Chapter 12:


Assassin's Hunter

My mouth gaped open, trying to process what had just transpired. I had fired a clean shot beating out every hurdle and hindrance, all to just stop in its tracks right in front of Dygen's face.

The earpiece in my right ear picked up screams and men shouting orders. The crowd must've just registered what happened: a killer had tried to take the life of Dygen. The floodlights beaming down at the stage started to shut off, with the crowd panicking, scrambling around like frightened rats.

My instincts kicked in, my hand reaching to move the bolt, reloading another round into the chamber clumsily, trying to ensure my target wouldn't get away. I inhaled quickly and tried to regain my focus.

Ba-bump… ba-bump… ba-bump…

Not good. My heart started to pulse faster from the tensity of my movements. I held my breath and looked down the scope once again to fire a second shot.

Before some personnel could take Dygen off stage, I saw him speak into a radio on his wristwatch. I couldn't make out the words, but his menacing gaze was still chillingly fixed directly on me. A subtle smile crept up on his resolved face. If he could smile like that, he would be either confident or crazy.

Shit, does he know where I am?

Too late, in the middle of my panic and doubt, Dygen was rushed off stage out of my line of sight. It was over. My best opportunity to kill Dygen had come and gone. But it wouldn't have worked, though.

He had some sort of shield on him to stop the bullet from reaching him. It was close, too, so he must've had it equipped directly on his person. I've never seen any technology like that before. It might seem simple and commonplace, but invisible barriers that could stop high-piercing bullets were unheard of.

Elena did a scoop on all of Dygen Corp's arsenal and tools, but nothing like that ever came up. While this unfortunate event was beyond my control, I still felt bitter for not being prepared. Whatever the case was, it was time to go.

I lifted the Chimera III off the ground, folded its bipod stand, and shook it hard for it to retract back into its collapsable form. I secured the rifle against my back tightly, adding a massive load for me to carry. It was snug up next to the scabbard holding my sword, which I always brought since it was my primary weapon, along with my pistol.

Since my get-out route was limited around me, I parked my motorbike a few buildings over to the west. I had to climb over and walk across the roofs to descend from my location.

I grabbed a grappling hook I had handy and shot it upwards to the roof above me. I zipped upwards a bit slower than average since I had the extra weight attached. Once I started running across the wet gravel of the rooftop, I heard a loud thud behind me, causing my heart to stop.

"There you are," a deep metallic voice spoke.

I turned back instinctively, drawing my pistol to my defense. I aimed it toward an ominous shadowy figure standing where I had just climbed from. It was Death. Or so I thought at first glance.

The person standing before me wore a steel mask with a fragmented design, appearing as if the mask were made of large metal shards. A black hooded cloak enveloped his body with underlying armor comprised of metallic and carbon fiber material. In his hand, he carried a jet-black handgun, intimidatingly large.

His voice was altered by what sounded like a modulator being used. The tone and unnerving nature of his voice still remained as he spoke.

"Are you Darkstar?… it has to be you. That's a rifle your carrying there, so you fired the shot," he looked around the area, searching for something, "Where's the girl? Is she not with you?" he rasped.

Little girl... no, it can't be... does he mean Ava?

"Who are you?" I wavered, still holding my pistol at him. My brain was racking right now, sensing immediate danger from this man.

"That's not your concern… if she's not with you… you'll have to take me to her," the figure stepped closer casually.

I fired my gun at him, the blast smaller compared to the Chimera II but just as deadly at this range. The bullet deflected off the man's mask cleanly without breaking his stride. I emptied the magazine, firing at every vital spot, hoping to make a killing blow.

Nothing. The dark figure stood standing unscathed by my pistol's fury. He glanced at my gun, knowing I was out of ammo. He continued walking forward as I frantically backed away. I holstered my weapon away, knowing it would be no use with him. His armor is more than tough, probably stronger than standard kevlar.

"My turn," the man said.

As he drew his handgun upward in my direction, I reached back to draw my sword. It was an art I was more skilled at than any other tool to kill with. Crazy as it sounded, I trusted my life with a blade more than I did with anything else, even against firearms.

My mind shut out the fear and worry I held and turned on its battle mode. The man shot out a few bullets at my torso. I dodge quickly to the right, kicking up gravel as I move. My body lunged forward, bringing my sword down at his neck.


The man's forearm metal plate deflected my blade from making contact. I gritted my teeth, pulling back to strike again. The dark attacker fired more bullets from his right hand, this time at my legs.

