Path of Endurance chapter 17
Brianna stood watching an enormous mansion rise up before her and her colleaque. Its front yard garden reached far behind their backs and cold fall wind howled in its roof and windows. A few dead leaves ran across the stairs that lead into the mansion's main hall that was decorated with all kinds of statues, vases and paintings. Had the mansion been owned by someone else than one of the most dangerous men on earth, Brianna wouldn't have had any difficulties in imagining glamorous dance balls in its beautiful, bright rooms.
"Welcome!" a man's voice echoed from a balcony above them. Brianna turned to look, to see an old man with his armed-to-teeth bodyguards. His hair ? or what was left of it - was turning from black to gray due to his old age, and baldness had already taken over the most of his scalp. He caressed his moustache while carefully observing Brianna from this safe distance. He was impressed by the fact that she wasn't afraid to look at him directly into his eyes, nor did she show any signs of fear even though she must have been informed about whom she was meeting. And even though she was wearing a loose hooded sweater, the size of her muscles still was visible.
Heihachi descended the stairs nearby him to greet his visitors. "I have been expecting you. You must be Ms. Fury," he said in his moderate English, shaking hands with Brianna. Now that he was nearer, he saw her face much better; her crystal clear, ice-blue eyes, her dark, full lips and her pitch-black hair were more than enough to bring a smile even on his face. He twisted his lips into a nasty grin and took one more look of her, from tip to toe. "Ahhh... no wonder he grew fond of you," he remarked. "You look just like his ideal of a perfect woman."
Brianna had a principle; she would never pass. Even though she wondered whom Heihachi was talking about, she didn't show it. Lei, however, showed extreme frustration. "I got her here as you told me to," he exclaimed. "Now state your business or let us go."
Heihachi snickered. "Impatient, are we... very well. Follow me."
Brianna and Lei followed Heihachi to the second floor and through the labyrinth of hallways into an armored door. "I will be holding a masquerade to my allies, to celebrate this American Halloween a little more sophisticated way than usual," he declared. "This mansion will be filled with people having fun, drinking, dancing... everybody wears a mask."
"Yeah. So?" Brianna spat.
"A masquerade is an open invitation to one, pesky bunch of con artists, who definitely seek to break into this vault here and steal my property," Heihachi replied, knocking the door. A metallic CLANG-CLANG-CLANG echoed inside the room. "And I want you to prevent that."
"Why us?" Brianna asked, even though she already knew what Heihachi would say.
"Because, my dear Brianna, you are the only one who can identify their leader, codename Yoshimitsu."
Brianna forced herself to chuckle; "I don't know what mothballs you've taken, but I ain't got the slightest clue what're you talking about." She turned and took a few steps away before being stopped by another of Heihachi's gorillas. "I think you do know, miss Fury," Heihachi growled. "Allow me to remind you; seven years ago you encountered a young, Japanese man in the 8 mile ghettos. You were harrased by a gang of thugs ? now deceased. You were tranquilized during the battle, but the man made sure you were safe, getting injured at the process. You took him to your home. What happened there is none of my concern, you could've slept with him for all I care, but my interest is in that you know what he looks like. You are able to identify him ? and you are going to capture legendary codename Yoshimitsu."
"Seriously, you should get your head or information network checked, 'cause there's something definitely busted in there," Brianna backed up, feeling cold sweat forming on her skin. She knew full well she couldn't walk away from this, but at least she wanted to try.
"Codename Yoshimitsu is the leader of a ruthless clan called the Manjit?," one of the thugs told her, staring at her coldly from behind his dark sunglasses. "The Manjit? is linked to terrorism, burglaries and even assassinations. Bringing their leader into justice would make an end of one of the greatest crime waves ever, but no matter how many attempts there have been throughout the time, he has never gotten caught. The man is, in every meaning of the word, a ninja."
"It's not like I ain't into urban legends, but I'm definitely outtie, 'cause you're a whackjob!" Brianna spat. She turned to leave for good, only to feel the pipe of the gorilla's handgun on her chest. "You're going to help us, miss Fury," Heihachi ordered, his voice now grim and cold. "Yoshimitsu won't walk out of this trap alive, and you're going to make sure of it."
Bryan slid from under an old Chevy, holding his sore thumb in his mouth. The old screws in this car had rusted close, and this was the third time in five minutes Bryan had twisted so hard with a wrench that he had accidentally squeezed his thumb in between the sharp edges of the car and the tool. He checked the clock on the wall; there were fifteen minutes before the lunch truck would arrive. Plenty of time to clean the fresh cut in his thumb. He washed his hands at a faucet nearby and covered the cut with a bandaid. While drying his hands, he heard the sharp steps of women's high-heels approaching him. He was surprised to see Caroline standing at the doorway into the garage. "Why haven't you called?" she asked, as if nothing had happened. Bryan grinned in irritation. "What the hell are you doing here?" he spat.
"I'm your girlfriend!"
"The fuck you are. Now get the hell outta here."
