Chapter 22: Fade to Black

Panchi and Mark changed a lot after their breakup. Panchi on a hand fully committed herself of her new status of religious leader and stopped any direct contact with Mark. Mark on the other hand formed his own church that was considered by many as more of a sect. He claimed that his scientific way opened all the gates of human fulfillment and masses crowded around him.

Panchi established her main church in India, her land of origin and controlled all the other churches that opened around the world under her authority. Her followers became the majority in many eastern countries such as India, Russia, China and Japan. Mark chose to establish his institution as he liked to call it in Roma, his birth city. He financed the construction of an immense building even bigger than the church of the eclipse that he used to go to and made it equipped with the latest technologies. His church was a living and cunning community that made incredible advances in science and lifestyle in general. He had many other smaller institutions with lots of adherent all over Europe and in the American continent.

The two groups soon became the most powerful and most followed philosophies on the globe. The other churches struggled to keep a fading minority that was becoming smaller and smaller every day. An invisible war was raging between the followers of the Sacred Optimus and the Counter Random theory. A war that influenced the very equilibrium of the planet as communities and countries following one way would stop their cooperation with countries following the other way. Economy started to show signs of crisis due to those massive conflicts and Chaos was upon the two churches.

Both Panchi and Mark knew that the conflict their churches were creating by clashing were pushing the world into Chaos and negating the power of the Order they tried to establish each on their one way. They both got to the same conclusion, they can’t both spread contradictory applications of the same principle, and only one way should be allowed to exist; the other church should disappear. They both thought that the best way to collapse the other’s church would be to kill the head of it. By some strange coincidence, they both hired the same hit-man to carry on the operation; a faceless killer only known under the pseudonym of S. Nobody ever entered in direct contact with S. Information and money was passed on to him through a very complicated and esoteric method, then the person designed ended up dying in mysterious conditions that the police never understood.

The two cult leaders thought of the same plan, the same symbolic gesture; they both ordered the murder of the other during another Gala of the Simon Dice foundation. It was the first time they were to meet in public again since six years, and they chose the same event where they met the first time.

A strong feeling of Déjà vu haunted Panchi as her Jet, a bigger one this time, landed in the airport of Roma, this time around, only a few journalist were there to meet her, and most of them were pretty harsh toward her. She didn’t care much about it, she knew that Italy was under the dominance of Mark and it didn’t really bother her. He want be a problem after tonight, she thought smiling to herself. This time around, she went directly to the Gala and surrounded herself with her crew to avoid any boring talk. She went straight to her table where she sat surrounded by two immense body guards.

Mark entered alone; Panchi knew that he didn’t need body guards, it was his land; he was untouchable around. He came to the table and sat next to Panchi not caring a bit about the two giant men on both her sides.

“It has been a while, I see that you are still as beautiful as the last time I saw you.” Mark said in a detached manner.

“I see that you are still the same as well.”

“Should I take this as a compliment?”

“You can take it as you like, but yes, it is a compliment indeed.”

Even if the two seemed to have an innocent flirt, tension was in the air. They both were two focused on their persona to notice it.

“This bring us to way back, I had a strange déjà vu all day.” Panchi said after a few seconds of silence.

“Yes! It was quite the night I believe. One of the best ones I ever had.” Mark said in a whisper.

Before Panchi could add anything, a waiter brought a bottle of wine and pored two flutes that he offered to the two. Panchi gently thanked him and took a sip. She stopped then as she recognized the flavor. She reached for the bottle and read the name before looking at Mark and smiling.

“Castel Rouge, 1878. The same good wine we had that night! I see that you have a keen liking for the details.” Panchi said taking another sip.

“Well, I don’t see you much lately my dear; I thought that some good wine would be the least I can offer you to apologize for this very long missed time.”

He took a sip himself.

“I forgot how charming you were.” Panchi said out of the blue.

“I didn’t forget how beautiful you are!” Mark responded.

As he finished his words, a waiter came to take away their bottle, Mark immediately reacted.

“We aren’t done yet with this bottle!”

“Yes!” Panchi concorded. “We will still have more from it, thank you very much.”

Panchi and Mark both raised their heads to look at the waiter. Both of them lost their social mask as both were shocked to see his face.

“You…” Mark whispered.

“Impossible…” Panchi followed.

Before they could realize it, the waiter left the bottle and took out two golden guns. The shots were clean and precise. Both Panchi and Mark received a bullet between the eyes.

Panchi opened her eyes and only saw blur for the first few seconds, than her vision adapted to the poor lighting of the room she was in. The first things she noticed were flakes of light coming of a small window. She then felt a terrible hedeach; she tried to remember how she got to that room but the only thing she could recall was meating with a mysterious person who gave her a memory drive. She couldn’t recall his name as hard as she tried to. Panchi was taken off her thought when she noticed someone moving on the couch in front of her. It was a young man that she never saw before.

“Slept well? Do you have any idea of where we are?” Panchi asked.

It took Mark a moment to answer, his mind was as blank as Panchi’s and he also suffered from a strong headache.

“No…Sorry, I don’t know how we got here, the last thing I remember was that man…”

“With the memory drive right? Can you recall his name?”

“No…Not really…”

“It’s okay; I think we were in some kind of experiment. My name is Panchi by the way!”

“I am Mark. I think you are right; we should probably go outside and see where we are.”

“Absolutely what I was thinking!” Panchi said with a smile.

She took his hand and led him out to the door; she didn’t really know, but she felt that she could trust him. Mark felt a little embarrassed at first, but he also felt happy; he didn’t knew what, but something seemed familiar to him about Panchi.

Outside, the two realized that they were in a house by the sea; they walked a bit before seeing people in roller blades and beach clothes. Panchi asked a bunch of guys who were playing basketball about the place they were in; they told her that it was L.A.

“What should we do now?” Marked asked Panchi.

“A coffee would be nice, and maybe some food! I am starving.”

Mark laughed a bit.

“What?” Panchi asked smiling.

“I am starving too, so yes! We should seek a coffee! Or restaurant.”

Panchi took Marks hand and both of the


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