OF ACES AND POISON

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ACT ONE; THE MERCIFUL
AND THE WEAK
PART I: THE DAY DARKNESS AWAKENED

d i s a p p e a r
       : to stop being visible
             : to stop existing

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E P I G R A P H —
❝To defeat evil, I shall become a greater evil!❞
- Lelouch Vi Britannia [ Code Geass ]

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In the year 2114 of our Republique, tragedy descended upon the land when Lady Aspen, the only daughter of the Electress was assassinated at the Warwick Manor where she was temporarily residing with Senator Thrane Wick and his adopted son.

Circumstances around her grace's death became the Wicks' fall from the succession line, which fueled the rage of senate members and nobility to find the ones responsible for the country's despair.

Seven days after mourning Lady Aspen, the first execution of a Child of Hades took part in the Central Area — a daughter of Hades who killed her grace for the sole purpose of entertainment, showing the world how dangerous the dark gods were.

There were no pardons given to her even if the law stated that no children of Underworld's King be executed. Thus, the defiance of said law would become one of the many events that would shape our future, the event being given title of 'The Revenge of 2114', and another four years of prosperity came into view.

But the peace ended in the year 2118 when a prince of the Underworld was sentenced to death because for treason upon the crown, starting a new reigning era.

A reign that wanted blood and the blurs of black and white. A reign where the world is razed to the ground by flames and reborn again from the ashes.

This is the truth about darkness, insanity, freedom and love.

Sir Gideon Thatchford; Dean of Harvard University, Cambridge Massachusetts
From HISTORY's documentary; Of Crimson and Golden Gods, year 2218

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IT WAS IN THOSE QUIET NIGHTS where death had no rest.

Rain pours over the window, droplets falling to the ground, seemingly building a rhythmic beat of pattering as thunder rumbles across the horizon.

It was unusual to see the city barren, like the people had disappeared with the flashes of lightning that filled the ominous sky — a signal that Zeus had sent somebody into eternal damnation again.

Not that she cares about the gods or anything that involved them. In fact, she hates them, all of them, ranging from their petty arguments and the lack of care for their offsprings; their own children who risked their lives everyday to save the damn world while devoting themselves to prayers for the gods as they enjoy watching people like her get into serious fuckery.

They didn't care about her nor did they with their children. And if they didn't give a damn about their own, then how much would they spare when offsprings of outcasted gods were to ask for mercy?

It was disgusting, but it was the horrifying truth of reality inside their wicked world.

(but then how are you so different with them, little girl?)

"Are you sure you're alright?" She hears the scuffles of footsteps behind her along with the static of the television. Out of her peripheral vision, the dim light from the hallways creates a shadow looming over the boy standing in the doorway, black hair falling down messily with a whimsical expression.

She smirks, "Are you asking that because you're concerned or are you asking me that because you fear that I will snap and turn psychotic?"

"If I hadn't known better, I would think you were afraid of the next days to come." He chuckles, amused by her reply.

Though, she sees past the walls of her right hand man. Despite the leather jacket to hide his secrets, his tired onyx eyes were filled with despair, swelling bags forming underneath them, betraying his resolve. His face was unshaved, stubbles forming a five o'clock shadow while his knuckles were red and swollen.

This, she observes, was what the gods had reduced them to.

Restless creatures shuffling around from base to base, stripped of their innocence and rights in the country their gods built — their parents had built. Crippled by fear that they will never have a normal life in a country where they were supposed to be.

In the eyes of the Olympians, they were unworthy of love, unworthy of safety, and unworthy of family, while in the chains of the Republique they were seen as diablos — grief, sorrow, and everything else.

Nobody knows that they had suffered more than their fair share of those things.

It makes her angry.

"My brother is strong, Dylan," She replies sharply. Her brows furrows in concentration as she longs the petrichor outside. The fabric of the navy blue curtain felt soft in her hands as she drew them close. "—you of all people should have faith in us."

"How could I, when you won't even budge in that velvet couch of yours to help Xerxes while he's imprisoned to god knows where and set to be executed a few days from now?" His voice rises into hysterics and clenches his fist. "You don't deserve family."

Family.

His words stabs her like a glass shard. And perhaps, she underestimated Dylan Umbra, too much.

Turning her back to him she wipes the tear from her eyes. But it could've well been easily seen from Dylan's perspective that her slender fingers were pushing her lustrous amber waves away from her face and showing her vanity in the most inappropriate times.

He didn't say anything about it and she's grateful about it, at least.

Closing her eyes and taking a deep breath, she asks, "Have I ever disappointed all of you?"

Her question meets his silence and she takes this sign as a yes, another wound that inflicts upon her, a sacrifice. Not only for herself nor her people — it was for her brother too.

It was a gamble, one she would not take lightly of losing if only Dylan Umbra could understand her intentions.

"Then you must be aware that I am not a god."

