Before showing this, I’d just like to take some time and say a few words. First, this chapter has been a joy to write, especially since finding my groove and going to it. Did the content come easy before this? No, there were times when weeks/months passed & it felt like a dam went up, blocking my flow, but I never gave up! 🙂
Second: Thank you to my followers and those who stop by to my blog here. Without you and the likes, comments you leave, I’d probably be back blogging about my family 24/7. Finally, to all who left a like last week, wanting to see this so far, big thanks go out to anag7, (might’ve typoed your name, sorry) & Anime Girls NYC to name a few.
Alright, please keep in mind that even though I scanned through this, correcting errors I caught, there maybe a few left. And some names will be changed in the final work, please enjoy! 🙂
CHAPTER V: THE NEVER ENDING BATTLE
Author’s Note: Characters and ideas herein are copyrighted by me. Therefore, any unauthorized use of them will be met by a lawsuit.
Rated Mature: For violence/gore, language, and adult themes. So if you object, turn away now!
Hearing Blackrose roar like that, Dante didn’t need to guess that the vampire’s anger reached it’s boiling point, making the thought, “What would she do next?” enter his mind, having the warrior watch her closely. Though there wasn’t any doubt in his mind the vampire cat aided him in the fight against his sister, a feat he still had trouble believing, Shara vanished, leaving Dante wondering if Blackrose would attack him next, something chilling him to his core. Sure, he admitted she had a right to come after him, after all, he hid the fact that he could walk when they crossed swords, and yet, it always came into his mind that, if she wanted too, she could’ve read his thoughts, but didn’t, confusing the man now.
Looking at Dante, Blackrose knew she had the power of her transformed state at her disposal to kill him, a task the cat woman dreamed about since she marked him as her prey, but now, feelings she thought died with her morality started stirring with in her, calling into question her whole plan for him. As the vampire stood there staring at him, Blackrose could’ve sworn she felt something other than hate for the man. Shaking her head several times, trying to put herself together, her dark nature started clawing at her, attempting to regain control and kill Dante, an action being blocked by what might be her goodness.
“What is she waiting for?” ran across the Izurian warrior’s mind, like an arrow, causing Dante to wonder if he should run, but perhaps honor starting taking hold of him, because, “If I run then I’ll be a coward.” came from his lips in a mutter. Though he makes jokes and pokes fun at times, honor was something he held dear, making the man stay and see this out, whatever the end. While he readied himself for this standoff’s outcome, Eliza, one of the knights he had trained, and trusted came running with his now repaired sword. As she did, images of what Blackrose could do to her if provoked started playing in his mind, prompting the warrior to yell, “STOP!”, an order the female knight heeded.
Standing there, a bit of fear came over her, shadow cold as ice, the young woman felt like shaking when she saw the cat girl shoot her gaze her way, almost as if she was probing the knight’s mind. Yet, Dante’s order rang in her ear, freezing her in her tracks. Oh, Eliza admitted she would’ve went in, and fought this beast, probably dying when she fought alongside Dante months ago, and yer, his teachings stuck with her, cooling the girl’s head. Though in the grip of fear, thoughts of throwing her mentor his weapon began sprouting up like flowers in her head, making the woman slowly lift her arm, ready to toss the sword to him, but as she looked in Dante’s direction, he shot her a look, telling her not to be stupid.
While the two halves of Blackrose battle for control, many thoughts of her mortal life, and after started going through her mind, making the cat not move. As her thoughts of the past continued flowing in, having her frozen, some parts her vampire self denied long ago began to reawaken, causing what could be regret to come over Blackrose. Oh, there was no question about if she liked slaughtering men, women and the elderly, the cat knew it excited her, giving her a rush like no other. But now, with what might be her morality kicking in, fighting the darkness which controlled her for centuries, the vampire began to question all her deeds, Even though her past was being played for her as a form of judgment, a judgment a piece of the vampire knew had to be passed someday, Blackrose began walking towards Dante.
Seeing her walking his way, the warrior’s mind raced with various things, but “Is she friend or foe?” stood out from everything, making the man get into his stance. Though subtle, Dante could see the vampire cat’s inner war with herself rage, taring at her, something that made him want to help, though he didn’t know how he could, better yet, where the need to help her came from. While true, the Izurian warrior felt a pull that could’ve been a spark of interest in her that went beyond the cat woman just as his opponent in a game that lost it’s point long ago, but yet, at times, Dante found himself thinking of the cat vampire, wondering about her, which drove him insane. And even now, as she got closer, thoughts of wanting, no needing to help Blackrose entered his mind, closing it off from any other thought and taking center stage, having Dante shaking his head, muttering, “Why now?!” angrily.
