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Son of Pagan Min

Chapter Text

Ajay Ghale.
That's a name that strikes fear into the hearts of the Royal Army. Well, at least it should considering the fact that he is, in fact, Son of Pagan.

Raised by the King of Kyrat and his faithful wife, Ishwari Ghale. Only child too.

Ajay was well acquainted to the life of royalty, being the heir to the throne and all. However; with his mother being the intelligent, hardworking woman she is; he's grown to be quite a respectful man. Immature and a bit spoiled--yeah, but respectful nonetheless. He even trained with the Royal Army, picking up a few skills here and there. And soon enough, he has grown to be their favorite... In a way.

As soon as Ajay was beginning to grow and mature, he caught a few of the Royal Army snatching glances of him. Thanks to Aunt Yuma, she was able to explain to the young adult that they were definitely checking him out. Even advised him to flaunt a little, but made sure to not tell his father they had the discussion.

Pagan Min, the King of Kyrat, was kingly in his son's eyes. He was his role model as well as his mother. Since a child, Pagan had taught Ajay to be brave and fight for what he believed in. But the king also keeps a close eye on his son.

With Aunt Yuma and Uncle Paul constantly checking in on the boy, Pagan knew what his son was up to. Even the time when Ajay had a little fling with one of his new recruits. And as the responsible father Pagan is, he made sure to gently apply his authority by threatening the man with a gun to the face and making sure that he would never see his son again.

No one was good enough for his little boy.

And to make sure that the same "accident" wouldn't happen again, Pagan bought Ajay a bodyguard. A sturdy Japanese-American girl who went by the name Michiko. She was held hostage and bought from the Rook Islands. The men who sold her said she was dangerous. Bit one of their men's ear off and almost escaped. But with time and effort, Pagan was able to train her with his men and mold her into the bodyguard Ajay needed. And the two became instant best friend once they met. To the point where Michiko was more of a sister to Ajay rather than a bodyguard.

Life in Kyrat couldn't be better for Ajay. But things quickly turned around when his mother suddenly collapsed at dinner.

It was an usual evening at the Royal Palace. The royal family was eating dinner with their usual guests, Uncle Paul, Michiko, and Aunt Yuma. The adults were discussing important matters as the younger two chat about simpler things like their next hiking trip or where to go elephant riding. Ajay wasn't paying much attention to the adult's conversation, only picking up Golden Path and terrorists.

It was when Ishwari stood to clean up her plate when she dropped like a stone.

The floor rumbled as well as the table, plates and silverware rattling. The others jumped from their seats and were already at her side.

"Ishwari! Ishwari!" Pagan's cries fell on deaf ears as he cradled her in his arms. Paul and Michiko ran to get help as Yuma began to check for her pulse. Ajay stood motionless as he watched his mother. His heart stopped and time seemed to slowed as he took in all the tiny details of his mother. The tan skin and the symbol on her forehead. The small wrinkles that were beginning to form and the streaks of gray in her hair. In her death-like state, she seemed so peaceful that it scared him.

 

It's been two months since his mother's sudden collapse. Paul was able to get a doctor in from China to examine her and weeks later, he diagnosed her with Stage 4 breast cancer.

There was no hope for her.

Pagan begged for any type of treatment to help her, but the doctor said it was no good. And his wife refused the aid of medicine. Ajay overheard his mother said to his father, "It is fate, my love. It is how it's meant to be."

Then as time went on, her condition worsened to the point where she couldn't stand.

It scared her son that he didn't want to see her anymore. He didn't want to see the strong woman wither to nothing. And Ajay found a way to escape.

He went to the mountains, taking a week's worth trip to unknown destination--with his bodyguard of course. It was at a summit of a white mountain when Michiko finally confronted him.

"You have to see her." The usual sarcastically and stoic girl blurted.

Ajay looked over his shoulder, breaking away from the view of the mountains and valley.
"What?"

"You need to see your mom." She said. "It's pathetic to see you running from it."

The words stung but she was right. The heir stood and crossed the snowy ground to the girl, the sheet of snow crunching under his hiking boots.

"I... I can't see her like that." He admitted. "It scares me to see my own mother die."
"I get it, Ajay. I do."

The fear that resided in him switched to fury.

"No, you don't! She was a strong woman! She stood up in everything she believed in and--and now--she..." He broke into sobs. "She's being destroyed by cancer. It's taking her away from me, and I'm not ready to let go."
"I know that feeling."

Ajay looked at his bodyguard through tears.
"You do?"

She nodded.
"I was taken from my family at Rook Islands. I never had a chance to say goodbye, Ajay. And I'd hate for you to miss your chance."

He sniffed and sat on the ground, and was soon joined by the girl. She patted his back in an awkward attempt to comfort him that was working somehow.

"What should I say when I see her? Do you think she'll hate me for not seeing her? What if-"
"Ajay." Michiko stopped him. "Trust me. She misses you."

She then stood and began trekking down the mountain side.

"Where are you going!?" The heir asked her.
"I saw a cave entrance not too far from her. Let's see if we can find anything in there to give to you mother."

 

The two entered the Royal Palace and climbed the stairs to Ishwari's room. Ajay shoved a hand in his pocket and grasped the unpolished emerald that he and Michiko found in the cave. He was sure his mother was going to love it.

They arrived before her room and Ajay was already nervous. He paced and mumbled to himself out of habit until Michikl placed a solid hand on his chest.

"Don't be a bitch," she mumbled, "Give her the gift and say you're sorry."

Ajay nodded. "Right."

With a clammy hand, he knocked and opened.

"Hey mom." He greeted with a smile that was instantly wiped off his face when he saw her still form in the bed. Beside her was his father who hung his head.

"Mom?" Ajay said again in hope to see any form of movement from her. But there was none.

Instead, it was Pagan who lifted his head and gazed at his son with red puffy eyes.

"Ajay," he croaked, "I'm so sorry."

Chapter Text

Ishwari Ghale.
Mother of Ajay Ghale. Wife of Pagan Min. Queen of Kyrat.

It was the only way Ajay saw his mother. Mother, wife, queen. Nothing else.

But now, he saw her as a corpse in a coffin consumed by flames.

He watched as the bright orange flames licked away at the wood and skin. He was only aware of heat and the pops from the fire. Nothing else.

Beside him stood his father who hung his head as silent tears rolled down his cheek. Their closest friends attended the funeral along with the Royal Army.

After the fire, many left with wet eyes as Pagan approached the pile of ashes with a jar. Together with his father, they scooped up what was left of Ishwari and placed it in the pottery.