"Is it because I said I was pregnant?"
"No, it's because I caught you red-handed, cheating on me."
"Do you freak out because of just one night?!"
"Shut up, Caroline. Fuck off."
Caroline span on her heels, but turned to look at her ex one last time. "Everybody says you're a looser!" she screamed. Bryan sighed, fighting the urge to punch her raccoon make-ups into next week. "Says who??"he finally spat.
"Everybody's talking!" Caroline shrieked. "Everybody knows you lost battle yesterday. How you choked and got booed off-stage!"
"Shut the fuck up!" Bryan roared. Caroline flipped a finger and left, leaving frustrated Bryan alone in the garage. Almost alone. Unbeknownst to both of them, his employer had heard the whole episode. Bryan watched the middle-aged, black man entering the garage with serious suspicion in his eyes. He knew he wasn't in extremely good terms with Jimmy. "What was that about, Fury?" Jimmy inquired. Bryan nervously picked the towel he had dried his hands with while enduring Jimmy's observant stare. "It was... nothing," Bryan finally muttered. "It won't happen again."
"Good," Jimmy nodded. "Don't be brining that shit in here."
After five o' clock, Bryan was standing in the garage's yard, waiting for Sis to arrive. His mind still wandered into yesterday. It was supposed to have been his major show-off in The Cage's rap olympics, but he had been too nervous. He had choked in the first battle he had faced, and ? like Caroline painfully reminded her ? got booed off the stage. He felt too embarrased to show his face there ever again. That's why he had returned to Sis.
Bryan's friend Delta was the host of the rap olympics. Delta, as well as the rest of their gang, knew Bryan had talent, and they had every faith in him that he would one day defeat the defending champion, known as Don Doe. Bryan knew, however, that being almost the only white rapper participating in the battles didn't make his situation any easier in the business the black dominated.
Hearing someone call his nickname, Bryan awoke from his thoughts. He watched Delta approaching him, his dreadlocks swinging along his steps. "Hey man, what up?"
"Waitin' for my slow-ass ride..." Bryan replied, lighting up a cigarette. "They propably got Sis doin' their shit for them."
"Heh, your Sis a real Dirty Harriet, eh?" Delta snickered. "But listen, there's another battle goin' on next Friday and I'm signin' you up."
"No, man, don't. I don't think I could..."
"Look, Viper, you've gotta battle. After you've shown your skill, they don't care what color you are. You battle next Friday, you flip the script, and blow that Don Doe's brains out for good."
Bryan nodded slightly. Deep inside he knew Delta was right; if he quit now, he would always be remembered as a loser. After a short silence, Delta brought up another question. "So, what're you gonna do tonight?"
Bryan exhaled the cigarette smokes from his lungs. "I'm gonna work on my demo tonight," he said.
"Your demo? What, you can afford studio time?"
"What do you think I save my money for?"
"Oh, man, that's great. Your Sis already know?"
"Nah, she's been busy lately."
"Can hardly blame her, dawg. Just look at all the shit we live at. I mean, how can we take pride from our neighborhood with stuff like that lying around?" Delta pointed at a half-collapsed abandoned house nearby. "All the junkies and other shit stay there to avoid the cops. And are the cops allowed to go there? No siree, that'd be trespassing."
"Sis is chasing a little more relevant bastards than our local shitheads," Bryan remarked and put out his cigarette. Just then, he heard police sirens, and only a moment later a sedan Dodge crashed into a neighboring wall near the garage. The driver and a passenger jumped quickly out of the car and continued their escaping by foot. Bryan pulled quickly Delta out-of-sight and waited 'till the thugs had passed them. "It's that fucking steroid monster," the driver groaned to the other suspect. "Shit, she packs a wallop. What're we gonna do?"
The passenger pulled out an automatic Uzi from his bag and hid it under his jacket. "This'll stop her. Now move!"
They escaped into a narrow alley just in time to avoid a police car and a familiar Oldsmobile that had been following them. Bryan saw his Sis jumping out of the Oldsmobile and continuing pursuit running after them. "Come on man, let's go!" Bryan turned to go after Sis.
"Man, are you crazy?" Delta stopped him. "We mustn't interfere!"
"I don't care. That fucker has an Uzi!"
Brianna had no difficulties in outrunning the two criminals. The driver was badly out-of-shape; after a minute he wasn't able to run anymore. Brianna's partner remained with the driver as Brianna ran after the last one. Bryan arrived soon to the scene. "Where'd she run?" he asked the officer that had cuffed the suspect and was taking him into the car. "Who're you?" the officer asked.
"Name's Bryan. Bryan Fury, I'm her brother. Where did she run?"
"She ran after the suspect, but I don't think you should... hey, wait! Come back!"
Bryan had already ran after Sis. It didn't take too long before he heard rapid gunshots. For a brief moment, Bryan froze ? it was as if his heart had stopped beating for a few seconds. He was afraid of what he might see once he would catch up with Sis, because suddenly it became very clear to him what dangers she faced in her work.
