"Ya fuckin' eejit I think ya hit her too hard over the head!"
Citra's eyes fluttered open as consciousness came back to her, followed by a dull pounding on the side of her skull.
"Haul, I think she's wakin' up. Hiya, rise n' shine! C'mon now, don't be hole."
"Vaas.." She mumbled, touching the spot where it hurt the most only to feel a bump.
"Sorry friend, Vaas is no longer employed in this fine company. He's taken a 'leave of absence'. But I'm still available, so let's talk business shall we?"
There was a bright light shining harshly, making her squint and wince. The light dulled and everything came into focus, first a wooden desk to the bottom of someone's shoes, then to the person itself.
"Feeling fresh as a daisy, Sleeping Beauty?" Frank Bilders had a smile that stretched his face back, creating layers upon layers of wrinkles crunching up at the tips of his eyes. He sat leaned back on a leather chair, legs kicked up on the desk as if he owned the place; overall the epitome of hubris. Despite his relaxed state, Citra did not underestimate the perilous predicament she was currently in.
"Fancy a feg?" He asked, presenting a brown cigar. Citra stared in silence and he shrugged, placing it in his lips and lighting it up. He took a drag and exhaled slowly, slapping his lips as if tasting it, examining the cigar with interest. "You know, it is such an honor to finally meet you." He got up and walked to the front of the desk and sat on it. Citra noted he wore a leg brace, giving him a slight limp to his walk. "Thank you. Thank. You. You know, if it weren't for that Brody kid, I wouldn't be sittin' here in my new office, with my big fancy promotion. I don't know if you've heard the bad news, but Hoyt decided to get an early retirement, completely unexpected and heartbreaking. Said he wanted to swim with the sharks."
"Doesn't this look nice on me? Ma always said gold is my color." Frank lifted up the sleeve of his jacket, flashing an expensive looking watch. He squinted and licked the tips of his fingers, scrubbing at dark red spots on the watch. "Diamonds would've been nice, too, but I think.. they're not my kind of style no more."
"Where are my men." She demanded, sitting up, noticing for the first time her hands were bound with ropes. Floorboards creaked to the sides of her, and she glanced both ways to see unnamed Privateers pointing their guns at her.
"Calm ya fuckin' tits, ya cunts. She's fucking tied up. What's she gonna do, bite my langer off?" He chuckled. The Privateers looked at each other and lowered the guns, returning to their relaxed pose. "Your men are alive, for now. Depends if you'll cooperate with us."
She cocked her head, "And if you're lying?"
Frank smiled, and patted a small machine and twisted it around to reveal it to be a miniature TV. On the screen were the five natives in some kind of dark room lit by a single light bulb. They were on their knees, their arms pulled behind their back.
"Maybe a small demonstration is needed." Frank unclipped a radio from his belt. "Oi, would you kindly take one shot?"
On the screen a Privateer stepped into view, and without warning shot the native farthest on the left in the back of the head.
"Mmh. See, it's just gonna be a bad time." He said nonchalantly, not at all bothered at the scene that played out right in front of them. Citra stared at the TV. Jason was slumped over dead, his brains splattered all over the floor. The screen glitched out and returned back to normal in a second. Jason was no longer on the floor, but walking to the camera slowly, his face hidden in shadows.
"What do you want?" She muttered, tearing her eyes away from the screen.
"I count seven men. Seven. I want to know where the eighth one is, your friend Yalung. Where is he hiding?"
"I don't know." She answered truthfully, albeit too quickly.
Frank pressed his lips together in a thin line nodding, and said into the radio, "One more time for the audience!" Another gunshot, another brother dead.
"How do you even know there are eight of us?" She avoided looking at the TV. How could he possibly know that? How, how, how... Where did they go wrong? What happened?
"Ya friends from out of town made a great executive decision to continue doing business with us. Mr. Len is a smart man, and I think he saw the bigger picture. I mean, no offense in any way, but a bunch of tatted up tribal freaks ain't gonna make much of a profit. They need someone who already knows how the business works... someone like me and sorry lass ya just don't fit the bill." He smiled, and patted the TV again. "I'm asking one more time. Where is Yalung?"
It started with a low chuckle, and then full blown laughter. She couldn't help herself! It was just so ironic...
She grinned, a mischievous glint shining in her eyes. "Colonel Len and his men are-"
A loud bang interrupted her. It was the sound of the doors slamming open, followed by fast paced footsteps. The smug on his face dropped, replaced with a look of pure annoyance.
"Who the fuck let her in? Come on guys are we gonna let in every sorry bloke we see off the streets? Are we not doing our jobs anymore, is that it?" Frank said irritated. Citra's grin died when she saw Nasreen Davar stride into the room.
"I said I wanted her. You can have the other six but I want her." Nasreen hissed, jabbing a finger at Citra. Frank looked smug and sat back, blowing smoke in the mercs face.
"Sorry bibe, finders keepers." Frank grinned, flashing his teeth, which he was missing quite a few. Nasreen snatched the cigar between his lips and put it out on the desk.
"I have the radio station." She said. "You won't be able to contact anyone."
"And I have the fucking satellite dish." He spat back. "You won't even get a signal!"
The two of them looked ready to explode, or shoot the other.
two forces grasping for power tend to turn on each other, rather than focus on the real enemy
Maybe those words held some truth to it. It didn't matter, as long as she had some kind of an advantage.
"What are you even doing with her." Nasreen waved at her face. "She doesn't even look beat up."
"Oi, I'm actually doing something important right now and ya interrupting me!"
Nasreen crossed her arms, "Like what, finding the eighth man?" She approached Citra and placed one hand on the chair, blocking her sight. Citra locked eyes with the merc, and staring back at her were cold, harden eyes, different than Vaas' whom looks disconnected, and Jason who only had rage. Despite this, Citra didn't back down, and stared right back.
"You're wasting your time. You won't find Yalung, he will find you, and he will definitely try to rescue her." Nasreen said, finally backing away. Citra let out a breath she didn't know she was holding. The peace didn't last long when she was suddenly yanked up, and if it weren't for the two Privateers holding her in place she would've tripped on her own two feet.
"I'm going to do something actually important for the both of us." Nasreen said, walking to the doors. "If you care to join then I suggest you shut up and follow."
"Oi! Don't tell me to fucking shut up ya cunt. I'm doing what I think is best." Frank snapped, yet he joined Nasreen to wherever they were going. Citra was dragged along forcefully. Passing through the doors, they entered an open space hallway that had wide stairs they took to go down to the bottom floor. Interestingly, the bottom floor looked burnt in some areas. They went down another set of stairs that took them underground where she was shoved in the middle of the dimly lit room.
"I want them as witnesses." Nasreen pointed to a side of the room, and Citra looked to see whats she was pointing at. It was her men, three of them, with sacks over their heads, which were removed under Nasreen's command. "See what happens if you fight against us." Her fist connected with Citra's cheekbone, and gods it was like someone hit her with a bat. Blood filled her mouth from biting down on her tongue, and she spat it out. "This is what happens!" Another hit sent her sprawling onto the ground, blood drooling from her lips.
It hurt it hurt so much her mouth went from numb to a painful pounding then back to numbness, an endless cycle. She struggled to get up, her arms shaking. From the corner of her eye she saw a foot coming at her and she instantly curled up into a ball.
"NO!" She cried, wrapping her arms around her stomach and pressing her legs over it to do something, anything to protect the child. The kick never came, and she cracked her eyes open to see what was going on. Nasreen looked dumbfounded, while Frank looked ecstatic.
