Citadark Isle | Late Night
Ardos lingered at the door for reasons unknown to him, a strangely giddy sensation swirling in his stomach making him hesitant to cross the expanse of his office to where the duffel bag sat temptingly on his desk. The feeling, if he had ever known it before, could have been described as a one a child would get sneaking downstairs early Christmas morning to investigate presents he was not to open yet. His brother’s belongings were personal, yet they could tell him so much about the quiet, nervous man he had become. The Eldes he remembered was confidant and calm, sure of his purpose even when he didn’t understand their Father’s orders. This new Eldes was such a mystery…
One he needed to solve.
Finally coming to his decision, Ardos moved swiftly across the large office floor and found himself once again behind his desk, sinking into his familiar chair into a firmly nestled spot his body had over the years made comfortable for him, and stared at the only thing on the entire island that was unfamiliar. Eldes’s bag. Taking in a deep breath the blue haired male reached out to grab the bulky, brown linen when the shimmering capsules to its side caught his eye. The bag of pokeballs taken off of his brother when he was seized sat carelessly off to the side of the bag and his hand moved to retrieve them first, instead. He drew the plastic bag close and peered inside at the multi-colored shells before reaching in and taking out a very specific ball, and the only one in the bag he recognized.
He turned the scuffed and slightly worn ball around in his hands, a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth as he envisioned the Pokemon inside. He knew it was a Flygon, Eldes’s
Flygon. The very one that, as a Trapinch, Ardos himself had saved from their Father’s wrath as he executed each of his twin’s Pokemon to teach the rebellious youth a lesson. The method had been extremely harsh, but effective, as afterward Eldes finally started to follow the Grand Master’s path to glory. Side by side with Ardos, as they were always meant to be. His smile faltered slightly as another memory washed over him, making him cringe and clutch the ball tightly in his hand as the unwelcome visions assaulted his mind.
***A gunshot rings into the empty air, a child crying as a sliding thud follows the sound.
He begs, pleading on deaf ears as yet another shot pierces through his sorrows. Another thud.
Creeping, quiet, don’t want to be caught. I sneak silently behind him to a tray of red and white, plucking one when he isn’t looking. Neither sees.
Another final shot, the crying stops, he looks numb. I only wanted to help…Forgive me…
The older male sniffles, wiping away the tears he wasn’t even aware were falling, and puts the Flygon’s pokeball back down in the bag with the others. Ever since Eldes’s return he had been plagued with memories of their childhood, memories he was sure had been soundly forgotten after so long, but for some reason were now surfacing anew. But that was a mystery for another night. Right now was for discovering his brother once more, to feel as close to him as he did in years past. Standing up he leaned over the large duffel and pulled at the zip, dragging it slowly down the length of the cloth carrier as though something inside would suddenly awaken and give away his intrusion to his twin’s personal effects.
As the contents finally lay bare for him to see Ardos began to systematically pull them all out, one by one, and examine them. At first it was just normal travel items, logical things to take with you when you were always on the run. A sleeping roll, water casks, dried food rations, a small first aid kit, matches (always useful, very good brother mine), but then he started finding stranger objects. A dead satellite phone, a Poke Comm, and zip ties. The zip ties were particularly puzzling and had Ardos sitting there for several minutes trying to devise scenarios in which the small plastic devices would actually be useful for something other than tying a make-shift tent up. Though, perhaps, given his limited other accessories that was indeed what they were used for. But as he reached for the next item a small glint of metal caught his attention, nestled into the pillowcase he had yet to pill out.
Curious about the hint of gold teasing its way out of the pillow casing he reached for it, fingers clasping around cold metal shielded by leather, and pulled it out to get a better look. What he saw turned his inquisitive smile into a dark frown, shadows falling over his eyes as his head ducked down in rage, hand clenching around the foreign object until his knuckles went white and his vision went red. A badge. Not just any badge, oh no, a fucking International Police Force badge. Detective rank.
Balling up his fist as tightly as he could Ardos brought his arm back and threw the blasphemous chunk of tin against the wall with an exclamation of rage, not fully satisfied when it merely bounced off and slid on to the floor. He began throwing everything in sight in the same general direction, each smack against the wall just amplifying his fury until his hand clasped around a pokeball.
