the man kept tightening his grip and it was pretty evident to Zess that he wouldn't even shy away from killing him to erase the witness.
Zess, who was shocked at the utter sight of a dead body, now found himself being choked to death by an unknown murderer and also standing in the pool of blood that was slowly trickling down the corpse and onto the floor.
Even though Zess couldn't fight, he was strong, and he was not about to surrender to some crazy guy, he used his right leg, brought it forward and moved it back with all the strength he could muster up at that moment, he was able to directly hit the man's leg.
"Dammmm!!! you..." the man shouted in pain as he removed his grip on Zess and bent down to grab his leg.
Zess used this opportunity to regain his footing and assess the situation, he first looked around to see if he could find any sort of weapon, to his surprise, there was a Golf club right by a shelf near the main door.
Before the man could get up, he picked up the club and aimed directly for the man's head, he was just inches away from hitting him, when he suddenly couldn't move anymore.
He tried to move his legs and his eyes, his arms, nothing, he couldn't move a muscle. the man got up,
"hehe....well played boy...I believe we haven't been formally introduced, sorry for the rude welcome I gave you there...but is this how you thank a host..." The man spoke out elegantly as he got up, gone was his scratchy and rude tone.
Once he fully got up, he dusted off the dirt from his pants, Now that Zess couldn't move, he finally was able to notice that the man was rater formally dressed with what almost looked like a full tuxedo, He had kind of noticed it earlier but he was in such a hurry that he thought nothing of it.
'that's really weird, why would a murderer be wearing a formal outfit...aren't they supposed to blend in, this way he stands out like a sore thumb....what is he planning anyways....will I even get out alive....why can't I move???!!"
Zess broke into a sweat as he thought the situation through, the fact that he might never get to see sister Lara and the other kids at the orphanage again and he would never be able to visit the unprotected zones, sunk in and he got ready for the worst.
The man walked up to him and looked at Zess's Id, he then proceeded to place it on a shelf nearby.
"Hmmm, so your name is Zess...I see,..only fair that I introduce myself... I am 'Sir Arthur Cromwell' and I am a trained 'Civilian neutralizer' a lot of people call me things like criminal or murderer but I strongly disagree...wouldn't you Mr Zess"
The title 'Cromwell' confused Zess even more as it was one of the few 'forbidden titles' used across Jinyoso city, it belonged to Extremely rich families who had large business empires across the city, these were the families whose wealth had helped Jinyoso develop to the extent it had.
'But....the families who have forbidden titles have a direct hand in the cities management...they help to uphold law and order and also support the CDO's,...then why would a member of the family do something so vile??'
Zess had a lot of questions, but he couldn't even open his mouth, he was still stuck in the same position.
"I know you have a lot of questions, so let me answer them for you.....the reason you are the way you are now is because of my power I call it 'Elegant stasis', it allows me to lock any organism's muscles the way I want to, which disables all range of motion, now, how i achieve it...is well a secret...hehe"
"And now, to answer what is probably the second question you have in mind,...yes, I am from the great Cromwell family, an active member of the family at that, and here's my id see for yourself, as it is a forbidden title, no one but people from my family can use it right....i guess this much is proof enough for you"
Arthur steps up and slowly takes out his Id and brings it right in front of Zess's face,
Power: Elegant Stasis
Address: Cromwell mansion, Green Zone, Northern Prefecture, jinyoso
Affiliation: Cromwell Inc.
(Official Stamp of the Cromwell family)
'He was not kidding, he's the real deal, there's also an official stamp of the bottom right.....But why!!!..... Why!! would the Cromwell family do something like this??" Zess thought to himself as he was being shown the Id,
It was also not a normal Id, it had gold-laced borders and was made with pure leather, it was also a foldable id and it had the Cromwell family stamp on the outer cover as well.
Arthur put the wallet back into his coat's pocket and started to walk around Zess, he walked for a while, then went into the living room of the house and brought back a bottle of 'White swan wine'
which was one of the most expensive wines in Jinyoso, he also conveniently brought a wine glass with him.
"you see...Zess, I am a professional assassin....appointed by the Cromwell family"
He said, as firmly held the bottle by the base with his right hand, and slowly opened the lid of the bottle, He elegantly poured the wine, making sure not to splash any.
"hmmm....what a delightful smell..."
He digressed as he took a whiff of the wine.
The smell was really powerful, even Zess who was busy thinking of an escape plan, was captivated by the amazing smell that had been diffused in the air.
"So..., as I was saying, yes...hmm...I am a professional assassin and I take my craft very seriously, Officially, I am called a 'Civilian Neutralizer'... this man" he said after taking a sip from the glass and pointing at the body of Mr Mc'curty," was my target for the week...I only take up the most graceful jobs you see..., it was the love of this craft that left this unrepairable scar on my face, but I embrace it, just like I embrace the craft."He finished.