That day, Ajay escaped to the mountains.

 

It was a cool afternoon when Pagan sat down with Ajay and Michiko. He told them that this talk was the most important. And the two young adults were listening.

"You guys might be wondering why I asked you to come here." Pagan Min said and gave a small forced laugh. He glanced at the mountains behind him as a way for comfort.

"Well, I went through some of your mother's belongings and found her will." The King of Kyrat lifted an envelope in his hand. Ajay eyed the paper like it was alien to him.

"What does it say?" It was Michiko who broke the awkward silence.

"I don't know," Pagan scratched at his chin, "Didn't open it yet."

"Well, what are you waiting for?" Ajay anxiously said, "Open it."

With shaky hands, the king ripped off the seal and withdrew the paper inside and unfolded it. His eyes roamed over the paper as his hand was brought over his mouth.

"What does it say?" Ajay pressed.

"What? Oh... Uh..." Pagan heaved a shuddering sigh. "It... It says..."

The two young adults leaned forward in anticipation.

Pagan slapped the paper onto the wooden table, startling the two. He swore under his breath and stood.
"I can't do this." He mumbled and left the two to themselves and the paper.

They exchanged awkward glances until Michiko picked up the will.

"Ajay, my son, I have so much to say to you. But I'm out of time. So please, take me back to Lakshmana. The journey will tell you more than I ever could. I love you and will always be with you. Ishwari Ghale."

The girl placed the paper down. "Where's Lakshmana?"

"And what is does she mean she has so much to say to me?" Ajay added. "Is she hiding something?"

Michiko shrugged. "Best to ask your dad."

 

Ajay stood on the field with disappointment written all over his face. He certainly tried to ask his father what his mother meant by her letter, but each time he did, his father would avoid it. Making up excuses like he's busy or quickly changing the subject.

He watched with dread as his father boarded the helicopter with the jar of Ishwari's ashes. Pagan had told him he was going to take her to Lakshmana. Ajay asked to come but Pagan said he wasn't ready for it. If only Ajay knew what he meant.

Pagan waved to his son as the helicopter lifted up into the air and flew away. Over the mountains and out of sight.

"Now what?"

Ajay jumped by Michiko's intrusion.

"What the hell, Michiko? You can't just sneak up on me!"
The girl shrugged and Ajay sighed.
"We need to put a bell on you."
"So, what are we going to do about your father? He obviously didn't answer your question and is hiding something. Both of your parents are."
Ajay sighed once more. "I do want to know what's going on, but I feel like I'll be finding something I didn't know. And besides, Mom and Dad are working with classified stuff trying to run this country."
Michiko shrugged and monotonously replied, "True."

"It's going to be a long weekend." Ajay mumbled.

Chapter Text

It wasn't unusual for Pagan to bring home a terrified stranger. And so, when Pagan brought home Darpan, Ajay made sure to be on his best behavior and follow every command his father gave him.

And today he told him to dress casual and meet him at Uncle Paul's mansion. Ajay did as he was told, putting on his usual blue jacket and jeans, checking his hair wasn't too messy but not too neat either, before heading off.

Michiko was there by his side, inspecting him herself. She patted his arm and mutter a quick "Good luck." before rushing off to do God knows what.

With a steady hand, Ajay pushed the heavy wooden door open to be met with the sight of Pagan, Uncle Paul, and this Darpan stranger gathered at the dining table.

All eyes were on him instinctively. Darpan's widening if that was even possible. His eyes quickly darting back to his laps where his hands laid.

Ajay ignored his skirmish behavior and took a seat at the only unoccupied chair.

"Ajay," Pagan brightly smiled, "It's so good to see you. Tell me, how was your time while I was gone?"
"Fine. Just went out rabbit hunting with Michiko."

"Got anything good?" His Uncle Paul piped up from his seat.

Ajay shook his head. "Nothing much. Just too small rabbits."
His father hummed, grabbed a fork, and stood, circling the table until he stood behind Darpan.

"So, Ajay, as you can see I brought home a little guest." Pagan began to rub the man's arms with mock intimacy. "This is Darpan, one of the old members of the Golden Path. Now, Ajay, my boy, do you remember what I told you about the Golden Path?"
Sensing the tension in the atmosphere, Ajay could only squeak, "They're terrorists."
"Ah yes," Pagan nodded with a fake smile of bliss, "fucking terrorists!" And sheath the fork into the poor man's back.

Darpan instantly leaned forward in a way to avoid the pain, but only succeeded in slamming his face into the plate of food. He let out a whimper as Pagan glared down.

"Did anyone tell you about texting at the table?" Pagan cruelly asked and slapped at his hand. The glowing screen on the phone showed texts of Darpan to another person.
"Very rude." Pagan continued and picked up the device. He turned to the soldiers lingering and displayed the phone. "Really guys? We're not checking for these? Oh well, never mind."

The King of Kyrat looked at the screen and read aloud, "'I'm with Ajay Ghale'," he gave a look of pure disgust before turning to Uncle Paul, "oh you'll love this 'help.'"

He placed the phone down and scold, "You don't text for help. You cry for help. C'mon," he tugged at the fork, urging the man to stand, "let's go cry for help."

He escorted the man to the railings and practically threw him against it. "Go on. Cry for help!"

Darpan gave a confused whimper, "h-help..."
Pagan clicked his tongue. "No, that's not crying. From your diaphragm. Help!"
Darpan howled, "Help!"
"That's more like it." Pagan approved and yanked the fork right out of his back. Two soldiers came and grabbed Darpan.
"See what he knows." Pagan commanded and Uncle Paul followed them out.

"Ajay, my boy, " Pagan turned to his son, "Enjoy the crab rangoon. I'll be right back." He then pulled out his phone, walking off, saying, "Yuma, we have a problem."

Ajay did what his father said, sitting at the table and taking small bites of the food. But he was much too startled to even eat. He stood and moved to the rails where he took in the grand view of Kyrat. This is what he called home, yet he didn't know much of it.

Ajay lived a sheltered life. He knew of the terrorists and the political and economic struggles of Kyrat, but never understood why. Well one, Kyrat was a land of tradition. That was one of the reasons Kyrat was behind in the global race to economic success. But he didn't understand why there were terrorists running about in the country. He didn't understand why they fought Pagan. His father explained that he and his mother was only doing what was right for Kyrat. He even said some people just don't see it, like those damned terrorists. Hell, Ajay even barely knows the history of Kyrat. All he knows was that there was a Royal Family who somehow lost the heir to the throne. What he didn't understand was how his father became king, him being a foreigner and all. But those questions were always left unanswered whenever he asked his parents.