"This is great!" He exclaimed, "Not only do we have the leader of the Rakyat but her unborn child!"
Nasreen crouched down, staring hard at her belly. "Are you with child?"
Citra couldn't speak, her mouth hurt too much but she did give a quick nod.
A dark look came upon the mercs face. "Jason Brody's, I assume."
How did she know that? Citra didn't answer that one, but the look in her eyes betrayed her.
"I see." Nasreen muttered, standing up. Citra managed to sit up, and gently touch the side of her face. The slightest press sent waves of pain, and whenever she moved her jaw that hurt too.
She moved her attention from the pain to Nasreen who was standing in front of her men. "Tell Jason Brody, that if he doesn't turn himself in we will kill her and the unborn child. We will show them no mercy, just as no mercy was shown to Sam."
"Oh great." Frank said, rolling his eyes. "You're still not over that? For fucks sake the fucking Nazi ratted us out."
"He did not know my name was on that list!" She snarled. "If he did he would have protected me... but Jason.." She slowly turned to Citra, and the look of pure, unadulterated hatred in her eyes were all directed at the pregnant native. Citra tensed up when the merc stormed over to her, grabbing a fistful of her hair and yanking. A growl of pain escaped her lips as Nasreen dragged her by her hair and slammed her against a support post.
Frank grimaced, "Don't hurt her too bad, ya hear. We need her alive still."
"Jason took someone that I loved, and I'll see to it I do the same." Nasreen whispered harshly, releasing her hair but not without making Citra's head bounce back on the cement wall. Citra gritted her teeth, screwing her eyes shut to lessen the dizziness in her head.
"You would kill a mother carrying a child for revenge? There is no honor in that." Citra said, using each word to bring her back into reality.
"Honor?" Frank laughed as if he's just heard the best joke in the world. "Where the fuck have you been living lass? Under a rock? It's 2012, screw honor. No such thing in this lifetime."
"You're right Frank, no such thing." Nasreen said, pulling out a gun and shooting the man at point-blank range. Frank collapsed on his side, eyes wide as he placed a hand over his neck which was spurting out blood, gasping and choking for air. The Privateers loyal to Frank raised their guns but where shot down by enemy mercs. Nasreen casually strolled over to him and tipped him over with the tip of her boot so he was laying on his back.
"You- gah- fucking.. bitch.. argh!" Frank choked out. "You'll.. never get out.. alive!"
"What makes you think that? I can stroll right out of here and by the time they find your body it'll be too late. And don't worry about the satellite dish. Your friend Anthony's made arrangements to have it transferred to the airport." Nasreen fished out a piece of rock from her pocket and tossed it onto his chest. "One for the road Frank. Maybe it'll buy you a ticket out of Africa."
Despite the situation, Frank Bilders cracked a smile. "We're still.. there.. aren't we?.."
"Never left." She replied.
He laughed, which transformed into a coughing fit. "Fuck... sorry... Marty pal..." Frank struggled more with death, and then gave up with a sigh.
A moment of silence, and then Nasreen turned her attention towards the natives. "We only need one messenger." Two gunshots, two more of her brothers dead. "And proof." Nasreen returned to Citra and grabbed her mother's necklace. Instantly, Citra snatched the merc's hand and glared with cold fury, baring her teeth aggressively. Nasreen looked unaffected by the display. "You're right. A necklace won't be enough. Hold her down!"
Citra snarled and squirmed as hands firmly held her in place. Nasreen pulled out a large hunting knife. "This was... Sam's knife. It's the only thing I have left of him." She grabbed Citra's upper arm, the spot on her shoulder where was inked a tatau. "This'll be the only thing Jason will have left of you."
Nothing could prepare her for the excruciating pain of something foreign and metal slicing under the thin layer of her skin. It was indescribable- horrible. She couldn't think properly, couldn't register in her mind that she was screaming and thrashing around like a wild animal. She caught a glimpse of it, of that knife that was gliding smoothly, smoothly, under skin, like peeling a potato. Why did it look so peaceful?
Just like that it was done. All the energy in her body was spent. She was tired. She was in so much pain.
Nasreen waved the piece of skin infront of her face.
"It hurts doesn't it." The merc ran a bloody thumb lazily over it, gazing at the tatau. "We were going to get married. We had a plan, to leave this island and our old lives with it. Do you know what it's like to feel that you can live again. Start all over? A second chance at life." Nasreen's voice wavered, her eyes glossing over. "I had it all. I convinced myself it was too good to be true, like it was some sort of dream but it wasn't. And just like that it was gone. He was gone. And I.. and I have nothing left."
Despite the crushing pain and overwhelming exhaustion, Citra mustered up what strength she had left and spat at the merc.
"You are a coward. Weak. You bring harm to an unborn child, because of the sins of its father." She growled, tiny embers of a dying fire sparking in her eyes. "Your man has fallen because he like all of you chose to fight against the power of the Rakyat! His life has been taken, deserved to be and all those who have wronged us!"
"And Jason has wronged me!" Nasreen yelled with untamed raw anger that Citra could feel, could hear in the woman's voice. It was grief, fury, agony, and torment stuffed into five words, which those five words could not express, not even close.
How is it possible... that the name of a dead man could still hold so much power. He was haunting her. He was that person next to her chuckling into her ear, laughing at her misfortune.
The uncaged animal crawled back into its cage, leaving Nasreen with a stoic face, and cold eyes, once again the heartless mercenary.
She stood up and said, "Get her changed. I'll be waiting at the entrance. You, take the native and make sure he gets on a boat back to land with this." She tossed the piece of tattooed skin to another mercenary. Nasreen didn't give Citra a parting glance when she left upstairs.
As soon as Nasreen was gone, a Privateer approached Frank's dead body and picked up the diamond, holding it up to the single light bulb making it glint prettily.
"What, he's not gonna use it anyways." He said when he noticed the others looking at him. He shrugged and stuffed it into his pant pocket.
Citra faintly registered the world around her. Everything was coming in and out of focus, and all she wanted to do was sleep and escape the intense burning spreading though her arm. Did pain go away with death? Is death relief? Was Jason relieved?
Unexpected liquid splashed onto her shoulder, setting her exposed flesh on fire. It was like tiny little knives pricking at her skin slathered in acid. She hated showing weakness, hated being treated this way by- by outsiders! Oh but it hurt, hurt, hurt! She was shaking uncontrollably, tears pricking at the corners of her eyes. Alcohol, she could smell it, feel it. One of them grabbed her abused arm, and she tried to rip it from their grasp. No more! She couldn't take no more!
They pressed padding on the wound, and wrapped it tightly. Why?... why were they treating her with proper medical care?.. But of course, they didn't want her to die so soon. This wasn't done out of kindness, just necessity.
She was jerked up roughly, and somehow she managed to stand in place and not fall limp. One of them threw clothes at her, and told her to get changed. Citra in all her beaten up state, refused, maybe from idiocy, or hubris. Mostly hubris.
When she showed no sign of moving, a Privateer cursed under his breath and ripped off her skirt. He got to the task of shoving jeans on her followed by boots. She didn't resist, nor comply. This was no time to put herself in an even more difficult position. Thankfully her shirt didn't receive the same treatment like her skirt did; only having a Privateer jacket covering her. She hissed when cloth touched her wound, which was every second. It was constant torture, and she couldn't wait to shed this jacket given the chance.
A helmet was shoved onto her head, and the Privateers made disapproving noises. She didn't understand why until she felt tugging of her hair, and when it stopped she saw a chunk of her hair drop onto the floor.