As the bullets came flying toward Brianna, she took cover behind a sturdy trash bin. She heard the bullets being deflected from its thick surface, yet something else caught her attention that instant. There was something warm and wet running down her right shin towards her ankle. Her camo pants had a blood-stained bullethole ? one of the bullets had hit her. A sharp pain ran through her, but her years of training in self-restraint hadn't been in vain. She loaded her Desert Eagle and forced herself on her feet, peeking from behind the trash bin only to trigger another hail of bullets. "Fucking cop!" the shooter roared. "You steroid monster, eat lead!"
Brianna ducked behind the dumpster, wondering how many bullets can one Uzi carry and how many clips would he have with him. Normally, once she would hear he was loading his Uzi, Brianna would use the slight pause in the fire and attack right away, but she knew the pause wouldn't last long enough for her to attack with her injured leg. Sadly, she was running out of options.
The shooter quickly loaded his Uzi and continued shooting at the dumpster. He failed to notice a dark shadow that came closer from behind him, untill it was too late; Bryan grabbed him around his neck and threw him against the wall. The Uzi flew from his hand in a neat arc into the ground. As the shooter gathered himself together, Bryan was already on the move, digging a hard right hook into his guts and crushing his chin with another right hook that was quickly followed by left downward hook in his forehead. The shooter keeled over into the ground, but Bryan hadn't finished yet. He jumped down, mounting the shooter's chest and began maniacally punching him. He felt he could explode in his anger; this bastard had shot at Sis, injured her and who knows what else.
Suddenly someone grabbed Bryan's right wrist gently but firmly. He turned to look, to see Sis standing there, as calm as ever even though she had had a bullet piercing her leg. "I think he's done," she said. Hesitantly Bryan abandoned his prey and handed him over to Brianna, who drew her Desert Eagle and aimed at the shooter's forehead. Kicking him slightly to his arm, she caught his attention. "Get up," she growled. "Get you ugly ass up the ground, or I'll finish you right here and now."
The shooter surprisingly managed to get up, and even walk after Brianna had cuffed him and escorted both the suspect and her brother back to the others. Her partner wasn't very pleased at the sight, "Jesus, Brianna! I said bust him, not waste him!"
After the paramedics had bandaged her leg, Brianna sat on the hood of the Oldsmobile, drinking coffee. Her chief had arrived on the scene, and he was less than pleased. Bryan wasn't there with them, but he was able to hear everything they said. The chief threatened Brianna with everything possible and impossible for this violent episode. Apparently, he had guessed it was Bryan who beat the suspect, not Brianna. "His attorney will definitely sue you for this!" he roared. "Not that I care, but he might as well sue us because you didn't stop your idiot brother from beating him up! You're gonna be suspended for the rest of your life, Fury!"
"You've got it all wrong, chief," Brianna suddenly said. "It was I who beat the guy up. Not Bryan."
Bryan gasped ? she was taking the responsibility of all this. Chief burst out in as fat laughter as he was. "Oh, so now YOU'RE the one who's taking all the blame! How noble, Fury. Well, I believe the suspect will be more than glad to tell us what happened there."
"He was on drugs," Brianna remarked. "His statements cannot be verified. The only one there beside me was the suspect."
"Your partner said he saw your brother running after you."
"I saw him when I was on my way to take the suspect back to the others."
The chief turned to Bryan. "Is this true?"
Bryan hesitated ? if he would say yes, he would be bringing massive charges on Brianna, and if he told the truth, both he and Brianna would get charges. He briefly looked his sister in her eyes, and nodded slightly. "Yeah... that's what happened," he muttered, bringing the chief on the brink of frustration. "Listen now, you little piece of shit ? If you get caught from a lie, I'm gonna beat your ass up so hard you won't get hard-on for weeks!" he roared at Bryan.
"Hey!" Brianna growled. "You talk like that to my bro and you'll have nothing to have a hard-on!"
Delta chuckled. He was standing slightly apart from the growd, but he heard everything. The chief turned to Brianna. He was definitely going to say something, but he suddenly found himself in a loss of words. Brianna's cold eyes froze him completely. After he had managed to gather enough courage, he told Brianna to have the rest of the day off and the others to return downtown. The growd scattered, leaving only the siblings and Delta standing near the Oldsmobile. "Sis, why did you tell him you did it?" Bryan had to ask.
"Because I don't have a future waiting for me," Brianna replied casually. "You, however, are going to study and get yourself a real job and lead a real life. And to do so, you're gonna stay out of trouble!"
She gently poked his brother to stress her last words. "Now let's go home," she declared and stood up from the hood. Bryan turned slightly, "Can you drive?" Brianna just smiled and sat down in the car, initializing. Bryan was just about to follow, when Delta tapped his shoulder. "Next Friday, Viper," he said. "Be there."
"Okay. See ya," Bryan replied and sat inside the car. Delta continued his strolling.