This was written by Tantz Aerine as a prize for catching her kiriban at DeviantArt. I love the written language, and it’s no small honor to have a beautifully constructed short story gift from a talented professional. ^_^ The original can be read at DeviantArt.

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A Matter of Providence
by *TantzAerine

A Matter of Providence

Raidon had to die.

Fudo made up his mind, and didn’t reconsider once. The moment he truly took the decision, he began preparing his throwing knives with a slow, almost ceremonial pace: First he sharpened the edge of the already sharp blade, testing it against his own finger until the slightest pressure drew a drop of bright, crimson blood. Then with a smile he set on polishing the blade with the special oil, and set it aside on a special cloth, to take up the next.

He did it with solemn, focused care, like a monk counts off his prayers on a rosary; and in a way, it wasn’t much different for him. Each knife brought to him a different memory, a different argument why Raidon just had to die before he did; he had promised Kaida something, and up to then Fudo didn’t feel he had made really good on that promise. I did say I’d be there for you, and have your back. And look what I did; you remember next to nothing… you trust Raidon more than me. I don’t blame you one bit for all of this. It is my fault and always will be. But since I am not likely to live for much longer, I think I will at least take with me the one element of danger for you. Fudo rubbed at the traces of the rope noose around his neck grimly.

Raidon just had to die.

Kaida sat up in bed with a gasp. She groaned instantly and rubbed her temple at the headache threatening just below threshold. She glanced around for her cell phone, but when she picked it up she was unsure who she wanted to call and what to say. Why was she awake anyway?

The alarm clock seemed to float in the darkness of her bedroom. 3 am- not an hour she was awake often anymore. Because she wasn’t in that business anymore, and was never going to be again. She rubbed her fingers harshly through her hair, as her mind staggeringly woke more and more. She didn’t sleep easy lately- the affair with that photo Yuki had showed her kept haunting the recesses of her conscious, as if it was important, too important to dismiss.

She growled, resisting even the thought and feeling angry towards Yuki once again. By what right did she meddle?

But then her self harshly reminded her by what right that was, and she leaned back tiredly against her pillows and switched open the bedside lamp. She rubbed at her eyes and lingered, wondering if she’d struggle with her mind to go back to sleep, or give up on it and just have an early day.

It was then that her glance fell on her cell phone. A message was blinking there. She picked the cell phone up.

I will set you Free. Farewell, Fudo

All color drained from her face and she ejected herself from her bed.
~~~
Fudo was going to spare nothing this time. He had timed it well and was going to go through with it. Running like a shadow through the dark side streets, silent and determined, he had no thought in his mind, no qualm in his heart and was finally at peace. And that peaceful feeling he never had when doing jobs for others was giving him speed, stealth, control. In his final hour, Fudo felt he could fight with the gods and win.

And Raidon was no god.

He waited patiently for the guard swap to climb over the fence lightly and efficiently, dropping silently inside. He ran the way he had predesigned to avoid the guard dogs outside, and pulled two of his daggers in midstride as he reached the estate. The guards at the door fell without a sound as the dagger hilt seemed to grow from their throats in the still darkness.

Rushing to the door he pulled the guards’ card and swiped. He paused a moment as the door clicked open quietly. No alarm had been raised yet, but Fudo didn’t fool himself. Raidon had many ways of ensuring he be alerted in case someone came after him- and even if not, Fudo himself had set off an alarm that couldn’t be dismissed or disabled.

He entered the estate and shut the door behind him. Running on the ground level, he saw a shadow of a guard going for a whistle or a gun. Fudo didn’t let him, sending him to the grave with another of his well prepared, extra sharp daggers. He ran on. What does he want with a house big enough to fit a mall? He couldn’t help thinking.
He went up the wide stairs in the silent house, dagger in the ready.

He got no warning except her growl, as Hecate sprang from the upper level, clearing the top flight of stairs in that one leap, and was on Fudo, great jaws snapping angrily, thirsting for Fudo’s throat. Fudo gripped her at the base of her throat, rolling with the dopperman in a tight embrace, as his knife hand went around the lithe canine body to bury the dagger somewhere in Hecate’s right front pit. Hecate yelped and still tried to rip Fudo’s throat out, but she had no strength with the blade dug inside her. Fudo rolled, pushing the dog down hard in the thick stairway carpet. He didn’t let up even when Hecate managed to bite his forearm hard. His expression was grim, but he was calm. I’m sorry, dog; you were just unlucky with your master.

He pulled his knife from Hecate and hurried upstairs. He heard the dog whimpering behind him and considered silencing her once and for all, but he didn’t. He wasn’t out to kill innocent dogs- just the guilty ones.

A shot rang out in the darkness just as he cleared the top of the stairs, where the bedrooms were. It clipped him across the temple, passing past him angrily like a rabid hornet, but it did little. Fudo was amazed but that powerful calmness of knowing one’s end seemed to become stronger. He ducked for cover as the second and third and fourth shot rang out.
“You do realize this is not proper visiting times,” Raidon’s voice seemed to hang in the darkness. Fudo grinned, now knowing his location, and moved stealthily closer. Raidon was heard reloading his weapon. “What do you think you will accomplish with this? You will never have Kaida back. She will never look at you again and see anything but the filthy murderer you are.”

It was enough talk for Fudo to be able to throw his dagger, still bloodied from Hecate, and hit his mark. Raidon groaned, and Fudo was onto him, pinning him on the floor with a new dagger, his last one, against his throat.
“You never will understand what it is to love anyone, you possessive bastard,” Fudo almost spat at him. “She will be finished with both of us tonight.”

Raidon, however, wasn’t going to make it easy. He pulled the dagger that had buried in his side and stabbed Fudo in the dark. Fudo’s groan made him grin, his eyes mad with ire at the figure pinning him to the floor, and he pulled the dagger back and pushed Fudo off of him. But Fudo pulled him with him, grabbing at Raidon’s dressing gown as he fell backwards, and Raidon yelled beside himself with fear, because he couldn’t control his fall.

Fudo’s dagger burned his flesh, and tore at it harshly as the assassin pulled it out. A hand yanked back Raidon’s hair, exposing his throat- it was all over-

The light switched on.

A shot rang out.

Fudo’s dagger flew from his hand as it was pierced through by Kaida’s bullet, scorched Raidon’s hair and buried itself deeply in the expensive floor. The two men froze. Fudo peered at her. She was splendid as always.

“Move an inch, and I’ll kill you.” Kaida’s voice was sharp as steel, and just as cold.
“Thank you my d-” Raidon began, but Kaida cut him off.
“Both of you.”
“I’m afraid you’ll need to kill me,” Fudo said easily, “because I will do what I came here to do. He has enslaved your mind. You remember nothing of what-”
Kaida’s eyes narrowed, and that photo seemed to play in her mind again, and Yuki’s words…
“Fine. Talk.”
“Kaida, he is a murderer, a liar-”
“We all are,” Kaida didn’t let him finish again. “You’ll have your say too. Both of you, you have until you bleed to death or to unconsciousness to tell me what I don’t remember. And better make it good.”

And Fudo smiled beside the throbbing pain and the uncomfortable lock he had with the man he despised, for Kaida was everything he had hoped she still was.

“Draw up a chair, mine is a sluggish bleed,” he said, and began.