They must have deemed it alright since they started walking up the stairs and onto the first floor. They stopped at the double doors she passed earlier, now wide open showing off the outside.
"Run or do anything else and I will make sure your stomach is the first thing I shoot." Nasreen warned, cutting the ropes tying her wrists. "Follow me and don't say a word."
Nasreen started walking, and Citra followed with clenched teeth. Outside was crawling with more Privateers, some stopping what they were doing to stare at them. It was similar to the airport, except there were more buildings, like the one they were just in, and surrounding the compound were thick, tall cement walls lined with barbed wires at the top. Four technical cars and one cargo truck awaited them, on a dirt road that carved straight through the compound. Just before they reached the cars a Privateer stepped in their way.
"Hey, where's Frank?" He questioned, squinting at them suspiciously.
"He's still in the basement, entertaining his guests with stories about his leg brace during his time in The Maze prison." Nasreen lied easily, not even batting an eye.
The Privateer grinned, "Sounds like him. Shit I heard Talugmai is in there. Fuck I do if I got my hands on the cunt."
"Likewise." She retorted, and continued past him. She swung open the door of the middle car and turned to Citra. "Get in."
Reluctantly, Citra climbed on board, the merc with the diamond following her in. From the window, she watched Nasreen get into the passenger seat in the car at the very front. In no time they drove right out of the compound, past dozens of unsuspecting enemies. So easily. She wondered what will happen when they find out that Frank is dead. Complete total war? A rip in the truce so wide it cannot be stitched back.
The Rakyat and the other people living on Rook were once unified. But they.... they didn't help win the war. They sat back and let her people do all the work. Let her people die for them! And now in a time of peace and rebuilding THEY turn on their protectors?! THEY have done this, not her! They have brought this upon themselves, and they've torn the alliance so wide it can never be whole again. After she's done taking care of this.. predicament, she will make the villagers suffer for their betrayal.
Frustration hit her harder than a charging tiger. This was not going as planned! The Privateers have leverage, a huge one. Leader of the Rakyat, in their possession. It was over. She knew her people would drop everything to have her come back safe and unharmed- well too late for that. Did she lost? Is this how it ends? No, it can't be, there must be a way. There is always a way!
Ever so slowly, she reached for the door handle and gave it a gentle tug. Locked. But there was no point to it anyways. They were going so fast that if Citra did manage to jump out, she had no doubt she wouldn't escape unscathed, and the fall might harm the baby. Hi-jacking the car was out of the question. Three against one tied up? The fight won't be in her favor.
"Maybe you should jump. You never wanted a fucking baby anyways." Vaas said, sitting in the passenger seat. She could see his face reflected in the side view mirror. "Doesn't look that bad. I don't think he'll mind." She frowned and glanced at Jason who was sitting beside her slumped over. "Here, watch me." Vaas opened the door and leaned out. "Adios motherfuckers!" He saluted and jumped off. Citra's eye widened and she rushed to press her face against the window. Nothing, gone. 'He's vanished.'
"Hey.. what the fuck is he doing?" The driver said, squinting at the rear view mirror. There was a loud roar of engines accelerating, and the car behind them swerved to the left and sped up and rammed against them. "Fuck what the fuck!?" The driver screamed, their car almost veering off road.
"It's coming back!" The diamond Privateer sitting beside her yelled.
Another hard impact, yet this time the driver door swung open and one second the driver was there and the next he's being thrown off, replaced with a new person.
"Yalung!" Citra shouted, and it felt like the gods shined down their blessing on her. Yalung did quick work on the merc in the passenger seat, stabbing a knife in his throat before he could reach for his gun. Through her joy, she spotted the diamond Privateer next to her pulling out his gun. There was no way for Yalung to stop him in time, and even if she alerted her friend it would be too late. Every second counts, and without thinking she shoved herself against the merc and took a hold of the gun with his hands still wrapped around it and pointed the barrel at him and shot twice. She didn't know why, but she reached into his pocket and took the diamond.
"Get down!" Yalung yelled and Citra shoved the diamond in her pants pocket and squished her body in between the seats just as a spray of bullets hit the car. The back window shattered, breaking into a million pieces. She felt the car swerve and the road underneath them became bumpy. Citra got up from her hiding place and glanced behind them. They were no longer on the road, driving off into the grassy plains. Two cars followed them off the path.
"Wait, they got the satellite back there!" She said, pointing at the cargo truck that continued on the road, getting farther and farther away.
"No time! Put your seat belt on!" He shot over his shoulder.
What!? This wasn't the time for trivial safety regulations, but she put it on anyways, though it didn't make her feel any safer. The heavy blasts of a machine gun alerted Citra to duck down. Yalung was swerving side to side, avoiding critical hit damages to the car as best as possible. Citra chanced a peak over the seats and her heart stopped.
"Watch out!" She screamed. Yalung made a sharp turn in the nick of time just as a rocket launcher flew past them, barely inches away. Gods what were they doing?! Didn't they need her alive?
"Shit!" Yalung cursed, making a hard left.
"What are you doing!?" Citra yelled, looking in horror as the two cars grew closer and closer.
"There's a cliff! We can't go down!" He said. Citra ripped her eyes away from the cars and looked out the window to see that the land did slope down, not exactly a straight way down but straight enough to be a bad time if they drove down, not to mention there were a bunch of trees down there. But staying up here was bad too! They were out in the open now driving sideways, an easy target. Just a she thought that, there was another blast and a rocket came zooming right at them.
"Yalung!" She didn't know why she tried to warn him. What difference did it make? There was nowhere to go except down.
Which is exactly what happened.
"HOLD ON!" He hollered, swerving the car down the steep hill. They weren't fast enough, and the blast of the rocket lurched the car forward and over. There was period of disorientation as up became down and down became up, and then up and down didn't exist anymore. Citra didn't realize she was screaming, couldn't process it. Everything became a jumbled mess. It felt like hours before the world around her stopped moving and everything became perfectly, blissfully still.
Or that's what she thought. The only thing she could register was that the car stopped moving, and she was upside? Down side up? She didn't know how, but she managed to crawl out of the car and yank off her helmet just in time as vomit spewed from her mouth. In her disoriented state, the taste of acid was triple times more awful, worse than her morning sickness. And the world was still spinning and gods she needed to rest for a bit or just- just pass out and stop thinking and being alive! Someone just shoot her!
"..Get up.. come on, get up!.." Sturdy hands found her shoulders and lifted her up. "We have to go, now! We need to gain distance from this place!"
The gross dizziness didn't go away, but the mask of a demon came into view, albeit blurry. Yalung? How was it possible.. that he was fine and she was losing her mind.
"This must be.. a daily.. thing for you.." She mumbled like a drunk. He didn't answer, and she didn't even notice. Actually she forgot what she just said.
"Can you walk? Can you walk?" He repeated and she nodded her head lazily. Right.. one foot after another. One foot.. one foot..
An impossibly loud explosion rattled her brain, and the both of them turned back to see the car engulfed in a heated inferno. That was loud...
"We have to go." Yalung said with more urgency, breaking into a fast pace.
How in the world was he even walking? She couldn't even make it two steps before a wave of nausea swept over her.
"W-wait.. wait.." She gasped, her vision blurring. Her legs felt like noodles, and like noodles it didn't support her and she went crashing down. It was too much.. the spinning the pain. She felt fire hot then ice cold and- and it was so hard to breath. She blinked, and the shadowy figure of Jason stood by the burning car. That was the last thing she saw before her eyes rolled upwards and the world fell silent.
