"Gege, don't go! Can't you stay and play with Dar for a little while? Just a little bit longer?" This was when little Daren was only three years old. At that time, Devon had already taken to calling his little brother by the nickname "Dar".
"I can't, Dar, I have to go to class now. Or else the horrible economics teacher will get angry and something terrible will happen to gege." At this, Devon stuck his tongue out and made a face at the little boy. Maybe this will keep didi from picking economics when he grows up.
Upon hearing his gege's refusal to stay, Dar lowered his head and pouted. He looked so innocent and pitiful.
Devon was instantly defeated. "Fine, ten more minutes…"
Dar looked up happily and ran to the toy chest. He took out the rubber ball gege had given him and shouted with joy, "Let's play ball!"
"Again? My face still hasn't recovered from last time. Evil Dar! You must be planning to ruin my beauty!" Devon made a face while Dar continued laughing and threw the rubber ball…
"Ah! My face! Stupid Dar…"
The two brothers continued playing happily until the door, which no one usually approached, opened. A man stood by the door. It was the man whom Dar feared the most. Behind him was the angry economics tutor.
Devon, on the other hand, was not afraid even after seeing his father's icy glare. He stuck his tongue out and made a face as usual. His father always spoiled him, so he knew he wasn't going to be reprimanded.
"Ah, I forgot to go to the lesson," said Devon, still in high spirits, as he patted didi's head fondly and headed out of the room.
The last person to leave was his father. The man glared at Dar, who cowered in fear. When the man left the room he switched off the lights. Dar did not react, since he was quite used to this gesture. He crawled back into his tiny bed and buried himself under the sheets.
"So dark… Dar is scared." The little boy curled up as tightly as he could and hid under sheets with his face only barely exposed. He started recalling all the scary things his nanny had told him.
The three-year-old did not understand much about ghosts and spirits. The nanny had wanted to scare the child, so she described these things as terrifyingly as possible. This made Dar hate the dark. Whoever visited his room, whether they meant to scare him or not, always switched off the lights when they left and with Dar's height, there was no way he could reach the light switch.
And so, gege's arrival felt like the arrival of light. Devon would always turn on the lights and then Dar would eagerly jump off the bed. He would see gege's smile and hear him laugh.
"Dar, come and play with me."
How long did these moments of happiness last? Dar had no knowledge of time. Even though gege had taught him how many months there are in a year, how many days there are in a week, for a child who had lived in a dark tower for as long as he could remember, the concept of time did not mean much.
In fact, to the boy, the passing of a day meant gege coming to play with him or teach him things. Dar liked everything as long as gege came to visit. It did not matter whether it was to play or to tutor him; everything was fine as long as Dar got to see gege.
He recalled receiving four gifts from gege when he turned three: wooden models, a toy car, a box of colour pencils, and a full collection of fairy tales. Dar still had not finished reading them. He was only halfway though reading Rapunzel and he wondered whether the girl with the long braids ever managed to escape the tower.
As he grew older, Daren was finally able to reach the light switch and no longer needed to live in the dark. But who was to know that true darkness was just about to arrive…
"Where are you taking me?" Even though this was his father, Dar looked fearfully at the man who had grabbed his hand without any intention of letting go.
"To the place you truly belong." replied his Father without even bothering to look at Daren.
"What about gege? Will he come?" Dar said in a small voice.
His father never answered him.
◇ ◇ ◇
Hurts… It hurts so much!
Dar cried out in pain. He was bound to a metal chair surrounded by many complex machinery. Several wires trailing from these machines were attached to him.
The people in the white lab coats around him seemed to ignore his cries as they discussed among themselves. "How stable is the body?" "He is too young of age… can he survive the operations?" "What type of steel should we use?" "We must seek a compromise between strength and flexibility."
"Gege… gege… Dar hurts, gege…"
A large hand stroked his forehead, it was so gentle... just like gege.
"Hello there. Are you Dar?"
A pair of dark green eyes appeared in front of him. Through his blurry and swollen eyes Dar also noticed the beautiful azure hair. It was the same colour as the sky that Daren had seen from the tiny window of the tower.
"My name is Theodore Avery1; I am your doctor." The man was wearing the same clothes as the rest of the people in the room. The only difference was that he smiled.
Just like gege, Dar thought. Actually, Devon and Dr. Avery were very different; the only thing they had in common was that they both smiled at Daren.
"Does Dar have a gege?" Theodore asked, forcing himself to speak gently.
"Does Dar like gege?"
"Yes, Dar likes gege the best!" He nodded again with certainty.
