really didn't like to talk about Tyson's death. He'd prefer to just leave it as a memory and not keep dragging it back out.
"Well, he never got a proper burial. We kinda just left his body in the hospital."
"There wasn't any time and you know that. Besides, just try to think of the hospital ruins as his memorial site," Max had to bite his lip after that one. He didn't mean for it to come out as a bad joke, he was just saying how it was. "In any case you should be more concerned for yourself, and less worried about Tyson's resting place. You need to stay in bed or you might get worse and join him. Would that make you feel better?"
"No," Ray mumbled. After some more nagging, Max managed to get Ray back into his sleeping mat. After putting some of the extra blankets on him, Ray couldn't help but to fall back asleep.
Kai opened his eyes to face the setting sun that followed Max to their safe house. After giving a simple nod to Max's cheerful wave, he turned to face away from the sun and into the wind. Kai couldn't be as strong as he wanted to be around his friends, so he pulled himself inwards, perhaps deeper than he desired. So deep, in fact, that all he could see was the shadowed memories of the bright days before the Fall.
He started to think back to the last time the team had simply relaxed at the Kinomiya dojo. The memory was always fresh in his mind. The image of himself leaning against a fence on the opposite side of the street brought back a flood of memories. He remembered the day he watched Ray bring in a strange girl to Tyson's family dojo.
At that time, he was going to avoid the new comer, since he was planning on seeing Tyson alone. He'd rather not have to introduce himself to a new person at the time, or even let Tyson get the chance to do so for him. He hated it when Tyson decided to put words in his mouth in front of new people. Though Kai did have to admit, the girl Ray had brought in was quite unique in her own way. Wearing a yukata out of season? And not even at a festival.
Curiosity finally pulled him towards the dojo, he could hear Tyson's greeting from the doorway. Ray also said a greeting, almost sounding surprised that he'd be there.
"So who's your new girlfriend?" Tyson shamelessly remarked while giving Ray a playful elbow in the ribs. Seeing the look on Ray's face, Kai wondered why Tyson always felt the need to push everyone past their boundaries, and well into their uncomfort zone.
Reflecting on it now, Kai realized that it was probably that precise trait that had made Tyson such a good leader. Not that he would ever say so to Tyson's face. Not even if that were still possible...
"Hey Kai, why don't you come in to eat?" call Hillary, breaking him out of his reprieve and pulling him back into the real world. "It'll be getting cold outside soon and we don't need you sick…" her sentenced trailed off as if she had to stop herself from saying 'too'. 'We don't' need you sick too.' He wondered if Ray had finally come out of his room.
Kai really didn't want to join them. With Ray being so depressed, Hillary being so over bearing, and Max trying so hard to keep everyone together, who could really enjoy that company. But the thought of food did bring a rumble to his stomach; they really hadn't eaten much in the last week, so they were all hungry. Kai's thoughts began to head back inside for a simple meal; maybe even an early bed, it might help ease his troubled thoughts.
Kai stopped as a shrill wind blew from behind him. He slowly turned to look over his shoulder in the direction it came from. Did he just hear a scream? Or maybe it was his over worked imagination? Pausing, he strained to hear it again. Just once more and he'd be able to tell. Living this life in the past month could get anyone's ear adjusted to hearing far off screams and cries for help.
"Kai? What are you doing up there? Did you turn into a statue?" Max joked as he popped his head from the doorway leading back downstairs.
"Be quite and listen," Kai told the other boy sharply. Max did as he was told, standing in the doorway, confused as to what he was trying to listen for.
"That is a scream!"
"Someone's in trouble, we need to go and help!" Max stated as he started to run down the stairs, Kai right behind him.
"What's going on? Where are you going?" asked Kenny as the two started to head for the exit door.
"Stay here and keep the lights off. We'll be back as soon as we can." Even if its just one person and it might be a futile effort, they couldn't let any more die if they could help.