Time froze in that moment as his fingers felt the smooth, round surface of the ball. He looked down to see his brother’s Flygon nestled in his palm, and for a brief second it was if he could see the tiny creature safely housed within. Her master had betrayed him, but the Flygon had never done anything to him. She had been his brother’s companion when he could not be there, she had protected him all this time he was alone…except he hadn’t been alone. He’d been with them.
His grip began to tighten once again, the pokeball groaning from the strain, and he considered shattering the ball as his Father had planned to do so long ago. But even as he drew his arm back he felt himself slow to a stop, bringing his arm back and looking at the old pokeball once more and setting her down on the desk with the others. She didn’t deserve his anger, but he would have to see about what to do with her once he disposed of Eldes. She would be master-less, alone, and likely very upset. But Eldes deserved a traitor’s fate for he not only once, but twice put himself before Cipher and turned his back on his home.
How long had working under them? The last mention he had of Eldes before the Epidemic had the red-head in prison, but even that was several years beforehand. He had assumed that, like Father, his twin had perished in the prison system and his records left buried in bureaucracy. But it seemed he not only got out, but put himself on the opposite side of the justice system. For how long? With his knowledge of Cipher he could have easily torn down what little remained, he could have…. No….
Ardos’s mind suddenly filled with files and reports from the early reclamation attempts of Cipher. Contacts gone silent, supply chains severed, old Admin’s hunted down, grunts and lieutenants brought in for questioning and arrested. Every foul-up and failed attempt to bring back Cipher hadn’t been mere chance, it hadn’t been the failure of Father’s system, it had been Eldes. Eldes had been feeding them information all this time, undermining everything he had ever known and the foundation that love him. Cipher was his family and he repaid that by betraying them not only to the little shit of a ginger brat but to the actual police force as well. He joined
The fury that overtook him threatened to stop Ardos’s heart cold, forcing him to pace around his office in a stiff march with his hands clasped behind his back. What was he going to do about Eldes? Every logical solution was to simply kill him and move on, which he would easily do if it were anyone else. But this was his Eldes, his twin, his soulmate. He had already spent several years thinking the red head was dead and gone so when he caught sight of the only eyes that could mirror his own standing there on the shore of Citadark he allowed his emotions to cloud every rational thought. He assumed Eldes was home, when in reality he was here to infiltrate, to spy,
and Ardos was going to have to deal with it. Would he really have the heart to kill his own brother?
Eldes has made it seem so easy to let their Father crash and burn, to watch him surrender to the police and rot in prison until he died, but Ardos couldn’t. Their Father was weak, but he was right. This was their destiny, their legacy would reshape the world, and Eldes spat on that when he bedded down with the wrong side. His angry pacing was beginning to tire him yet his anger was not swayed, if anything it was amplifying the more he pondered over the traitorous wretch. Stalking back to his desk he roughly pulled out his large chair and dropped himself in it heavily, ripping open his bottom drawer and grabbing the crystal decanter once again, forgoing the glass this time and tipping the entire bottle into his mouth after removing the stopper.
After several large pulls of the amber liquid, his belly burning from the rapid assault of alcohol, he slammed the thick crystal down onto the desk, the remaining liquid inside sloshing violently. Ardos was practically seething as he struggled to process his emotions, his mind tearing through a thousand possibilities but all of them ending in Eldes’s death. He’d have to interrogate the man to find the proper course of action, but what the hell did you say to the person who ripped out your heart and burned it right in front of you? Twice?“You tell him the truth,”
a voice called out to him from the shadows near his bookcase.“Oh?”
He answered sarcastically. “And what truth is that?”“That he should have picked you.”“I should think that was obvious. I’m his twin. No one knows more about him than I, we’re one person inhabiting two forms. He belongs with me.”“But he doesn’t seem to think so.”“What the hell do you know?!”
The shadowed figure stepped out from his hiding place and into the soft light filling the center of Ardos’s office, the unmistakable red hair and soft green eyes making his breath catch in his throat. “E-Eldes?”
The mirror of his twin stood before him looking as he had when he first stepped off of the boat, laughing softly and tilting his head to give Ardos a small shrug before he began to play with one of the curtain ties. “What’s the matter Ardos? I thought you wanted to speak to me.”
