Legacy of Reiginsei
FFVIII/Vampire Hunter D crossover

Prologue: The Sands of Time

By Flamika

Seventeen years ago

The Cape of Good Hope, Centra continent

“There you go, Quisty,” Edea said soothingly as she tucked the sleepy one-year-old down in her bed. The blond-haired toddler barely stirred as Matron gently pulled the covers up next to the girl’s chin. Edea straightened herself, gazing down at the little girl that was burrowed deep into the blankets. Such innocence, she thought pleasantly, a smile coming to her pale face as she watched Quistis yawn in her sleep. It’s times like this, with children such as these, that I think there may be hope after all for this war-ridden world to turn back the damage that humankind has wrought upon it with its own bloody hands.

A loud yelp was suddenly heard from the other room, and Edea whirled instinctively with a disapproving look on her motherly face. There was, of course, no one for her to reprimand, but she still sighed inwardly when she realized that her husband, Cid, was having quite a difficult time getting Seifer to sleep. The young rebel was on his I-Refuse-To-Take-A-Bath kick, apparently convinced that there were monsters living in the water. That boy was certainly a spirited one, but very hard to keep under any kind of discipline.

Taking one last serene look at the sleeping children safe and sound in their beds, Edea left the room as quietly as she could with her heels on, shutting the door softly behind her, leaving the children to their dreams of unicorns and clouds spun of cotton candy. She strode quickly down the hall to the nearest bedroom, and poked her head in.

“Need help?” she asked her husband amiably, who was in the middle of telling a grubby one-year-old Seifer the necessities of bath-taking, hoping more that the soothing tone of his voice would placate the child rather than his logical words would. The tow-headed young toddler was sitting on the edge of his bed with a scowl on his tear-streaked, dirty face, dimpled arms folded across his chest, the epitome of youthful rebellion.

A very frazzled Cid turned to his wife and sighed deeply. “Yes, dear, this young miscreant seems to think—”

Cid’s entreaty was suddenly cut off as Seifer leapt off the bed and began toddling towards the doorway Edea was standing in, screaming at the top of his lungs the entire way. But the little boy’s legs were too unsteady and new to take him very far; he had only lurched two steps before he pitched backwards and fell on his diapered bottom. The child’s only response to his failure to flee his torture chamber was to scream louder and try to wrestle to his little feet.

“Oh my!” Cid exclaimed with a mixture of exasperation and frustration. “Seifer, child, are you alright?”

Seifer only cried louder, tears streaming down his dirty face like a never-ending river. He was gibbering in that beautiful language of children who are on the brink of saying their first word, but whose vocal cords aren’t quite capable of doing so yet.

“Come on, honey,” Edea told the toddler soothingly, walking into the softly-lit room, her long black hair shimmering in the dim lights. “Let’s get you a bath.”

Seifer screeched and started kicking his feet at the air.

Cid gave his wife a watery smile. “Edea, dear, I believe you said the forbidden ‘b’ word.”

Edea grinned back at her husband and was just about to crouch down and attempt to console little Seifer when the sound of the doorbell ringing pierced the sanctity of the orphanage as cleanly as Cupid’s arrow through the heart of a lover. Seifer suddenly fell unnaturally silent, his baby blue eyes wide and his formerly thrashing limbs motionless.

“Dear gods,” Cid murmured thoughtfully, oblivious to the abrupt change that had overcome Seifer. “Who would be coming at this hour of the night?”

“I have no earthly idea,” Edea said uncertainly, watching Seifer with some concern. He still had yet to start moving again; his blue eyes were vacant as he stared into space, and the tears had frozen on his face like miniature tracks of liquid diamond. Edea had never seen him this…inanimate before. She found its effect rather disturbing. Seifer was one of the most rambunctious children in the orphanage, and to see him sitting as if in a trance made Edea shudder with barely suppressed anxiety. Had the sound of the doorbell scared him? It had never bothered him before…

Cid seemed to notice Seifer’s sudden silence for the first time. “What’s wrong with his boy now?” he asked good-naturedly. “Wore himself out, did he?”

