Translator: LilxD, Souldead
Proofreader: Arc, Catchkatch
When Devon rushed back home, he only had eyes for his beloved little brother, who was leaning against the side of the bed. On the bed lay Ezart, with his eyes firmly closed and his skin abnormally flushed.
As he took another step forward, Daren became aware of his presence. He picked himself up and turned his head towards Devon, rubbing his eyes tiredly.
“Gege,” he greeted, melancholic.
Devon crossed the room to him and tenderly patted his didi’s head. “How is Ezart?”
“The doctor said that Ezart’s state seems to be similar to cases of stimulant overdose.” Daren turned his head back to the unconscious Ezart. “The doctor also said that because he doesn’t know what Ezart has taken he doesn’t dare recklessly prescribe any medicine for him. He fears that it could produce more problems. We can only wait for the test results of the substance inside that cup before proceeding with his treatment. For now, we can only let Ezart continue sleeping.”
“Then don’t worry too much, Dar. According to Gege’s experiences, as long as they don’t die immediately, people will usually survive.” Devon glanced at the boy on the bed. “Especially this guy,” he murmured. “His body is so tough. No matter how you look at it, he’s like a cockroach that can’t be killed.”
“Really?” Daren asked as he raised his head, face filled with hope.
“Of course!” After Devon earnestly nodded his head to his little brother, he immediately urged Daren, “You should hurry up and sleep, too. Look at your eyes; they’re so red. Tomorrow, I’ll get the other three to keep you company, okay?”
“They can?” Daren asked, surprised.
“Of course they can,” Devon smiled as he conceded. “Otherwise you’d be bored staying at home by yourself, right?”
“Yeah, yeah!” Daren nodded fervently. “Gege isn’t home for most of the time, Papa Avery isn’t here…” he said quietly. “Ah! Papa Avery! How is Papa right now? Gege, have you rescued him yet?”
“No, I haven’t,” Devon replied, a bit embarrassed.
“Ah…Is that so? Then, Gege, you need to keep on doing your best.”
Daren lowered his head. He stretched out his hand and straightened Ezart’s blanket, and then walked past his brother with an extremely disheartened expression.
Devon reached out his hand, hoping to pat his little brother’s shoulder. But whether it was a coincidence or on purpose, Daren leaned to the side, evading his hand and walking past.
D-Dar... Devon stood there, frozen, with his hand still in the air. In his whole life he had never felt a sense of defeat from anyone. However, at this moment, his little brother’s actions of disappointment had dealt him such a strong blow that he simply stood there, rooted to the spot.
However, as Daren reached the door, he suddenly paused.
“Dar, what’s wrong?” asked Devon, thinking it was strange.
Daren had only begun his sentence when the door to the study room suddenly crashed open. In the same instant, Daren’s nails subtly, silently lengthened. The moment the intruder stepped through the open door, Daren’s hand stabbed towards their neck at lightning speed. As his nails grazed the outermost edge of the person’s skin he noticed the face and froze. He didn’t pierce the skin, but he didn’t move his nails away, either.
The intruder instinctively wanted to speak, but the moment he opened his mouth his neck muscles moved. This made him immediately aware of the touch of metal at his throat. From the stinging pain in his neck, he didn’t doubt for a second that this thing could slit his throat and instantly take his life.
His eyes widened, looking at the fragile boy in front of his eyes. The boy’s expression revealed a sense of calm that not even a well-trained soldier from the Delta Forces had. Indeed, he could even say that this was the face of a cold-blooded killer.
“It’s a bodyguard…” Daren muttered. Even though he was a bit reluctant, he moved his hand away.
“What is happening?” reproached Devon, as he finally comprehended the situation before him. He was enraged, seeing that his little brother had almost killed someone again.
Hearing Devon question him in such a reprimanding tone, the guard instantly stood up straighter to report. “Reporting: the enemy has invaded. Solaris Emperor, please take cover in the hidden room.”
Hearing his announcement, Devon was silent for a moment. After he nodded his head at the bodyguard, he turned toward his younger brother.
“Dar, carry Ezart and follow me.”
Instinctively, Daren wanted to argue with his brother and say that he wanted to go and help as well, but after he heard Ezart’s name, he turned his head to look at the unconscious boy lying on the bed. After quietly picking him up, he stood beside his brother.
Devon glanced at Daren sideways and sighed with relief in his heart. Lucky that Ezart is out for the count, otherwise I really wouldn’t have any excuse to persuade Dar not to participate in this battle.
However, the enemy had actually found their way to this location, proving that the information he had gathered in the past few days was real.
Avery… Have you betrayed us? If Dar were to know of this, he would be brokenhearted, right?