Looking at her mentor, the female knight didn’t need to guess something had him and was taking his mind away from the approaching vampire, telling her to help him. Oh, Elisa wanted to move in the cat woman’s way to her teacher, but as she willed herself to move, Dante’s words, telling her not to be stupid started ringing through the young woman’s mind, freezing her. Watching this unnatural woman drawing closer to the man Elisa looked up to, possibly to kill him, didn’t sit well with her, making her feel ill when images of Dante’s death played before her eyes, but a feeling rushed over her, like some spirit that reached out to her from the other side, telling her Dante needs her now, which wiped away all, and had her standing in front of the man.
When the Izurian warrior looked up and saw the girl in front of him, blocking Blackrose, “That stupid woman.” began echoing in his mind, fanning the fires of Dante’s anger, and yet, maybe his conscience hit him, letting the man know the she came to his aid, having him calm down. Though he knew Elisa’s actions were honorable, a thought that brought a smile to his face, thoughts of what the vampire cat could do to her entered his mind, causing him to want to move his student, yet, he didn’t. “Why?” escaped Dante in a mutter. Sure, he didn’t wish death on the young woman, because to him, there had been enough bloodshed in this fight with Prince Alexdros already, so why can’t he move bothered him. It wasn’t fear of what the vampire cat had in mind for him, if she still wanted him dead, a thought the man put to rest when he saw her approaching, still the clouds of uncertainty clouded him, making him want to aid Blackrose, something that may get him and his student killed.
As the vampire stood in front of the man of what was once her play thing, Blackrose could hear her dark nature tell her to send this human to his grave, a thought that at one time gave her joy, but the cat lifted her hand, as if she wanted something. “Why are you doing this?” rang out through the dankness of her mind madly, yet,“It is time for a change.” a voice answered back, having Blackrose give a semi warm smile. Sure, these feelings she felt begin to take hold frightened her, that much she admitted, and she wouldn’t let her vampire side be tamed, at least not completely, but she knew Dante needed to finish the fight with the woman she fought against.
Seeing the cat, the person who he fought against more times then he wanted to count with her hand out threw him, having “That’s unlike her.” shoot through his mind, like an arrow. Even with questions of her intentions eating away at him, a voice that he could have sworn sounded like his mother came by his ear, telling him to go with the vampire, a request Dante answered by saying, “Elisa, stand down and give me my sword.” Oh, he knew she would think he was crazy, and half of him thought so too, but something told him he could trust that voice, having Dante step from behind the knight.
Watching her mentor, the question, “Is the vampire controlling him?” started going around Elisa’s mind, having her want to ask that out loud. She heard his order to give him his weapon, a task she volunteered to do, and would do, but seeing Dante start to have no fear of this creature didn’t make sense, causing her to think about stopping the man. And yet, as she looked into his eyes, a feeling she couldn’t explain began coming over the woman, quelling the fear she had for her teacher, compelling Elisa to give Dante his sword while bowing in respect.
After returning the bow with his own, a custom Blackrose didn’t think much of, Dante took hold of the Kahimoto’s sheath and like any good warrior, he could tell the sword wasn’t right, making him want to inspect it. Going to unsteathe the sword, a breeze began blowing, causing chills to go through the warrior, as if his mom was at his side telling him now wasn’t the time, which made Dante sheath the sword and take Blackrose’s hand. As she took to air, a feat only accomplished in her transformed state, many things about Blackrose’s actions in the last few minutes played in Dante’s brain, having his mind in a spin, but yet, he always thought of her, whether as a misguided feeling or something more, the warrior couldn’t say.
While in the air, a lot of thoughts about the coming showdown with his sister started crowding the warrior’s mind, causing a feeling he couldn’t place to creep in. Oh, he knew she needed to die for murdering the one who took them in, trained and loved them, a task he swore to their mother he would carry out. And yet, something about seeing Shara dead didn’t sit to well with Dante, having him shake his head, trying to ban it. As he continued fighting with that part of his mind calling for Shara to be spared, memories of the way she was before Bernith corrupted her began swirling in Dante’s mind, having the warrior want to go insane.