Off into the view, Ajay noticed a cloud of dust. He squinted to notice jeeps and inside, members of the Golden Path.

"Oh shit." He mumbled and dashed to find his father.

He heard the cackle of electricity and the screams of what must be Darpan. With Pagan no where in sight, Uncle Paul was his only option. He ran to the basement where he knew Paul did his 'dirty work'. As much Ajay couldn't pit the cruelties of torture, he knew that it was for the sake of Kyrat.

Running in there, he saw his uncle with two other soldiers. Paul was taunting the chained up man, asking questions before a current of electricity raided Darpan's body.

He tapped on the glass, startling the three.
"What is it, Ajay?" Paul shot a concerned look.
"Ah... the Golden Path. Here." It was all he could say, but his uncle understood.
"Shit." He mumbled and readied his handgun. He turned to the soldiers, "Go warn the others! Go! Now!" And the two dashed past Ajay and up the stairs.

"Ajay," Uncle Paul placed a hand on his shoulders. "Go through the back door and try to get as far away from here as possible. Get back to the Royal Palace. I'll try to fight off those fucking terrorists."

And Paul went up those stairs the two soldiers climbed previously.

Ajay gave one last glance to a heaving Darpan before opening the back door. He expected to hear the sounds of gunshots and screaming, but what he didn't expect was a barrel of a gun pointed at his forehead.

On the other side of the door, waiting for him, was a man. He was shorter than Ajay by a few inches, but had eyes that seem to hold wisdom.

"Ajay Ghale." The man breathed and lowered his gun. "Son of Mohan."

Ajay was confused by what he meant by that, but was too shocked to even say a word.

"Those eyes. Just like Ishwari's." The man said before introducing himself. "I am Sabal. Your friend. Your father and I were good friends."

Ajay noticed the Golden Path members behind him. "Um, aren't you the Golden Path? Terrorists?"
"Call us what you must, but we must escape. " Sabal began running to the door. Gunshots and explosions were heard from outside.

"Now, Ajay, when we leave, I want you to run with your head down. There's a truck up ahead and the driver will take you somewhere safe."
Ajay slowly nodded.

He wanted to ask why the members of the Golden Path, terrorists, the people challenging his father, helping him. The son of Pagan Min.

But then again, it wouldn't be wise to fight them. He was clearly outnumbered and outgunned by these people. They seem to think of him as a comrade and he could escape when they have their backs turned. Paul's mansion was basically a battlefield now.

"One. Two. Three!" And the terrorists slipped out of the door, guns blazing as they ran. Ajay took a moment to gather his thoughts, send a quick prayer, then dashed out.

Bullets whizzed past as shouts filled the air. He saw the rickety blue truck waiting near the gate and ran faster than he ever did before. Adrenaline can do those things to you.

He climbed inside as the man said, "Son of Mohan!"
Again, he was utterly confused by that. Who was this Mohan?

Without another word, the driver stomped on the gas and drove towards the gate that was knocked down by an elephant. Ajay could only stare baffled at the antics displayed.

They drove down the hill and flew down the road as more trucks and ATVs swarmed their vehicle. On them was the Royal Army. They held guns in their hand and began to shoot at Ajay and the driver.

"There's a gun in the glove box!" The driver said and handed him a handgun. Ajay couldn't only stared bewildered. He couldn't shoot his father's soldiers.

He poked his head out, reeling it back in when a bullet flew by and clanked against the car door. He pokes it out again, shouting, "Don't shoot!"

The drivers stopped, baffled as they saw the son of Pagan Min inside the car of the Golden Path.

One however, did not see him, and crashed into the side, sending them off the side of the cliff and into the trees below. The car tumbled and rolled, bashing against branches until Ajay's world turned dark.

Chapter Text

Once the ringing in his ears subsided, the crackling flames and static from the radio was the only thing that Ajay heard. His head pounded and his chest felt so sore. He groaned.

Even that caused the pain to heighten.

Ajay guessed it could be a cracked rib or something like that. He wasn't a doctor, but he knew some first aid tricks. His head pound in protest as he sat up. The static of the radio was driving him crazy and all he wanted to do was throw that thing into the river.

But as soon as he was beginning to adjust to the world, he noticed it wasn't just static gibberish coming from the speaker, but Sabal himself.

Ajay picked up the advice and meekly answered, "Hello."

"Thank Kyra. You're safe." Sabal let out a sigh of relief.
"Fuck." Ajay groaned. "The driver's dead. Car is ruined."
"Alright, Ajay. Do you see a tower nearby?"

Ajay turned and indeed saw one.

"Yeah." He answered.
"Get to the tower. I'll be waiting there."

Ajay pondered if it was the thing to do. He could just run back to the Royal Army and get back home safely. But then again, he didn't see anyone insight.

"Alright."

Ajay began his search, grabbing a knife from the drivers body and began to move to clearing until he heard something. Footsteps and talking. He wasn't sure who it was, but he didn't want to take any chances.

He hid behind a rock as a soldier of the Royal Army appeared, searching the scene of the crash.

Ajay immediately stood and approached the man.
"Uh, hey. You're part of the Royal Army, right?"

The only response he got was an angry shout and bullets.

Luckily, Ajay was smart enough to run like hell. He dodged the bullets and crossed the river, only to be met by more Royal Army soldiers.

"Guys! No! Wait! It's me-" a bullet hit his shoulder, but the adrenaline masked the pain. Terrified and confused, Ajay ran.

His feet pounded on the ground as he ran towards the river and jumped, diving inside. Above him he heard two more men, searching any signs of Ajay.

Christ, there were just too much.

Ajay really wondered where his father found all these men.

As he finally made it to the end, he stopped at a cliff. He was exhausted. He checked his shoulder. No bullets inside. Just a mere graze.

Ajay could only wonder why the Royal Army would shoot at him. Him for Christ's sake! He was the son of their leader! Their beloved king! He was the heir! Their future king!

Was it all a misunderstanding? Did they not know who he was? Just another member of the Golden Path?

The sun was still high, and Ajay knew he didn't want to be in the wilderness after dark. Wolves or dholes would attack and they were a real handful.

Recollecting himself, Ajay stood and trekked down the cliff, avoiding anyone and everything. He hid behind bushes and rocks, staying off of the Royal Army's radar. It was until he was met with a wall of rock where he let out a sigh of relief.

Above a woman tossed down the rope and greeted him. Saying, "It's an honor to meet the son of Mohan."
Again he wanted to question her but decided against it as he followed the path to the old tower up ahead.