When they arrived, two of the bug-like monsters had their backs to them. They were in what remained of an old park, not too far from the beyblade gym. Max couldn't help but feel a little stupid about coming to someone's rescue with no weapons.
Just what is Kai planning on doing to fend of the monsters?
He doubted their beyblades would do much. Daichi had already determined that a long time ago. Throwing his beyblade at a monster in an attempt to hurt it only resulted in it becoming angry. And it started to chase them like a mad bull with red tinted lenses.
The person screamed again, it was a girl. She had crawled inside a tiny kid's jungle gym and the bug monsters were trying to grab at her and drag her outside with their large claws.
"Kai, what are we going to do? We don't have any weapons."
"Oh? I thought you had a plan," he simply stated, not really looking at Max's now angry and frustrated face. "Relax blondie. It should be simple enough to defeat them."
"Oh and how's that? By asking them nicely to go away?"
"I was figuring I could use you as bait. You're a faster runner than I am." Kai couldn't help but chuckle inward at Max's struggling attempt to start choking him. "See those poles over there?" he said, pointing to three flag poles that had broken off by the stairs to the park. "If we can stab it'll be an easy win."
"How do we do that!? Look at them! They're armored like beetles, we'd never be able to stab them!" Kai nodded in the direction of a group of seesaws by a large tree. "Huh?"
"Those are large enough to catapult them over right? You're still going to have to be bait by luring them over there. And I'll jump down from that over hanging tree."
"I hate you right now. If I die I'm coming back to haunt you."
"Right, then let's go."
Grabbing one of the sharp poles on the way to the tree Kai looked for a good place to start climbing. As soon as he found a good spot he waved his hand to signal Max that he was ready.
Taking a deep breath Max jumped down and began to shout at the monsters, easily getting their attention. Their already frustrated, hungry attention focused on Max and they began to charge at him.
Without really wanting to look behind him, Max began to run as fast as he could towards the hidden seesaws. He ran between two of the seesaws and turned to see where the monsters were currently at. The creatures had started to climb over the seesaws to try and reach him.
Kai had jumped off the branch and successfully landed on to the raised part of the seesaw and managed to flip over one of the bugs. With out hesitation he took the pole in his hand and jabbed it into the soft belly of the monster. It crunched like a cockroach. One down, but where was the other one?
"Kai! Behind you!"
Quickly turning he came face to face with the second monster. It swung its claw and knocked Kai to the ground, causing him to fling the sharp pole away. But Max grabbed the pole and began his own descent up the tree; he needed to hurry because the monster wouldn't stay on the seesaws for long, since it was struggling to get over them to reach Kai.
One, two, three! NOW! He jumped off, landing on the seesaws and launching the confused monster up and over. It landed on its back side and was trying to recover quickly by kicking its six legs around.
"Hurry Max and kill it!"
Tightening his grip, Max trusted the pole into the bug's under belly, its juices spewing out like water. Water? It was water! It was like poking a water balloon and water streaming out. It seemed like both monsters were simply melting away in tiny streams of water.
"What…What's going on? Why isn't it like blood or like real bug juice? Not that I'm complaining, but this just makes it weird," Max stated as he turned to look at an equally confused Kai.
"Hey, what about the girl?"
They walked over to the tiny jungle gym to see the girl already pulling herself out. She stood dusting herself off; dirt had clung to her flower patterned yukata causing the colors to look faded. She brushed her dark hair out of her face and straightened her headband.
"You!" Kai shouted at her. "In all the places and times why are you here?!"
"Nice to see you again too" The girl turned to look at her rescuers and smiled in response to Kai's angry face. Max being equally confused but not as frustrated as Kai was.
"Saiyo. Saiyo Ukikairi."
The day began to darken into night, though Saiyo easily weaved her way through the fallen debris of old buildings towards what she now called home. It didn't take much to convince Max and Kai to agree to follow her there. No one should walk around at night these days. The monsters seem to only get stronger in at night.
"So, exactly what are you doing here all by yourself Saiyo?" asked Max as he stepped over what used to be the side of a building. "You should know that its too dangerous now to be all on your own."