Perhaps Blackrose felt him moving in her arms, because she glanced at him. Looking at the man’s face, the vampire saw a bit of what could be doubt in his eyes, causing her evil to scream in her ear, telling her this would be the time to strike, but yet, for some reason, Blackrose didn’t want too. Sure, the vampire admitted killing him was what she dreamed of, at least at first, but now, maybe she saw more than just the blood lust, which drove her evil side crazy. Oh, though a part of the vampire knew goodness might have her, something the cat was still uneasy with, Blackrose stood by the fact that she wouldn’t be tamed completely, a thought making her grin come to her face.
As Dante caught her grin, “Damn, is she planning something?” crossed his mind, sending the warrior on alert, but Dante swore he heard his mother’s voice telling him to relax and focus on the coming battle, a fight that he knew he needed to have a clear head for, making him relax. When the two unlikely allies arrived at Yoruichi’s tomb, questions began filling the Izurian’s mind like a hot spring, but none of them stood out more than, “How did she know where this was?” As hard as it was for him to say aloud, Dante admitted that he himself didn’t know her tomb’s location, a fact he regretted on a daily basis.
After putting her once prey, now temporary alley down, dark aura started surrounding the vampire cat, transforming her back to normal. As soon as Blackrose felt her second stage being sealed, she looked at the warrior, unsure of his reaction. While true, she had a few things she had on her mind that the vampire wanted to say, mostly about his ploy, hiding the fact he could walk, but with her darkness clawing her and the coming battle, Blackrose kept silent, walking towards the tomb door.
Following her, Dante saw something in her eye, leading him to believe she wanted to end Shara herself, having him want to say something to her. “But what?” went through his mind, like a raging storm, chilling him to the bone. He knew Blackrose could very well end him, if she so wished, but she needed to know this was his duty, and most of all, honor demanded him too. After giving a heavy sigh, something his mother or queen Chanista might say popped into his mind, making Dante say, “Please don’t think I’m trying to control you, but this is my fight, but not just that, I swore to my mother, I’d do this.”
While hearing his reason for stopping her, every part of the vampire cat wanted to kill him then his sister, driving Blackrose to grind her fangs in anger. Though he told her he didn’t want to control her, to her, that was what he wanted to do, making her blood boil, which made her dark side stronger. And yet, right when it gained enough power to assert power over her, something came to her, stopping it, having Blackrose say, “Fine human, have it your way! However, talk to me about honor and duty again and I’ll kill you!” Oh, in a way, she understood his reason, in fact, to her, a part of her respected him for it, but she didn’t want him to know that.
As the two unlikely allies opened the door, a chill started climbing Dante’s spine, as if he felt his mother beside him, having the warrior mutter, “I’m sorry “mom” for what’s about to go on in your resting place. Please forgive us.” Giving a sigh, he and Blackrose entered the tomb, walking the long hallway, lit by torches. To him, having to fight Shara here seemed wrong in so many ways, making Dante’s temper flare up. He felt his composure begin to crumble with every step he took, but a piece of the warrior’s mind told him that’s what Shara wants from you, having him shake his head, refocusing himself.
Watching the man she fought so many times acting like this threw the vampire, sending questions new to her across her mind. Sure, Blackrose admitted to herself that if she knew this shook him up this bad, she would’ve fought him here herself. And yet, in a way, using a final resting place of someone close to you as a battleground was low, even by a vampire’s standards, having a demonic snarl escape Blackrose’s lips.
Once in the main chamber, the two saw Shara sitting on her knees in front of a coffin, having Dante grab the Kahimoto sword’s handle, but “It didn’t feel right.” crossed the warrior’s mind, making him let go of it. He knew the battle wouldn’t be easy empty handed, especially if she used her short sword, but even so, the warrior swore to himself not to use it. As he shot what could be anger her way, a memory of training with Tiger’s Fangs, their mother’s twin blades started to play in his head. In it, Dante could hear, “The swords can’t be swayed and used for evil.” echoing in his ear, letting, “You know, even if you kill me, mother’s swords won’t allow you to use them.”
