Chapter 21 - Servant
Asuka Kazama ran fervently along the path and then a few steps leading to the door where the three Mishimas entered Azazel's dark temple. Melissa walked several steps behind, holding the Yoshimitsu sword. The Japanese girl panted and waited just in front of the opening, taking a moment to rest her hands on her knees. "Why are you taking so long?" she griped.
Melissa neared and bowed her head for a moment to examine her assigned escortee from beneath her dark sunglasses. "I assumed you were safe enough leading the way and the slower pace is helping me save my energy in case we had more encounters. I've recharged, but it's best to be prepared nonetheless."
Twice, the girls experienced delay, having to ward off Raven from the Seahorse Hotel together and again with Anna Williams and Bruce Irvin nearing their plane. Asuka would not leave Eddy Gordo to fight two on one, but Miguel of all people came to his aid, ordering the Japanese girl to do her part as thanks. Now in front of Jin's long sought goal, "What? Here?" Asuka asked. Surely, they were out of people who wished to stop her from finally meeting up with Jin in person.
"Miss Zafina perhaps, though she can't do much now that the door is opened. Look out!" Melissa jumped to grab Asuka, hurling them both clear of the open door. Heihachi's whole body flew down and then skidded along the concrete path. The purple form of Devil Kazuya followed, skidding in the same manner.
Asuka backed away on the ground, absolutely terrified of the presence she felt as she saw the charcoal-skinned devil that bared some resemblance to Jin with his hair and build. He took calm, measured steps, and his eyes darted to his left to see the two of them. Without a word, he kept walking to his father and grandfather.
"Melissa…what is that?"
The blue-haired robot did not respond immediately and instead looked back where Jin exited. "Something is coming," she finally said. "Stay clear of the door."
Azazel appeared and roared.
Jin looked in his direction. "Hungry?" He threw Heihachi at the monster. Azazel did not eat him, but he did use his mouth to thrash Heihachi on the ground a couple of times before dropping him to the ground. "As for you…" Jin kicked Kazuya up in the air several feet clear of the area. No doubt that one would return soon enough, but killing would be easier without his presence in the interim. He walked up to Heihachi's coughing, tired body.
"Finish him!" Azazel ordered.
Jin held Heihachi by his gi, and the eldest Mishima recalled a familiar scene in the confines of Honmaru when his grandson spared his life. "Jun Kazama…" he muttered, trying to remind Jin.
"Jin, don't do it!" Asuka yelled. She started to run in his direction, only to find Melissa grabbed her hand.
"It is too late, Miss Asuka."
The obsidian demon did not hesitate this time, striking his grandfather through the chest with his bare clawed hand. His powers tuned out his cousin, along with a great deal of other noise he often heard, though even if he heard her, no one would stop him this time. "It is your own words that said I should have killed you on sight," he told the deceased. Of course, he still would have done it given his grandfather's intentions.
Melissa released Asuka's hand, having served her master's purpose. The Kazama girl ran to approach Jin, staring at him with defiant eyes but before she could speak, he stretched out his arm, telekinetically forcing her to a nearby column. Glowing white chains materialized, wrapping and binding her to it. The glow faded, and they became metal. "Hey! What are you doing?" she shouted at him.
She saw him leap clear as Devil Kazuya returned, diving in an attempt to strike him. Did that mean he just protected her? The purple devil glanced over to the fallen Heihachi Mishima, realizing his death. So, this version of Jin wasn't playing around. The two devils flew upward to battle in the sky. The other three chose to observe, staring into the sky as well. Jin was much faster than his father, easily evading his strikes and appearing behind him with Kazuya flying further upward, only to see that Jin somehow moved even higher than that to descend down and pummel him with several punches before the purple devil crashed back into the ground. He struggled to get up, coughed, and found he did not have the strength. His devil features retreated into his body, and he fell unconscious.
"Kill him!" Azazel ordered for another death.
Jin turned his attention to the large beast. "I'm here to destroy you, not grovel at your feet. These two were just a warm-up."
"Fool, you dare defy me, even with all the power I have given you."
"I did not ask to become this!" Jin yelled. "But if I must use this destructive power to break free, then I will." He crossed his arms like an X and sent a shockwave of power through the vicinity as he brought his arms to his sides. A smoky white aura surrounded him. Melissa quietly glided clear from her place near the monster. Azazel shot several lasers at Jin, who seemed to have invoked an invisible force field, deflecting them with ease. He charged at Azazel and grabbed the larger beast by his right arm, tossing him upward to shoot his own laser from his head before teleporting just above Azazel to strike into his chest. "You won't be needing this anymore," and they both crashed into the ground, causing a massive crater into the underground part of temple. A giant column of white and purple light shot upward.
Melissa glided to Asuka's side and used the Yoshimitsu sword to cut the Japanese girl free. "What's going on?" Asuka asked, holding her forearm out to protect her eyes
"It would appear Master Jin has accomplished his primary objective though I cannot confirm for certain yet," the blue-haired girl said quietly.
The column cleared, and Asuka stared into the depths below. Melissa grabbed her from the bottom of her armpits to help them both descend. There, they saw Azazel's body become a glowing white light that dissolved in an instant. Then they saw metal chains sprout from the dark earth like untamed roots, grabbing the charcoal flesh of Jin's body. "Jin!" Asuka ran over to it. "Melissa, what am I supposed to do?"
Melissa bowed her head slightly to better observe the scene. "Whatever you want," she replied. "He killed Azazel like he wanted and has entrusted his fate thereafter to you. Let the earth take him or try to save him now."
"But…" What did it mean to have the chains take him prisoner? Would he die?