You're my first love. I only wanted you.
I hate you. I love you.
You left me.
She was under the sheets, curled up giggling. Hiding, no one can find them. It was their own safe world, somewhere only they knew. And no one could touch them here. They were everything and nothing. They were safe.
A sudden violent wind ripped the sheet away. Like a lost cloud it billowed in the wind, disappearing into the sky.
a place where time stood still, and where the water was the color of blood and flowed backwards; a place called Shangri-La
Citra stood on a small sandy land surrounded by pristine clear water. In the distance, she spotted a hazy form. This.. indescribable feeling to go to whoever that was washed over her, pushed her to go. Go, go, go. That person was magnetic, and she felt their pull.
Stumbling into the water, she walked deeper and deeper in, but it seemed no matter how far she walked, that person was always out of her reach. Desperation took a hold on her, and she started jogging, which turned into a full on sprint. She slowed to a stop. The person was before her now, standing with his back facing her.
"Look at me." She whispered.
but the land of peace was corrupted
White hot pain exploded, frying her nerves and no matter how hard she tried she couldn't scream. Slowly, she looked down and saw the handle of a knife sticking out from her stomach.
Oh gods.. oh gods.. the baby. The baby! THE BABY!
She got a firm hold on the handle, and yanked the knife out. It hurt, it hurt so much. The pain was too great it made her hand shake uncontrollably, making her drop the knife. It felt like someone stuck their hand inside her stomach, swishing and moving it violently around, messing up her organs and twisting her intestines, until finally it grabbed everything and pulled it down, like a suction.
A gush of blood fell between her legs, followed by red plops of meat. It stained the water, blood spreading like tendrils in all directions until the entire ocean turned the color of red as far as the eye can see.
"Is this what you want?" The voice of Yalung said in her ear.
The person turned around, and before she could see their face it fizzed out, and reappeared right in front of her.
"Vaas!" She cried out. "Look at me!"
He didn't, his eyes staring off at something behind her.
"We were supposed to go far away together." He whispered hoarsely. "I waited and waited. I didn't want to leave you. The dream. Our dream. Why did you forget?"
He placed a hand on her flat chest.
"I came back for you." He finally looked at her, his face contorted into a terribly beautiful, yet haunting expression as his eyes welled with tears. "I thought you would be waiting for me."
Hands emerged from the blood red water and grabbed onto her.
"No!" She gasped, clutching his hand as she was dragged down. "No, no no!"
Vaas stared down at her, his face emotionless.
"He's waiting for you. Bye bye."
He let her go, and the blood swallowed her whole.
Pain woke her up, and with consciousness came more pain. She could almost cry, and she wanted so desperately to go back to sleep where it didn't hurt.
Citra opened her eyes, grimacing as she examined her arm. The padding was still on her exposed flesh, but it looked different. Significantly so. It wasn't half-haphazardly slapped on without care like the Privateers did. This looked new, proper. Little blood drops made a trail which lead to a small nightstand. On top was a lamp, and bloody metal medical tools.
Slowly, Citra peeled the corner of the pad to get a good look at her injury.
"Don't bother it. It needs time to heal." Yalung said, entering the room she was in through a sliding glass door, part of an entire wall that was made out of frosted glass.
Citra looked at him bug-eyed, and then to the patch of stitched light colored skin, a contrast against her darker one.
"What is this?" She whispered with trembling lips. She touched it, the skin, not hers. It felt cold- and she, she couldn't feel her fingers brushing it.
"You suffered severe flaying done to the epidermis area." He said, moving her hand away and re-flattening the pad carefully. "Immediate surgery had to be done before an infection can arise. I didn't have the equipment to perform an autologous grafting, so the only solution was an allogeneic."
The words coming from Yalung's mouth were alien, but she got the drift.
"That is.. your skin?"
"You needed a proper donor." Yalung went to a table and came back with a glass of water. "Avoid using your left arm. Straining it will make the healing time longer." He handed it to her, and she took it with her right hand. She didn't realize how thirsty she was, and hungry. "How is your head? You passed out, and I feared you must of had a concussion."
Feared? Was he worried about her?
Yalung plucked the empty glass from her hands, getting up to leave. Like a snake she snatched his arm with her left hand, pain flaring from the wound.
"Sit." She ordered. Once he did she let go, relieving the stress on her arm. "Why?" There was no need for an explanation, she knew he knew what she was asking. He tilted his head down, the only sign he was looking away from her.
"You're a valuable asset for my employers. We have already made a deal and the deal dies when one of us does." He said robotically, like reading off from a script.
Citra chuckled weakly, "I don't die so easily. This is just a flesh wound, it won't kill me."
"You'd be surprised by how fragile humans are."
"Fragile bodies, maybe." She agreed, "But our souls aren't. That is what makes us strong."
"And when you don't have one anymore?" Yalung said, his fingers curling. Citra didn't miss that small detail. Demon he may be, but underneath she knew a human still breathed. What drives a man to hide behind a mask, to hide from the world.
"My value is worth nothing to your people." She said, "It is the truth. I know nothing of the outside world. I have no connections, I don't understand money or business... I am just a savage in their eyes." She remembered Frank Bilders words. It angered her, but it rang with truth the more she thought about it. Who was she in this vast world but a savage? "Why are you still upholding our deal when you know I am not the better choice?"
"Because I would rather have the people who call this island their home be in charge than a bunch of paid mercenaries." Always the mercenaries. Why did he have a burning hatred for them?
"Why do you hold anger in your heart for her, Nasreen." Citra developed a special hatred for the mercenary; the feeling was mutual, as shown on her arm. But what she didn't understand was why Yalung hated her.
This time his reaction was much stronger, the balling of gloved fists, his body tensing. "It is not important to the task at hand."
"But you will not leave this island until she is dead." Citra concluded. She took his silence as a definite yes.
"Your body needs rest." He said standing up. "And don't worry about your baby. It's fine, I have checked."
"Oh.. yes." She muttered, having completely forgotten about the life growing in her stomach. Shouldn't that have been the first thing on her mind?
Yalung walked to the sliding glass door he came from and opened it. "I will be in the other room. Call me if you need me."
"Where are we?" Citra questioned, taking in her surroundings for the first time. The room looked modern... alien.
"Rest first and then we will talk." He said, and before she could reply he disappeared through the door, it sliding close behind him. She could still see a vague shape of his form behind the frosted glass wall. The sound of another door opening resulted in the dark shape vanishing from sight.
Citra settled down, touching the medical pad. If it was his skin he used, then that meant he has a chunk missing, and she didn't know how he was going to replace that. Morbidly, she wondered which section of skin on his body did he sacrifice. Curious to see it again, it took all her might not to peel off the pad. This is not a time to be weak, she needed to recover fast.
Once her eyes closed it didn't take long to fall into a deep sleep.
When she rejoined the living, the room was blanketed in darkness, the only light source was a faint glow behind the glass wall. Citra eased herself off the bed and approached the spot where the door should be. There was a handle she didn't notice before, and she used it to slid it open. Bare feet padded on smooth, polished wooden floorboards, and once or twice she had to pause to steady her balance.
The other room was an exact copy of the one she woke up in, except the bed wasn't disrupted, and stuffed in a corner was a lamp which was the source of the light. And this room had a balcony. She had a strong feeling he would be outside, and he was. Yalung had his back facing her, the front of a sniper rifle resting on the handrail, the end placed on his shoulder. She could see him clearly, but if she were a mercenary down below Yalung would be invisible to the naked eye. He stood so perfectly still, letting the darkness envelope him.