Looking up, she hoped the time she had to regroup aided in keeping the insanity from showing, letting, “How do you know, brother? It wasn’t like she let us train with them.“ Oh, knowing that he could be speaking truth, something making her a bit ill, in her twisted head, ways she would corrupt the weapons and have them serve her began brewing in Shara’s mind. Standing up, putting her hand up, palm facing her brother, fingers bent, “This is a fight to the death! Don’t hold back, I know I won’t!” fell from the woman’s mouth in a half caring tone.
By the way his sister stood, Dante automatically knew that stance was an old Kumarian way of starting a duel, having the warrior do the same while walking towards her. “At least she’s being honorable.” went through his mind as he met her hand with his, putting them together. After honor was satisfied, Dante knew he couldn’t back out, but he had a feeling Shara may try something, causing him to plan ahead. And yet, not knowing what was going on in the woman’s unhinged world didn’t make it easy to guess, having Dante need to trust his instincts.
Watching the siblings ready themselves for their fight, Blackrose gave a sigh, but as her eyes fell on her human alley, she started questioning her motives for fighting him more, causing the cat to shake her head. Oh, in the beginning, she found it fun to dream of his blood on her blade, an idea driving her mad with blood lust, but it felt like the evil that Alucard, her Sire made her endure and embrace slowly began to lose it’s sway over her. Though she couldn’t understand where it came from, but feeling like the evil, which controlled her started bleeding off of her, letting some sort of peace come in began coming over Blackrose. Yet, if it did begin leaving, the question, “Where did it go?” began echoing in the vampire cat’s mind, making her worry.
Slowly returning to a stance after the custom, both Dante and Shara never let their gaze leave the other. Studying each other, making note of any little movement that could give away what the opening technique might be, the siblings knew the first blow would likely tell the outcome of the battle, having brother and sister empty their minds. After what seemed like an eternity, Dante saw his sister lunge at him with a jump kick, making him back up blocking, leading Shara to follow up with a few punches, driving the man back a he blocked, ending the flurry with a spinning back hand, which caught Dante on his jaw, sending him back flipping to get space.
Feeling his mouth, the thought, “Wow, she perfected that combo.” made its way through the man’s mind, having the Izurian want to give Shara encouragement. Sure, he knew this was a life or death battle, something a part of him didn’t really want, but knew had to be, they were brother and sister and though on different paths, Dante still loved her. As he reset his stance, many ways to counterattack flowed to the man, helping him plan, but watching his sister charge at him like a demon, one counter seemed appropriate, making him setup for it.
Though Blackrose fought him many times before, always shocked at the warrior’s speed and sense in battle, watching him in this fight amazed the vampire cat, having her ponder something she had never entertained in her past. To her, emotions such as love had no meaning, a fact Alucard, her Sire made sure of, chilling her unbeating heart with hate. Now, though not willing to be completely tamed, she didn’t rule out the idea of love, and from what she saw in Dante, maybe he could be her mate, a thought making her good side expel her darkness more.
As Shara ran toward her brother, her mask of sanity began chipping after seeing the stance he was in, having the thought, “That has never worked for him!” bang through her unstable mind, making her unleash a sidekick, which Dante blocked by lifting his leg. When the woman saw her kick being blocked, “How did he do that?” flooded in, chipping more of the mask away and letting anger grow. True, their mother taught them the same technique, Dante wasn’t much good blocking in that stance, something the woman admitted, causing her to throw the kick again. And again, the man blocked it, but threw out his own kick to her ribs, driving Shara back.
“What you don’t realize, sis is after you left to be with Bernith, I knew you would come for mother’s treasures, so I asked her to help me work on my techniques.” Dante said with passion. After he said that, something started snapping within the Izurian, shifting his mood from his light hearted way to all business, getting him ready to show Shara he wasn’t a kid anymore. Shooting a cold stare her way, it wasn’t lost on the man that he could use Cerberus, the Guardian Spirit which he fought against in Dracula’s castle and joined with the warrior, but no, every fiber of Dante’s being demanded he fight her one on one. having the man cast that thought aside.
Though not sure if it was anything malicious or not, the vampire woman saw a change in the human, having her study Dante intently. Sure, every part of Blackrose told her Dante fought her with all he had before, having her debate using her full power, but for some reason she could place, he seemed different. To her, it was as if a demon got control of the man yet if it had, she admitted she would have sensed it, causing, “What happen to you?” to be heard in a mutter.
