Abgere, a name that means ‘dead’, is what he chose for himself. He chose that because he thought that was the best name he could have. He chose that because he thought that it represents him the best. And yet, how does it represent him the best? He is yet to fully realize. It’s not that this name literally represents him. He’s alive after all so that can’t be the case. But then, how … how is this name the best name for him?
Abgere: “Is it because I deal death to people?”
Abgere reasons so with himself. He had once asked Ro why this name suits him so much. Ro had plainly answered that it doesn’t and that he is conceited to think it does. He had done something a friend should have done and Abgere was glad about that. However, that still left him to answer that query of his on his own.
He takes a long sigh as he sits on a roadside bench. To be more specific though, this bench is on a bridge, at the side of the road and near the railing that one can directly jump in the river below from, if one wants to. This is a bridge that, at a stormy day like today, is mostly empty. There is just one man, Abgere, on it.
There are two benches actually – one facing the road and one facing the edge of the bridge. Abgere decides to sit on the one facing the road; maybe because the storm inside him is too loud already to try to look at an even bigger storm in the air that was causing ripples in the river.
In this place, alone, he tries to think of an answer to his question. However, he is unable to. He is unable to think any answers at all. And then, a voice stops his thinking as it grabs his attention,
“Is this seat taken?”
A plain, calm voice of a man of probably the same age as Abgere comes and asks him as he points at the bench facing the edge of the bridge.
He sighs without even looking at the person and asks,
Abgere: “Does it look like someone would be foolish enough to come out and sit on that bench when this kind of storm is coming?”
His voice holds sarcasm, but without it, the answer comes,
“Well, yes. I see a fool like that in the mirror as well as right now in front of me.”
Hearing that, Abgere smirks. His face is hidden with the devil mask that he always wears but now, beneath the mask, there definitely is a smile, even if no one can actually see it. The man whose words caused this smile casually sits on the bench he had just asked about and leans his back on the bench as he says in a calm tone,
“What’s your name, good sir?”
Abgere has no reason to deny him the right to know his name. Even if it’s a name that Vermillion has turned to that of a wanton criminal, he still thinks it is fine to tell this man his name, and so he does.
Abgere: “I’m Abgere. The name means ‘dead’ in an ancient language.”
He deliberately tells him the meaning of his name, just to see how he reacts. However, that 6’3 tall man with a fit physique and attractive looks does nothing more than nod and say,
“I see. My name is Bronzer. The name means ‘hope’ in the same ancient language.”
The strategist of the Vampire Kingdom says so in a plain voice.
Abgere sat on the comfortable sofa, looking at the two women who were beating the Hellfire named Julius Rome, one with a belt and one with a halter. His daughter was still not fully convinced that she was doing the right thing and was crying. However, the prostitute Marissa showed a psychotic smile as she kept hitting him with a halter.
Looking at that scene, Abgere, for a moment, had started to hate humanity. He knew that Julius, at the end of the day, is a human and his rights are being violated here. He also knew that Marissa is a human and she is doing something she may need to be locked up for. He also realized that Alexa is a human and forcing her to beat her own father is cruel on her. Yet, he makes his half-sister and this prostitute hit his father like that. He does it because it is something that needs to be done. He does it because it is his purpose.
Even in this moment of triumphant, Abgere doesn’t feel any elation at all. Going around killing Hellfires is not something he enjoys, not at all. It is just something that, if he doesn’t do it, he will lose all reason to exist.
And so, he makes that horrible sight the reality and sits on a sofa as he looks at the cruelty of his own actions.
Bronzer: “Can I ask you something, Abgere?”
Abgere doesn’t mind the fact that there is no honorific attached to his name. In fact, he doesn’t like being called Mr. Abgere or something like that, because it just doesn’t feel right to honor a living ‘dead’.
Abgere: “Go on,”
And so he replies without reacting to that at all.
Abgere: “I will only reply if I want to though.”
Bronzer smiles as he hears that and says,
Bronzer: “Is there any significance in a life like yours?”
As he hears that, it feels to Abgere that the whole world has gone silent, only the question Bronzer asked just now remains. And in this silence, Abgere contemplates.
The two men sit silently, one staring at the ground in contemplation, and the other staring at the river in sadness. And then, in calm voice,
Abgere: “Is it necessary to have any significance?”
To hear those words come out of his own mouth makes the world regain its sound, it makes it able to start moving again as a terrible ache in Abgere’s heart slowly lessens.
Bronzer: “No, it is not necessary. There are so many people in this world whose lives have no significance at all. It is definitely not necessary.”
He says with an increasingly sad look on his face as he says,
Bronzer: “However, those whose lives do have significance, I wonder how they feel about it all?”
Even as the ache in Abgere’s heart lessens, the one in Bronzer’s heart only increases, with every second, with every moment since its precedence.
Abgere: “And who are you talking about?”
Abgere asks solemnly as he notices that ache.
Abgere: “Is there really a person whose life even has any significance?”