In the depths of Jin's mind, the landscape was a stark contrast to the one outside. It was night in a place where the ground was thick ice and a chilling breeze passed through. Here dwelled a part of Jin he buried away from his inner demon. Devil knew it existed, seeing it in passing at times like when Jin held back after being pushed into lava, to reserve the demonic power for what just happened. The part that knew the answer to the question Jin avoided all this time. Devil stared at an unusual reflection of himself because Jin retained his black devil appearance in this moment. They commenced a battle. This far in, Jin could call on the ice in ways Devil could not with ice breaking apart beneath where he stood or shooting upward like giant icicles or tiny ice shards shooting as if to prick him. He found he could not conjure fire here either. Devil could still fly and punch and kick. At last, with both of them facing each other, Jin charged at him with a furious scream, tackling him to the ground. His appearance returned to his human self, and he panted several times, straddling Devil, his right forearm resting on the ground as his left arm held him up. The icy landscape was no more, surrounding them with pitch black darkness save for being able to see each other.
Devil gazed up at the human form with subdued fascination. "Well, this is different." He smiled. "The orb will not take me. I do not wish to go and you…are you finally ready to face the truth about yourself?"
Jin glanced side to side of Devil's face as if he were seeing his evil counterpart for the first time. "You're me."
"You're simplifying things. The truth, Jin. You can't stall it any longer. Death has not come for you."
Jin raised his upper body, looking down seriously as he said, "I've noticed the signs for months. Our voices could unite as one in a single thought or action. You would hold me and not harm me at my loneliest of times. I'm not just your pet or your creation, not anymore. You've taken so much that you have enough of me to share my deepest desires, even the one…" Jin trailed off, growing silent and contemplative.
"Go ahead, Jin. Say it," the evil half encouraged. "I've been waiting too long for this moment."
The human half made his evil counterpart wait several long seconds, staring down expressionless in thought before finally, "I want you…to stay here with me," Jin smiled slyly as he leaned downward, "…as my servant." He leaned in even closer, his face just over Devil's. "Power is everything," Jin's eyes glistened as he spoke, and Devil felt his blood tingle. "They were always my words, my own darkness." The human counterpart lifted his head back a little, sparing more distance between them. "You took and amplified the worst part of me, but just as it cost me many evils to give you that power, it cost you my reason for wanting it. Here at the end, the last power to obtain is the one over you. Give yourself to me. I want control. It is the most powerful form we can attain together."
The metallic clawed red gauntlets cupped Jin's cheeks, pulling the young man's face downward and closer. Their lips met as a passionate kiss ensued of electric ecstasy for one and a cool soothing taste for the other. Jin pulled away for but a moment before continuing. His eyes filled with the amber from his devil, with the long-desired acceptance of his supernatural power, fangs visible to the other half as he witnessed the transformation. Jin did not only take in this exchange however. Devil felt a wave of calming energy wash over his own body. The shadow's human will wrapped him with the faint empathy Jin could feel these days along with the memory of it. The boy had kept this thread of humanity close to his heart, obscured from others, no doubt reserved for this moment. The demon's gnawing hunger abated, possibly aided by the other who carried Kazama blood in her veins on the outside, though the sensation could never be fully purged. The cacophony of dark human desires quieted. The chains on his arm, waist, and leg broke apart and dissolved.
At last, Jin pulled away, his lightened eyes gazing intently and freed of his hatred for the monster below him. Devil did not look any different, minus the chains he knew to be absent, but Jin could feel it. The exchange was complete, and their bond solidified. He played with one of the dark tendrils of the demon's hair with his right index finger. Had this creature always been so beautiful? There must have been some vanity in that drink. He had never thought much of his own appearance inside Devil reflecting back at him, but it was in this moment that he could truly appreciate the differences that had always been there. The black wings gave freedom and flight. The markings and the eyes he now wore served as a warning others of the deadly forced that lurked within.
Devil lifted himself forward, and the two of them shifted so that they both now sat upright. Jin sat cross-legged. The supernatural creature rested his left arm on his raised left knee, keeping his right leg sprawled on the ground and right hand as if to prop himself before using it to hold the other's left cheek, admiring his work on what Jin had become. "I'd say that we are now one, but we are forever evolving together, it seems," Devil told him.
The human half clasped the clawed hand gently in his left, latching his right hand onto its wrist, staring at the talons before meeting Devil's eyes. The creature felt enchanted by those transformed amber orbs staring back at him, drawn to the young man. Jin replied, "We can never be the exact same but for a short time yet that is who the world has seen and will continue to see, building our union in their minds. The blood in this body has changed us both." His eyes shifted back to the clawed hand he held, and he pressed his lips against the cold metal of Devil's thumb, sending a seductive chill through the creature. So powerful. "I told you what you wanted to hear. It is your turn to do the same for me," the younger half stated in a commanding low tone, knowing this moment belonged to him, the deed already done.
Devil stroked Jin's cheek thoughtfully with the thumb the young man kissed. He replied softly, "I offer you the service you ask because I know you understand me, what I am…" their lips met briefly again, "and at last, yourself."
Jin guided Devil's hand back to the demon, satisfied. He shifted his gaze to the empty darkness surrounding them, mirroring his counterpart's chosen position. "The path veers right, but it twists and turns. I cannot be human, but I cannot be Devil, so I will just be a powerful monster who does as he sees fit in the shape of either. The enemies I've made should provide you with both sustenance and entertainment as I rectify the wrongs I can. The humans fear us and that will not change just because I pull back in my war. You will have life as you desire though it is not your original vision. Neither is mine...this death is a spectacular failure."
They could sense a light nearing where they still sat, signifying this intimate moment's end. "Allow me to take this opportunity my dear master, to say…I told you so," the demon said with a sly sneer.
Jin snickered and nodded in his counterpart's general direction. "You did well, servant."