Inside, Sabal was with two other men. Barking orders and checking their supplies.

"Um..." Ajay awkwardly made himself known.

Sabal stood and gave him a endearing smile as he approached the heir.

"Ajay. I'm glad you made it. Something I expected from the son of Mohan."
"Okay. Stop." Ajay put up a hand. The questions were just eating him alive by now. "Why do you keep saying son of Mohan? Who is Mohan? I'm the son of-"

Gunshots and shouts cut him off.

Sabal scowled and said, "The Royal Army found us. Quick get to the top of the tower. Here, take this." Sabal pressed a gun into his arms. Ajay only gave him a puzzled look as the terrorist rushed outside with a gun in hand.

Not knowing what else to do, but help, Ajay did as he was told and climbed the steps. He hid behind sandbags as he watched the scene unravel before him.

Waves of the Royal Army came in snowmobiles or on foot. The shot and shouted as the fight wore on.

Although they were clearly outnumbered and outgunned, they fought until their last breath. Ajay had to say that these guys were brave.

As much as Ajay wanted to stay out of the fight, he couldn't be helped but dragged in when a bullet lodged into the wall behind him. A bullet that was meant for him.

Ajay's heart stopped as his mind tried to explain what just happened. Clearly it was some form of accident. Some kind of misfire. They wouldn't actually try to kill him, right?

But the next wave of bullets flying in his general direction said otherwise.

Ducking behind the wall of sandbags, Ajay's heart thumped as the bullets sunk into any object they could find. Ajay quickly decided it was kill or be killed.

With newfound vigor, Ajay placed his gun atop the wall and pulled the trigger. One quick shot made a man drop. Another caused a snowmobile to explode.

The Golden Path was slowly gaining the upper hand.

"Avalanche!"

Ajay turned up to see a stampede of snow.

"Quick! Take cover!"

Not knowing what else to do, Ajay fled inside the tower and took refuge behind a wall. Snow came in and covered him in bone chilling cold. And again his world turned dark.

Well, momentarily.

Ajay was basked in light as he pushed the piles of snow off of him. Struggling to find some sort of ledge to pull himself out.

"You're a tough man to kill Ajay Ghale." Sabal said as he aided him.

"That's a good thing, right?"

Chapter Text

After the avalanche incident, Sabal had taken Ajay back to a small village named Banapur. It was a farming village with a few fields here and there but also the home of the Golden Path.

He had heard the name Banapur slip from his parents' lips more than once or twice, but never paid to much mind to it since it wasn't his responsibility... yet. Once he becomes king, all of Kyrat's problems will become his. And his parents couldn't stress this enough, making him almost anxious. But he knew soon he'll learn.

But back to Banapur.

Once the small troop of the Golden Path and Ajay arrived, a woman and a young girl appeared. The woman seemed upset with Darpan's lost and even more with Ajay's arrival.

"We're in a fucking war." She seethed. "We don't have time for tourists."

She turned and stalked away with the young girl in tow.

Sabal later told him the woman was Amita, the other head of the Golden Path. He then left, saying he had business to attend to, but also told Ajay to make himself at home.

And Ajay took it upon himself to explore the small village, strolling through the streets, if you called narrow dirt roads that, and later walked in on a target practice with Amita and the young girl.

"Keep practicing," the woman instructed then turn to Ajay, "Look, I know I overreacted a bit back there, and I just wanted to apologize."

Ajay stood quiet, not knowing what els to say.

"I'm Amita," she introduced and gestured to the young girl, "And this is Badhra."

"Hi," Ajay waved at the girl with a bow in her hand. A sense of shame washed upon himself.

It just seemed so wrong seeing a child having to defend herself. Even his father looked down on child soldiers.

He wanted to help, make the people happy, and avoid going back to the Royal Palace. His father's soldiers already seemed to think him as the enemy now. For some reason.

"Is there any way I can help?"

Amita paused and scanned the land around her deep in thought. Her eyes fell upon the arrows and a bow on the table beside them.

"There's a farm not too far from here and Old Aisha has a wolf problem. Take the bow and arrow and go talk to her."

Without any further questions, Ajay did as he was told and departed to said location.

Once arriving he found the old woman, had Amita instruct him what to do, then set out to said wolf den.

It wasn't that much of a hassle. Ajay was easily able to take out each wolf, skin them, then shot an arrow at the red barrel inside. And after a few minutes of mourning for the corpses there, he returned to find Amita with Badhra tending to Old Aisha's wounds.

He even learned about thangnka paintings and how Badhra was the next Tarun Matara. But like Amita, he didn't think it was right for the girl.

"Head back to Banapur. Here's your reward and get some rest." Amita said as she followed the other two inside Aisha's house.

And Ajay did.

He travelled all the way back to his temporary home.

Inside, he discarded his boots and jacket and crawled into bed. Until something caught his eye.

A red book lied on the table. Possibly from the previous owner.

Nonchalantly, Ajay walked over and examined it. Inside was a journal of a certain Mohan Ghale.

Questions began popping in Ajay's head. Was he the same Mohan that Sabal was talking about when he called Ajay the son of Mohan? And why the hell is this guy talking about marrying Ishwari? His own mother!?

This wasn't right. This certainly wasn't right.

His mother never talked about almost marrying another man. She never talked about marrying another man except Pagan, Ajay's father. His real father. Not some Mohan guy.

Heart heavy and brain filled with unending questions, Ajay laid in bed awake and confused. It was well past an hour before he actually did drifted into sleep.

Chapter Text

It was well into the afternoon when Ajay decided to visit Sabal. After asking a few locals of his location, he was able to find him in a small hut. What he didn't expect to find was the screaming and yelling.

To say inside was a mess was a understatement.

A man screamed bloody murder on the bed as Sabala clutched onto his hand and screamed at the others.

"Give him some morphine!" He screamed then pointed at the radio that spouted words of Pagan Min and his good works, "And turn that fucking radio off!"

A woman rushed passed Ajay with a tray.

"What happened to him?"

Sabal glanced at Ajay, eyes heavy with anger and exhaustion.

"He fell." He seethed. "Pagan floods the airways and we have to endure his bullshit!" He gazed at the man in bed. "I asked him to climb the bell towers. Locate the transmitters. Hijack the broadcast locally. Except-"

The man wailed.

"I can do it." Ajay spoke up.

"Way to step up, brother." Pride or something or beginning to swell in his chest.

"There's nobody guarding it, but it's a tricky climb." Sabal warned. "Promise me you won't fall."

"I won't," Ajay began heading or the door, "I promise."

And he was out.