The doorbell rang again. Seifer didn’t move.

“Dear, why don’t you get that?” Cid suggested, oblivious to how uncomfortable his wife suddenly was. “I’ll try and get his little one a bath before he starts bellowing again.”

Seifer didn’t even blink at the word “bath.”

“Alright,” Edea murmured, rising to her feet and smoothing out the creases in her customary purple dress. Butterflies fluttered in the back of her throat as she left the warm safety of the bedroom and once again entered the dark hallway of the orphanage, the clicking of her heels on the concrete and rustling of her long dress ringing unnaturally loud in the silence. The Matron’s sorceress abilities were starting to stir again without her bidding them to, and here in the inky darkness of these safe, familiar halls, she could not ignore the message her powers were relaying to her. And what bothered her even more was that only once before had her powers reared up in such a fashion to holler their words of wisdom in a horrendous banshee wail that resounded off of the hidden recesses of Edea’s soul.

Danger, her powers cried. Beware! Danger!

But why? she wondered, unconsciously wringing her hands together as she approached the wooden door leading to the front yard of the orphanage. We’re perfectly safe here. I locked the gate leading into the yard…

It didn’t occur to her at the time that if she had locked the gate, then how had someone gotten through and was now in the front yard ringing the doorbell?

These thoughts did not come to Edea at that moment in time, though. They eluded her normally sharp mind, dancing on the verge of discovery and grabbing desperately for the sorceress’ attention. But the Matron was only focused on the door, its plain wood and metal bindings somehow seeming so vivid to her night-blind eyes as she approached the door with some apprehension, for some strange reason fearful of what she would find beyond.

Great Hyne help me, she thought. I haven’t had this horrible feeling since a year ago, when that man came…No, it can’t be him, not again…

Extending one pale arm in the shadows surrounding the entryway, Edea unlocked the door with trembling fingers and opened it a crack, peering into the night world beyond the orphanage with the distrust of an old woman whom creation had turned its back on.

Her blood froze.

“You!” she gasped, her heart skipping a beat.

The man had come again. He was dressed in a fashion similar, but not identical to, the way he had been dressed a year ago. Tough-looking and well-worn brown boots covered his large feet, dotted here and there with dark splotches that Edea still thought looked suspiciously like blood. He wore his customary black pants tucked into his boots and gray, sleeveless shirt whose V-neck hung almost to his navel, revealing a heavily muscled chest that was unnaturally well-developed when compared to the rest of his lanky, if not skinny, figure. A couple heavy bands of beads and bones hung around his neck and down to his belly. But all these articles Edea had seen before, when this man had come a year ago bearing the child now known as Seifer in his lean, dangerous arms. Last year, however, the man had been wearing an ankle-length coat that had covered his shoulders and head, shrouding his face in shadows.

Now the man didn’t have the coat, and the ashen skin of his arms almost glowed in the inky darkness of the unlit porch. Dark, almost sheer, gloves covered his entire arm up the elbow, leaving only his long fingers free of their restraining cloth. He was holding a light-colored bundle in his arms, but since Edea refused to open the door all the way, this mysterious item’s true nature was lost to her for the moment. But what struck her most about this man’s appearance was his face. Despite the fact that he appeared to be relatively young, the man had a premature mane of shaggy gray hair that stuck up in thick, rebellious spikes from the top of his head but was longer at the nape of his neck. A shock of bright red ran up the front of his hair, fiery strands dangling over his high forehead and into his callous green-black eyes. His thin mouth was set in a grim, hard line, and his thin eyebrows only made his expression all the more fearsome. In her entire life, Edea had never seen a colder, more forbidding looking man.

“What are you doing here?” Edea asked him, trying to keep the tremor out of her voice. The fear she had felt upon laying eyes on this man a year before was rapidly returning.

