Path of Endurance chapter 09
Two years passed.
Bryan was getting closer of turning nine, Brianna had already turned nineteen, and life was beginning to look better. Ever since his little show-off, no one had dared to attack Bryan any more, and Brianna had earned enough money to buy more furniture. The apartment actually began to feel like a home.
Every evening Bryan and Brianna watched the TV the previous owner had left behind him. Brianna lay on the sofa on her stomach and Bryan lay on her back. There was no other place on earth he felt as safe as that, even though Brianna found it a bit screwy when Bryan fell asleep before she did and refused to move one bit. What got to Bryan, though, was that Brianna grew partial to beer. Because of Cary, Bryan had a slight phobia when it came to alcoholic beverages. Just seeing a bottle of beer got him jumpy.
"Sis, I don't like when you drink that stuff," Bryan whined. Brianna gave him a slightly surprised look and put the bottle back onto their coffee table.
"What are you talking about?" she asked.
"Beer... it's bad. It makes you bad."
Brianna gave him her warmest smile and took him into her arms. Bryan resisted only a bit.
"It's not an on-off-situation, bro," she said. "Beer doesn't make you bad."
"It made Cary bad."
"Beer didn't make Cary bad. Cary was bad to begin with. If you drink beer only a little, you'll be okay. If you drink it a lot, you'll be just like Cary, you know?"
Suddenly, Bryan looked Brianna deep into her eyes, deeper than ever before. "Sis..." he exhaled. "Promise me you won't become like Cary! Promise me you won't drink that much!"
Feeling a slight guiltiness somewhere inside her, Brianna embraced her brother. She was able to sense how frightened Bryan actually was, and it was something she never-ever wanted him to be. It was wrong ? little boys shouldn't have to be afraid, at least not of their sisters. Brianna kissed him gently, and as a tear ran down her cheek, she whispered;
"I promise, Bryan. I promise you will never have to be afraid of me. I promise I will never get drunk. You have my word."
Bryan sighed with relief. "I will never get drunk, either," he replied. "I promise."
Bryan's birthday was getting closer. Secretly, Brianna had planned on making his birthday really special, yet she felt her plans shattering and running through her fingers like dust every time she looked into her wallet. What made matters more screwy, though, was that she earned less than her boss promised. It was something Brianna kept cursing inside her mind every day when she delivered packages all over the area. Especially when the delivery had to be taken to downtown, where her ragged, mannish figure stood out from the crowd like a raven in a ring of pigeons. She made a delivery to an office of a great big corporation called Mishima Syndicate. It located in a monstrous skyscraper, that had more marble and glamor than Brianna had ever seen in her life. Still, hiding her astonishment, she walked her way to the receptionist's desk and checked name of the addressee; "I have a package for mister Lee Chaolan."
"Seventeenth floor, take that elevator there and continue right through the hallway," the receptionist guided her. Brianna followed the route and came over to the desk of Chaolan's secretary. "Can I help you, miss?" the secretary asked the moment she saw Brianna.
"D-Race messenger," Brianna dismissed. "A package for Mr. Lee Chaolan."
"I'll take it," the secretary said, signing the package. A loud, Japanese cursing came out from Chaolan's office, catching Brianna's attention for a moment. The door of the office was slightly open, revealing a heavily decorated office with a golden bust in a shape of a unicorn. The bust gave Brianna an idea, which she planned to launch the same night. The secretary handed the receipt back to Brianna, who took it and left that instant, taking a different way out of the building to take a little tour around the building. It didn't seem to be heavily guarded at all, for being such a big place.
Brianna tucked Bryan into bed early that evening. When the boy had finally fell asleep, Brianna dressed herself into a black sweater, black jeans and a pair of black leather gloves she had happened to come across one day. Once more kissing her brother goodbye, she made her way back to the Syndicate HQ. Brianna thought it was ridiculously easy to break into the building. What she didn't realize, though, was that so far she had been lucky. As she approached the office she had seen the bust in, she heard arguing coming from it. Unfortunately, the two men that were arguing were Japanese, leaving Brianna out cold from the matter of the argument. She waited patiently for the men to exit the office, and after some time, a tall, silver-haired man stormed out from the office without noting Brianna who stood in the shadows. The other man was left into the office. Brianna peeked into the office, and she saw a black-haired, Japanese man whose hair looked like he could drill a hole into the ground with it. The man was too enraged to even note Brianna before she struck her elbow hard and fast into his head, knocking him out that instant. The guy fell down too fast for Brianna to grab him, and a loud THUD echoed in the hallways. A few Japanese shouts carried out into the office. Brianna shoved her panic aside, grabbed the unicorn bust into a backpack she had taken with her and raced out from the office. Hearing the guards approaching from the other end of the hallway she was in, Brianna quickly hid herself into a room nearby. She would have waited for the guards to go away, but the room she entered was not empty; there was a Japanese woman with a little baby in the room, and the woman gasped upon seeing Brianna. She began shrieking in Japanese. Brianna began to get irritated.
"Shut up! I won't hurt you!" she snapped to no avail. The woman kept on yammering, until she shrieked out the name "Ganryu!"
