Beyond The Cutting Edge: chapter eight

Sorrow, depression grief and rage melded together inside one pathetic boy, he couldn’t even form tears anymore, he was silence, he was vengeance, he was agony, he was quitting. Tristan hung their making no noise, making no fuss, making nothing, save for a few thoughts on how pathetic he was. All the cells around him were filled with his enemies, still laughing at him, as they did every day for hours, it had been three days since his capture, and the firing squad would be arriving soon, he was glad that the day had come for him to die, he was done with his life, it was irrevocably damaged, he was ready for it to end. Amongst the laughter a voice arose, and it spoke to him quietly. “Would you like to join us? As you can see we’re having so much more fun than you.” The voice said in a soft whisper which he knew must be coming from behind him, though he didn’t dare turn his head; even that was too much work for him. “You don’t need to speak, I already know you’re ready to join us, I know you’ll be happy once you’ve given us a chance, and you officially have nothing to lose.” The voice said now sounding more like a dream. Tristan closed his eyes, wishing the voice would go away, unable to tell who it was, not caring who it was, he just wanted to be left alone to die, but then something happened, the laughter stopped. He looked and saw he was being carried, the cells were all open and the members of the order were carrying him. He didn’t know what was really happening, he didn’t care what was really happening. They carried him away from CECF, and away from the firing squad, but it didn’t matter to him, not anymore. Tristan had no purpose.
As they took him though hidden passageways of CECF a thought occurred to him, it was a thought so simple he couldn’t put it into words, not that he made any effort to do so. He was going with the flow, quite literally as they continued moving him along. He remembered he was still wearing Gear’s Mask, he thought of removing it, but he couldn’t be bothered, everything felt like too much work, as far as he was concerned all any effort on his part would do, is hurt his friends. His memories of his friends felt faded, as if instead of being people he knew they were merely people he’d watched on some kind of show, though it didn’t bother him, he still knew they were worth protecting. He didn’t care that he wasn’t a con artist anymore, but just someone who had been conned, he didn’t care that these people carrying him into the sunlight would probably kill him. Once out in the sunlight he realized how angry he was at the sun and the birds, for carrying on with life as normal while he was there preparing to die, the world carried on unaltered, he was nothing. The Order of Steal began to chant. “We are one, we are ready, we are one, we are ready, we are one, a single order, one machine an order of steal.” It was strange, poetic and morbid, as if they’d given up every single thing they’d ever loved, only to find hope in their despair. Not hope for finding themselves, but hope in losing themselves. That was the thought in Tristan’s head as the chanting continued while they carried him into the Dark Forest. They carried him into the darkest part of the forest and dropped him down at one of the hidden alters. He looked and saw Gear.
“Good Morning Friend Tristan, I’ve freed you from captivity, I’ll bring you to my home soon, I’ll even show you the Palace.” Gear said sounding dark yet sweet as if trying to offer a helping hand and threatening simultaneously. Tristan said nothing. “I want you to know what happened, my friends were informed of your plan about a week ago, by me. I bested you, I Gear, am the superiour mind.” Gear yelled, his arms out stretched theatrically. Tristan made no visible or audible response whatsoever. Gear stopped for a moment, pulled Tristan’s face closer to his and stared Tristan in the eyes. “I guess you’re ready to see what’s really going on.” Gear said, then his men began carrying Tristan towards the metal forest. He couldn’t believe it when he arrived, the scents and sounds were all the same, but they had no effect on him. He saw the metal forest for what it really was, not a place of madness and metal monsters, but a single machine building itself at the command of one man and his servants, a place that made. It was beautiful, the greys shined as bright as any gold, it was splendid, the strange noises became a tune, one he could swear he knew before, though he wasn’t sure where, as if a memory from so far back it had always been there, a memory time forgot. “I know this place.” Tristan said quietly, as if speaking to himself. “Everyone knows this place that is why with the help of the darkness whicih forces memories to emerge, it causes madness.” Gear explained in a tone which made it obvious he’d explained it before, and was pleased with giving the explanation again.