The gray-haired man suddenly grinned, lips curling into a sardonic smile that was every bit as horrible as his previous expression. “This is an orphanage, isn’t it?” he sneered, eyes glittering with mocking humor.

Edea’s hand tightened on the wooden door. “Yes, you know it is,” she said quietly.

“Then there’s no reason to tell you why I’ve come here, then,” the man said, that grin still on his ashen face. “But I can tell you that I sure didn’t come to adopt no kid.”

A cold feeling settled over the Matron as she heard his words. Suddenly, she knew what he was holding in his arms, but she had to see for herself. Bracing herself, she pushed the door open all the way, for some reason thinking that she had now let the pollution of the man’s presence into her orphanage of innocence. But she had no time to worry about that now for, once she had opened the door all the way, she could see what exactly the bundle in the man’s arms was.

The man had a baby cradled in the crook of his left arm. The tiny child was blissfully asleep, an amazing feat given the man whose arms it was held in. Edea couldn’t so much as relax in this creature’s presence, but the little baby apparently had no problem with its bearer. Despite her apprehension and mistrust of the gray-haired man, Edea couldn’t help but feel motherly love towards the child held in the arms of a monster. It was little more than a newborn (much like Seifer had been a year before), with the pale shadow of what would probably later be blond hair and the rosy hue that accompanied all babies in their first few months of life. The child’s closed eyelids fluttered slightly as it slept, one tiny hand curled up in a little fist inches away from one of the razor sharp bones of the man’s necklace. What looked to be a white trench coat with red crosses emblazoned on the sleeves was wrapped around the child’s body, protecting its baby soft skin from the demons of the night air.

Edea reluctantly tore her gaze away from the sleeping child and refocused it back on the gray-haired man. “You intend to leave this child with us?” she asked softly.

“Yes,” the man growled, suddenly looked peeved. “It’s not like I can take care of him, you know.”

Though it discomforted her to do so, Edea watched the man carefully, trying to gauge his reaction to her next words. “You are aware that this is the second child you’ve left with us in a little over a year?”

“Yes,” the gray-haired man snapped, shifted his weight restlessly from foot to foot while careful not to upset the child held in the crook of his left arm. “Is there a limit on how many children can be in here?”

Edea shook her head as a cool night breeze rustled her thick hair and sent a wave through the man’s longish gray mane. “I’m afraid the orphanage is almost full now, with the war going on and everything…”

Bitterness tinged with a strange breed of malevolence suddenly emanated from the man’s figure. Edea saw him unconsciously tighten his grip on the child. “If you can’t take this kid,” he snarled, lip curling in a sneer. “Then I’m going to have to find some other way to…get him off of my hands.”

Edea’s heart leapt into her throat at the unbidden slither in his voice. “You wouldn’t!” she gasped, hands flying to her mouth in utter horror.

The man suddenly turned his face away from her and gazed off into the shadows. “I would have no other choice,” he said coldly.

Edea was torn. She had seen many panicked and desperate parents in her years at the orphanage, but none had looked distressed enough to kill a child, which Edea knew this man would do if she did not take the baby off of his hands. But, god, the orphanage was overflowing. And a newborn baby like this would require much attention and love. Supplies were running low; Edea wasn’t even sure she had an extra crib for this child…

But she refused to let it die.

Her golden eyes flicked back up the man’s face, which was watching her impassively, obsidian emerald eyes glittering in the night. “Destroying innocence is bloom is a crime against humanity,” she told him, startled at how cold her voice sounded.

The man smiled at her bitterly. “You will take the child then, sorceress?”

Edea’s mouth fell open. “How – how did you know I was a sorceress?!” she sputtered, her heart fluttering in her chest. Any previous doubts that this man was dangerous evaporated immediately. If he could read her this easily…

Diabolical amusement flickered in the man’s dark eyes. “Keep your voice low,” he chided. “You’ll wake the baby.”

The man’s mockery hardened Edea’s heart. Her golden eyes narrowed with severe dislike, and she defiantly tossed a lock of black hair over her shoulder. In that moment, she considered it a blasphemy that this gray-haired man with eyes of black emeralds was even touching such an innocent creature like the child with his deceitful arms.