Bronzer, with a despaired smile, answers,
Bronzer: “There is, there is. There is a man who is destined to save the world, a woman who has a grudge to fulfill and a man whose eyes hold the key to turning the tides. Those three, their lives definitely have some significance.”
Abgere does not know, yet, who these three are. And he, for his purpose having nothing to do with the war or saving the world, does not even care. But, for the sake of that solemnity that his heart has when it looks to this person in front of him, he still feels obliged to ask,
Abgere: “But about you? Doesn’t your life have any significance?”
His words only lead to the ache in Bronzer’s heart to worsen, to the point that he ends up needing to hold his chest while answering,
Bronzer: “My life? No, no, there is no significance in my life. I am just a human, I am only human.”
His round, silvery-blue eyes whimper at his own words and his white hair sways in the wind as his natural-colored skin shines from the reflection of the sunlight. The man’s attractive looks and his more than noble attire with a black cape on his back make him look like a tragic hero. Too bad for him, he is something even worse.
Bronzer: “I am just a mere human, an insignificant, side character in the story of this world.”
He says as his body shakes in fear and sadness. Seeing that, Abgere turns back to look at the road. Neither of them speaks for a good one minute, and then Abgere finally decides to tell,
Abgere: “You know … I just killed my father.”
But because saying that doesn’t it sit right with him, he corrects himself and says,
Abgere: “Actually, I made my sister and a prostitute kill him, by literally beating him with a halter and a belt. He died one of the cruelest deaths of all time. And as I did that, I felt neither sadness nor elation.”
Abgere looked at the scene in front of him. He looked at the dead body of Julius Rome.
Abgere: “So you ended up killing him, huh?”
He didn’t blame or criticize, just plainly stated. Yet, Alexa crouched down and started crying, loud enough for the other two people there to be surprised by that reaction.
Marissa, however, finds that reaction to be abhorrent as she turned away in disgust.
Marissa: “That man deserved to die. Besides, you are the one who handed us these things anyway.”
She showed him the halter covered in blood and continued,
Marissa: “If either of us is responsible for this murder, then you are too.”
Abgere realized that this woman is just getting desperate. He realized that she is only suffering, thinking about what may happen if she got caught for this murder. No, even if she doesn’t get caught, she will have to constantly live in fear of it. And seeing all that,
A sound of a gunshot echoed in the house, causing Alexa to turn towards Marissa in shock and fear. And as she saw Marissa falling down with a hole in her head and Abgere holding the gun with a bit of smoke coming out from it, she got back to the wall, unable to make her voice come out. And seeing that reaction, Abgere asked,
Abgere: “When you look at me, what do you see?”
He asked without any emotions at all, or at least, without showing any of them.
Abgere: “Do I look like a monster? Do I look like a human?”
Alexa only trembled in fright, not even able to process the question, much less answer. Yet, Abgere continued,
Abgere: “Or, do I look like an inhuman? What do I look like to you?”
He asked, trembling with his own fright. And as she saw that, her heart calmed down, even if just a little, and she tried to think over his question.
Alexa: “You …”
And then answered,
Alexa: “You look to me like …”
She trailed off, but as he patiently waited for her continue, she did,
Alexa: “You look to me like … a prisoner.”
Abgere’s eyes grew wide as he heard that word.
Prisoner? He wondered.
And then as he did, he said,
Abgere: “Thanks for answering!”
He shoots her in the head as well.
Bronzer: “I see. So that’s how you finished the second of your targets.”
Bronzer says with a look of dismay.
Abgere: “Yes, that’s how I finished him.”
That’s how he reached closer to his end.
Abgere: “There now remain, 8 Hellfires, the Phoenix and a man named Ethan Kales. Those are the 10 people who I have to kill before my life becomes truly worthless.”
Bronzer: “Ethan Kales?”
He wonders as he hears the name of the boy he, or his vampire friend Darcy, had saved the life of from a Spectre 12 years ago.
Abgere: “Yes. I had a friend, the only real friend I could have had, and Ethan Kales killed him.”
Bronzer just looks at him in surprise without being able to say anything.
And then, the rain starts.
An hour passes. Two hours pass. The rain doesn’t stop. It only grows heavier. The darkness of the clouds makes that rain grow sadder. The instances of the storm that were seen before disappear and the raging winds silence themselves. Two men with storm raging within their hearts had silenced themselves. But then,
Abgere: “Why are you still here in this rain?”
Abgere asks as he looks up towards the sky.
Bronzer: “I was wondering if the raindrops would be enough to quench my thirst.”
He chuckles and says,
Abgere: “What answer do you have after all this time?”
Bronzer too looks up as he answers,
Bronzer: “They only made me thirstier, greedier and more flawed.”
His hope is being lost.
Abgere: “I see. They made me sadder, I think.”
His death comes near.
The rain tells it all, who will live, and who won’t.
Abgere: “What is the cause of your despair?”
Abgere asks with a serious and terrifying voice. Bronzer replies in a serious and terrified voice, but not terrified of Abgere, terrified of fate.
Bronzer: “There are some people who want me to lead them in a war, and make them win it. They are so weak in that it’s almost pathetic, and pretty much impossible to accomplish.”