Thinking up to this point, Devon’s heart felt a wave of discomfort. But I should stop worrying about this right now. The most important thing at this moment is to withdraw to the secret room before Dar is forced to hurt someone.
He moved towards one side of the room and lifted a small painting off the wall. Behind the painting was a numeric keypad. After he swiftly pressed the twelve numbered key-code, the wall suddenly transformed into a single leaf door that opened to a smaller pathway, narrower than the entrance. From the side, it could be seen that the door was three hands thick.
“Dar, come over here.”
Daren obediently followed his brother’s words and passed through the passage entrance, holding Ezart. This wasn’t as simple as it sounded. Ezart had an extremely muscular and brawny kind of build and the entrance was much narrower than normal doorways. If worse came to worst, he would have really had to shove and squeeze the boy in his arms through the entrance somehow.
After Daren walked a ways down the hidden corridor he came to a staircase sloping downwards. He descended into the stairwell, and, after walking for a few minutes, he finally made it to the bottom of the flight of stairs.
At the bottom he found himself walking into a room filled with high tech equipment. One entire wall of the room was dedicated to an enormous screen and in front of this screen was a machine panel filled with buttons. The only thing inside the room that wasn’t a machine was the single bed in the corner. There was also another door at the other end of the room that was probably an exit to outside the building.
He placed Ezart on the single bed and turned his head to see that his brother and that bodyguard had already entered behind him. Devon had even begun operating the machine panel in front of the screen. Right after he pressed a few buttons, the entrance they came through closed without a sound.
Seeing the door closed, Daren then finally, desperately said, “Gege, I can…”
“You can’t! You’re not allowed!” Devon said without turning his head.
Hearing his brother’s words, Daren could only respond with 'okay', not daring to ask anymore.
Devon turned on the screen, immediately dividing it into eight frames showing the situation in every corner of the house. They could see the battle taking place in the frame showing the front corridor. On the screen, the bodyguards were equipped with many lightweight and heavyweight weapons, and were expertly aligned in their formations. They were as strong and as sturdy as a brick wall, blocking their invaders. In addition, the rounds of bullets fired were intensely concentrated, making it enough to annihilate the majority of any group of intruders, even if they had been a team from Delta Force.
However, the opponent consisted of merely two people, and, looking at them, it seemed like they weren’t hurt at all.
The two figure’s movements were so fast they seemed inhuman. More than that, their movements weren’t limited to the ground; their feet ran over not only the two walls either side of them, but had also shifted to the ceiling several times, as if gravity had no effect on them. They moved continuously, running in all directions: up, down, left, right.
Even the highly trained bodyguards murmured, “These people are not human at all…”
Devon furrowed his brow. Although he wasn’t someone who really bothered with the notions of combative fighting, he could still see that these two’s movements were extremely familiar.
Daren stared at the screen. The more he looked at them, the stranger he felt. Finally, he couldn’t help blurting out, “Their movements are really similar to mine.”
Devon’s face tensed up, and the bodyguard beside him subtly revealed a look of hesitation, as if he couldn’t believe the words he had heard. Although he had known of the young master’s exceptional skill, he never thought that it would be to this inhuman degree.
“Why are their movements so similar to mine? They weren’t like this before,” said Daren questioningly, as he kept his eyes fixed on the screen, allowing the microchip in his brain to analyse and determine the percentage of their similarities.
“Dar!” Devon calmly called out, trying to get his brother’s attention. Once Daren heard his gege’s call, he stopped his analysis and turned his head to face him. As for this older brother, he then lied to his little brother without batting an eye. “Just now, I think I heard Ezart groaning and asking for water. I think you need to go over and pour some for him.”
Although Daren hadn’t heard anything, he still turned around and walked over to the bed worriedly. He closely examined Ezart’s condition, but it was evident that he still remained in a deep sleep; even his position on the bed was the same and hadn’t changed at all.
While Daren did this, Devon immediately shifted his hand and turned off the screen. Then, he pretended to be annoyed. “Oh no! Something is wrong with the screen.”
Daren leaned his head over to take a closer look at Ezart. He had just determined that Ezart hadn’t moved an inch when he heard his brother’s words. He couldn’t help but turn to look at the screen. It had really turned off, leaving only a black screen.
“Tell the others outside to inform me immediately if there is any change in the situation,” Devon ordered the bodyguard standing to the side.
“Yes, Sir,” the guard replied, grabbing the radio at once and notifying his comrades outside.
Devon walked towards the bed and patted his brother’s head. He tried to comfort him. “Don’t worry, Dar. This room is very sturdy and solid. Even if those two have extraordinary capabilities and defeat all the bodyguards, it is impossible for them to get in here.”
Especially since Avery doesn’t know this room’s password.
“Okay,” Daren nodded.
“Report: there is a change in circumstances,” the bodyguard suddenly announced.