"Then be a good boy. Dar is sick right now and can't go see gege. If you are brave and let your illness be treated, you can go and see gege." Theodore smiled.
"Really?" Dar sniffed, his face once more filled with hope.
Theodore forced himself from turning away as he shakily answered, "Yes… it's true…"
"Okay, Dar will be a good boy. Dar won't cry anymore." He forced himself to stop crying and his tears no longer fell.
"Such a good kid..." Theodore could not take it any longer and turned his face away. His heart beat fast and the hand that held his cigarette shook in a way that a surgeon's never should.
◇ ◇ ◇
"I would never have guessed that I, the immoral doctor who only treats people for money… would be the nicest person in here." Theodore laughed cynically to himself. If this got out to the family members of those patients he had left to die, none of them would believe it.
Theodore took a long drag from the cigarette and swore, "What the hell is this place? That's only a seven-year-old!"
◇ ◇ ◇
Dar forced himself from screaming in pain and did his best to stay silent. After the operation, every single cell in his body cried out in pain. He was only given a short time to recover before came the next dose of pain. Even adults could not bear the amount of pain that was being inflicted on a child who had not even turned ten…
Daren fell so many times, and all he could do was stand up just to fall back down again. Daren did not need the others to force him to get up. He himself forced his body to carry on. Soon his limbs no longer felt familiar; his every movement required much strength and resolution. There were a few times when he felt as if he was on the verge of giving up…
I have to heal faster so I can see gege! Daren would fill his mind with thoughts of gege. In fact, had nothing left in his memories except gege's smile.
But that image itself was enough give him the strength he needed to stand up once more.
◇ ◇ ◇
"Dr. Theodore, how many more operations will there be before Dar can heal completely and go see gege?"
How long has it been since the last time he saw gege?
Dar's awareness of time was even foggier than before. Before, he could measure the days through gege's daily visits and the years through the gifts gege gave him for his birthday. But right now, he did not even know how old he was.
Theodore's hand shook as he forced himself to smile. "It's the last time, truly."
"Really?" Dar's voice was filled with excitement. He never spoke much. It was a habit he developed over the years. He did not speak unless the people in the white lab coats questioned him about the experiments. No one really spoke to him except Theodore.
This is really his last operation, Theodore took another drag of the cigarette. The last operation involved implanting the microchip in his brain. After this operation, Daren would no longer be human; the only thing left would be a mindless robot. Dar will disappear forever, and only Dark Sun will remain.
"Dr. Avery?" Dar turned to face the surgeon.
"Hmm?" Theodore was a little distracted. What the child says doesn't matter; after all, he is going to disappear after a few more minutes. It is no longer necessary to comfort the boy, he no longer needs…
"Thank you, Doctor," Dar said while giving him a strange look. The boy did not understand why Theodore stopped smiling. But he was not going to start hating him just because of that. After all, if Theodore had not been there in the past few months to comfort and talk to him, Dar would likely have gone crazy. Thinking of this, Dar said, "Doctor, when Dar is healthy again and goes back to gege, you must come and visit Dar! I'm sure you'll like gege!"
Tears suddenly welled up in the pair of dark green eyes and Theodore was forced to turn away.
"Doctor, are you crying?" Dar was taken aback by the sudden tears.
"You idiot! It's only dust. I got dust in my eyes. It hurts! Damn it! The operation is cancelled!" Theodore left quickly; his hand never left his eyes.
As Theodore walked away, his mind echoed with the thoughts, Damn, I have a sudden idea. Now I have to find those theorists and talk some sense into them. How troublesome…
◇ ◇ ◇
Top priority master confirmed.
Didi… I am your older brother!
You are not Dark Sun, you are Daren Solaris, my only brother!
Attempt to murder top priority master detected. Target set to be eliminated.
This dark seed of evil who killed his own mother.
Tears flowing out. System Check: Error. Scanning Tears Section… Facial Expression Section…
You will always be my beloved little brother… and I swear that I will protect you.
Accepting Command. Activating Emotion Section. Transferring Memories...System Overheating… Danger… System Shutting Down…
Gege, you finally came.
Open eyes, assess surrounding environment. Normal bedroom, Size 10m2. Currently resting on foreign bed. Presence of living being next to bed.
Confirming living being. Blond hair. Red eyes. Appearance matches the top priority master. Top priority master… that's… gege!
Gege… no, it's master. But master is gege. What about me? Who am I? Dark Sun, no! It's Daren, Dar… Daren's hand moved to his head and squeezed hard. His mind was a mess. Somehow Daren ended up winning the struggle and no longer cared about the throbbing pain in his head. As he extended his hand, he found it shaking. What was happening? Was it the muscle or the steel bones that was reacting in such an odd way?