"How long have you been out here?" She spoke up, making her presence known as she went to stand beside him, breathing in fresh crispy air that rejuvenated her lungs.
"You shouldn't be straining yourself." Was his reply.
"I think it is I who should be saying that to you." She said, giving him a side-smirk.
"Even you need sleep just like the rest of us."
Yalung lowered the rifle from his face, "We are at a disadvantage. We are being hunted down as we speak. We need to be prepared for anything."
"Frank Bilders is dead." She felt the need to put it out there. "Nasreen killed him, and she has the satellite dish. Does that even the odds?"
Silence settled over them, each lost in their own thoughts.
"What is this place?" It was a burning question she needed to sate. Wherever they were, it looked drastically different from the other buildings she had seen on both islands. This had a sleeker more urbanized design, from what the room revealed. The rest of the building she has to explore.
"It's a private resort. Hoyt had it built for accommodating guests, usually friends from overseas. Many of the mercenaries don't know about this place, so I think we will be safe here."
Citra raised a brow, "And you know this..?"
"Because the General of Kyrat was invited to come discuss business. Hospitality and charm can make strong alliances.. and that was when I met your brother."
At the mention of Vaas she perked up. "You did? How was he like?"
tell me everything please, I want to know more, more, more
Citra deflated, and he must have noticed.
"He was arrogant. Reckless. He killed more products than he did selling them, wasting thousands of dollars. He acts before he thinks, and I think he doesn't think at all."
"Vaas was always a wild child." She said with a small smile on her lips. That was one thing that never changed. Sometimes she desired to be like that. He always had a way of drawing people in. He was always the center of attention.
"You seem to admire him." The demon commented.
"I love him." She blurted out. "He's my brother... and it.. hurt so much when he left me. Vaas was the only one that truly cared about me.. or I thought he did." She blinked away the tears, her face burning. "That's why I want to protect this island. It's not only my home but his, and I don't want the memories of our childhood to fade like it never existed. He was so happy back then.. I want to remember him like that. I just wish I can go back and relive those days, stay there forever."
Yalung laid a hand on her shoulder, "Don't let nostalgia consume you. No one can return to the past. We are left with only the memories to cherish."
Citra stared at the gloved hand, its weight reassuring and dare she say it, comforting. Yalung tensed when she took his hand to cup it to her cheek, her hand over his. His whole body screamed uncomfortable... and yet he didn't pull away.
"You're too kind. To me, and to my people." She lowered her eyes, "We have suffered.. so much, and I try to make things better but it's getting harder. We protect our home, our newer generations but I fear there will be others to come and try to take it from us. I fear this will be an endless war."
"You won't have to worry about that." He said, "Once we get rid of the Privateers I will make sure you will officially own these islands. You will be under the protection of Kyrat's army. No one will try to take your home away from you ever again."
Citra laughed, "A noble demon. How funny." She glanced away and then back to his mask, and she touched it gently. Yalung kept still, and he didn't move away. Wasn't he worried she would rip it off? Maybe he knew the threat of that possibility.. and maybe he knew she wouldn't.
It was cold to the touch, and rough. It would have been smooth possibly in the beginning, but constant wear and harsh environments worn it down. Her fingertips traced deep grooves and lines etched into the mask, over bumps and scratches. This mask must have seen its share of battle. How many men have died looking up into those soulless black eyes? Finding no remorse or humanity to plead for.
With her thumb she rubbed the bottom lip of the smiling demon, flicking her eyes up to meet the dark sleek orbs.
Yalung reacted by grabbing her wrist and gently moving it away. "Your body is still weak. Rest and recover. You will need it for tomorrow."
Citra smiled impishly and walked backwards towards the rooms. "You're human just like me." She said as parting words before walking normally to the sliding door. She stepped inside and closed it with a click, glancing at the demon. It pleased her to see he had been watching her.
Demon he may be, but a man he still is underneath.
They laid low for one day for two reasons. One because, despite her protests, she had to recuperate, let her new skin heal. He told her not to move it that much, or at all really. Explained how the main veins needed time to connect so the blood can flow into the foreign skin, and if she did anything drastic it would tear what little process had been made and possibly lead to the foreign skin dying, thus decaying, which would lead to an infection. She asked how he knew so much about this and he revealed he was an 'uncertified' doctor.
The second reason was that Yalung wanted to do some reconnaissance before taking action. They certainly didn't have all the time in the world, they needed to act fast and hard, considering Nasreen now held the radio tower and the satellite dish. While Yalung was out, ordering her to stay put in bed, she filled the time by exploring the resort. Despite it being made for outsiders, it was fascinating, wondrous at the accomplishments mankind has made through technology.
There were more rooms similar to the one they settled in, and she counted three stories. Their temporary base was on the third floor, the second floor the same, and the first floor was a kitchen/living room/inside pool area. The inside pool was drained, and it looked like nobody had been in the building for a long time. Outside contained another pool shaped like the number eight. This one had water in it still, but murky and green with moss and plants. There was not much to see and overtime she grew bored and decided to go out hunting animals. She didn't use her left arm at all.. well not really, but they were going to starve if they didn't eat, and the idea of staying in bed all day didn't sit well with her.
Yalung returned first, and when he discovered she had been out hunting he straightaway did a check up on her arm. Luckily nothing wrong happened, and he noted that it was healing exceptionally well. Though it didn't exempt her from a silent scolding. He didn't give her a lecture or anything like that, it would be strange if he did considering she was an adult and he was.. well him, but she knew he was displeased.
Using a makeshift fire pit they cooked a rabbit, and when done Yalung immediately put the fire out. He said they were far from any civilization, but still, better safe than sorry.
"Are you not going to eat?" She asked when he only got one plate from the kitchen.
"I already did."
Citra frowned. It was a blatant lie, and to be honest it was starting to get annoying. Didn't he trust her? She thought they were past this. Why did he continue to hide?
"You don't have to hide your face from me." She said gently, carefully. "You can trust me."
"It has nothing to do with trust." That was all he said, and the topic was dropped.
As she ate, Yalung started cleaning his guns while filling her in on information from his recon mission. "They're fighting, it's an all out civil war. Frank's side are targeting the airport to get back the satellite dish, or better the entire airport. This traps Nasreen in a corner, she's not going anywhere for a while."
"So what are we going to do?" She asked.
"We can use this to our advantage. We need to get to that radio tower and destroy the satellite without being caught. If we get Frank's privateers past Nasreen's defenses then they will be a big enough distraction to allow us to sneak in and do what we have to do. But before we destroy anything I need you to get in touch with Dennis, tell him to bring in every man he can spare. If we move fast then we may be able to take control of this island today."
Citra nodded in approval, and remembered something.
"Your people betrayed you. They told Frank we were coming." She said, curious to see what his reaction will be.
Yalung looked unfazed, albeit he is wearing a mask. "Their punishment is beyond my authority. They will be dealt with properly later."
She cocked her head, "You don't crave revenge?"
"They thought their decision was the best for Kyrat."
"Kyrat." She said, tasting the word. "Is that where you are from?"
"Yes." He answered curtly, pushing in a cloth with a stick inside the barrel of the gun.
"I only know what I've seen, and I've seen only this island. Tell me, what is Kyrat like?"
Yalung dismantled the purple desert eagle easily, automatically. She wondered if this was routine for him.