It took him a while to find it, but he eventually did. At the bottom of the cliff was where the fall happened, Ajy presumed.

A body bloodied and tangled in with the rocks that were painted red. Ajay grabbed the used rope and grappling near the corpse, and head to the rock wall.

It was like mountain climbing with Michiko.

Ajay shook his head. He shouldn't think about her. It'll only make him feel worse. Besides, while he was here helping Sabal, she's most likely storming through Kyrat looking for him. He began to wonder what she would say once she does.

He chuckled.

He would get an earful.

But back to climbing. He successfully scaled the wall and headed towards the tower. At the entrance was one of the Royal Army.

Ajay huffed in annoyance.

"'Nobody's guarding the tower.'" He mimicked Sabal.

He snuck close to the man, remained unaware and pondered. Should he kill the man or should he maybe just choke him out? It was tough.

On one hand, it was his father's men; on the other, it was the men who did shoot at him.

Better to kill then be killed.

Ajay covered his mouth and sunk his knife deep into the man's back. With that done, he crept up the tower. Climbing ledges, shimmying along the edges, and smashing wooden boards. He was able to reach the top, with another guard at the top, and easily hijacked the radio once the guard has been taken care of.

It was strange to say, but he felt... good? He wasn't sure. But he enjoyed the feeling of helping these people. Yeah, they're the terrorists tearing the country apart, but they had so little. And Sabal wasn't all that bad.

Ajay only wanted to please the terrorist and nearly slapped himself for how crazy it sounded. He needed to think with his head and not with his dick.

The prince picked up his radio and called the man on his mind.

"Radio tower taken care of." He announced.
"Good job, brother." Sabal sounded more than pleased, sending butterflies in his stomach. "For your reward, head moved to Longinus. He'll give you some guns to better protect yourself. Stay safe, Ajay."

"I will."

Chapter Text

Sabal had told Ajay to head to Longinus, and of course he made his way over. Ajay admired Sabal. The man was a natural born leader, quick to make decisions and looked after the well being of his people. Other than the fact that he is the leader of the Golden Path, Ajay couldn't understand how his father hated him. If the two sat down, they could surely straighten things out.

Sabal was handsome. Ajay had to admit. No. He was fucking hot. That jawline, his unique hair, and those eyes that seem to bore into him. Ajay couldn't help but feel tingly when he was near the man or even spoke to him. Michiko would've teased him that he had it bad. Worse than a high school girl.

God he needed to get his head straight. And return to the Royal Palace.

But for now he needed to meet this Longinus guy.

He noticed the hut and the Golden Path members outside practicing. Gunshots cracked in the air as bullets lodged themselves into the targets, some landing in the dirt nearby.

Ajay parked the ATV and entered the hut.

"You're Ajay Ghale!" A freckled, dark-skinned man instantly rushed to him. Ajay leaned away from his face, smelling alcohol and other foul smells. Was this Longinus?

"Are you Longinus?" The man nodded. "What is this place?"

"A church!" And he instantly began to ramble about God and the church he has established. What shocked Ajay was that Longinus was pro-guns. What kind of a church encouraged violence!?

Ajay had to lean to his sides to avoid the aim of the gun Longinus held as he preached and waved the weapon around like it was some god damned toy. He didn't know how long he could stay with this mad man. Thankfully the radio crackled and Sabal's voice was carried throughout the small room.

"Ajay! Come back to Banapur! We're under attack! Ajay!" Gunshots filled the room as Sabal shouted orders. Longinus handed a gun to Ajay, reciting one more verse before pushing him out.

Ajay only had one thing on his mind.

'What the fuck was that?'

Without wasting anymore time, Ajay hopped onto the ATV and sped to Banapur.

Smoke filled his nose and the sight of a burning village filled his eyes. People scream and ran in pure terror was the Royal Army stormed the small village. The Golden Path fought back, shooting and getting shot at. It was chaos.

Ajay instantly climbed of the vehicle and went to aid the Golden Path. All instincts screamed to help the people. He understood the two hated each other, but was completely disgusted when he noticed members of the Royal Army wailing down on an old man. Why would his father's men attack civilians?

Raising his gun, he shot the two men. The old man laid prone, trembling in fear.

Ajay continued to fight, avoiding the crazy men with malatovs and shooting at the reinforcements. His time training with the Royal Army sure paid off and it gave a twinge of guilt to Ajay to use his skills on them.

The numbers of the Royal Arny began to dwindle and the Golden Path was beginning to gain their confidence. They fought with new vigor.

Preoccupied with the men before him, Ajay failed to noticed a member of the Royal Army behind him. The world was turned upside down as Ajay was tackled by the man who straddled his torso. In his hand was a machete. And the soldier shouted a word Ajay would've never thought he would hear.

"Traitor to Min!"

But before he could plunge the blade into the prince, his body jerked to the side as a bullet sped into his skull. Sabal stood, a gun in hand, with a look of pure rage. He rushed to Ajay and pulled the stun man to his feet.

"Are you okay?"
"Yeah..." Ajay responded, still shaken.
"Badhra is still inside." Sabal pointed at a burning building.
Snapping out of his trance, Ajay was instantly on his feet.

"I'll get her."
"Be safe, brother."

Ajay ran to the back for an entrance. The door was engulfed in orange flames and resulted in the prince crashing through the window. Recovering from his heroic display, Ajay began to search the house. Crouched low to avoid the smoke, he hacked and shouted for Badhra.

Instead of hearing a response, he found her on the floor. His heart sunk low to the thought of the dead child.

Ajay scooped her into his arms and headed for the escape route. The window.

Shards of glass and cool fresh air swarmed the two as they tumbled onto the ground. They gasped, gulping in the air and coughing out the smoke that managed inside their lungs.

Amita was quick to rush to Badhra's side as Sabal was at his.

"This is what I meant, Sabal! We hit up DePleur's house and he comes to us! This is why I told you it was dangerous-"

Anita's lecture quickly ended when Badhra broke from her grasp and rushed to Ajay, wrapping her arms around his waist. He patted her back in an semi-attempt to return the affection. But that affection grew when the Tarun Matara looked up to him and thanked him. He was getting attached.

The leaders of the Golden Path seemed to be shocked by Badhra's action, but quickly recovered and Amita ushered the girl away.

"Thank you." Amita said before leaving. Sabal's eyes held the same emotion as he patted Ajay's shoulder and left to inspect the damage that has been done.

In the back of Ajay's mind, her played the words the soldier had said. He was betraying his father as he was getting attached to the people of the Golden Path.