"I'm aware of that," His onyx eyes swirls with emotions—some she could still describe while the others left unknown but his voice betrays him and spilled everything kept hidden in his mind and heart. "Because you are something else."

"And pray do tell what that is?"

"You are a king," He says, "—who has no use without a queen."

She slaps him almost immediately with no regrets, face red in anger. "It is not because I am a woman that I am powerless, Dylan Umbra. If you're so concerned with the safety of my brother and plan not to trust me, surely you should be by his side during the execution without a head."

This, she repeats to herself again, is what all of us are reduced to.

"Sister!" The two snaps their head in the direction of the frantic voice calling them. The silence between them were becoming suffocating and they watch as her half-sister pants from all the running the raven-haired girl must have done. "Watch the news."

Dylan grabs the remote from the coffee table in front of her, turning to the next news channel he could find. Out in the screen, the headline was plastered, UNDERWORLD SCUM TO BE EXECUTED PUBLICLY TOMORROW, in large bold letters. The next scene flashed to the preparation of the Central Area — where the state of affairs had already shed a lot of blood and tears in the years of the ISR — and showing Xerxes Acker's swollen face.

His eyes were red-rimmed and circled in blue, though, they look like as if death was not new to him. (Maybe they weren't really, since he is after all, a child of Hades like her.)

Minuscule cuts surrounds occupied his face with dried blood in his blonde hair. The white straightjacket he wore was covered in grime as well, and it makes her wonder what kind of torture he had endured by the Electress' hand.

"Preparations are being held for the execution of Xerxes Ackers tomorrow at the break of dawn with the case of treason to the Senate and the Republique," the video feed changes to a young man speaking in front of many reporters under the flag of the country, the ISR — an eagle with two keys and the omega sign. His sapphire eyes cold and calculating. "We are not killing him because of his birthright, rather by the betrayal he showed us by not revealing important information earlier on. And if anybody asks to pardon him, I relay you this,"

Her eyes widens at his next words, as if his eyes were directly at hers. "Death is a mercy employed to the weak—"

The screen fades to black and she whispers the unfinished words, "—because the other choice of suffering years of hardships, doesn't guarantee end results that makes them a martyr."

"I will kill him!" Dylan growls under his breath. "He will regret it. That Republique lapdog will pay for it."

Silently, she disagreed with Dylan's words. Xerxes was a good brother, a great friend and a warrior who served not only the gods but his kind well but even her brother, a Prince of the Underworld, would want the coward's way out than a living in a cruel world.

"You will be the one paying for it," the words of her sister shocks the room. Although it wasn't meant to sound threatening, there was still a different meaning to them. "You will be regretting staining your hands with blood. Xerxes wouldn't want you ruining your life."

"Mya, your brother has chosen his path and I have chosen mine," Dylan explains softly. "It might not be as honourable or righteous but the path of blood had always been destined for us," she feels his gaze go from hers to Mya's and the littlest spark of emotions she tried hard to keep settles in her stomach. "How many people has your sister killed Mya? How many lives has Xerxes took? How many lives are stained on your hands?"

"We will get him back," Mya reassures him. "We will do everything in our hands."

"Please, I don't want to lose him."

It was a silent understanding between the three of them and she could only open the curtains to look at the night sky and the ceasing rain. She could not bear to look at the two behind her back, so she focuses her sorrows on the blanket of stars.

"I promise, one day, I will end this madness," she vows with her fists clenched. "The gods will bow to us, and they will be forgotten, just like how they forgot us."

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Luckily for her, dawn had come earlier than expected. The skies were still quite dark when she finally arrived at the Central Area where it seemed as if quite a lot of people wanted to witness the death of an innocent man. There were still no signs of anybody in the makeshift stage that the Republique had built for the occasion.

The thought alone of having a stage built for these occasions made her stomach churn.

The air was still quite chilly from the rain a few hours ago and she sighs in relief while she tugs the hood of her cloak to hide her face from the public as well as the cold breeze. Maybe it had been a good idea to leave Mya and Dylan alone the hotel room they got which was a few blocks from the Central Area.

They didn't deserve to witness it.

Her grey eyes finally wanders on the stage once more, the crowd shouting and pushing each other so that they could have one final insult jabbed at the figures on the centre.

There he was in his glory like she remembers him — no, she wasn't talking about Xerxes Ackers, this time her attention was transfixed on the brown haired man who stands with the Electress herself. Blue eyes which reflects the stormy seas, and a smirk that could've rivalled Hermes — the God of Mischief — instead.

"Here stands before you," the Electress starts her speech with her arms spread, the white cape of her dress uniform swishing around, "—a boy . . . who thought he would get away just because his brothers and sisters were not to be executed, but in here . . . in our country, nobody is born equal and so we must do our best to treat anyone with justice 
. . ." the blonde woman narrows her green eyes in the crowd, "And for that, I shall have the whole bloodline of those who took away Aspen, and pay for the sins they created. Senator Jonathan Wick, will look into that personally."