Abgere does not interrupt. And so, Bronzer just continues,
Bronzer: “They want me to somehow make that impossibility possible.”
He says, and then stops. And so, Abgere asks,
Abgere: “Why not tell them it’s impossible and that you all should start running away from whoever you are supposed to fight this war with?”
The fact that a war is waging that is keeping Vermillion busy is a good thing for Abgere, yet he finds himself giving such an answer to Bronzer, for an innate reason he may never really understand himself.
Bronzer: “I want to run away. I really do. But,”
The rain doesn’t just fall from the sky; it falls from his face as well.
Bronzer: “But whenever I look at them, those poor creatures who could do nothing but feed on human blood for their survival, I feel compelled to give them a victory.”
Abgere stays silent, for he has never felt like that for anyone.
Bronzer: “I feel compelled to show them that we are not just postponing our end, but we are conquering it.”
Then, the two stay silent. They stay silent. They stay silent. They stay silent and then,
Abgere: “Looks like the rain is going to end,”
He says as he takes out his mask and bathes his face in the rain,
Abgere: “Because the storm is coming back.”
The storm gives no signs of returning, yet Abgere says so. And so, as he hears this, a smile surfaces on Bronzer’s lips.
Bronzer: “Yeah, the storm is returning, and it is going to take the rain away.”
No matter how small storm is, it is still a storm, and it will overpower the rain.
Bronzer: “I have spent enough time here.”
He says as he gets up from the bench.
Bronzer: “I should go now. The rain needs to be stopped after all.”
Bronzer: “And so, I should go back to them, and tell them that we are going to win this war. I should tell once again, but this time, say it from the heart.”
Abgere: “Yeah, as long as you have a heart, don’t ignore it. It becomes really impossible to hear it after you lose it.”
Abgere, the man whose heart died the moment he took his first breath, says in a calm voice as he too gets up.
Abgere: “The rain needs to be stopped, alright? And if that can give one’s life significance, then why not do it ourselves?”
Abgere turns to the direction Bronzer came from and starts walking. As Bronzer looks at him, Abgere waves his hand and says,
Bronzer chuckles at that deliberate use of outdated term and says,
Bronzer: “Yeah, goodbye.”
Bronzer turns to the direction Abgere came from and starts walking.
They move in different directions, away from each other until the point that they can only see a speck of the other if they look back. And at that point, they stop. The both of them stop and look at the sky.
And they see the storm finally approaching.
Near a house, no, near a wreckage of a house, many men and women in black suits are present. They are all just plainly looking at the wreckage that this house has become. It used to belong to a person named Julius Rome. But now, it has been destroyed. Julius Rome is dead and buried under the rubble that this house has become and his daughter and the prostitute he was with have met the same fate. Since they have been buried like that, it will be pretty hard for the authorities to find out what happened before this house was turned to rubble. However, for these men and women in black, it won’t be that hard. They can smell blood, because it is their food, and the ones who have trained themselves can even smell cut marks on a skin.
Bronzer: “I see you all are already here.”
Bronzer says as he walks towards them with hands in his pocket. Hearing so, without even turning back, the leader of the many vampires present there says,
Reid: “Yeah, all of us arrived here before the guy who called us here did.”
Bronzer smiles a bit as he hears that response and says calmly,
Bronzer: “I apologize for the tardiness.”
Reid: “Tsk! What were you doing in the first place?”
Reid asks as he looks at him from the corner of his eyes.
Bronzer: “Having a chat with death!”
Reid scoffs at his response.
Reid: “You and your bullshit!”
Bronzer smiles at that.
Reid: “You remind me so much of him, just that you are even worse.”
Reid says as he turns back to look at the rubble.
Bronzer: “Do you mean Barry?”
Reid: “Who else would I mean?”
Bronzer smirks and,
Bronzer: “Yeah, fair point.”
They stare at the rubble, and from their sides, Darcy joins them as she says,
Darcy: “You probably already know this somehow but this house belonged to Julius Rome, a Hellfire.”
Bronzer closes his eyes and replies with a smile,
Bronzer: “Yeah, I do know. I also know that he is only second in the line of the bodies that are going to pile up soon enough.”
Darcy and Reid look at him, not in surprise, but asking for why he’s so confident about that.
Bronzer: “It’s because that man has nothing that holds him back, nothing that stops him from fulfilling his ‘purpose’ in life.”
His smile grows wider.
Bronzer: “The fact that his chains were loosened when Ro Garland died, the fact that the one who killed Ro was Ethan, the fact that we saved Ethan’s life back when he was a kid, I think you all should know by this point that our karma isn’t going to betray us.”
He says as he steps forward, opens up his arms and looks back at the two of them.
Bronzer: “We are going to get what we deserve!”
From the bottom of his heart, he says what he truly believes,
Bronzer: “We are going to win this war!”
And as the two in front of him hear him say that,
Both: “Of course we will!”
There is no room for doubt or uncertainties anymore. The Vampire Kingdom will fight and they plan to win.
And then, the storm and rain both disappear, and the sun shines through.