They put him in a small cart on a conveyer belt and started it. “Ready for the grand tour?” Gear said with a smile while stepping on with him. They moved quickly across the facility to the otherside where the noises were louder and large robotic arms were caving thick metal sheets into different shapes. “Allow me to explain myself, just as you always wanted, you see my friend this place is made to fulfill my dreams, no silly brain washing as you can tell I’ve already gotten that down to a science, this place is for something much more.” Gear said with glee resisting the urge to laugh. “You see those arms care out the part which my men cart over there and attach to that.” He yelled pointing overt to a strange monolithic visage in the distance. “We’ll get to that later.” He said as the cart fell from the belt into another going in a different direction, both upwards and away from the wonderful carving machines. “Here we are approaching the office space, where the computers to control the entire facility are, only my higher ups can go here, I’m sure you’ll make it here soon my friend.” Gear said in his darkest of voices making it unclear whether he was threatening or bribing Tristan, who was sitting in silence looking at everything Gear pointed out. “And over there is the security centre, we can watch all of Cutting Edge from that small dark room.” He yelled in what could be mistaken for a fevered panic, but was far from it. The cart dropped five feet onto a different conveyer belt going in a third direction. “This way to the lumbar, as you can see we heat up grim trees to extract the oils from it which cause the hallucinations, we also burn about ten percent of it to keep the oxygen levels low, breathable, but low, it reduces the chance of explosions.” Gear explained as they passed over a vat filled with trees. “That small door leads to the green house we use for growing sacred trees, sort of the anti grim trees; they’re rare in these parts, but their oil is very useful for my purposes too.” Gear continued as if giving a tour to a group of excited school children.
“This way to training area, that way to the eatery, over there we keep weapons, and several supply closets are hidden throughout the facility, you’ll find all of the faculty are ready to help you reach your full potential, all you have to do is agree to join me.” Gear said slipping into rhyme. “No, I’m not doing that, just get over it.” Tristan said coldly staring off into the darkness. “You don’t mean that do you, you want to join me.” Gear said unable to comprehend the situation. “I’m going to walk away from you now, thank you Gear, but no thank you.” Tristan said, not caring if Gear or his friends killed him. “This entire forest of metal is a death trap.” Gear yelled angrily. “yeah but, so is the actual forest so why should I care?” Tristan replied. “You’re a madman aren’t you?” Gear said trying to struggling to grasp this reality. “In the end was it ever even a question who would win?” Tristan said smiling as he jumped nine feet off the still moving conveyer belt, not caring to wait for the rest of the tour. Gear was shocked and confused, he’d planned everything perfectly, manipulated Tristan’s every single move, leading him breaking him destroying everything Tristan had ever loved. Yet after all that Tristan still had the strength to say no walk away, and never come back. Gear didn’t think for a second that Tristan could stop him, but he hated the thought of losing even an inch, and someone said no to him. He hated this, he had no idea what to do for the first time since he received his scar, he was angry sad and confused. “If I can’t control you, I’ll have to destroy you, you must know this, you must.” Gear said unsure if he was begging or threatening. Tristan laughed, his laughter as cold and dark as a winter midnight, yet there was more than lunacy, a light deep within, like beams of the full moon’s light shined through on that dark night. Gear knew he had lost, he had no choice left, he found his foil. The master manipulator found the uncontrollable. Tristan walked away Gear’s men stood before him as if ready to stop him. Tristan tossed one of them into another. “No reason for me to bring you into darkness just yet, you’ve done me a kindness breaking me out of jail, I’ll return the favour by giving you time to reconsider your actions before I bring you all to justice, just as my father would.” Tristan said, the mere mention of his dad sent chills up the spines of many of them as they had been criminals long enough to know of The Bolt family history. They backed away and he continued walking leaving the facility prepared for anything, anything at all, even the tragedy that was getting closer and closer every second, the completion of the Palace was very very close, but he didn’t care, The town was in grave danger but he didn’t care. He would protect his friends, and ruin the order, and that was enough for him.