“Give the child to me,” she ordered softly but firmly, holding out her graceful arms. She had no idea if this man was the baby’s father or not, but she, as the Matron…no, she, as a human being, couldn’t let the baby be exposed to this man, this creature of the night, any longer than was necessary.

Edea expected the man to immediately hand over the baby, eager to be rid of what he clearly thought was a burden. In fact, that was what she wanted him to do: place the baby in her arms, maybe grace her with one last evil grin, and disappear into the night, another monster returning to its savage midnight garden. She would be infinitely indebted to the Great Hyne if she never saw this man again…

But to her surprise, the gray-haired man with eyes of green midnight and a heart of glass, didn’t jump at the prospect of leaving the child with her. Instead, his thin eyebrows suddenly drew together, and he backed away from Edea’s outstretched arms as if she had just released an unseen demon to attack him. For a split second, Edea saw something resembling pain flicker across the man’s ashen face like an angel-winged demon, but one confused blink later, it was gone.

The man’s jerking motion awakened the child. Its blue eyes drifted open serenely, like an awakening cub infinitely at peace with the world. It yawned, opening its toothless mouth innocently as its tiny fingers twitched involuntarily, as all babies’ do. Done with its awakening process, the baby blinked its blue eyes, searching these strange new surroundings with the sublime purity of one who is completely oblivious to all the evils of the world. Those incorruptible orbs of blue midnight scanned the shadows of Edea’s porch, seeking out something it would find familiar…

The baby’s plump face lit up with childish joy as its eyes lit upon the face of the gray-haired man. Wiggling excitedly underneath its coverings, it clenched its fists in barely contained happiness and let out one of those beautiful baby laughs, making good use of its powerful vocal cords. That blissful laugh drifted through the odious night like the first spring breeze after a long winter, daring the demons of the darkness to rear their ugly heads to challenge the simple power of that one human expression of happiness.

No such demons stepped forward, and those that thought to do so perished in the light of the godchild held in the arms of its mutant father.

As Edea watched with fascination, she saw the ghost of a smile come to the gray-haired man’s lips as he stood gazing down at the child that was actually happy to see him. His entire face seemed to soften; the chiseled angles of his high cheekbones seemed to take on gentler tones. The harsh light that had emanated steadily from his eyes disappeared almost altogether, and his entire aura suddenly seemed less ominous than it had a second before. He lifted his right hand and touched the baby’s face, long untrue fingers brushing the newborn skin with startling gentleness. The child let out another gleeful laugh and clumsily hooked one of its tiny hands around one of the man’s graceful fingers, gripping it as tightly as it could.

The sight of them together, baby and man, purity and blasphemy, clean and foul, made Edea’s heart ache in her chest. The child had to be – what? Five months? Six months? – and already it knew the face of its father…and the child loved that cold, chiseled face with all of its tiny beating heart. And yes, Edea was now certain that this man was the child’s father, just as she had been certain a year ago, when the man had dropped Seifer on their doorstep. It suddenly seemed a crime to take away from this child the one thing that seemed to bring it joy. Edea sadly rested her hands over her aching heart, as if to keep the life-sustaining organ from shattering with grief that wasn’t hers.

“His name is Zell,” the man said softly, and even the mockery in his voice seemed to have lost its cutting edge.

Edea nodded solemnly. “Zell,” she repeated. “And does the child have a last name?”

The man’s eyes were overbright as he glanced at Edea briefly before returning his gaze to the child still gripping his finger. “No,” he said simply. “No last name.”

She nodded again. “I see. But are you sure you wish to part with the child? And what of the child’s mother?”

“What about her?” the man asked sharply, eyes hardening as he once again fastened his gaze onto her.

“Does she wish this to be the fate of the child?” Edea clarified, wondering why she was asking these sorts of questions. Usually, she had enough respect for the parent’s privacy not to inquire as to why they were abandoning their children.

