Chapter 12 - Opposition
Kazuya Mishima watched a clip of his son declaring the Mishima Zaibatsu its own country and war on all opposition. The brown eyes evoked a newfound coldness that the boy had gained since their last encounter. The burning hatred for his family was buried behind a clouded gaze on whatever scheme the devil inside worked on its host.
A quick knock on the door pulled Kazuya out of his thoughts as Anna entered with a young orange-haired Korean. "Hwoarang is here to see you, as requested. Don't have too much fun without me, boys," said Anna flirtatiously as she left.
Hwoarang looked around Kazuya's office first and whistled, impressed. "You Mishimas sure know how to live it up," he remarked. "Nice place."
Kazuya only stared back without a word.
"Tch, I'm already seeing the resemblance. What do you want, old man?"
"I want to know what happened when you fought Jin Kazama."
"Everyone knows what happened. I ended up in the hospital no thanks to that psycho. Ya'll got anger issues. And people give me a hard time for a short fuse."
"Interesting," Kazuya commented. "Jin Kazama disappeared for two years, then again after two months, but it's only after his fight with you that he suddenly doesn't mind the whole world watching him become a tyrant. He's even started a war. Don't you think that's odd? It's as if he snapped and became a completely different person."
Hwoarang scoffed. "You're telling me." He folded his arms in annoyance.
"So, I'm asking you, young man, did he change when he fought you?"
Hwoarang looked at Kazuya directly with suspicion, analyzing Jin's father more closely. "What's with your eyes? One of them's red. Did he get it from you? That'd make his whole ‘I have family problems' speech make sense." By now, Hwoarang had unfolded his arms and made mocking air quotes. His hands then fiddled at the bottom of the chair.
"You saw it then," Kazuya observed.
Hwoarang lowered and shook his head, running his right hand through his hair. "I don't know why I bothered coming. You two are just two sides of the same coin."
Kazuya folded his arms and waited.
The young Korean sat back up, leaned back a bit, and sighed. "The fight was over. I had won. He was down. Next thing I know, the whole place is on fire and a thing that looks like him nearly kills me."
"What was different?" Kazuya asked.
Hwoarang scoffed again in disbelief and frustration. This didn't feel right. "I don't know. I don't even see why it matters. It's still fuzzy. He had black wings like a bird and his hands, the fingers were all metal claws. I remember that part because he practically choked me to death with those before I lost consciousness."
"Any idea why he spared you?"
Hwoarang paused and went quiet for a long time. He'd been replaying the incident in his head over and over, trying to figure that out. "I wanted to think some part of him stopped himself. He had been trying to warn me before the match. But when I see what he's done since then…I can't believe it. I haven't a clue. That devil looked more than ready to end my life."
"Were you friends?"
"Not really. We're rivals. Your son's got some skills, and I've never felt more alive than when I fought him. I didn't know him well. He's not outgoing like I am. He never seemed like a bad guy… until that day. A friend would have told me what was going on, not just ‘family problems.' Understatement of the year. That guy's always trying to do everything himself, even now, fighting the whole world and for what?"
"I see. Well, I'll put a stop to him soon enough. That will be all, Hwoarang. We'll keep in touch. I trust you can show yourself out."
"Can't say it's been a pleasure. Bye."
The Mishima Zaibatsu discovered some ruins in Egypt that had not been on a map before. Jin went to survey the place himself. The architecture colors matched the sands of the surrounding desert. The path before him like concrete as a number of statue figures aligned it acting as guards. He could sense the distant voice that Devil knew better than him probably lived here. He didn't need to reach the door to know it could not open yet.
"Jin Kazama!" a woman's voice declared behind him.
He turned around to see a dark-haired woman with eyes that looked on him with disapproval and determination. "I am Zafina. You must stop your war. You don't know what you are doing to this place. You should not be here!"
"I will come and go from this place as I please. Judging by the release of the seal, I am welcome to do so. However, you need not concern yourself with me any further today. I have the information I want." He began to walk towards her, and she tensed up her muscles only to realize he really did have every intention of leaving, largely unconcerned by her arrival, as he walked right past her.
She also felt the chill that others did, and then she suspected all the more that he was one of the two evil stars at work. "There is a deep darkness in your heart, an abyss," she told him.
"Abyss?" he paused and glanced back to her without turning his body around.
"He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you."
"Friedrich Nietzsche," Jin remarked with a nod, recognizing the quote. "I know it."
"Then why are you doing this? Why are you being a monster?"
By this point, he had finally turned fully to face her. He narrowed his eyes to some place that did not look at her. "Everything is already in motion, Zafina." He shifted his gaze to meet her eyes. "I will see it to the end." The young man turned around and left.
One night not long after his visit to the ruins, "You're doing well, my puppet," a deep, monstrous voice rang in Jin’s mind as he slept. The voice was not the one Jin recognized as Devil. "The other star does not respond to my calling, but you have his attention. Bring him to me. Release me. More destruction. More suffering. The negative energy will give me physical form."
The landscape was over a canyon at sunset as Jin stood on a cliff dressed in his usual dark clothing and long black coat. "Azazel?" Jin asked.
"The conversation is one-way, Jin," Devil said as he manifested an appearance a few feet above his human counterpart, descending gracefully to the ground to stand next to him. "He's imprisoned and not sharing a body with you. I guess you can hear him more clearly since the seal on the ruins broke."
"What did he mean by 'other star'?"
"Kazuya, of course."
"Kazuya? Why is he not responding? Can he not sense Azazel the way I do?"
"I don’t know what's happening in your father's head anymore, not from this distance. Someone like him doesn't call out to the noise we hear. He's got his own devil to interact with those thoughts. If I had to wager a guess, I'd say that seems likely to be the case."
"I suppose there isn't much point in asking why if you can only guess," the young man remarked.
"Next step?" Devil asked.
Jin stood, contemplative, overlooking the scene and took a step closer to the edge, looking at the rocky ground on which his feet rested. "I continue amassing power with this little dance for the one who thinks he's pulling the strings." He raised his head to look at the rocky cliffs standing high above a barely visible small river flowing below. "And if that thing wants Kazuya, I find an in to Kazuya. It is prudent to do so regardless of Azazel's bidding."
Devil stood just behind Jin, their metaphorical bodies nearly touching. He embraced the young man from behind and inhaled to take in a deep breath, savoring Jin's wickedness.
Jin closed his eyes and exhaled, sharing the same breath. He did not resist, letting the touch that would crush anyone else enclose his frozen heart. The brown eyes re-opened to see the sky had become dark as if night had fallen a moment before, illuminated by a brilliant full moon and expanse of stars. He still felt inhuman but at least whole, even knowing and lamenting, "We are only using each other."
"You could always just change your mind. It wouldn't be the first time," his inner demon spoke next to Jin's right ear in a lowered voice.
"And there it is. Don't you manipulate me enough already, Devil? I am he who stared at the abyss for too long, and you are what is staring back into me, an unfathomable darkness embodying the monster I have become in my fight."
"Such poetic flattery," Devil said softly with an evil grin Jin knew formed upon the other's face. The winged monster playfully batted the tendrils of Jin's bangs with his claws and then ran them between his metallic fingers, quietly admiring the corrupted child. The boy no longer feared the unreal damage he could cause in any form in his conquest for power to do the impossible above all. Jin let the creature toy with his hair without protest. Devil could maul the boy's face in this unguarded moment or toss him into the canyon, yet both knew that was not in the plan, not tonight at least. "Very well, Jin Kazama. I will tempt you later."