Chapter Text

A few weeks have passed with the Golden Path. Ajay has adapted to the role as Son of Mohan, yet still confused of the man shrouded in mystery. The people of Banapur have somewhat recovered from DePluer's attack- some of the buildings were still under construction- and the fields were full of vegetation.

At this point, Ajay has already gotten used to the attacks from the Royal Army and their accuses of Ajay betraying his own father. Of course Ajay wanted to get to the bottom of all of this delirium, but with all the attacks and the word out for Ajay's arrest, it was better to stay away. He wouldn't even turn himself in. Ajay was sure at this point that they would kill him the second they see him.

The only best option was for him to lay low and wait for Michiko.

Besides, Ajay was enjoying his time with the people of Banapur. His small talks with Sabal that made his heart beat a second faster, Amita's talk of a better Kyrat, and the play dates with Badhra.

The poor girl was the Tatum Matara, which Ajay learned was basically a walking goddess. Of course Ajay agreed with Amita that this was too much for the teen, and he took it upon himself to help her spend her time as one. Instantly he took the role as the big brother, but then again, he always wanted a little sister.

He'd take her out in joyrides and sneak out to go swim or hunt, which later earned them both lectures from both Sabal and Amita. He even got in a few arguments with the leaders of how much pressure they put on the little girl. Yet the two were stubborn as hell and remained to their beliefs of warfare and bloodshed.

Luckily, there were other people who weren't as stuck up as the leaders.

Ajay met Hurk, who was too entertaining in his weird ways. The two would go out and raid Royal Army camps- Hurk's idea. Reggie and Yogi were an unique pair. The brothers had their ways of relaxing which Ajay would occasionally partake in when too stressed. Of course he made sure to keep Badhra away from their influences. And Rabi Ray Rana was always pumped with energy. Him and his weird pet.

All in all, Ajay was satisfied with his expanded circle of friends.

It was a regular day for Ajay since his recruitment into the Golden Path. A chilly wind blew in from the open windows and shifted the smoke filling Reggie's and Yogi's hut to the wall. The three men felt so relax. Talking nonsense and taking sips from beer bottles. Ajay felt so light and carefree. He almost forgot that there was a group of rebels depending on him from a overbearing king. But the crackling and Sabal's voice from his radio yanked him back to harsh reality.

"Ajay!"

The three men jumped. For a moment, they believed the man was actually in the hut.

Ajay fumbled with the radio before bringing it up to his face.

"Yeah?"

"We need you back here now!" Panic was present in his voice.

"What's going on?" Ajay asked and threw a worried glance to Yogi.

"We're under attack!" Sabal said and a gunshot was heard along with Sabal shouting at someone to get down. As if a bucket of cold water was splashed onto him, Ajay was instantly alert. He was already packing his things and heading for the door.

"I'm on my way, Sabal!"

"Oooh, Ajay's kissing Sabal's ass again!" Reggie wooed and broke into a fit of giggles. A hint of red was on Ajay's cheeks as he rolled his eyes at his friend who was currently high off his ass. Yogi joined in on the teasing, making kissing noises and occasionally moaning Sabal's name.

"Not funny, guys." Ajay warned. "Can't you hear they're under attack?"
"And you'll go into to save Sabal." Yogi snorted.
"D'you think he'll let you fuck him good after?" Reggie asked.
Yogi snorted and slapped his brother. "Nah, I'm sure Ajay bottoms."

The prince's cheeks were a shade of scarlet as he instantly left the hut, slamming the door behind them. He never should've drank with them. It's the only times he lets his secrets flow like water.

Once Ajay arrived, he was greeted with a loud crack of a bullet and a few bodies strewn about in the streets. People screamed and ducked for cover and Ajay was instantly looking for Sabal.

"Sabal-" A hand grabbed his hoodie and yanked him into a hut, slamming the door behind him and pulling him to the floor.
"Stay away from the windows!" Sabal shouted.

A rebel was too dumb to listen. Too curious, he peeked over the window sill and the glass shattered. The inside of the rebel's head painted the walls behind him as his body went limp. There was a loud crack as what was left of his head smacked against the floor. Ajay nearly hurled. Beside him, Sabal let out a string of curses.

"I can do this all day, Sabal!" A familiar voice rang from the streets.

"Leave us, Royal Army spy!" Sabal shouted.

Another shot rang and there was a thud from outside. Someone else had died. Another rebel, possibly close to the recently killed person, ran into the streets shouting insults to the shooter before being shot himself.

Ajay simultaneously wanted to curl into himself and run out and reunite with the shooter.

"Where is Ajay Ghale, Sabal!" The shoot shouted. Then she started counting.

"One!" A bullet flew through the window, taking down another rebel.
"Two!" A hole was carved from a bullet into the wall, dangerously close to Sabal's head.
"Don't make me go to three!" She warned.

There was a moment of silence before she shouted, "Three!"

An array of bullets flew into the hut- embedding into the walls, destroying the decorations, and killing some of the remaining rebels.

Sabal hurled himself at Ajay, effectively pinning him down in an attempt to cover the younger man from the bullets. The only thing that Ajay could think of was how close their faces were.

"Where the hell did she manage to get a machine gun?" Sabal cursed and remained frozen in place.

A good three minutes passed when the gun has emptied itself of its bullets, and Ajay knew she was reloading.

Wanting to end this chaos, Ajay ran into the streets, arms up and screaming.

"Michiko! Stop! It's me! I'm fine! I'm fine!"

There was a long pause before she responded.

"Oh hey, Ajay."

Chapter Text

Ajay was torn. On one hand he was glad to have Michiko by his side once more but on the other hand he knew that his past few weeks with the Golden Path was over. He knew he had to return to the Royal Palace and resume his boring life. Basically he was switching between relief and dread.

Michiko however remained pissed, her default emotion.

Only once in a blue moon does Ajay actually see her crack a smile—he was certain the girl doesn’t even know how to laugh. Maybe he should have her spend an evening with Reggie and Yogi. That’ll probably loosen her up. But then again, they’re dealing with a trained bodyguard with a stick up her ass.

Ajay shuddered at the thought of the possible murder.

Now, he wasn’t dealing with two stoners and the bodyguard. No, he’s dealing with something much worse.

Said bodyguard and the heads of a terrorist group.

Michiko eyed the two leaders as they muttered angrily between themselves, throwing glares at her from time to time. Ajay stood between the two parties, feeling needed and entirely out of place. The tension was thick enough to be sliced by his kukri knife.

“Ajay.” Sabal beckoned the man towards him and Amita. And as he stood huddled between the two leaders, Sabal asked, “Can she be trusted?”