She had to admit that the Electress' theatrics were very heartwarming, to say the least.

Sneering, the Electress brandishes a gold sword hilted with one single ruby stone and she recognizes it as the so-called Eroberer — a sword not only for important nobles or royals, but for the other gods as well. The moment, the Electress' gloved hands held the grandiose of the weapon for the people to admire and fear, she sees Xerxes smile.

He smiles in her direction while his hands were chained behind his back, while his knees buckled to the ground, while he accepted his defeat, as he accepted his judgement.

The action alone had taken her aback and pulled her heartstrings. So, she finds her way amongst the sea of people to get nearer to the stage, not to get a better view but to get her brother back no matter what.

The Electresses passes on the sword to the young man that was with her, the same man who believes that death was the mercy they employ, a man who is readying to stain his hand in crimson while the woman beside him remained the white queen.

Traitor, she wants to scoff, although she didn't know why it had bothered her that much. The man was nothing but a mere game piece. He was not her kind.

There was an air of anticipation as he takes the Eroberer with a bow. One might think that he could've been a king in his past life as his movements were regal and elegant. One might also think that he didn't want to take an innocent life, and she badly tries to believe that it was the latter.

"Do you have any last word?" The Electress asks him and Xerxes remains silent. There was a moment where the blue eyes of the executioner met with the woman's green eyes, and a flash of hesitation appears in his features. "Better prepare to go to Tartarus, scum."

The young man raises the Eroberer, preparing to decapitate the head of its enemy. The skies slowly erodes into slices of purple, pink and orange while the sun ascends from the horizon.

She purses her lips as she watches Xerxes utter one last prayer before the sunlight shone on him. The people were chanting and shouting a lot of names, throwing stones, condemning him.

In that moment he could've been a saviour — a martyr.

But she couldn't let this empire of crimson take over her life again. No, not this time and no hell will stop her anymore.

"Stop!" she screams from the top of her lungs, and the people approaches silence — peace. They all gave her one pitiful glance, knowing that her death was already imminent. She was thankful to the blue-eyed executioner who lets his hands fall to his side with an incredulous expression on his face.

"And who are you to stop us from justice?" the booming voice of the Electress asks.

"If it is justice you seek, you have the wrong person on that stage," she replies and all attention were on hers. "For I am a true child of the Underworld! And I am the one who killed your daughter, her grace, Lady Aspen!"

The crowd were trembling now, the revelation rendering them to shock. Although it was not the truth, she might as well use it to free her brother.

"Guards!" the Electress bellows and there were no orders needed, as they understood their superior. What they were not expecting was the army of undead — both skeletons and fleshed ones — rose from the ground, ready to fight. "Seize the coward!"

"I'll give myself in, if you agree to my terms." She states with a dramatic flick of crimson cloak, one fitted for the event she started. "Release the prisoner, alive and you'll have me in return."

"I will have you killed right here!"

"Death is a mercy employed to the weak," there was a triumphant tone in her voice. "Isn't that right, Senator Wick?"

"Not with yours," he replies with a tone as cold as his eyes, "—it will be my pleasure avenging her grace."

"I'd like to see you try."

As the guards charges to fight with the undead, the people around her were staying away from her in fear of what she could do. Nobody came near her.

Perfect.

With a snap of her fingers, the shadows of the crowd from the risen sun obeys her will and she places everything to secure Xerxes' escape. Within a few seconds, the prisoner disappears from the stage which angers the two politicians in front of her.

"Kill her!" the Electress orders. "I want her dead!"

With the guards occupied with her army, the only one who could try to lay harm on her was the young senator bearing the Eroberer, and that perspective alone sent a bad taste in her mouth.

She can't fight him, that is what she realises.

There was no turning back now, she was not going down easily. She will bring the Republique's destruction until her very last breath.

Closing her eyes, she prays silently to her father. Her outstretched clenches into a fist as the grounds shakes, welcoming her demise.

Debris from the surrounding buildings falls around and people starts to panic. She could hear the screams and cries of the crowd, with everybody running around.

Nobody paid attention to her.

The earthquake continued on and she struggles to hold her steady ground. From the distance, she could see the young senator running to her with the golden sword in hand.

"Who are you?!" the blue-eyed senator asks in gritted teeth as he readies the Eroberer to strike through her. "Remove your hood or I'll kill you."

"You can't kill someone who is already dead," she smirks one last time as if she was taunting him. "—but since you asked. . ."

Pulling down the hood of her cloak, her grey eyes met his piercing ones.

"I am Kira."

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TITLE: Of Aces and Poison
SYNOPSIS: THE TABLES HAVE TURNED. There is no stopping us now, because today, we will rule this wicked world.