Daren did not bother to think about his hand anymore. Instead, he slowly extended it towards gege who was sleeping right next to his bed. When Daren's shaky hand made contact he once again felt gege's familiar hair.
"Gege--" Daren said softly despite the warnings in his brain telling him not to wake up the top priority master or refer to him that way.
The figure next to the bed shifted slightly and complained in a sleepy voice. "Okay, okay… Dar, be nice. Let me sleep for a little longer… I will play with you later."
Daren immediately became silent. The top priority master had issued an order. He wants to sleep and Daren is not to wake him. He became still and did not even move the hand that was poised above Devon's head. He only gazed at gege's sleeping figure. That was enough for him.
When Daren did not complain or make any noise, the figure next to the bed looked up in shock. A pair of ruby red eyes were looking at him. Seeing that the boy had already woken up, Devon became momentarily speechless.
"Ah… Dar…" Devon finally said with much difficulty. He was both apprehensive but excited at the same time. If any enemies saw the Solaris Emperor right now, they would not believe him to be the same person. After all, the Solaris Emperor is as brilliant as the sun, dominating the world while smiling his confident smile.
Daren was having an internal struggle. He was unsure about what to call Devon. Should it be master or gege? At the same time he did not know whether he was Dark Sun or Dar…
"Dar, what's wrong? Are you okay?" Devon asked anxiously. Actually, the question he really wanted to ask was: Have you recovered yet? Was it the robot Dark Sun or his beloved little brother that he was talking to right now?
"Nothing is wrong, master…" Daren frowned.
After hearing the word "master", Devon's eyes widened in grief. That word cut through him like a knife to the heart. He felt numb with the pain coursing through his body. Has he lost Daren forever? Devon clenched his fists at that thought. Anger overwhelmed him and he needed an outlet. He suddenly stood up intending to finish the job he had started, Theodore…
He won't like his fate. Devon's expression was cold and hateful.
"… ge, Master gege."
Devon stopped, his previous expression disappeared in the blink of an eye. It was immediately replaced by a look of concern for his little brother. He spun around and landed back on his spot next to the bed. His eyes sparkled with happiness as he looked up at Daren.
"What did you just call me? Say it again," said Devon eagerly.
"Master gege." Daren had finally figured out what to call him. Since he's both my master and gege, then I'll just call him that... even though it sounds awfully strange.
Gege! Dar finally called me gege! thought Devon with a foolish grin on his face. He impulsively muted the "master" part and pretended not to hear it.
"Dar, can you call me again?"
This was the scene that greeted Theodore Avery when he made his way into the room. The legendary tycoon with an idiotic smile on his face, lapsing into a fantasy upon hearing the word "gege" and when he comes to his senses, he gets his little brother to call him gege again and begins his daydream anew…
This is the… Solaris Emperor?
Theodore's balked at the scene in front of him. If he wasn't afraid of the crowd of the bodyguards outside the room, he really would chuck the vase beside him and yell, "Shut up! Stop getting him to call you gege, you brother fanatic!"
Unfortunately, this brother fanatic was the most prominent figure in the world and Theodore was only an insignificant doctor. Theodore's temple twitched as he cleared his throat to get the fanatic's attention.
However, the first to notice him was Daren, who looked up and said, "Dr. Avery."
Theodore slowly walked over to the bed and proceeded to jot down notes as he casually asked, "Report the condition of your body and the microchip."
"Understood." Daren assumed his emotionless face as he continued. "No changes have been made to the body. Nothing out of the ordinary has happened to the microchip either."
Theodore nodded and continued to write on his record book. "During the process of switching on the emotion section and retrieving your past memories, did anything unusual occur?"
"No errors during memory recovery. After switching on the emotion section, however, there has been a few conflicts with the orders that was previously issued."
Daren stopped speaking and stared intensely at a spot behind Theodore's back. Dr. Avery had not noticed and kept on writing. Not knowing how to describe this latest information, he looked up again. "What kind of conflict, Dark Sun? Please explain or give an example."
Daren blinked. "For example, currently, Master gege is emitting a murderous aura behind Dr. Theodore. Previous orders specify that Dark Sun must obey Master gege and ask him whether he wishes for your death. But after the activation of the Emotion Section, Dar really wishes to warn Dr. Theodore to look behind him…"
Theodore suddenly stopped writing, he finally felt the killing intent coming from behind. A cold sweat ran down his forehead.
"What do you think you are doing?" asked Devon with a smile.
"Checking Dark Sun's condition." Theodore carefully replied as he stiffly raised both hands in the air. He could already picture the cute but deadly BHP 9mm, which killed the whole research team, pointed at his back.