The blue haired twin growled angrily and pushed himself up and out of his chair, slamming his hands on his desk. “Get out.”
The Eldes laughed again. “So soon? But you were so looking forward to see me again.”
Ardos grabbed the crystal decanter from his desk and hurled it at the apparition, who easily moved out of the way of the clumsy throw and let the crystal shatter on the side of a bookcase instead, the amber liquid running down and pooling onto the floor. “Tsk tsk, that temper of yours was always a problem, wasn’t it.”“Shut up.”“Come on now. You have something to say to me, so say it.”“I have nothing to say to spirits. Now get out of my office.”“And if I really am a ghost, what point is it to tell me to leave? I’m a ghost. I can do whatever I want. And right now, I want to talk.”“Well I don’t.”“Liar.”“Fuck you.”“Well, you’ve always wanted to.”
Ardos froze for a minute at the blatant remark, eyes going wide at the accusation before narrowing dangerously. “Don’t presume to know me, spirit.”“Oh Ardos. Ardos, Ardos, Ardos, you just don’t seem to quite understand. I’m simply a projection of your subconscious. I only speak the truths that you are afraid to face. The reason you can’t seem to resolve your feelings of anger, mistrust, betrayal, and fear, is because you are in love with me. You want me. Always have.”“Stop talking.”“But you know it’s true, I couldn’t say it if it wasn’t.”“I don’t know what you are but I will not let you toy with me. Leave. Me. Alone.”“Make me.”
In response to the taunting devil the Cipher head stepped out from behind his desk and roughly grabbed the shirt of his tormentor, dragging him up close and sneering in his face. “With pleasure,”
he growled throwing the red head into the wall behind him and repeatedly cracking his head on the firm surface while the other Eldes simply laughed the entire time. He waited until Ardos’s energy was spent, the thinner male finally dropping his shirt and bending down, panting heavily as the effort of fighting a man who couldn’t be injured took its toll. “See? You can’t hurt me. You’re only hurting yourself when you hurt me, even you should be able to see that.”
Ardos let his weakened legs bend as he sunk down to his knees, his body now too physically weak to resist the hurricane of emotions trying to escape. He couldn’t stop the frustrated tears from finally breaking free and running in rivers down his cheeks, instead ducking his head and letting his glasses clatter noisily to the ground, revealing his puffy green eyes as he wept. “Eldes….”
He choked out through a sob, not even bothering to cover his face as snot and tears began to stain his robe. “Why? *hiccup* Why did you betray me?”
The other Eldes looked down on him in pity. “What better offer did I have?”“You could *hiccup*have had *hiccup* me…”“No, I couldn’t. You branded me a traitor the moment I begged Father to surrender. You never forgave me for that that I knew of. Why would I have come back here? For all I knew, this life was lost to me forever. I had to make a new one.” “I was *hiccup* angry… But…*hiccup* I would have *hiccup* forgiven *hiccup*you.” “You say that, but would you have? You wanted the version of me you thought I was under Father, not the version I showed you I was when Michael stopped him. You would have forgiven the lie, not the reality.”“No….”“It’s true. As alike as we are, we are also vastly different. You should know. You were always the smarter one of us.”“Because *hiccup* I *hiccup* had *hiccup* our mind…”“And I had our heart. You used to say that a lot when we were kids. Do you still believe that?”“Of course *hiccup* I do.”“Then prove it. Prove it to me, prove it to yourself. When morning comes, you’ll know what to do.”
Ardos sobbed loudly and finally covered his face in shame, wailing in sorrow as the other Eldes faded away into nothing. He curled up tightly into himself and began to rock back and forth on the floor, throat aching and burning for the relief only alcohol could bring. But the only precious liquid left in the room was soiled on the floor, surrounded by shards of broken crystal, and he couldn’t help but think that that is how he felt. His world was shattered just like that glass, and the filthy truth of his existence spilled out for the world to see, with no one there to pick up the pieces. He reached out and picked up one of the shards carefully and held it in his hand as stared at it, but was soon overcome with renewed grief and curled into a ball once more, not even noticing when the shard began to pierce his hand and let blood trickle down to mix with his tears as he covered his eyes.