Kings of Fortune

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Episode Ten - The New Pirates

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*Thump* Thump *Thump*

Zylo’s eyes tear open from the abrupt awakening. He’s only been napping for a few hours, but still suffers the grogginess of a full sleep. Though grouchy and reluctant, he drags his body off the bed to open the door.

“Zylo,” says Renzo’s sudden gruff voice, nearly frightening Zylo to jump. “Kitsune says we should have an orientation for you. Come outside.” He heads out into the living room and Zylo notices his comfortable pajamas patterned with little dinosaurs. How peculiar…yet strangely understandable…

Zylo sighs at the idea of an orientation as he slogs to the living room. Standing behind the bar counter is Kitsune, still wearing a black vest over a white dress shirt. It wouldn’t be surprising if he slept in that too. That weirdo.

‘And his erect pompadour.’

“Okay, well rested? Good! Let’s get you started.” Kitsune tosses Zylo a thick hardcover book with ‘Baya’ printed on the front. “That’s the official Baya guidebook. It has everything about the rules of Baya, the rules of the contracts, living arrangements, crews, Soul claiming, whatever. When in doubt, look to the book…or don’t, up to you.”

Zylo skims through several pages of the enormous book, already making plans to leave the tome in his walk-in closet for the rest of his immortal life.

As he’s flipping the pages, Kitsune tosses over a packet of papers, hitting him in the face. “These papers are everything about you. Your official Baya identity, your crew, your Soul requirement and so on, and so on. Look them over,” Kitsune quickly speaks. “Questions?”

“Yeah, how do you go outside with that ridiculous hair?” Zylo hops onto the couch, still skimming.

“You don’t like the do? Honma?” Kitsune sounds surprised, running his hand up his hair, and reiterates, “Wait, really?”

Zylo remains silent, flipping through the papers.

Baya Hunter: Zylo

Baya Crew: New Pirates

Soul Requirement: 2,000,000 Soul

-Demonstrated extreme motivation to stay alive.

-Selflessly sacrificed own life for love, Rachel.

-Revealed incredible potential of own life force.

All qualities above justify hunter request.

Recommended for recruitment.

“Recommended? I’m flattered,” Zylo says. “Wait…two million Soul? I need two million Soul to finish?”

“Only two million?” Kitsune drops ice cubes into several short glasses. “Mine is ten million.”

Renzo nods agreeing.

“Oh,” Zylo mutters, “well, sorry about you guys, but let’s talk about me…how many contracts is two million?”

Kitsune answers, “On average, a bounty can be anywhere between twenty thousand and forty thousand.”

“Forty thousand? Are you sure? But my life was worth…”

“Eighty thousand.” Renzo plops himself onto a stool beside the bar counter.

“Yeah…yours was a little above average.” Kitsune pours the scotch evenly into the glasses.

“So…we’re ‘New Pirates’? That’s our crew?”

“That’s us, the New Pirates,” says a familiar voice from behind.

Zylo turns to recognize another hunter, Juniper. She looks different when she’s not trying to kill him. She’s calm, approachable, and not frightening in any way, though he still flinched at the first sight of her.

Juniper casually treks over from her room, wiping her wet crimson hair with a towel. She strides casually into the living room in a tank top and shorts.

Kitsune happily mentions, “Oh yeah, you probably remember Junie. She tried to murder you, too.”

“Oh, shut up,” shouts Juniper. She turns and smiles at Zylo, “Sorry about that though.”

He doesn’t know what to say but softly smiles back, “No worries...”

Juniper sits on the armrest of the couch, still wiping off her damp hair. “It was a while ago, but I’ll never forget it. No bounty has ever done what you did, to be honest. Well, some have killed themselves but they never became Baya. I hope you understand the magnitude of this. No bounty has ever survived a contract and became Baya. You’re the first.”

Zylo glances to Renzo and Kitsune, and they nod affirming.

Juniper continues, “Even funnier after I found out these two clowns got demoted to my crew.” She points to Kitsune and Renzo, and laughs.

Renzo gives her a stern glare before taking a sip from his glass. She ignores it though, and laughs even harder.

Kitsune adds, “Yeah, Zylo. If you didn’t do what you did, we wouldn’t have ended up here with the beautiful and emasculating, male demoralizer Juniper.”

“Calm your nuts,” she snaps.

“So, the New Pirates is your crew?” Zylo tilts to Juniper.

She acknowledges with a nod, “Welcome. So when do you begin?”

“Tomorrow. I’ll be knocking on your door.” Kitsune walks out from the bar counter, revealing the boxer shorts worn to match his dress shirt. Classy indeed, Kitsune.

“Over here, everyone.” He waves Juniper and Zylo to the bar counter, pointing out three glasses filled with scotch and one already in Renzo’s hand.

Zylo is hesitant but Juniper invitingly pulls him over by the shoulder.

“Right. Let’s drink to Zylo.” Kitsune lifts his glass. “Let this drink bond the New Pirates together as a crew. Let us forget our past differences, strive ahead, and trample all those other people that stand in our way. How ’bout it?” Kitsune raises his glass toward Zylo in expectance.

Zylo pauses for a moment.

‘For Rachel.’

He picks up the glass and clinks it against Kitsune’s. “Sure.”

Kanpai!” The crew toasts one another and the New Pirates drink.
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