He found his way to his home where the sheriff was waiting, with several deputies. “Evening officers, ready to talk about the truth?” Tristan said with a smile. They made chase but soon found themselves in a dark alley near the market panting heavily wondering where Tristan could be. He dropped down from a rooftop laughing like the madman he now was. “Such fools you should know by now you can’t catch me I’m the ginger bread man.” Tristan said doing a hand stand running around on his hands, going circles around the officers. “Fine you win we’ll just talk for now.” The sheriff said willing to wait for his men to catch their breath by distracting the endless well of energy that is Tristan Bolt. “As you know, I claim to be innocent, and as I know you don’t believe me, so how about I show you evidence I couldn’t have killed her?” Tristan said trying to use simple logic to buy some time. “I know bail for a first offense killing is high, but you know I can afford any coin, simply name a price so I can continue my investigation.” Tristan continued still running around on his hands. “Fine, ten thousand gold coins.” The sheriff said thinking the pice too high for even the last of the Bolt clan. With that Tristan popped up using his hands as a spring and landing on a windowsill from that position he jumped onto the roof and ran away leaving the Sheriff breathless.
Quickly retrieving the jewels from his hiding spot Tristan made his way to the black market to pawn his goods, He bargained a price far better than he expected because his favourite salesman Ron Tin was there for once. Ron was a man who rarely purchased, but when he wanted something he made sure he got it, often paying double asking prices to make sure people didn’t try to shop around for better prices, after a few quick words over pricing he paid for the whole lot of jewels in order to gift his wife for their upcoming anniversary, he paid a hundred thousand gold coins, Tristan could barely carry the load of money to his house. The Sherriff was waiting outside his house again, this time he handed over the money with a smile before saying. “I don’t wish to be rude but go away, I’ve got things to do to prepare for what I hope will be a fair trial, please send a letter with the date for it, and stop calling the firing squad before the matter is officially settled. The sheriff was shocked by the coins in his hands he handed them to a deputy to count and he began walking away. “I guess we underestimated him again.” The sheriff said unsure of what to do other than to just return to the station and look into other cases. “I think everyone underestimated him sir.” One of the deputies said.
Lisa and Kaylie were looking through books from the burnt library, the ones with the missing pages, sorting them from books with one page removed to the few with six or seven pages removed. “We have to keep working we have to find out what they’re doing and prove it beyond all doubts so that we can get him free.” Kaylie said tearfully. “I know Kaylie, you keep saying that.” Lisa said angrily. “Oh, so I’m incapable of freeing myself? What kind of con artist does that make me?” Tristan said jumping through the second floor window into their room. “How did you?” The two said in unison. “Order of Steal broke me out to get me to join them, walked out on them paid the sheriff to leave me alone for a bit, they’re sending me an official court date so we can actually follow the law for a change, we’ve got some time left to find evidence of my innocence.” Tristan said with a dark smile, madness flashing behind his eyes. “I don’t know what we’ll do from here on out, but trust me this is going to be a fun week.” Tristan said dropping backwards out the window, rushing towards the dark forest. The two girls smiled happily but continued their investigation letting Tristan go tell Blue he was alive and free.
Blue heard a trap go off, he ignored it, but then another went off, then another, and then six more. Blue dropped down from the fort with a fresh spear to face off against whatever or whoever activated his traps. There was Tristan elegantly dodging a swinging logs and leaping over pits with spikes simultaneously. “You’re alive?” Blue said a single tear prominent on his face. “Not for long if you don’t help me with this battlefield you’ve set up.” Tristan said slicing through a falling net and rolling under a second swinging log, this one coated in arrows Tristan had to dodge earlier. Blue laughed before throwing his spear at the ground activating a third log. “Jump on that and you’ll be free, I’ll show you the trap map then come out here to reset it.
“I’ll be sleeping in my own bed, I’m quite excited to have access to my own room, you can even come stay in a guest bed if you wish.” Tristan explained happily still looking down at the map finding the winding path to and from the fort laughably complex. No matter how many times he saw evidence of the intense intelligence Blue possessed, he still found it shocking every single time. “Yeah, I’ve yet to sleep in an actual bed since I left my family’s house.” Blue said happily. “Good, Pack my stuff for me I need to speak to Kaylie and Lisa, they don’t know yet about my freedom.” Tristan explained before jumping out the window and landing in a spot free of traps, quickly making his way far from the fort.
