Chapter 19:

The Assassin's Friend and Tools

Assassin's Hunter

After recovering my bike and speeding through the city, I returned to Keiffer's. Not thinking about how I left the situation, I came to retrieve my weapons. To save Ava.

My sword and guns weren't where I had left them. I looked all around the room to find my stuff and Keiffer while I was at it. The shop appeared empty. I saw no soul in sight. The lights in the tech shop were still on, so he must be around somewhere.

"Keiffer!" I called, my voice echoing off the walls.

The secret weapons storage door slid open with Keiffer inside, working on another project. He was holding a sword with two narrow blades extending out of one hilt. The design seemed odd and impractical, but it was Keiffer, after all. He was always trying to reinvent the modern ways. He slowly looked up reluctantly in my direction.

"Eiji… what are you doing here? Where's Ava?" he asked.

"I don't have much time to explain, but she's in trouble. I have to save her. Dygen has her in his tower."

"Wait, hold on-"

"I know what you're going to say. I was wrong. About earlier… I lived my life passively, thinking I could leave this world with enough money. I repeatedly killed to earn more than a living but never left. Because… I was scared of being truly alone."

My thoughts poured out, unfiltered like a waterfall. I faced my fears and doubts head-on, knowing what I wanted to do. What I needed to do. All I could hope for was to reach out to Keiffer to amend our relationship.

I kept on my confession, "Yes, I'm an assassin. I might not be okay with that, but I don't want to lose the people I care for because of it. Ava, you… I'm sorry, Keiffer… I didn't mean what I said. Of course, we're friends. You've always looked out for me in your own special way."

My face was caught between a smile and a cry. I held my breath for Keiffer's response. "Wow, that's wow… I don't know what you've been through… and don't take this the wrong way, but I'm glad you did. I knew you'd come around, kiddo," he nudged my shoulder.

I pulled him in close for a tight, brotherly embrace. Then, we pulled away, with tears in both of our eyes. We wiped them away quickly, clearing our throats.

"Um, that was weird, right?" I laughed.

"Pfff- tell me about it. Feelings, right?" he smiled.

"I hate to break this moment, but I have to go. Ava needs me. I need my weapons."

"About her, I was trying to call you. I cracked the documents. It's all blueprints. With all kinds of designs and equations regarding time and … it may sound crazy, but it's a-"

"Time machine, I know," I finished his sentence.

"Wow, shit, I've clearly been out of the loop for something," he scoffed.

I filled in Keiffer as quickly as possible on the key events that had happened since I left. "Please help me. I need something to storm Dygen Corp Tower, breach the building, and get me away safely with Ava as well."

Keiffer smiled mischievously, walking back into the armory room and pulling out a large black soccer ball. Although it wasn't a ball but more of a plastic sphere with a similar pattern, wires were lined along the hectagon's grooves.

"What's this?"

"A B.G.E.M.P. A 'Big Ass E.M.P.,'" he looked at me for a response to his poorly crafted joke. "Throw this near their electrical grid, and the power will shut off the entire building, including its surrounding neighbors, for a good ten minutes at most. Of course, it depends on how fast they can bring their systems online again."

"Ten minutes. I won't have enough time to find out where Ava is."

"Funny you should mention that, cause the blueprints from the cryptic documents also held specifications of where they wanted the time machine built. If there's a large prototype there right now, I bet that they would keep it in the same location. So if this Dygen guy really will send back Ava or not, doubting he will, he'll probably keep her close by that machine."

Great, I knew where to go, but now it was a matter of how I'll be saving Ava. And with what exactly? If I faced the Hunter again with no plan or way to beat him, it'll all be for nothing.

"The Hunter's defense is impregnable. My sword can't cut through his armor, and I can barely deflect his bullets."

Kiffer grabbed the odd sword he was holding before and handed it to me. His chin was held high, expecting me to be amazed at his new creation. "Go on, ask why it's special."

"What's special about it?" I asked.

"You remember that gem you gave me to appraise after your heist? I asked a friend to look into it, and it turns out it's a Kol stone, the same fuel used for interstellar travel. I don't know why it was going to be sold as some random trinket at some random mafia's opera house, but it's the real deal. And with just a shard, this thing can power a highly heat-resistant blade that can cut through anything."

"Cool as it is, this sword sure is flimsy, though. I don't know if my speed will be enough to face my opponent," I wondered.

"That's why I made two to balance it out," Keiffer brought out another from thin air like a magician.

"Now we're talking," I held both swords, highly impressed.

"Also, take these," Keiffer handed me some heavy boots and gloves.

"What is this, Christmas?" I joked.

"Just some fast transport."

The fact that Keiffer took the time to make all these, even during our argument's fallout, made me feel like I had a genuinely caring friend at my side. The man was a legend in his craft.

"Now go be the hero," Keiffer sent me off.

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