"I'm not completely by myself," she said simply. "Though I do have to say that my current bunk mate isn't very…what's the right word for this?"
"So you have been staying with other people? But still, to walk out by yourself…" Max trailed off.
"There's only one other person. But he's unable to go out and do anything just yet. I had to get medicine so that he can get better."
"And where did you find medicine?" asked Kai, who was very curious about this revelation. If she really did have medicine, could there be some to make Ray feel better.
"At the base of one of the lighted pillars."
"WHAT?!" they both screamed at her.
"That's dangerous! There are very strong monsters there!" Max yelled at her, his hands shaking at her in a manner as if he was to strangle her.
"Not anymore! The pillar is gone!"
"What?" Max and Kai scanned the darkening sky. Two pillars could be seen towards the south and another one towards the west. But there indeed was only three, the fourth pillar had fallen.
"How…what did you do?"
"At the base of the pillar is a fountain with running water. When the water had stopped flowing, the light emanating from it disappeared. The monsters guard the fountains because they are a source of magic. The water from the fountain is pure magic!"
"I knew you had screws loose," Kai said simply.
"I'm serious!" Saiyo yelled, stamping her sandled foot. "If you knew what I knew you'd believe it too!"
"Saiyo. You said you went looking for medicine. Why on earth did you go to the base of one of the pillars?" Saiyo looked at Max for a moment, a sad expression on her face. Max couldn't help but wonder exactly what she knew that made her believe that the water would be magical.
"Because I knew it would be there," she said after a long sigh. "I know exactly what's going on, how it happened, why it happened, and how to fix it."
"Then please, continue. I'm very curious as to why the world has fallen apart," Kai asked angrily. "We won't go any further until we've heard the whole story."
"Alright then. Remember when Ray brought me to the dojo?"
"How could I forget?" Kai muttered.
"He said he rescued you from some strange people with guns. Right?" Max asked. An image of the Kinomiya's living room with everyone sitting at the table came into mind. Tyson, Hillary, Kenny, even Max himself stared wide eyed at Ray and Saiyo, disbelieving that men with guns were after her. What was stranger was that Saiyo sat calmly and continued to smile as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.
"Though you didn't seem very worried at that time. What's that got to do with what's going on now?"
"You see…I'm a witch and they were planning on using me in experiments."
"See? I knew she was crazy from the get go," stated Kai.
"I am too!"
"Enough!" shouted Max, startling them. "Just tell us what's going on!"
Max was getting agitated and Kai knew it. For Max to get worked up about this wasn't too much of a surprise, but Kai sensed that Max was trying not to find a reason to put blame on Saiyo.
Kai could though. The girl shows up, Tyson dies almost a week later, and the day after that the world literally crumples around them. That's reason enough for Kai to dislike this girl, though he was very curious to hear her whole story. And learn about this supposed medicine.
"Those men were from a secret organization called Majogari. Plainly put, they are witch hunters. They track down anything related to magic and use it to their own advantage."
"Majogari?" asked Max, trying the word out. "I've never heard of them. Where are they from?
"Various countries, their people all secretly work within different factions. I'm actually surprised that you haven't heard them. They had, for a short time, collected bit beasts as well." The grim face of Boris floated through Kai's mind, maybe that's why he was so intent on getting every powerful bit beast? Saiyo didn't seem like she was going to elaborate on the subject.
"So they were after you because you're a witch, huh?"
"What I'm called is an ichiko, magic user. I am not a being made up of magic, but I do know how to control it to some extent. My mother taught me most of what I know, she had very powerful spells, but in the end it killed her."
"What's the point of knowing how to use magic if it kills the user?"
"It's because there wasn't enough magic energy in the world to go around."
"And there is now?
"Yes, in the water from the fountains." She slipped her travel pouch off her back and pulled out a rather large water bottle. The water inside was so clear and pure looking, although it also had a faint blue glow to it as well. "This water is magic in its purest form. This is also the most powerful medicine."