Zess, instead of paying attention to Arthur's musings, was busy formulating a plan of his own.
'This guy, whoever he is, specifically mentioned about how he used his powers, which tells me that there's something to it,...as he's not touching me I know it's not contact based, also he's drinking wine and walking around, which means his powers don't need him to be actively focused on the person it affects, his eyes also weren't fixated on me the entire time, so it's not vision-based either, so the type I suppose, it could be....hearing based, yes, he's sending out inaudible frequencies which Humans can't hear, but are affected by...it's only a theory but that's all I got now....i just need an opening, so I can test it out
While Zess was busy, Arthur noticed that he wasn't paying attention to his words,
he also quieted down, then suddenly, he threw the wine glass on the ground,' CRACK!!!' the sound was too loud and completely broke the silence, Zess was shocked, he wasn't expecting such behaviour from Arthur, after his...extensive 'i'm an elegant man act' act.
Arthur walked up to Zess, his looks were now similar to how he had been in the start, he took out a pocketknife from his coat pocket and stared directly into Zess's eyes,
"How dare you disregard my presence!!!," he shouted as he brought the knife close to Zess's face, his voice had now once again turned scratchy and low pitched. It was like Zess was suddenly in front of someone else, he didn't sound or talk like Arthur at all.
"you might,....be thinking why I told you all my secrets, it's because I plan to send you to the same place I send Mr Mc'curty, I'm going to stab you, and you won't even be able to scream, you won't even be able to move....hahaha, you'll have to slowly endure it till you eventually succumb to excessive blood loss" Arthur announced.
This sent a chill down Zess's spine, he was now certain that if he couldn't get an opening and if his theory proved wrong,...either way, one wrong step and it would be over for him.
That's when Arthur reached out to look at Zess's id one last time,
"After you, I'll hunt your guardian down,...hehe it'll be fun, stabbing them too in the back..." Arthur spoke as he picked up Zess's id from the shelf nearby.
Minor's identification card
Guardian: Lara miller
Address: Blue angels orphange, _____________________________
Affiliation: Faith,Powerless colony
That's when Arthur looked at it clearly, he had already previously noticed that it was not in a good shape and it looked tattered, its plastic lamination was starting to wear off....but he saw that there was duct tape all around the right of the card, at first sight, it looked like it was done just to hold it together, but it was clear to him that there was no reason one would use opaque, 'grey' duct tape, for that purpose, when the clear tape is readily available in every general goods shop, but then again, he hadn't thought about it up to that point.
'hmm....is this kid hiding something, all this seems too fishy,....maybe I should at least check his full name... ' Arthur thought to himself as he slightly peeled off the tape at the top to take a look,.
the moment he unpeeled a bit, to the point that he was able to decipher what Zess's title was, he was overcome with fear and his legs started shaking," what!!!! nooo, way....in a place like this.....but why in Faith!!!...why is that lowly scum Colony???" Arthur started talking loudly as he held his head using both of his arms.
He took a few steps back from Zess, Zess's id dropped from his hands as he couldn't believe what he had seen,
This gave Zess the opening, he could move now, Arthur's powers had been undone as he wasn't even thinking about trapping Zess anymore, all he could think about was Zess's Title.
Zess immediately used both of his hands to cup his ears and then proceeded to charge straight at Arthur, who was not even paying attention to him, this helped him out a lot as he tackled Arthur down and he fell straight against the door, with a loud 'thud', this time he wasn't going to falter, even before Arthur could get up, Zess made sure his ears were closed and he stood in front of him, ready to strike.
Arthur was completely out of strength, as Zess had really made most of the opportunity he had got and had aimed at his liver with his shoulder. Despite his high-class talks, Arthur was a rather skinny and weak looking fella, if it wasn't for his convenient power, he would have been no match for Zess
"how...how did you know....., nobody could have known about how I use my powers" Arthur spoke out...coughing up a lot in the process.
"I can't really hear you but I'll tell you, you call yourself a trained Assassin and a Civilian neutralizer, but for me, You are just a hideous mass murderer like any other....but only you're worse, as you use your Forbidden title to gain unfair privileges to help you in your business, while you should instead be using it for the betterment of the society...I am not sure what's going on within your family or why you feel it's right to kill people but...I know this, you shall never be the 'Elegant gentleman' that you think you are...Never....at least not like this. I Zess from Faith have one thing to say.....If you ever try to come even close to hurting Sister Lara or anyone at the orphanage, I'll make sure to personally escort you to hell...." Zess shouted at Arthur.
"That's not what I asked....but.....very well," Arthur replied in a struggling voice.
Arthur felt his end was nigh, that's when his life flashed before his eyes.