“Dreagon the warrior, demons feared him, everyone knew better than to come anywhere close to his land, he was truly vile and disreputable, and had few friends, but one day someone decided to hurt his friends, one by one, the friends lacked his power and were easily destroyed, this in turned destroyed Dreagon, from within. Such is life.” A strange voice spoke to Tristan. “Don’t bother trying to warn me with your stories of legends no one believes anymore. Tristan responded walking into a thick fog in a much darker part of the forest near the green river. “You don’t fear the past, then the past shall repeat, son of Justice are powerful and feared, do you not know what happens to those who oppose you directly?” The voice questioned. “I’ve no time for your games today, I’m sure you know why I’m here.” Tristan said, annoyed at the voice. “You never wish to play with me, only coming to learn, and even then saving me for a last resort, you don’t respect my talents my skills even my true form. Must you dispise everything I stand for just because I’m not human enough? You’re not very human yourself you know.” The voice said speaking from all directions as if he was everywhere. “You really care if you’re respected?” Tristan said looking down at his watch. “Of course not, but that’s not the point, you know I have the wisdom you seek, and yet you don’t come to me first, is it stubbornness, or an urge to cast me aside?” The voice responded. “If you’re in another existential mood, I’ll just come back another time.” Tristan said noting he was behind his schedule. “Fine, the truth is something you’re quite far from the answers you seek are quite complex, look to the east of town for the truth, but know this, so far you’ve been just as wrong as Rich.” The voice said before silence swept the land and the fog vanished leaving Tristan standing alone in a small field of dead trees by the green river.
Tristan went back to Kaylie and Lisa and ate a meal with them, as their father and mother had left for a romantic getaway, financed by Tristan. “You cook the most interesting of meals when you’re worried about me.” Tristan remarked looking down at the sandwiches before him, filled with peanut butter tomatoes pickles and cranberry jelly. “It reduces stress, trust me.” Lisa explained gleefully. Tristan laughed as he tried one only to find that, while he wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, it was bearable, he was shocked to find his gag reflexes untriggered by the meal, so he ate happily, it was much better than the prison food. He ate in silence, while his friends talked happily about everything they learned from the books expressing remarkable understandings of mechanics and other subjects, the idea struck him instantly. “We should build something too.” Tristan said excitedly. “I’ve seen the palace, I know how it works, with your knowledge my resourcefulness and Blue’s strength we can counter it within a week.” Tristan said still thinking of what his mysterious associate in the Dark forest said to him earlier. Kaylie and Lisa laughed at this idea before yammering on about the technical difficulties involved in building a complex machine without the proper facility, but when Tristan explained what he saw in the factory the conversation switched from ‘we can’t do that because this’ to ‘we could maybe do that if we had this’ and that was a conversation Tristan was much happier to have.
When he got to his home the lights were all on and music was playing, people were there, it was a party, at his house, one he hadn’t decided to have, one that happened without him. Above the front door was a sign saying simply Welcome Back Tristan Bolt, Prince of Parties and King of Fun! “I hate when news gets out without me knowing, who did this?” Tristan questioned, and as if the universe were answering his questions out from the shadows stepped Rich. “I set this up, I realized I’m over reacting there is a chance you’re not the killer, if you are I’ll make you suffer, but innocent until proven guilty, so have a party, I even paid for the drinks.” Rich said with a cold smile, Tristan instantly realized what was going on. “You got real drinks?” Tristan said angrily. Tristan for years had been supplying apple juice at his parties and simply pretended to serve alcohol, this was to lower the risk of his stuff being broken down at the near constant parties he had to disguise his criminal activity, but also done so he’d never have to clean vomit. He was furious, but wouldn’t allow himself to punch Rich again, as the bruise from his last assault was still very much visible. He walked into his house only to be greeted by half a dozen drunk teenages asking for his autograph and begging him to tell them how he killed Abagale. He was annoyed, but he was happy to be back into his house and no amount of drunken idiots would take that from him, he rushed up to the roof and went to sleep. “I don’t care how much damage they do to my house, I can fix it in the morning, I can do pretty much anything, and my friends are powerful, so I’ve nothing to fear.” Tristan said to himself as he drifted off to sleep.

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One thought on “Beyond The Cutting Edge: chapter eight

  1. Pingback: Beyond the Cutting Edge: chapter nine | Echoshadow

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