Devon frowned. “Say it!” he ordered sharply.
“The enemy cannot break through our formation and have started to withdraw.”
Devon’s eyes sparkled in delight. The other side is already retreating? This is great news! At least we have endured through one possible crisis without Dar going out to fight.
“For tonight, strengthen the amount of forces in the night watch, and escort us back to the headquarters tomorrow morning,” he ordered the bodyguard.
Devon reached out a hand and patted his brother’s head indulgently. “Dar, Gege will definitely protect you,” he said, with a determination that bordered on the sinister.
Hearing it like that, Daren could only nod his head obediently.
Brother… But I want to protect you, too.
The body was lying on the bed in the darkened room, sound asleep without even twitching. A moment later, a figure slipped silently into the room. He stood beside the bed for a long time, but the sleeper remained unconscious.
“Ezart, when will you finally wake up…?” he asked softly.
The sleeping Ezart didn’t answer. The other figure could only turn and edge away without a word, before carrying on with what he had come to do in the first place.
He walked over to a small picture hanging on the wall and lifted the frame away. Behind it was a numbered keypad. He muttered under his breath as he pressed a series of buttons. “The twelve numbers Gege pressed earlier were 5874…”
When the numbers were entered, the door opened once again. Behind it was the hallway and the staircase spiraling downwards. The figure descended the stairs without hesitation and eventually arrived at the bottom, where the underground complex was located, lights blazing. Stepping into the room, the figure was revealed. Silver-white hair, pitch-black pupils, a childishly innocent demeanor: it was Daren Solaris.
He looked about the room warily. “If Gege knew I’d snuck in here, he’d probably blow his top,” he mumbled guiltily.
Thinking of this, he couldn’t help but wonder if it was really necessary to come here, to defy his brother’s wish for him to live life as a normal boy. But he wasn’t a normal boy; he would protect his brother! He had sworn this long ago.
As such, Daren steeled himself as he walked into the middle of the room. To the side was an enormous screen.
Earlier, Gege said the screen was broken… Daren smiled bitterly. Did his brother really expect him to believe that?
Even if Daren might have been fooled, Dark Sun was not one to have the wool pulled over his eyes so easily. As a first-class bodyguard, how could he not have excellent judgment? Dark Sun had discerned the lie almost as soon as the words had left Devon’s lips.
If his brother had lied about the screen malfunctioning, then he must have wanted to stop Daren seeing something. Every time Devon kept him in the dark it was always about fighting, cyborgs, or something that would upset him. Right now, though, the only things that would make Daren sad, and involved cyborgs and fighting, were related to Devon and Papa Avery.
If so, how could he not find out?
Even if it upset him, or made him defy Gege’s orders and fight, if it was related to his brother’s safety then it couldn’t be ignored. Daren’s only desire was to protect Gege, and Dark Sun was the perfect bodyguard.
Daren glanced down at the dashboard, covered with switches and buttons. He took a few minutes to familiarise himself with the controls, then pulled up the data on the cyborgs’ earlier attack. Daren watched with unblinking eyes as the screen began to play the battle recording.
Although intense, the battle only lasted about half an hour, and the clip ended quickly. After watching the two altered humans in combat, Daren closed his eyes and focused on using the chip in his brain to analyse the problem.
The microchip finished its analysis after a minute.
There was ninety percent similarity between the two attacker’s actions and Dark Sun’s basic movements. Since the only creator of Dark Sun still alive was Theodore Avery, there was a ninety-nine percent chance that Avery had enhanced the cyborgs.
Ninety-nine percent… Daren opened his eyes. A ninety-nine percent chance calculated by the chip was essentially the same as one hundred percent certainty. Because there were always outliers, the chip almost never reached a conclusion of one hundred percent.
“So that’s how it is. Did Papa Avery join the enemy?”
Daren’s head drooped, but not because of disappointment or sadness, as Devon might have feared. Daren was not really surprised by Avery’s betrayal.
After all, he had been with Avery for eight years. Even though theirs wasn’t exactly a normal kind of cohabitation, it was more than enough for him to understand the doctor’s nature. Avery was never one to sacrifice himself for others, or else he would have tried to rescue Daren eight years ago, instead of subjecting him to life-threatening operations time after time. Although Avery pitied him, consoled him, despaired for him, and was reluctant to let him go, he had never once tried to save him.
Yet he still cared for Papa Avery because he had never once begrudged him a smile. If not for that smile, Daren might never have seen his brother, might have... from the beginning…
I still love you, Papa Avery, but you betrayed Gege, and he will never forgive you.
“If, for my sake, Gege really tried to rescue you before, he will doubtless change his orders to have you killed now.”
Daren closed his eyes in despair. If the man had really jumped ship to the other side, then, to protect his brother, Daren would be forced to kill Avery.
