Chapter 14:

Chaos At The Disco

Assassin's Hunter

The heavy argument remained in my mind like a looming cloud over my head. All I could hope was for Keiffer to move past this after I finished this journey. I didn't want to lose him as my weapons supplier… or as my…

No, just focus on the now.

Leaving Keiffer in his shop, I sent Elena home and paid her for her services. Before she left, Ava said goodbye and asked if she could keep Elena's Aument Lens. To my protest, Elena gifted her the blue transparent lenses, smiling as she said, "They look better on you anyway."

With Ava secured in front of me, while driving my motorbike, I drove off to Shambala, Hermes' club. Its surrounding neighborhood held more of a Japanese influence with the architecture and advertisements.

The club was located near the Entertainment District, just south of the downtown area. Fortunately, I didn't have to drag Ava through there and have a 'Birds and the Bees' talk. I'd rather face a horde of bullets than that awkward exchange.

The club, Shambala, was on the top floor of a high-class private hotel. The only way in was through an express elevator taking you to the very tip of the building. I've only been there once when I first met Hermes for a big job to kill Calico Aberdeen, the head of the mafia at the time. Back then, I had a different impression of Hermes before he got too full of himself for my taste.

I brought Ava along to keep her safe rather than leaving her in the lobby alone. I had my helmet on for this occasion, for I didn't want Hermes to get a peek at my face. I approached the elevator and spoke to the gentleman in a suit holding a touchpad list. "Name?" he grunted.

"Darkstar," I replied.

"You're not on the list."

"I'm here to see Hermes. It's urgent."

The gentleman took a step back and spoke into his communicator to confirm with his boss. Then, he pushed the elevator button to call it down.

"He'll see you now, but the girl-"

"The girl stays with me."

"Of course," the gentleman backed down.

The elevator door closed and took us to the top at high speed. The sensation was odd at first but faded as the elevator continued. Ava was holding my hand tightly. She had a peculiar brave look on her face.

"Stay close beside me, and you'll be fine," I assured her.


As we neared the top floor, we could slowly hear the booming music fading into the elevator. Once the doors opened, the lights and sound blasted our senses.

The vast room was dark, with strobes of light beating to the rhythm of the music. People dressed in punk outfits and light-up clothing danced all along the enormous dancefloor. Two bars were against the sides of the walls, while the DJ was centered in front of a large mirror. Two sets of white staircases circled around the DJ leading up to the mirrored wall.

I pushed past the dancers and headed up the stairs. Just before entering I stopped Ava from moving forward. "I want you to wait here on the steps. I'll be able to see you, so stay put. Be back in a second!" I ordered Ava.

"Yes sir!" she tried to shout over the music.

I walked to the large mirror, and the reflection slid open, leading to a private room. The doors closed behind me, cutting off the loud atmosphere. The wall holding the door was an entire two-way mirror. From here, I could see the whole club alive and thriving while Ava was sitting on the outside steps. All you could hear was the muffled noise of the party outside the mirrored wall. That and an impish voice laughing in the corner of the room.

There was a platinum-haired man in a white suit with a crystal staff in hand. His skin was pale, and his eyes were a brilliant gold, with complementing makeup on his face. It was Hermes. He had some guests he was entertaining at the moment, equally flashy. I cleared my throat to grab his attention.

"Star? You came, after all! I knew you had some party in you. Let's get you a drink!'

"I'm here to talk, Hermes."

"Of course- leave us," the guests scuttered away out the door.

Hermes poured a drink and offered it to me. "A toast to Ultima and all the devils who dwell in it," he laughed.

"Quit the games, Hermes. I'm here to raise my price."

"I take it you weren't able to kill the old croak. But don't worry, you still have time. Enjoy yourself while you're here," Hermes dodged my request.

"That job was rigged. Dygen knew he'd be shot at. He knew someone was going to kill him. Why?"

"The man might be overprotective. The famous businessman, Jacob Dygen, ready to claim his throne to rule this country with hungry vultures to steal his reign. Who can blame him?"

"There was a bounty hunter there too. He knew where I was and tried to capture me alive. Know anything about that?" I interrogated.

Hermes took a sip from his drink, nervously eyeing around him for help. He knew what I could do to him if he pissed me off.

"I'm not sure what you're getting at."

"I'm merely observing- making an accusation, in fact. This kill request is filled with holes and deceit, and I intend to find out why," I stared down at him.