"Big. Kyrat is surrounded by mountains, bigger than the ones here on your island. The land changes in areas, forest in some and dry brown plains in others. There is no ocean there, only lakes and rivers."
Citra wondered what that was like. To have no endless sea as far as the eye can see, only land and more land. It disturbed her just imagining it.
"It's a peaceful land. I cannot say the same for its inhabitants."
Citra sat back, "You fight your own war back home?"
"War is everywhere." Yalung said coldly, "War. War never changes. Just different places, different people."
Citra finished her portion, but oddly she was still hungry. Starving, actually. She just chalked it up to her being pregnant, and ate the rest of the rabbit. After eating they went back up to the room. Yalung went to a door in the room and she followed him. It was a bathroom, and she watched him bent to twist the shower knobs. Surprisingly water gushed from the faucet. He then turned his attention towards her.
"Don't move." He said, and carefully peeled the pad off. While he inspected it, she looked at her reflection in the mirror. Where Nasreen had punched her, her skin had swollen up, marred with dark purplish bruises. "Clean yourself, try to avoid direct contact with the spray on your wound. I'll be outside." He left and closed the door behind him, leaving it open a bit for light to shine through.
She undressed herself, untying the top and shrugging off the cargo pants and stepped in. The water was freezing cold, making her gasp, but she toughened up and scrubbed dirt off her body as best as she can with hands. It was short, the only trouble she had was trying to figure out how to turn off the shower. Eventually she got it, and stepped out, drying herself with a towel hanging from a bar. Grabbing her clothes, she exited the bathroom.
She was disappointed when she didn't get a reaction from him when he noticed her walking out naked. But he is wearing a mask..
"Your arm." He said, and she handed it to him. He put on a fresh pad, and it stung a bit. "It may sting a bit because of the anti-bacterial cream. Try not to scratch it." He said when she raised her hand unconsciously to scratch it.
"Get dressed, put everything on, and wear this." He handed her a helmet, and she realized it was the helmet she threw off to vomit back at the car crash. She glanced at the bed, and the rest of the Privateer get up was laid out.
She frowned, "You want me to dress like a Privateer?"
"It's part of the plan." He explained, and stood there expectantly.
"What about you?" She asked, slipping into the pants. "You should use the shower. It is cold but it is relaxing."
"It is relaxing.." She said, stepping into his personal space. "Don't worry for once. That is all you do. I can keep watch, I'm not helpless."
Yalung went silent for a while, his mask hiding whatever he was thinking.
She was surprised when he nodded his head. "Get dressed and wait for me. I won't take long."
Citra expected Yalung to get undressed and use this bathroom, but instead he walked to the glass wall and slid the door open. She was right behind him when he turned around swiftly, making her step back.
"I won't." She said, knowing what he was going to say. "Trust me." She whispered. Yalung stared hard at her, and finally gave a curt nod. He slid the door close and she went back to the bed. It wasn't long before she heard the sound of running water.
Citra was just putting on gloves when the shower turned off. She watched in silent wonder as the dark shape of Yalung walked across the room. The glass revealed nothing, but she knew he was naked. Bare. Unprotected, vulnerable. She wanted so bad to see him, but she gained his trust and she wasn't going to break it. She wasn't going to break her word.
Yalung stopped to where she thinks the bed is, and the outline of his head moved. It was then with shock she realized he must be looking at her. It stayed that way for a few seconds, and when he started getting dressed she let out air she didn't know she was holding. She watched him put on each layer of clothing he wore, the last was the mask. Another few seconds and he was inside her room, dressed and ready.
She tried to imagine what he looked like underneath. Light skin, pale from a period of no direct sun contact, and strong.
"So." She said, "What's the plan?"
"This isn't going to work."
"Relax. It will if you stay focused."
"Are you sure?"
"If I weren't then I wouldn't put you in danger."
Citra bit her bottom lip, and flickered her eyes up to look at Yalung through the rear view mirror. He gave a slight nod which settled her internal nervousness, and with a deep inhale followed by an exhale, she put on the helmet and started the car Yalung had gotten, its previous occupant's bodies hidden by the side of the road. Hoyt's compound grew closer and closer until they came to a stop at the guarded entrance. She looked wearily at the snipers and the gunmen guarding the entrance, knowing if she made one slip up they were going to be blown into smithereens.
A guard greeted them, walking up the driver window. Citra tensed, and rolled the window down.
"You're late. Frank's dead and Anthony's boss now and he called everyone back an hour ago." The guard said.
"I got held up." She replied, nodding towards the back, "Frank's death won't be in vain."
The guard peered behind her and his eyes widened at the sight of Yalung sitting in the back, his wrists cuffed.
"Holy shit how did you do it?" He said in awe.
"I don't have time to tell. I need to get him to Anthony. And I don't think the new boss will be happy if he knew two of his men are the reason Yalung escaped." She said lowly, "And he can, maybe he's working on it right this very instant."
The guard nodded his head like a bobble head figurine, and waved, "Yeah, yeah. Hey, let them in!"
The gates to the entrance opened, and she drove in deep into enemy territory. It was crazy, and gods this shouldn't be working but it was and she didn't know how or why and she wasn't going to question it. They were lucky they weren't shot on sight!
She parked the car right in front of the building she was previously held in and hopped out, walking to the other side to get Yalung.
"Grab my arm." He whispered, and she did. making sure to make it look like she was pulling him along like a prisoner. They received stares, but she fixated her sight straight ahead and ignored them. Up the stairs they went where they were halted at the doors.
"I got something for Anthony." Citra said.
The Privateer eyed her, and when he looked at Yalung his grip tightened on his gun. "Follow me."
They followed the merc into the building and up the winding staircase. As she expected, they were lead straight to the office she woke up in. The guard pushed it open, and they walked inside. Citra did a quick sweep over the room. Two guards in the corner, minus the one beside them, and a gruff looking man seated behind the desk. He must be Anthony.
"Well, well, well. What do we have here?" Anthony said, resting his elbows on the desk.
"Yalung sir." Citra shoved the prisoner, noting he tripped on his feet purposely, making him stagger.
"I can see that." Anthony rubbed his chin, squinting at them. "What happened to the rest of your team? Lemme guess, they were all killed?"
"And you were the only one to survive, right? Mh. That's very lucky, don'tcha think?" He drawled.
Citra didn't like the look in his eyes, and she glanced at the two privateers. It was barely noticeable, the raising of their guns, and her instincts screamed danger! Before anything could happen, Yalung sprang to life, breaking the tampered cuffs and in a blur he had her pressed against him, a gun raised to her neck.
"What are you doing!" Citra yelled, thrashing around to get out off his grip. He ripped off her helmet and let it drop. "This isn't part of the plan!"
"Change of plans." He said, giving her rough shake. "Anthony, my name is Yalung and I come as a representative for the General of Kyrat. I have come to you as a sign of peace, and offer the leader of the Rakyat as a gift."
"I will kill you!" Citra whispered harshly, baring her teeth at him. She wanted to say more, throw in some curses, but Anthony's laughter interrupted her.
"Don't try to fool me, Colonel Len already has my alliance, and nowhere did he say you were in on it."
"I'm sorry for the misunderstanding, but I am with General Len." Yalung said, "In order to gain the Rakyat's complete and ultimate trust I had be devoted to their cause, even if it meant looking like I betrayed the Colonel. You have to understand it was all settled in the beginning, and it worked. I have Talugmai right in your hands, on your island. You've won the war."
"If you had her why didn't you just come in with her. Why the trickery?" Anthony said, gesturing to the get up Citra was dressed in.