Maybe… Papa was only pretending to betray us and the two cyborgs weren’t really that dangerous?
Daren couldn’t help but think that. Full of hope, he played the battle over again, using his microchip to take another look, to see if the two altered people made any mistakes in their movements.
Halfway through the clip Daren suddenly noticed something strange in the way one of the cyborgs moved. His actions seemed slightly restricted and he was grazed by several bullets he should have been able to avoid.
For an ordinary person that may have been understandable, but for a cyborg to make mistakes like that meant that he was broken… or he was obeying another order, one that took precedence over the one to fight, and he had erred because of that.
Daren looked at the screen and frowned. Those footsteps seemed a little strange. Da, da-da…
… It was Morse code!
He hastily rewound the clip to the start and stayed glued to the screen, refusing to miss even one step as he carefully decoded the message.
“I am... Avery... in three days...at two o’clock... in the morning…”
Then came an address. He continued to translate the code, as, searching inside his head, he identified the location as fairly far from home.
After that, the cyborgs started to cover each other as they began to retreat, and their footsteps no longer spelt out any words.
Daren lowered his head, deep in thought. What should he do? Should he tell Devon? But, if it was a trap... Ah! If even I think it’s a trap, Gege will definitely think so, too. Would Gege go and rescue Papa Avery?
Daren frowned. The part of his mind that belonged to Dark Sun was blaring danger signals, telling him, “It’s a trap, it’s a trap”. But his emotional side ignored the warning, because if he heeded it he might never see Papa again. He would lose one of the people he loved.
Eventually, Daren lifted his head. “I still love Papa. I’m going to rescue him!” he declared.
But how could he possibly do it? If he waited until tomorrow, then the bodyguards would escort him and his brother to headquarters. Although defeating the bodyguards wouldn’t be a problem, as long as he was with Devon he could never disobey his order not to fight. His brother would also never let him leave to rescue Avery.
Once they were at headquarters, there would most likely be even more people guarding Daren. It was also possible that Devon would stay by his side, making it even more difficult to escape.
The only way to save Papa Avery would be… He turned to glance at the secret room’s other exit. That would be the only way, and he would have to leave right now. If he waited until tomorrow it would be too late.
Thinking this, he made up his mind to leave. Tonight. But, considering how the enemy had stolen his Reaper’s Scythe and how three of the nails on his left hand were broken, he had lost his most powerful weapon and his second best was half destroyed. His fighting ability would be severely affected.
“I can make up for it with firearms, then.”
Scowling with determination, Daren went up the staircase again and returned to the guest room above. He glanced once again at Ezart’s prone form. Now he was even more intent on saving Avery. After all, Ezart had become like that after he drinking Avery’s potion, so Avery must know how to wake him up!
He walked along the corridor, but the guards lining the walls did nothing to stop him, nor did they even seem suspicious. In this day and age, a restless young man in the middle of the night was nothing to be surprised about.
If Devon or Avery were there, they would have known that something was wrong. Dar was a good boy that went to bed at ten o’clock sharp every night. Walking the halls so late at night was extremely out of character.
But Papa and his brother were not there, so Daren moved about without interruption, returning to the basement to grab his backpack and fill it with heavy firearms, lighter model handguns, timed bombs, grenades, and an assortment of dangerous equipment.
He then snuck back upstairs and headed towards the room where Ezart lay, intending to leave through the secret room exit.
This time, however, the bodyguards took an interest in Daren. Not sleeping in the middle of the night might be acceptable, but not sleeping and running around with a bag filled with firearms was definitely not.
“Young Master, may I ask what those guns are for?” one guard asked hesitantly.
“We’re leaving here tomorrow so I’m packing my bags,” Daren answered promptly, the picture of innocence.
Then does every young man’s luggage consist of firearms? And he answered with such an innocent expression, too… Although the guard sighed with exasperation inside, he replied dutifully. “Master, we can carry it for you.”
“No! They are precious to me.” Daren Solaris didn’t panic, but replied confidently. ”I’m taking them with me tomorrow.”
The bodyguard could only nod, but in his heart he was praying. If the master’s marksmanship is as extraordinary as rumors say, then if he were forced to use them then the danger of the guns would be the least of our problems.
And so Daren, ignoring the presence of the guards, carried his bag full of weapons into the room, opened the hidden door, and made as if to step down the stairs. At the last second he stopped and glanced at Ezart’s form still lying on the bed.
“Wait for me, Ezart. I will bring Papa Avery back to save you,” he announced.
After that he descended into the passage without hesitation, not noticing how Ezart’s right hand suddenly contracted into a fist, before it relaxed and laid flat upon the bed, returning to a semblance of deep sleep.
******************** Eclipse Hunter v03c05 END ********************