Looking at her brother’s eyes, Shara saw that she hit a nerve with him, having her lick her lips while ways for her to end him began coming to the woman, like wild horses. Taking off towards him, as if a hell beast was at her heels, she knew what move she would open with, causing the young woman turn her body before she struck, trying to build momentum, but to her surprise, Dante sidestepped to the right, caught her back fist and unleashed a flurry of punches and kicks to her body, ending with him catching her arm in an armlock, flipping her. While recovering from her brother’s combination, trying to look as though his flurry didn’t phase her, something Shara had trouble doing, especially since the numbness in her arm from his arm lock made her arm feel on fire, she couldn’t believe Dante did that, better yet, executed that flurry so well, making a mix of anger and shock come over the woman.
Watching the battle between the two, Blackrose couldn’t deny feeling impressed how this human male handled himself, having a slight smile mold itself to her face. To her, it seemed like something had control of Dante, having him fight like a demon, but everything told her different, letting more thoughts of taking him as a mate seep in. Sure, pieces of the vampire cat questioned whether or not she was allowed to love, due to her past deeds, a past Blackrose knew she would undoubtedly answer for one day, making a cloud surround her, bringing her down. And yet, Blackrose still couldn’t deny feelings her darkness didn’t let her feel, having the cat watch Dante more, but what she didn’t know, a part of him loved her as well.
Eyeing her brother, the fire of what could be hate began burning within Shara, consuming the last of her sanity, having her draw her short sword. Twirling it, switching the grip in an effort to confuse her sibling, a lot of ways she could kill him started hitting her at once, having the woman laugh an unhinged way. She had to admit, fighting Dante made her blood pump like the old days, a fact Shara didn’t hide, but now, the fun had to end, causing her to run at Dante, yelling like she was insane.
As she ran towards him, Dante didn’t need to guess her plan, she wanted to end this, having him try working out a defense in his head, but out of every technique their mother taught them, nothing came to mind that seemed good enough. Oh, he could dodge her sword, especially now, that much he admitted, but attacking without a weapon wasn’t a task he would call easy, something Dante joked about in training, but it was no time for joking around. After debating all paths through this fight more than once, using the Kahimoto sword seemed like the only way, an option leaving a bad taste in the man’s mouth.
Seeing the man she might have feelings for struggling with something when his sister had his death on her mind made questions fly like bats in Blackrose’s mind, making her want to intervene, but some force she couldn’t explain came over the vampire cat, stopping her. “Why don’t you use your sword?” came out on the cat’s mouth in a mumble as she ground her fangs in what could be anger at whatever held power over her. Anytime when she fought him, though she was trying to kill him, Blackrose couldn’t believe how impressive Dante was with the sword, a feat she wouldn’t show. And yet, now it seemed like the man didn’t wish to use the blade, as if something was off with it, causing the vampire to think back.
Running towards her twin, Shara couldn’t keep the insane smirk from her face, seeing him not react. Sure, “Is he waiting for the last second to defend himself?” went through the woman’s insane mind half concerned, but all Shara cared for was his blood bathing her sword. She knew Dante wasn’t good at defending against a blade empty handed, even though their mother, Yoruichi trained them too, an admittance having the mask of sanity shatter completely, exposing her true self. And yet, nobody, not even she saw him kneel and draw the Kahimoto sword halfway from its sheathe, blocking her sword.
When Dante did, the clash of steel made a uneasy noise, having, “Please hold together, old friend.” fall from the man’s lips in a plea. As he drew it completely, driving Shara back, the Izurian warrior knew the sword wasn’t near what their mother forged, a fact making his heart sink, but he had no choice now. Resetting his stance, his eyes fixed themselves on her, trying to read her, but the man couldn’t get the fact that the sword may break, something Dante wouldn’t live with. Yet, even though the fear had him almost by the throat, choking him, Dante needed to put it aside and focus, causing him to twirl the sword.
As Blackrose saw the blade being out, a slight feeling of relief came over her, but looking at the sword, in a way, it didn’t look right. Of course she was no expert on human weapons, a fact the vampire admitted freely, but when she fought the man, she felt his sword’s force, a spirit fighting alongside Dante. But now, to her, the force felt fractured, like something happen to the sword, having Blackrose study Dante and his blade closely.
When Shara saw her brother holding the Kahimoto sword, the hatred grew even more, causing her to shoot a look that could kill a beast his way. Though she would never admit it, every time she watched him train with the blade, to her, it felt like their mother turned away from her, favoring Dante, making Shara hate him. As she set her stance, the woman’s insanity made her an open book, but in her mind, it was time for her brother’s death, and oh, she couldn’t keep the images of his crimson on her sword from running freely in her mind, having Shara launch after him.