"If one was to drink this then they would be completely healed from any wound. It can even bring someone back from the brink of death!"
"Is it really that powerful?" Max stared in awe at the faintly glowing water. If Ray could drink that, would he get better? Glancing over at Kai, Max knew he was thinking the same thing.
"You know, its getting late. We need to hurry before it gets too dark," Saiyo said meekly as she put the water bottle back in her pack.
"But you didn't finish explaining," said Kai, a little disappointed.
"I'll explain once we get to my hideout. Besides, I want to have my room mate drink the water before too long."
"Agreed. Then let's hurry."
It didn't take much longer to reach Saiyo's hideout. It was inside of the underground subway station, which was surprisingly sturdy and less damaged then the rest of the city. She led them into what was the security office, placing her bag on the front desk she continued into a narrow hallway.
The hallway opened up into a small room with two beds and a stack of small boxes filled with provisions. On one of the beds lay a figure covered up in thick blankets with his dark hair poking out from the top. Max supposed it was the 'bunk mate' Saiyo mentioned earlier, but it was rather rude of him not to get up to greet the newcomers.
"You seemed to have found a cozy spot to hole up in," said Kai as he jealously looked at the beds. They had been sleeping in bundles of blankets and sheets on hard cold floors while she got warm beds. "So why don't you wake up you friend here and introduce us?"
"Oh?" Saiyo looked over to the person still sleeping, but instead of rousting him awake she just smiled at Kai and Max. "Why would I need to introduce you? You already know each other."
"He was lucky you know," she continued. "He was buried under a lot of rubble and wasn't breathing. Though with what magic I do know I was able to help. He won't wake up though; he's not finished being healed."
Max suddenly had an odd twist in his gut, why was he suddenly very uneasy? He walked over to the occupied bed and pulled a little on the sheet, hoping to get a glimpse of the face.
"No!" he cried, stepping back and dropping the sheet. He turned to Saiyo with a look of utter shock and surprise. "Why is he here? What have you done!?"
"Max, what are you…" Kai trailed off as he looked over at the person sleeping. His eyes going wide and jaw becoming slack in his own surprise. "but….that's Tyson!"
It really was him; Kai couldn't believe what he was seeing. The face was pale and his dark blue hair hung limply over his face, yet it was Tyson. He died though, right? Even so, during the Fall the hospital that he was in had crumpled completely. How could anything be recovered?
"Please, don't yell at me," Saiyo said calmly, expecting this kind of reaction.
"But you said…..that the person you had living with you was ill. Not dead!" Max continued.
"But he's not-"
"I was there! The doctors did everything! No breathing, no pulse! How is that not dead?"
"Max! Let her speak!" Kai snapped. "I want to hear her reasoning too." Max calmed, deciding to glare at the floor and try not to let himself cry. Saiyo let out a deep breath, steadying herself.
"Yes, he did die. When I found him, he was still dead. I know this is shocking and seems strange to you, but as of right now, he is alive."
"How can I believe you? I want to, but…but..." Saiyo let out another sigh as she grabbed Max's arm, leading him around to the other side of the bedside. "What are you doing?" Max asked though not really trying to pull away.
"I want to show you something." She placed his hand gently over Tyson's mouth and nose. "Do you feel that?"
True enough, there was a slight, very faint breath leaving and entering. It was so very slow and shallow, that his chest didn't even seem to rise.
Max stilled himself in disbelief. Tyson is alive.
Okay, I did a little editing. Okay a good bit of editing. Okay, a LOT of editing.
I took out all of the flashback scenes, since I think it confused and turned a lot of people away.
But please don't kill me for torturing Tyson! Don't get me wrong, I love my little Takao! (call him taco for short :3) That's why he had to die. But don't worry, because its Tyson, you know he's bound to walk again. Mwahahaha.
Please do review though, it does inspire me to write more and lets me know if you readers are actually enjoying it. (or am I wasting my time? sniff) Please tell me I needs to know!