A simple yes wouldn’t do. The woman just killed seven people. Their people. It’s a shock she wasn’t shot yet.

Ajay’s brain scrambled to find the best way to explain without anymore bloodshed.

“She’s my bodyguard.”

The two looked perplexed.

“Since when?” The symbol on Amita’s forehead crumpled as she frowned.
“Since forever?”
“How?”
“Ajay...” Sabal’s words flowed like molasses, thick with worry and suspicion, “She’s wearing Royal Army uniform.”

Ajay glanced back at Michiko. A red military coat over a black turtle neck and black kakis tucked into combat boots. She looked like the very definition of a Royal Army soldier. Scratch the fact that her chocolate locks were carelessly thrown over her shoulders. Her eyes narrowed to slits—as if they already weren’t—as they met the leaders’.

“Is she Royal Army?” Amita questioned.

Heck, Ajay didn’t want to lie to them. But he didn’t want to die either.

“Yes.”

They reacted as Ajay feared.

Sabal had his gun out and aimed at Michiko who pulled out one as well and snatched a Golden Path member who stood too close. The woman let out a cry as Michiko placed the cold muzzle against her temple.

“If you don’t want the body count to keep growing,” she hissed, “I suggest you put down the gun.”
“You’re outnumbered. You really think you can get out of this alive?” Sabal cocked his gun and Ajay knew that this was spiraling out of control.
“I’ve been trained.”
“So?”

“She’s not kidding, Sabal,” Ajay threw himself between them, “She’s one of the best in the army. That’s why she was appointed to me.”

 

“Son of Mohan!” Sabal was growing restless and Ajay feared that the next seconds would result in him laying on the floor with a bullet in his brain. He needed to calm him down and explain everything.

“That’s not me!”

Sabal lowered his gun and Michiko threw the woman aside but kept the gun in her hand.

“I’m not this Mohan’s son, Sabal.”
“Your mother is Ishwari Ghale is she not?”
“Yes, but my father isn’t Mohan. My dad’s Pagan.”
“Then you’re a spy!” Amita spat.
“No! No, I’m not!”

This was all a big mess. How could he explain this whole thing to them and not die? It’s not everyday you’d end up in a room outnumbered by your father’s enemies. But then again, there’s Michiko who’d snap anyone neck just because they looked at him funny.

“Jesus Christ,” the girl sat back in her chair and crossed her legs, “You guys need to sort this mess out.”

Obviously sick of their shit, Ajay knew he was on his own. She was sitting this one out. She had good instincts, and for her to not be on edge around them told Ajay he was safe.

“Can... can we sit?”

 

Seated at a table far from the crime scene, Ajay was able to tell his story of being mistakenly taken from his uncle’s place and plopped into the Golden Path’s lap. He told them of his upbringing in the Royal Palace and the recent death of Ishwari.

“This entire time,” Sabal pinched the bridge of his nose, “you were in Kyrat.”
“Where else would I be?”
“Ajay,” Amita shot a worried look to Sabal, “we’ve been told that your mother took you to America after the death of your father.”
“You mean the death of the man who you think is my father. How many times have I told you: Pagan Min is my dad.”
“I remembered Mohan, Ajay,” Sabal had such a stern look that Ajay had no choice but to shut up and listen, “I was ten when you were born. I remembered your parents and the rest of Kyrat celebrating your birth. I remember seeing you as a baby. Mohan Ghale is your father.”

The chair scraped against the wooden floor as Ajay abruptly stood.

“No no no. That doesn’t add up. This doesn’t make any sense.”

“Your father died and Ishwari fled to America with you. Darpan was told you were in Kyrat and went to investigate, but was caught. We went to go rescue him, Ajay,” Sabal continued, “and that’s when I found you. We rescued you from De Pleur’s mansion.”

At this point, everything was beginning to feel numb as Ajay’s head was trying so hard to grasp at Sabal’s words. He didn’t know what to choose. Sabal’s words or his own. He grew up in that palace, running through the halls and causing trouble for the housekeepers. He was raised under Pagan’s watch, tucked into bed every night with a kiss to his forehead, and was held as he cried from a bee sting. Hell, he took baths with the man and his mother. They were a family.

Or so he thought.

With the mounting evidence saying otherwise, Ajay wasn’t sure.

“That journal in my hut.” He recalled.
“That’s Mohan’s.” Amita said.
“It says he married my mom.”
“He did.” Sabal confirmed.
“Are there any more?”
“They’re scattered around Kyrat, but we have a map.” Sabal stood and left to retrieve it.

Ajay turned to Michiko whose eyes glistened with mischief.

“Are we going on a journey of self-discovery?”

Chapter Text

Initially, Ajay didn’t expected finding this Mohan’s journals to be this hard. Don’t get it wrong. He was determined and passionate, but when the map indicated journals in almost unreachable places, it struck him as odd. This man certainly travelled Kyrat. From shrines hidden between mountains to caves with dusty old bones wrapped around an European uniform. Ajay was even more shocked to see a journal in a more ordinary environment, such as a hut in a village. And reading each one gave him more insight into his supposed father. The evidence all points to Mohan, but that sliver of hope and doubt clutched onto Ajay and hoped that this was all a misunderstanding. That there might’ve been some big story behind all this to sort this mess out.

But each one only tore more holes into Ajay’s fabricated childhood.

Another journal was located in a cave—shocking—in the Himalayas. The howling winds were blocked by the icy stone walls, creating a less than comfortable shelter for Ajay and Michiko.

The prince sat against the wall with the leather-bound book pressed against his chest. He’s already read like the others. Over and over as he turned the written words in his mind to find some fault. But each seemed honest and real. He heaved a breath that formed a cloud that pushed away from his mouth and dissipating in the crisp air. He clenched his jaw in hopes to stop its chattering. Wood creaked and scraped against stone as Michiko shifted boxes of supply about. It was no doubt the storm brewing outside will be impossible to trek through. They were staying in the cave until it passes.

Grabbing a bottle of rum she was able to salvage from the crates, Michiko slid against the wall opposite of Ajay until her bum made contact to the floor and she slouched. It was her problem that made her a few inches shorter than she actually was. But when necessary, she would straighten herself to make her seem almost a foot taller and all the more intimidating. Everyone feared her. Scratch that. Everyone except Yuma, Min, and Ajay feared her. Ishwari adored her like she was her own daughter, and deep down, Ajay would believe for a split second that the feeling was mutual. She wasn’t a very social person which leads others to believe she was nothing more than a bitch. The prince always thought how things would be if she was more open. Or the way she was before her time on the islands. He wondered if she could possibly befriend the Golden Path leaders. Maybe see them as he did, and have them see her as he does. But as stoic as she was, she was also observant.