Every part of the man could be heard screaming in his ear, telling Dante the Kahimoto wouldn’t withstand a full on beating if Shara pressed her attack, a fact that wasn’t lost on the Izurian warrior. Yet, “What option do I have?” went through the man’s head like wind, but all it did was invite sorrow in, making Dante feel worse. Sure, he knew what might happen if he used the weapon, an outcome that would make him feel like he dishonored the memory of their mother, Yoruichi, something ripping him apart inside. As he set his stance, preparing to launch after Shara, “I’m sorry.” passed his lips in a mutter, hoping the sword would forgive him if the outcome came to pass, then he ran to meet his sibling
Watching the man she once fought for fun, Blackrose could tell the sword’s well being weighed on his mind, especially from the silent words he said before meeting his sister, having, “Could this mortal sense the force as well?” to go around the vampire cat’s mind, peaking her interest in him more. Though not sure Dante knew of such a thing, but clearly a bond between the warrior and his blade was there, having a half smile appear on Blackrose’s face. While doing so, “What are you doing, kill him!” could be heard in her ear, an order getting weaker with every passing moment. Oh, Blackrose knew these new feelings would be a hard journey to go on, facts that she admitted, given her past and need for blood, but somehow she would find her way.
As brother and sister crossed swords, both began trying to gain the upper hand right away, having them keep up with the other. While trying to outdo her brother, the woman started seeing her twin flinch when their blades met, causing Shara to wonder what could be wrong. Sure, she didn’t really care, but if the sword was weakened, it could be broken, giving her an opening to kill him, a thought making Shara attack harder. Breaking Dante’s sword, a symbol, at least in her mind proving their mother cared for him more than her gave the woman pleasure, driving her to get even more violent.
With every clash, parry and blocked thrust, Dante saw cracks forming on the blade, letting his sorrow grow. And yet, he dare not let it show and let his sister see, because if she saw a hint of weakness, she would win. Parting to reset his stance and his emotions, the warrior knew this last move would decide his fate, but more so, it might be the Kahimoto sword’s end, a fact he would need to deal with. Giving a sigh of what could be regret, Dante twirled the weapon, and watched Shara, like a tiger watched its meal.
Pressing her attack, Shara couldn’t keep her insanity in check, making the woman cackle with each blow, which her brother blocked until the sword shattered, leaving half of the blade, guard and handle. Seeing her twin hold the broken weapon, a twisted sense of accomplishment came over her, having her switch her grip on her short sword, driving it downward toward his head. At the last second, the woman felt her arm stop moving mid attack, causing her eyes to widen as shock set in. “When did you…” trickled from Shara’s mouth in a disbelieving tone while feeling Dante’s grip tightening around her wrist, ready to snap it.
What Blackrose saw surprised even her, having the vampire try to put together the last few minutes, but no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t. Yet again, this human male moved as if he was one of the undead, which made a chill of excitement shoot up her spine. For the life of her, Blackrose didn’t see or hear the sword drop, having the cat ask the same question, but even she didn’t expect Dante’s next move.
While holding his sister’s wrist, the man could hear their mother’s last words, not to let anger rule him, echoing in his ear, an emotion he found hard to fight now. He knew why Shara caused their mother’s gift to him to shatter, making, “You know, dear sister. As we fought, I wanted to spare you, but after you caused her heirloom to break, I can see now that you will never understand! Thus, you have brought this on yourself!” As he said that last word, something snapped within him, having Dante break Shara’s wrist, causing her to drop her sword while screaming in pain, but as she did, the man pulled her towards him and drove his elbow into her neck, cutting off her airflow.
Staggering backwards, coughing, desperately trying to get air, she couldn’t believe Dante had it in him, having what could be a little fear knocking on the door of the woman’s mind, though Shara would never show it. Thinking back to their days in training, she would always have some backhanded remark about him not being willing to step up and do what needed to be done in sparring matches, something the young woman admitted was a ploy to motivate her brother. And yet, even with the sting of what Dante did growing with every labored breath, Shara still had trouble believing he did that, having, “Is this really my twin?” come front and center, but before she knew it, she saw Dante pass her, holding something.