"I may not see your face, but I get the feeling it's not a happy one," he smiled.

To this, I grabbed Hermes by his collar and rammed him against the center wall. "Don't make me hurt you. Why do you want Dygen dead?"

"Let's not be rash now," he wheezed.

"Tell me to do anything again, and I'll cut out your tongue."

The sound of a sliding door opening drew my attention from Hermes. It was Ava, waddling over to me with a worried look on her face. "Bad men, they're coming!"

"The girl! He was right… you brought her here," Hermes giggled in surprise.

Wait a minute.

"Girl? You… back then, you said, 'Give your little sister my regards.' When I never told you about anything regarding my personal life. I had no sister," I said bafflingly.

But it was more than that. Hermes guessed that 'mistake'… right before I ran into Ava. The little lost girl I'd never met before. The same one the Hunter was asking about on the rooftop.

Hermes hired me to kill Dygen, and assumed I had a sister. Dygen, knowing someone would try to kill him. The Bounty Hunter chasing after me, asking about a 'girl.' My eyes grew wide at the haunting realization. "How did you know about Ava? What do you know."

"Who can tell?" Hermes broke out into crazed laughter.

Before I could press for more questions, I glanced through the see-through wall to find several men in suits marching toward the private room. Another trap.

"I'm sorry old friend, but another deal was struck that I can't break. I'm afraid this means I'm no longer in need of your services. But it's been fun!" the clown patted my shoulder.

"Ava, stay close behind me!" I tossed Hermes across the room and made a run for the door. We immediately found guards charging up the side stairs. I landed a punch, then kicked head-on to the first goon. My kick gave enough force to push the nearby goons down in a collapsing domino effect.

I grabbed Ava and ran past the fallen men. I could see more men making their way over through the dance floor. Crouching down to Ava, I spoke loudly over the music, "Ava, run around the main crowd and wait for me near the elevator!"

She nodded frantically and ran into the herd of dancers. The strobe lights still pulsed rapidly, affecting my field of vision. While the deep bass of the song continued to blast its electric melody.

I reached for one of my equipped weapons but could feel nothing present. Crap. I left my sword, guns, and everything else back at the shop. A foolish mistake that could've been avoided. But the emotions from my argument with Keiffer clouded my head enough for me to forget everything.

Guess I'll have to borrow from one of these guys. Let's dance!

The first goon swung his arm wide at me. Using Judo techniques, I parried and pushed his body past me to the ground. Then, I threw quick jabs tenaciously fast at the next oncoming suit.

I glided around each heavy blow to avoid blocking directly. I had no armor or protection on, and I didn't want further hurt myself with my injuries.

The next attacker hurriedly pulled a gun on me. Score. I prevented him from firing, disarming his weapon, and drew it back to my hands. I fired, knocking him out of the fight. My hand shot a few more bullets to the suits following right behind, the flashing muzzle creating a pulse of its own.

Those who were still dancing in the club, unaware of the brawl, now broke up and screamed in a panic. This brought me a lucky advantage.

As the next few goons approached, I readied my stance to attack. But then I heard a boar cry out.


The air from my lungs puffed out in shock. I was tackled to the ground by a heavyset man. I reached for his neck to push him away, but he kept his weight on me. My knee quickly dove into his chest while on the ground, now shaking the oversized guard off me. The few seconds were a blur.

I kicked into high gear, accessing every hand-to-hand combat skill I had to use. I swirled around the rest of the goons, attacking at different intervals, making sure to avoid oncoming punches. I dived under kicks and right hooks all around elegantly like a… dancer. Sure.

After a series of blows, a pile of men was now lying on the ground, bloody and full of bruises. I ran to the elevator picking up Ava, crouching nearby with her eyes closed.

"You can run, but you can't hide, Darkstar!" Hermes called out from the opposite end of the dancefloor with his hair all thrown about messily.

How cliche is that?

Ava stuck her tongue out in disrespect to Hermes. She could be quite the character sometimes. Returning to the elevator, I pressed the down button, and we plummeted back to the surface, escaping the ruined party.

"I'm sorry I put you in danger like that Ava. I should've expected he'd try something."

"That's okay, as long as you're around, I'll be safe!" she looked to reassure me.

"Thanks, but... let's not mention this to your parents... they'll kill me if they found out, okay?"

Ava zipped her mouth shut with her finger and nodded firmly, keeping our little secret.