She took a swig of the alcohol and said, “So, Sabal, huh?” and Ajay knew she had caught on. A hint of a smirk was on his bodyguard’s lips when his body involuntarily jumped and flushed. He threw a glare that was responded with a chuckle. “Oh, you really think I wouldn’t know? My job is to watch you, Ajay.”

“Am I that obvious?”
A smug smile hidden behind the mouth of the bottle was her answer.
“Don’t tell, Dad.”
“You got it that hard?”
He nodded with a sigh.
“How did this even happen?”
“When I met him?”

Michiko arched a brow.

“Oh, c’mon. He’s hot-“
“That I can agree with.”
“And he’s really sweet and passionate and thoughtful.”
“He’s a leader of the terrorist group challenging your dad and a Kyrati culture fanatic. He’s obviously deep into the religion. Do you really think he sees homosexuality the same way as you?”

Always the cautious one, Michiko had voiced the doubt in Ajay’s head. It hurt to listen, but the possibility was more probable than the fantasy he composed.

“I’m sorry,” she mumbled, “but I’m your bodyguard and friend. It’s my job to protect you.”
“I know.”
“Anyways,” a cough split the still air, “how’s Mohan’s journal? Anything new?”

The book in hand returned to his full attention. He flipped through the brittle yellowed pages and examined the cover as if it would give him hidden information.

“It only agrees with what Sabal said.”

He took a breath and swallowed a forming lump.

“Michiko, what if he’s right? What if Dad—Pagan Min isn’t really my dad? What if this Mohan guy is? It says it right here! He talks about me! He talks about Mom! From what I read, they used to work together! This isn’t making any sense!” He had to stop himself before the tears start flowing. With his throat tight, he couldn’t do anything but have hundreds of thoughts and theories run loose in his head. He was stuck and confused and miserable. He wanted his parents, as childish as it sounds, but he was struggling, dammit. And he was sure they would explain everything to him.

Before the first tear could make its appearance, Michiko had already stood and made her way to Ajay to crouch before him and place a hand on his shoulder. The attempt at comfort was supportive enough for him to reel back the approaching panic attack. He looked up to her round face framed by her brown locks.

“Hey,” her hand massaged his shoulder, “we’re gonna get to the bottom of this. Trust me.”

And with an unspoken exchange of words, Ajay leaned to his left to make room for her to plop down beside him. He rocked back to his right and rested his head on her shoulder. With the winds howling outside and the long pause between each breath exhaled from Michiko’s lips, Ajay was able to dose off into a dreamless sleep.

Chapter Text

The journals smack loudly against the wooden table where a surprised Sabal sat. He raised his chin to the man who stood before him with a determined look. He wasn’t the same man he picked up from De Pleur’s mansion who slouched and pulled those kissable lips into a taut awkward smile when being the center of attention. After collecting some of Mohan’s journals, Ajay has definitely grew into his mold. He stood straighter and wore an aura that radiated dominance. Sabal was both glad and terrified. He needed a soldier, but wasn’t sure if Ajay would be so obedient anymore. Especially with that spy constantly at his side. The two were connected at the hip. Sabal didn’t like Michiko. No doubt about it. She murdered his men in cold blood, but she proved her skill in combat and is constantly watching Ajay’s back, meaning that the son of Mohan wouldn’t be dead anytime soon. Which meant they had an actual chance to take down Pagan. But with all the confusion running a muck in Ajay’s head, Sabal needed to win his trust back. And helping him locate the journals was a good place to start.

“You’ve found some, brother.”
“Yeah,” the wooden chair creaked as Ajay plopped onto it, “why’re those around Kyrat anyways?”
“To keep Pagan from finding them.”
“My ‘father’.” The prince was still adjusting to his new reality. “So, Da—I mean Pagan—betrayed my... father?”
The Golden Path leader nodded and sipped his tea.

Ajay lowered his chin and furrowed his brows as he sorted through the entire story. There was the royal family, then a rebellion that Mohan lead with the support of Pagan, who later backstabbed them and took the throne for himself. He was just trying to find out how Ishwari and Pagan found each other in this mess. And from what he read, it seemed Ishwari’s and Mohan’s marriage was doomed to fail. Sabal could only watch the handsome features contort into a pout as the man thought. He seemed to forget his presence as he glared holes into the table.

The terrorist cleared his throat, startling Ajay, and said, “Two men came by earlier.”
The prince cocked his head.
“They said their names were Yogi and Reggie. They wanted you back at the Ghale homestead.”

Ajay stood. “Oh, well, bye.”

 

“Ajay—ah!” Yogi jumped back as a muzzle of a handgun was placed on his forehead. Ajay was quick to push the muzzle down and cried out in frustration, “Michiko!”
The woman glared at him then to the two men.

“Who the fuck are they?” She raised her gun once more. “They’ve got trouble written all over their faces.”

“No no no,” he pushed down her arm once more, “they’re my friends. They stay here while I’m gone and let me smoke with them. They’re fine. I promise.”

Still glaring, Michiko slowly put the gun away. Her arms crossed over her chest and she continued to glower from the doorway.

“Wow,” Reggie let out an uneasy laugh, “what a firecracker.”
“Ha, yeah. Michiko’s like that.”
“Who is she?” Yogi through a weary glance in her direction.
“My bodyguard.”
“Hm, alright,” the stoner turned to her, “would you like to join us?”
“I’m fine.”
“We’ll be smoking for the next few hours.”

She remained unfazed.

“If you want, you can go leave. I’ll call you when I’m done.” Ajay suggested.
Her body stiffened as she thought it over then slackened. Uncrossing her arms, she turned to the door and swung it wide. “Please don’t get into too much trouble.” And she left.

“Some bodyguard,” Yogi was already lighting a blunt, “she just left you.”
“She’s really anti-drug.”
“That’s no fun.”
“I guess. She’s like a mom.”
“Speaking of fun.”

There was a sharp pinch on Ajay’s thigh. The man looked down to see Reggie pull a needle away.

“Wha...” the world was spinning so fast, “what was that?”

“Just some new stuff we’ve been trying out. Kicks your senses into high gear.” Yogi’s voice was fading in and out. Ajay stared at his mouth in hopes to understand what he was saying.

“Also Noore needs new contenders.” Reggie’s voice boomed too loudly in his head that he hissed and screwed his eyes shut.

“Who... who... sss... no...” and the world fades away.