"I would've been shot on sight. We were supposed to kill you, or that's what Talugmai thought." Yalung answered.
Anthony pursed his lips, looking at them suspiciously. "This all looks bad for you, you know that? How do I know if you're just bullshitting me? Where's your proof?"
"I do, but I know you are a reasonable man. And you can radio Colonel Len for proof, he will tell you what I already said, but first you need the radio station, and the satellite, which Nasreen has. I can help you get it back."
Anthony sat in contemplation until finally he unclasped his crossed fingers and smiled. "Alright. Colonel Len did describe your history in battle in full detail. Told me you were some kind of.. 'one man army', and to be honest I'm running out of options. I need a guy like you."
"So we have a deal then?" Yalung said.
"You got yourself a deal." Anthony smirked, and shifted his attention on her. "But I want Talugmai under my supervision. Take her to the basement and lock her up."
Yalung nodded and made to walk out with her.
"Wait." He called, "Not you. You and I got lots of things to talk about, and you are going to prove to me how you're going to be useful. I want the radios, and I plan to get it today."
Yalung's grip on her arm tightened, yet he released her, letting the guards take her. Citra growled and tried to rush at Yalung, to hit him or just- just something! Instead she spat at him as she was dragged out of the room. Downstairs they went to the basement, where there was still her blood on the floor, dried now. They shoved her inside and forced her to sit on a chair, cuffing her to it.
Citra glared heatedly at them as they walked out, slamming the heavy metal door shut and locking it behind them. As soon as she made sure she was alone, Citra relaxed into the chair. Now all she had to do was wait.
Without a clock around, she didn't know how much time passed, and despite the situation she grew bored, restless. What was taking him so long? Was he even allowed to come down here and see her? What's happening? This uncertainty put her on edge, and she feared the worst.
Heavy footsteps sauntered down the stairs and approached where she was held captive, but they didn't open her door. Instead it sounded like the door of the room next to hers opened, and a voice she hoped to never hear again reached her ears.
"I ain't saying nothing!" The voice of Hurk said, followed by a scraping of a chair."Ow, ow! Hey where are you taking me. I got rights you know! I'm a U.S citizen!"
Hurk kept on babbling until she could no longer hear him, his voice fading when the footsteps marched back upstairs. She was left all alone again, and more time passed until someone came into the basement. This time they opened her door, and Yalung slipped through. He stuck to the walls, pressing himself against it as he edged his way to the camera in the corner. Citra knew better not to show any reaction, she didn't even look at him.
In silence Yalung reached up and started tampering with the equipment.
"I don't have much time." He said finally, lowering his arms. "Anthony is set on keeping you down here. He plans on attacking the airport soon, and he's taking most of his men. Hold still." He went behind her and started fiddling with the handcuffs.
"Do you think he fell for it?" She asked, wincing as the cuffs scratched against her wrists.
"I don't think so. He doesn't trust me, but as he said he's out of options. He'll keep me around until he gets what he wants." The tightness of the cuffs loosened and Yalung straightened up. "Alright, you should be able to slip your hands through. Here." He stuffed something in her hands. "It's the key to the door. We're leaving now so escape when you are certain we are gone. Try to reach the airport. When you're there head straight to the radio tower. Fire a flare so we'll know you're there. Don't stop for anything understand? I'm planning for Hurk to blow up the satellite dish and he will once he sees the flare. You'll have ten minutes to get to the radio tower before Hurk destroys the dish. Contact Dennis and tell him to send every man he can as soon as possible."
A sound erupted from upstairs and they both froze. A moment passed and Yalung whispered, "I have to go now. I left the car behind the back of the building. You understand what to do?"
"I do." She said with determination in her eyes. Yalung didn't say anything more, and left quickly. Citra waited, straining her ears to hear what was going outside. The sound of multiple cars starting prompted her to start wiggling out of the handcuffs. It was a struggle, but eventually she managed to slip her hands through. She got up, massaging her sore wrists.
In a matter of seconds she unlocked the door and headed towards the stairs. The sound of footsteps coming down made her freeze, and she dove to the corner of the stairs just as two Privateers came down.
"What the hell?" One of them said when they spotted the door, which she left ajar. She cursed her stupidity, and watched them rush into the room... Immediately she was on her feet and slammed the door shut, locking it. The two Privateers whipped around in surprise and started yelling, banging on the door with their fists.
Citra backed away, and darted up the stairs. Just as she stepped onto the first floor, a group of Privateers walked in and stopped at the sight of her. Citra didn't let them have time to register what they were seeing, and sprinted down a corridor. There were two doors down there, but she didn't have time to check if they were exits to the outside; she could already hear their frantic calls and pounding footsteps behind her. In a split second decision, Citra charged straight to the window and jumped, curling up her body.
She landed with a crash outside, pieces of glass cutting her face as she rolled to a stop. Heart pounding, she got up and booked it to the parked car. Sirens filled the air just as she got in. The keys were in the ignition already, and she wasted no time getting the car going. She zoomed around the corner, and past the building. Citra grit her teeth when they open-fired at the car, cracking the windshield.
Taking from memory, she made a sharp turn and the entrance of the compound came into view. Privateers tried to stop her, but she swerved violently that they couldn't get a proper shot to the tires, sometimes running them over. Slamming her foot on the pedal, the closed her eyes as the car collided with the door. A loud crash, some resistance and then she was out, racing down the road.
Opening the compartment, she pulled out the map and a pistol. Looking at a map for directions while driving with bad guys chasing after you was extremely hard, something she learned right now. It was chaotic, and she drove like a mad man. It helped that she didn't really know how to drive properly in the first place.
By the time she reached the airport the car was smoking, and she could see fire! Even she knew that was a really, really, bad sign, and the moment she entered the airport she dove out. The car continued to go, and unintentionally it crashed right into a flammable tank, exploding into a ball of fire. It happened right next to a building, which simultaneously caught on fire with the resulting explosion.
Citra never felt so alive! She didn't feel any pain, but that could be a result from the adrenaline rushing through her veins. If she thought being chased by five cars was bad, heading straight into a war was worse! Everywhere around her was death and screams and gunfire and chaos! Chaos! Chaotic! In the back of her mind she thought Yalung must be around somewhere, and she was disappointed she couldn't see him in intense action.
It was too dangerous out here in the open with bullets flying everywhere, so she headed straight for cover. Recollecting herself, she scanned the area and spotted crates of weapons under a stretch of blanket held up by poles. Gripping the pistol, she went over there, shooting as she ran. She slid to a stop, crouching next to the crates. Frantically, she shoved aside guns and ammo until she spotted a flare and took it.
OK now she only needed to get to the radio tower. Taking a deep breath, she ran towards the tower which she could see from where she was at. No one noticed her as Citra Talugmai. To them she was another enemy running around, shooting left and right, dodging and jumping.
It felt like a lifetime, but she finally reached the radio tower. Stopping by the stairs, she pointed the flare up to the sky and fired.
Now she really had to hurry.
Taking the steps two at a time, she rushed to the top. A boom knocked her off-balance, and she had to grab a hold of the railing to keep herself from falling down the stairs. She peered down and saw the bottom of the radio tower on fire.
"Gods.." She muttered and hurried up with a stronger sense of urgency. Climbing up a ladder she finally made it to the very top. The radio panel was right in front of her. She rushed to it and got to work trying to get a signal to Dennis.
"Dennis!" She yelled into the speaker, "Dennis it's Citra!"