The man laughed bitterly, eyes still locked onto her. Grief suddenly contorted his face, and Edea realized with a start that the man she had thought to be cruel and callous was actually…trembling.

“Who do you think I’m abandoning my children for?” he seethed. “All for…her. Everything for her, and for the family.” The man shut his eyes tightly, shudders coursing the length of his entire body. Baby Zell whimpered softly, sensing his father’s agitation.

Edea was about to ask him about his obscure statement when a horrendous shriek came from within the orphanage, echoing in its peaceful halls. She heard the slapping of little feet on the stone floor behind her.

She barely managed to grab little Seifer in time as he barreled past her, almost getting tangled up in her skirt as he tried to rush out onto the porch. Edea clutched him tightly, feeling his arm, damp from his accursed bath and from sweat, trying to slide from her grip. He was dressed in an old pair of pajamas that hung from his small frame. His hair was wet, and his feet were bare. All in all, he looked like the little orphan he was.

But Seifer was screaming like a banshee, and the sight of the now-startled gray-haired man on the front porch only made his shrieks become more intense and desperate. He thrashed in Edea’s firm grasp, one little hand grabbing frantically for the man’s figure.

The young matron was shocked at the bitter irony of the situation. This strange man came a year ago, wrapped in shadows and mystery, to leave a child named Seifer in their care. Now, a year later, he returns with yet another beloved burden to leave on their doorstep, and he comes face to face with the child he abandoned a year ago.

But Edea found it strange that Seifer would recognize the man he had never had a chance to call father. The young child’s newborn eyes hadn’t even been opened when the man had come last year; how, a year later, could he hear the man’s voice – possibly even sense his presence – and come toddling down the hall as fast as his little feet would carry him, screaming and shrieking like he never had before?

Seifer, however, was not the only once experiencing flashbacks. The gray-haired man was staring at the hollering little boy in plaintive horror, his brow creased in distress and his thin mouth hanging open slightly. His eyes glittered, but this time not with malevolence or mockery…but with what looked to be tears. Zell, unperturbed by the sudden shrieking that had intruded on his world, was craning his little head in curiosity, intrigued by any creature that could roar as fearsomely as Seifer was now.

Cid suddenly came jogging up behind Edea, puffing with the exertion. “Seifer!” he cried, grabbing the little boy’s free arm. “I turn my back for one second and—“ Cid’s eyes suddenly fell on the man, and his mouth dropped open as he recognized the wraith of the night that he and Edea had faced a year ago. “Dear God!” he gasped, blue eyes grotesquely large behind his glasses. “You again! And with another child!”

The gray-haired man just stared in horror.

It was then that Seifer chose to say his first word.

“DADA!” he bellowed, raw, high voice piercing the night’s solitude like a dagger dripping with anguish. “DADA!”

Edea was beside herself with pity for Seifer, the gray-haired man, and baby Zell, the child that was about to be abandoned. “Seifer!” she cried, tugging firmly on his arm. “Hush, right now!”

“DADA!!!!!” Seifer cried, eyes riveting on the form of the man with childish fervor as tears streamed down his face.

It was all too much for the gray-haired man to take. His eyes were wide and staring, and Edea thought she saw tears glistening like diamonds in the corners of them. He looked more like a trapped deer cornered by a pack of wolves than the killer Edea thought him to be. The man took a fearful step backwards, the heels of his boots against the edge of the porch, all the while staring at little Seifer as if the one-year-old child was screaming the incantation for a fearsome Holy spell instead of crying for his daddy. The man’s eyes darted from side to side, staring into the darkness that he deemed to be his refuge, his one place of salvation from this tow-headed child who knew his face and knew it well.

“Sir…” Edea said softly as Seifer continued to screech and holler, trying all he could to disentangle himself from Cid’s grasp.