He's not trying to kill me... he wants to take me alive. He might be a bounty hunter.

I jumped forward, avoiding his attack, rolling to continue my momentum. I slashed at his torso rapidly. It felt like cutting concrete using a butter knife.

His movement was slow but precise and deadly. Every rapid combination I made, he only stepped forward or back a step to make a counterattack. I got the feeling he read my attack patterns like a book. Due to the ineffective blows, I lost my balance.

"Not sharp enough," the attacker hissed.

He rushed his left fist into my chest, sending me flying backward. I rolled against the wet gravel, scraping my face in the process. He was powerful for his medium build.

My blood pulsed faster all throughout my body. This fight was gonna take everything I got. I was already at a considerable disadvantage with the added weight from my rifle attached to my back.

My finger pressed against the grip of my sword, activating its special move. The edge of the blade glowed red hot from the increase in temperature. I got up immediately and darted low, gliding over the ground. The attacker fired off another bullet, but I moved my sword forward to block it. The impact stung my hand as the shot bounced off my blade.

I should be able to cut through his torso or any part of his armor that wasn't metal, using Molten Slash. I got close and poured out a stream of combinations. The cloaked attacker met every blow with a defensive dodge or parry from his metallic armor. Sparks were sent flying from the collision of my sword and his parries.

My body shifted, regaining control of the fight, but the attacker charged head-on. He raised his arm again, shooting off another attack to disarm me. I continuously moved around to avoid his bullets.

With a heavy grunt, I rushed again, this time tossing a miniature flashbang to his face to hopefully blind him for a second. The attacker still fired forward blindly, with the bullets whizzing past my arms. Finally, I put all my strength into my legs and flipped over my attacker.

Landing behind his field of vision, I jabbed the tip of my blade into his side. A direct hit, but not good enough! I pulled out and thrust again near his shoulder blade. The attacker, now recovered, annoyingly met my blade with his metal armor again. I kept my sword in place, pushing through to break his defense. The edge of the firey blade desperately tried to burn through the armor.


I broke away in vain to find another option. This wasn't looking good. It's been years since I've met an opponent who's been able to hold me off. I couldn't lose, but I don't think I'll survive if I keep going at this rate. Who knows when Dygen's guards will show up?

Dammit, I need to run!

I threw my last flashbang at my attacker to flee, but he pushed forward to pursue me. I jumped across the short gap to the next roof below. The dark attacker kept right behind me like a lion hunting its prey. I could hear his footsteps as he neared closer. I brought out my pistol to reload and fired blankly behind me as I ran.

Making my way to the final roof, I stopped near the ledge, looking down where I needed to go. All that was left now was to shake this hunter off my tail. The hunter stopped as well, knowing he had me cornered.

"I'm disappointed, Darkstar. I thought you would live up to your reputation, but I was wrong. There's still much of this world you haven't experienced… like facing defeat."

He spit out more bullets from his gun as I deflected what I could, moving around to land some hits. We traded an intense amount of combinations. Each one he defended from my advances as I made no progress. I clicked my tongue in frustration, dashing around to find an opening.

My hand began to feel numb from the constant blocking of his bullets using my blade. I tried not to think how I was able to keep up with his speed and trusted my reflexes to protect me from his firing fury.

Just as I felt like I was getting the hand of his fighting pattern, I felt a sharp pain at my side. I looked down to find blood dripping lightly. I stepped back and focused on my defense. The hunter reloaded faster than light and fired again and again. I pathetically tried to keep up. Now for every block I made with my sword, several would get past me; one or two would graze me.

Breathing heavily, I could feel my body was at its limit. Sweat beading and falling from my face, although the rain would hide its presence. This fight was over.

"Surrender and come with me now," the hunter said.

What I did next, I heavily regretted later.

I jumped off the rooftop and fired my grappling gun toward the building in front of me. I fell through the air, gambling my life that the hook would cling to something to break my fall. I felt the tug of the wire as I swung towards the wall.


I slammed into the wall and landed on a balcony of an apartment. I had just fallen about two hundred feet through the air, and my body screamed in pain. But I made it.

Looking up, I could see the hunter staring down at me. I couldn't make out his expression, but I assumed he was either impressed at my stupidity or angry he let me slip. He walked away from the edge and disappeared over the building.

I needed to get down quickly just in case he would still follow. All I needed to do was grapple down to the street to reach my motorcycle. Yet, my body couldn't move, still aching from the fall. All I could muster to do was blurt out my pain.