"What did you just call my little brother?"
"Oh…" Theodore finally realised his mistake. "Oh… Um… Dar!"
Devon snorted, clearly not pleased.
"Master gege, do you wish for me to kill him?"
Daren pushed aside the bed sheets as the nails on his right hand suddenly extended and glinted ominously. This deadly hand was positioned right above Theodore's neck, who, at that point did not even dare to gulp. After all, he had been Dark Sun's main surgeon. No one knew better than him how deadly Dark Sun was. If Devon only said "yes" or "kill", Theodore was certain that he would go straight to hell.
"But Dar doesn't want to kill Dr. Theodore; there is another conflict between the previous orders and the Emotion Section," Daren said with some distress. His expression softened as he looked at Theodore.
"Don't kill him, Dar!" Devon said anxiously. He was now afraid that he might accidentally order didi to do something that would make Daren sad.
Upon hearing this Daren retracted his nails and returned his right hand to its original position. He no longer displayed any intention to kill.
Theodore sighed in relief. He would rather have Devon shoot him than Dark Sun kill him with his nails. The first option at least gave him the chance of recovery; the second option would simply leave him dead on the spot.
"Didi!" Devon couldn't be bothered with Theodore anymore and dived at his little brother. He picked up his hand and turned it so he could study it at different angles. It looked exactly like a normal human hand from every angle. So how did it manage to produce such long and deadly nails?
"Don't extend your nails in the future, okay?" said Devon, going into his nagging mother mode. "What if someone found out that you are different from a normal human? No, if anyone finds out, I will shoot him myself!"
Daren nodded. He copied the command - Don't extend your nails - into his microchip.
"......" Theodore remained silent, he did not know how to tell Devon that those nails were actually the most human part of his little brother…
Never mind that, unless he had a death wish, he was better off staying put. Theodore wisely chose not to agitate the man holding the small-but-deadly hand gun again. "Looks like Dark… I mean Dar's condition is quite good. Even though there are some conflicts, Mr. Solaris can solve the problem by commanding him to prioritise his emotions."
Devon immediately repeated this order and also added, "Call me gege from now on and get rid of the master part."
"Yes, gege." Daren nodded and obeyed the order.
Gege… Devon returned to his "Gege and Didi" fantasy world with the foolish grin on his face, leaving an exasperated Theodore beside them. Dr. Avery pushed up his glasses and sighed. He was being ignored once again.
"Mr. Solaris, what are your future plans for Dark-"
Devon glared at him with his intense red eyes. Theodore ignored the cold sweat running down his forehead and his heart quickening in fear. He continued nonchalantly. "What are your future plans for Dar? I am his surgeon and know quite a lot about him. If you tell me, I can make certain estimations for him."
Devon found Theodore's courage interesting. His fearsome glare and his aura were the result of many treacherous battles in the financial world; they were not something normal people could handle. It was not unusual for people to even wet themselves in fear when they confronted him.
"I want didi to go to school. He's already fifteen and yet he's never been to school. That's just not right."
Devon had already made up his mind. He wanted didi to have a normal life, and a normal fifteen year old should go to school.
Theodore's lips twitched as he carefully said, "But you do realise that Dar's microchip contains large amounts of information already. He doesn't need to go to school."
"Does that include social interactions? Does that include the experiences of a normal teenager?" Devon raised his voice without realising. He was angry, at least not at Theodore, but at his father. He hated him for not even allowing didi to have a normal school life.
Theodore stayed silent. Due to the demands of their previous employer, Dark Sun was designed to be the perfect bodyguard with superhuman abilities. That was exactly the opposite of what Devon wanted.
"I want Dar to experience the life of a normal teenager, Dr. Theodore. If you help me with this and succeed in turning Dar back into a normal teenager, I will grant any wish you may have."
Devon had a confident smile on his face, he was well aware of how much he possessed. If he could use 30% of the world's human resources to find didi, he could just as easily use them to investigate an insignificant doctor who lost his certificate. Meaning that he already knew Theodore's soft spot. This man was simply a mad scientist and thus needed money. Quite a lot of money, in fact, to complete all his experiments.
Theodore's eyes gleamed as he answered without hesitation, "A perfect standard science lab with unlimited supply, money and resources."
"That's easy, I will give it to you now," Devon answered readily. "But if I find that you don't have the ability to help my little brother, then I will limit or even stop the flow of money, do you understand?"
"Yes, I understand." Theodore's lips twitched as he accepted the offer.
"Then…" Devon turned to didi and instantly assumed his "good brother with a gentle smile" image. "Dar, what type of school would you like to go? Gege will organise everything for you."