The gray-haired man met Edea’s eyes for one breathless moment, allowing her to see the desperation and pain written in those forest green orbs. Then he abruptly turned his face away and stared down at the child held in his arms. For an instant, misery warped his features so that it looked as if he were wearing some grotesque mask of tragedy instead of his own face. He quickly leaned down and pressed a kiss to the child’s forehead. Baby Zell gurgled happily.

Then, all of a sudden, Edea was holding Zell in her arms, and the man was slowly backing down the porch, eyes darting wildly from Edea, to Zell, to Cid, and finally to Seifer, who was shrieking louder and louder as the man backed further away, rapidly disappearing into the night.

“Please, sir,” Cid suddenly pleaded, his own big heart aching at all the pain this meeting was causing its members. “Kiss your other child, just once, so he’ll know you love him.”

The gray-haired man stopped backpedaling and stood shock still, his entire form almost completely immersed in the darkness beyond the porch. For one second his face tried to melt back into that cold, hard, killer’s façade that Edea had first beheld him with, but it couldn’t. The man’s entire form trembled with agony and ambivalence.

Then, as quickly as he had deposited Zell in Edea’s arms, the man lurched forward and knelt before the tearful Seifer, kissing the young boy gently on the forehead and staring briefly into his streaming blue eyes.

“Dada,” Seifer whimpered pitifully, trying to surge out of his Cid’s grasp and into his father’s arms.

The man touched the young boy’s face with a trembling hand. “Be good,” was all he said.

Then, before Edea even had a chance to blink, the man was gone. Just vanished into thin air.

For a second, silence hung in the night like an evil, gloating thing that knew all the secrets of the universe. It spread its wings over the orphanage, refusing to divulge to the four humans gathered on the porch the knowledge it had acquired from the sounds that defied its kingdom. It gave them no evidence, no sound, of the gray-haired man’s departure, not even a bump in the night or the rustling of grass; it gave them nothing when it had everything to give. Even Seifer was silent.

Then Zell, sensing somehow that his father was no longer present and never would be again, began to whimper softly, his robust baby face scrunching up in childish grief as his voice began to gain rapidly in volume, defying and utterly shattering the silence.

Then Seifer began to scream, “DADA! DADA!!!!!!”

Together, the two children’s plaintive cries made them deaf to Edea and Cid’s efforts at consolation, deaf to any attempts at comfort for hours after the man’s departure.

But, even though he was almost a mile away, the man heard the cries of his children rise into the night like the bellows of wounded beasts, and those cries haunted him for the rest of his life.

One year ago

The Castle of Count Magnus Lee, near the village of Runsilva

The boy was very frightened. Sweat soaked his rumpled shirt, staining the fabric with the concrete evidence of his terror as he crouched amongst the winding maze of pipes that looked like a big jungle gym like some of the town’s children had in their backyards. But this place was not one for playing. No, this place was a grave in disguise. The boy knew that people died here, and died for no reasons, too.

The haunting voices of the “wedding” procession below drifted upwards from the metal walkway to assault the boy’s ears and make him shudder in terror. He could see an entire line of black-robed mutants carrying candles in their warped, twisted hands and singing that terrible requiem in their distorted, abominable voices. The boy’s heart began to pound faster as he caught sight of the Count himself, majestic and hideous, at the front of the procession, his gray hair sharply contrasting with his customary black cloak. A small, feminine figure draped in white was holding delicately onto his arm, and once the boy saw locks of golden hair peeking from underneath the ceremonial hood, he knew it was his sister and that he was going to have to save her. No one else could do it because D was dead. That horrible mutant Reiginsei had…had…

The boy blinked back tears as he thought of what a great, honorable person D had been. The boy wanted to be just like him one day. If that day ever came…

He shifted position and took a deep breath. “It’s now or never,” he said in a determined voice, trying to give himself encouragement. The boy deftly yanked out a metal bar he had found in his prison and lined it up with the Count’s gray head. His legs tensed.

“Heeee-yahhhh!” the boy cried as he leapt off of his perch and flew downwards, makeshift weapon on a collision course with the Count’s head. As he was overwhelmed with the insane disorientation of plummeting without end, he saw out of the corner of his eye, the white-swathed head of his sister turn its vacant, pupiless eyes towards him.