"Citra?" His voice sounded far away, and there was something in the background making it hard to hear him. "Citra what happened? Has something gone wrong?! Are you OK?"
"Dennis listen to me. I need you to send in as many men you can as soon as possible!"
"Citra-" More background noise, and she realized they were gunfire coming from his end.
"Just do it!" She ordered.
"Citra- base being- hold on-"
An earth-shattering blast shook the ground, even up at the tower she felt it. Snapping her head up, she saw smoke rise from one of the buildings. Times up, that must have been Hurk blowing up the satellite dish.
She was brought out of her gaze when something grabbed the back of her head and slammed it down on the control panel.
"Ah!" She gasped in pain, clutching her head. That very person shoved her down on her back. From the floor Citra looked up at her attacker.
Nasreen stared at the burning building, and then to Citra, uncontrollable fury on her face. Citra stared back into the eyes of pure hatred all directed at her. Her body went numb when Nasreen raised a gun pointed at her, ready to kill.
Out of nowhere Yalung appeared and rammed into Nasreen, grabbing her arm and pointing it upwards, the bullet making a hole in the ceiling instead of Citra. They clashed with one another, and in one moment Nasreen's gun was knocked out of her hands. Yalung took the opportunity to whip out his deagle but Nasreen charged and tackled him down. The purple gun slid across the floor, coming to a stop right before her. She grabbed the gun with shaky hands and got up.
Now the fire had ascended up, and was right below the floorboards. The air got hot and smoke made her eyes burns. The two had been wrestling on the floor, and separated, getting to their feet quickly. Like a mirror, they both pulled out huge hunting knives. Citra refrained from intervening. This was it, the moment of truth. It is only fitting they kill each other with knives, it is the Rakyat way.
Nasreen moved first, lunging at Yalung with a fierce growl. Every hit she struck was blocked, vice versa for Yalung. Citra's never witnessed a brutal, calculated, personal battle such as this. Yalung was a tiger, striking ruthlessly, holding nothing back, but his anger clouded his mind, allowing Nasreen to gain an opening in his defenses.
Citra gasped when Nasreen swung down the knife aimed close to his neck. She was so sure, so sure Yalung was going to be stabbed but in a show of raw strength he snatched the blade. Blood dripped from his fingers as he forced it away. Nasreen's face held one of utter disbelief, then pain when Yalung slammed his head against hers. She was momentarily stunned and he used that time to shove his knife in her chest.
Nasreen's eyes bulged, her mouth parted in a small o. The knife clattered to the floor when she dropped it, and she stumbled backwards towards the ladder. Shaking, she grabbed the hilt and pulled it out, letting it fall to the floor. The merc collapsed to her knees, pressing a hand to her chest.
Yalung approached her like a tiger going in for the kill.
"Julio Medina Cordero!" He roared, and Citra's never heard him this angry, this furious There was so much raw emotion in his distorted voice Has he been keeping this bottled up all this time? "Do you remember his name!"
Nasreen grimaced in pain, her blood soaking in blood, but she looked confused to what he was saying.
"REMEMBER! Julio Medina Cordero! The man who worked for the Jackal! The man who had dreams of becoming an astronaut! MY FRIEND YOU LET DIE! MY FRIEND WHO WAS TORTURED AND RAPED AND BURNED ALL BECAUSE OF YOU! And for what?! For this!?" Yalung pulled something out from his pocket and held it up. It was a diamond. Citra patted her pockets, and yes, nothing was there. He must have found it somehow.
"I- I don't know who-" Nasreen stuttered, and then paused, and her eyes widened. Citra could see the gears working in her brain, see something indescribable fill those woman's eyes.
She stared up at Yalung as if seeing him for the first time. "Who... Who are you?"
"It doesn't matter who I am. He was a good man with dreams. You killed him. He died suffering." Yalung snatched the sides of her head. Nasreen had that look, the look of a human who knew she was going to die. It wasn't acceptance, or defeat. It was just ruthless knowledge.
"He was my friend." Yalung sounded tired.. sad. "My only friend."
It was beautiful. Nasreen, her neck twisted- snapped. Her body fell limp, and Yalung let it fall backwards through the opening of the ladder and into the flames.
He stood there in silence, and she couldn't imagine the thoughts running through his head right this very instant.
When he turned around to face Citra, she raised his gun and pulled the trigger.
The recoil of the gun was stronger than she expected. It bounced right from her hands and clattered to the floor.
Yalung staggered two steps forward before falling to his knees, his hands pressed down on his stomach. Pity... this would have been avoided if he were wearing a bullet proof vest...
Citra didn't bother to pick up the gun.
"You're right Yalung. Killing the leader won't stop anything. Their will always be someone to take your place. That's why I made sure to get rid of everyone. Right now as I speak your men are being slaughtered." Citra spoke slowly, leisurely with a smile. She strolled the distance between them, casually picking up a knife from the floor. "It is your turn."
Yalung seemed invincible. Powerful. Strong. When she slid that knife through his chest she proved that he is, after all, human. Mortal.
"You would've been so perfect." She whispered, stroking his mask.
Yes he would've been if not for one thing. He is an outsider.
She guessed Vaas was right after all. Citra wasn't going to let nobody- Hoyt, Jason, Yalung- rule her island.
Slowly, to savor the moment, she hooked her fingers under his mask, and with one tug pulled it off.
Yalung had brown eyes... cold. Dead.
Yalung had dark short hair, cut like a boy's, with three small long braids.
Yalung's face was marred by old scars.
Yalung is a woman.
Citra smiled, rubbing a thumb over skin. Skin, no more mask.
In one smooth movement, Citra bent down and kissed her. It was soft. Slow. Insane. Citra ended it.
"Farewell demon." She whispered, and pushed Yalung back.
She fell through the opening, joining Nasreen in their fiery end.
So perfect... she would have been perfect.
Citra kept the mask, and picked up Yalung's gun. Going to one of the corners in the radio tower, she used the electrical cable to zipline down to safety, and just in time. The tower, now engulfed with fire, collapsed in on itself, now nothing but a huge bonfire.
The Privateers were still fighting one another. The fools. By the time the Rakyat arrived on the island, the Privateers were tired and few in numbers. Their defeat was fast and pathetic, not even a challenge worth her warriors. The South Island was now hers.
"My Queen," One of her men came up to her. "The rebels attacked the fishing harbor. Dennis is fighting them back but he needs reinforcements."
So they've finally launched an assault.
Citra smirked. "Let's go."
By the time they reached the fishing harbor it was nightfall. The aftermath of the battle was fire and dead bodies.
When Dennis saw her, he reached out, but held back, the expression of relief on his face masked with stoicism.
"We drove them back. The rebels won't launch another massive attack like this, they've lost too much today." He said.
"Who are they?" Citra nodded towards the row of people on their knees with guns pointed at them.
"Surviving rebels. Now prisoners for you my Queen."
Citra raised a brow and went over to inspect the survivors. Each one dared not to look at her, their heads hung low.
Except for one.
A certain, sick joy flickered in her chest.
"My little bird. Flown away." She whispered, bending down to run her fingers through Riley's messy hair. Riley jerked his head away, looking disgusted and defiant.
Citra laughed, her eyes sparking with insanity.
"How far he has fallen."
Vaas inspected the souvenir she got him. A purple chrome desert eagle, with an engraving of a jackal.
Inside her room she placed the mask of Yalung next to Jason's skull, and touched them lovingly.
And guess what little sister you fucking chopped their heads off.
For you Vaas, she would do anything.