Daren opened his mouth but did not know what to say. After thinking for a while, he delved into his microchip and retrieved information on every possible school. He looked up and judged the school that would help him best with his job as a bodyguard.
After a few minutes he spoke to Devon. "YeLan Academy, in the combat section."
Devon's smile faltered; he felt a little troubled. Didi was already a cyborg; if he went to the combat section, there would be a high chance that he might be discovered… meaning Devon should do something about this.
But, he really did not want to deny didi's request. The last time he did, the boy had to suffer pain and agony for seven whole years. Devon made up his mind; no matter what didi requested, he would never refuse it.
"Alright!" Devon answered with conviction. This alarmed Theodore.
"You can't! Dar is really strong! Really, insanely strong. You don't understand how strong he is… if you let him attend a school like this, he'll easily be discovered. Didn't you want him to have the normal life of a teenager…"
Theodore paused, letting his words trail off. It looked as if he suddenly realised something or had become absentminded halfway through the sentence.
"What is it?" Devon scowled angrily. No one had ever dared to stop him and be absentminded while speaking to him.
Theodore had a strange expression on his face as he hesitantly said, "The normal teenager experience you were talking about… it's not possible. You are the Solaris Emperor, the most prominent person on earth. Your brother… there's no way he could have a normal life. If you think about it, the cyborg part of him is nowhere as catchy as the brother of the Solaris Emperor."
Devon blinked. He had completely overlooked that. He suddenly sat down and buried his face in his hands. If didi could not have a normal life because of him, that would be so cruel.
"Keep it secret then…"
"Huh?" Theodore did not hear it clearly.
Devon looked up and his eyes shone with certainty. "I said, we will keep that a secret then. No one will know that he's my brother except you and me." repeated Devon with a threatening look.
How many times have I been threatened? Theodore wondered as he smiled helplessly. "I won't say a word, don't worry about that. I have no intention of playing around with my own life. Besides his relation to you isn't the only problem here. I know how strong he is; that's something you don't even understand yet. You have no idea about the kind of weapon you have at your disposal."
Devon frowned, he did not like how Theodore described his little brother. But he could tell from Theodore's expression that the man was not exaggerating. Devon would never use didi as a weapon. He was also certain that with the power he held, he would not need didi to do any killing for him.
"Dar…" Devon spoke slowly, Daren turned to his gege, waiting for him to speak. "Gege will give you another name and you can't tell anyone else that you are my brother, is that alright?
Daren nodded. He would not refuse any request from gege anyway, be it due to the microchip in his brain. or his own emotions. He would never disobey his brother. Even though they did not look alike, their personalities were very similar.
"Okay then, there's a lot to do. For example, I need to get a headquarters that will connect my house to my brother's house with a hidden passageway so that I can go between the two houses without been discovered. Mmm… should I buy that YeLan Academy under some random name?" Devon stroked his chin in thought.
Are you crazy? Do you really need to go that far? Theodore's mouth twitched again. Are all rich people like this?
"Oh, yeah! I need to get clothes for didi. I'll just hire a fashion designer then," said Devon as he continued to voice his thoughts.
Hire a fashion designer… Theodore was stupefied.
"Mmm… does he need tutoring? Maybe I should hire a tutor for him." Devon frowned, looking just like a parent worrying about his child's education.
No need! Theodore reigned in the urge to point a finger at him and shout - No need for tutoring in the combat section, your didi's combat skills are better than the actual teachers.
Devon picked up his cell phone and dialled some numbers before speaking. "Secretary? I want a fashion designer who specialises in designing clothes for the upper-class. And I want a new headquarters and a house located somewhat far from my current location… Yes, yes... I want a normal house… Also, get the Covert Base Construction Engineers to dig a tunnel that connects the two infrastructures… Oh and find out if the YeLan Academy is up for sale… and buy a school student's certificate…"
"Hey! Dar! Get your brother to stop wasting money!" Theodore called out to Daren, unable to take it anymore.
"I can't order gege," said Daren as he shook his head and also added, "Gege, can I get a room for training? I would like a lot of weapons in it."
Devon paused on the phone and then continued, "Hey! Wait! Also construct a perfectly soundproof basement under that normal house. Yes, it needs to be very big. And start a weapons specialist team, they must be capable of coming up with new weaponry immediately and produce them quickly enough to send it to me… I want all types of weapons."
"You two are brothers…" Theodore buried his face in his hands, finally giving up on trying to reason with them.
************************CHAPTER 2 END************************
1Theodore Avery: his chinese name is 安特契, pronounced Anteqi