The floor trembled. Paintings on the walls weren't far from dropping down. Brianna felt the ground shaking underneath her feet when the biggest ? or at least the heaviest - man she ever saw entered the room. She watched in a complete shock as a sumo-wrestler approached her, glaring at her, as if to tell he was about to go bowling using her as the ball. Brianna was sure the man would kill her.
But then, something inside her changed. A picture of Bryan's face flashed before her eyes. It was all she needed to overcome her fear. A purpose ? the reason why she was there to begin with. The sole purpose of her existence; to serve and to protect Bryan. She couldn't fulfill her mission if she died here now. The feeling was pretty close to a dream-like state, where time and place cease to exist. As Ganryu the sumo attempted grabbing Brianna, she landed a quick kick into his ankle and gave his stomach a hard uppercut. While Ganryu was taken by surprise, Brianna twisted his thick arm into a lock and belted him hard into head with her boot. Ganryu dropped down before he had a chance to make resistance. The woman in the room became too shocked to keep screaming. Brianna picked up the backpack she dropped. "Sorry 'bout the mess..." she winked and ran out from the room.
Suddenly, she heard a pistol cocking behind her. "Don't move!" a male voice shouted. A Japanese, according to the accent. Brianna stopped and raised her hands, while kicking her brain into action. She had to get out of there, fast.
"Turn around!" the voice ordered, and Brianna obeyed. It was the same, silver-haired guy that had stormed out of the office. He spoke something with the Japanese woman, keeping his sight on Brianna all the time. When done speaking with the woman, he turned back to Brianna. Seeing her backpack on her hand, he ordered her to throw it down. Feeling she had no other choice, Brianna shoved the backpack on the floor. The unicorn statue came halfway out from it. The man laid a questioning sight on it, and then on Brianna. "You're a thief?" he asked.
"No, I'm the new pizza deliverer..." Brianna replied dryly. "Of course I'm a thief."
The man sighed with relief and lowered his pistol. "Thank goodness..."
Brianna's jaw was close to dropping onto the floor. Suddenly, the man began hollering some other name. "Kazuya!" he hollered. "Kazuya!!"
"If Kazuya's the guy with a drill in his hair he's taking a little nap," Brianna replied.
"What... how..." the man wondered. "How did you knock him out?"
Then, another weapon was cocked. "Oh, man!" a voice too familiar to Brianna whined. "Mr. Lee, please talk to your brudda for me, you dig? All I did was take a leak and the guy's been attacked the same instant!"
"... ... .. Bruce?" Brianna wondered inside her head. But now as Lee's attention was somewhere else, Brianna grabbed him by his pistol, yanked it from his hand and placed its nose on his temple. "I hate to interrupt this little family episode, but I've gotta run."
Just then did Bruce step out from the shadows. "...Brianna!?" he cried out. "What are YOU doing here?"
"Wait, Bruce, you know her?" Lee inquired.
"Y... yeah, a former student of mine," Bruce replied.
"You shouldn't have said that, Bruce," Brianna warned. "I am not a healthy person to know."
With that, Brianna shoved Lee towards Bruce with all her strength. She grabbed the backpack with the unicorn bust from the floor and fled, running as fast as she could. She ran a few floors down until another group of guards ambushed her. Now her panic was beginning to take over. Feeling there was no other choice, Brianna jumped head-first out of the nearest window, and landed on her feet to a balcony that was a few floors below. She jumped and grabbed a flagpole, and after swinging a few times on it, she dropped down onto the ground and raced back home. Lee was left staring stunned and motionless behind her.
"Who... is she? Where has she learned to move like that?" he asked Bruce.
"I don't know. I haven't taught her that," Bruce replied.
"I want to know everything about her. Name, address, family, occupation, blood type... everything."
"Are you planning to recruit her?" Bruce laughed.
"Actually, yes. She might come in useful."
"Then you have to be quick. I hear the cops are interested in her as well. In other meaning than getting her busted, that is."
Brianna didn't stop running until she reached the 8 Mile area. She stopped nearby the black market area to catch her breath, and to make sure she wasn't followed. A few moments later she sold the unicorn bust for a good price, and jogged back home. Bryan was still fast asleep when Brianna crouched down by him and gave him a kiss into his forehead. She felt she would do anything for him. Anything. She couldn't explain why or how she felt like that; she couldn't say what spawned the powerful love she felt for him. But the feeling was strong enough to get her through even the toughest situations. All she had to do was to cling onto the feeling, and she could do anything. Bryan Fury was a true wonder.
After changing back to regular clothes, Brianna slumped onto the sofa. Even though she had afforded to buy Bryan a bunk, she still slept on the sofa. She pulled her field jacket onto herself, but even though she felt sleepy, she couldn't fall asleep. Bruce had got her worried. He had blurted out he knew her, and he was able to recognize her. Should the cops come after her, it would be all Bruce's doing. Luckily Detroit was a place where a girl like Brianna could easily disappear without a trace. And that was something she was good at, anyway.
The tiredness slowly took over Brianna's mind, and soon after these thoughts, she fell into a deep sleep.