Oh god, Sis! the boy thought in despair. What has he done to you?!

Then his metal bar connected with the Count’s head, sending a painful jarring force up the boy’s little arms that made his teeth chatter. Then the Count’s barrier reacted with violence and wrenched the metal from the boy’s sweaty grasp and sent the boy’s small body tumbling over the edge of the walkway, all his courage and dreams plummeting down with him.

“Ahhhhhhhh!” the boy screamed in sheer terror as he fell, the world spinning wildly around him. His thoughts were as jumbled and obscure as his predetermined course downwards, overlapping each other and blurring at the edges.

No, Sis! I’m so sorry! I failed you! I was just trying to help you, and make Father proud, and be like D. I love you, Sis! I don’t wanna die! Please, someone, help me!

The boy prayed with such intensity that a watching devil heard his prayers and decided to answer them.

A dark figure sailed in from out of nowhere and grabbed the boy in mid-flight, clasping the boy’s warm, struggling body close to its own. The dark figure locked its arms around the boy in a vise-like grasp, making sure that the child wasn’t going to slip out of its hold and continue his ill-fated plunge to the castle floor thousands of feet below.

The boy didn’t know what had hit him. One minute he had been falling, praying for a savior, and the next minute he felt arms locked around him in a death grip, and he wasn’t falling anymore. But his world was still whirling in a terror-filled haze so it was only when he felt cold metal beneath his knees and hands did he realize that someone, or something, had snatched him out of mid-air and saved his life. But how? And who?

The boy looked up, seeing that a man was standing five feet away from him.

Then the boy gasped, and his mouth dropped open in horror.

It was Reiginsei.

The gray-haired mutant who had murdered D and captured the boy on two separate occasions stood staring down at the miniscule hero with an impassive expression on his ashen face. The boy called Dan Lang began to quiver with fear as his own brown eyes locked onto Reiginsei’s impossibly deep green-black ones. Even though Reiginsei’s left hand had been lost to D’s sword in a battle, the mutant was still a horrifying sight. Why had this horrible man/monster saved his life only to take it himself? So Dan was going to finally know what it felt like to have the blade of Reiginsei’s flying sickle-like weapon cut and mutilate his flesh…

Then Reiginsei suddenly smiled, his thin eyebrows shooting upwards in an amiable expression of friendship as one corner of his thin, colorless mouth curled into a grin. Dan continued to shudder in terror, thinking that Reiginsei’s sense of humor was definitely on the lethal side, and whatever the mutant would find funny, Dan probably would not.

Then the cold-hearted hunter turned his gaze away from Dan, the smile fading from his face as he looked upwards to where the wedding of his former “employer” was progressing. Dan was utterly baffled as Reiginsei began to walk away from him, boots making no sound on the metal walkway as he did so. What? Reiginsei wasn’t going to kill him?

The mutant had spared his life. Dan watched Reiginsei’s retreating back for a second more before he felt his legs and arms go weak with relief, and the young boy laid his head against the metal floor, fighting back tears of euphoria. He had been certain that Reiginsei had meant to kill him!

But what Dan didn’t know was that as the gray-haired mutant ascended the stairway that would lead him to his death, he was laughing bitterly at himself and his sentimental attachments. Over the past two days, he had captured the boy twice, treating him roughly each time, dragging the boy by the arm whenever he stumbled and hitting the little tike upside the head whenever he started talking about how D was going to show up and save him. Reiginsei had jeered at the boy’s terror when he had planted him on top of a one hundred foot tall rock formation and made him wait there. Reiginsei had mocked, taunted, and ridiculed Dan until the little brother of Doris Lang had been reduced to tears and had told Reiginsei just what a horrible, horrible person he was.

But in the end, orders or no orders, he could not have brought himself to kill the child.

This Reiginsei knew, and he took that knowledge with him into the abyss of death…

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