Kings of Fortune

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Episode Sixteen - Black Widow's Sting

The bounty feels close.

From the corner of his vision, Zylo spots an unnaturally swift shadow racing across the edge of the building rooftop. That’s definitely a hunter, but Zylo wonders if he should chase.

He turns to Renzo, who responds with a confirming nod. Immediately, Zylo branches off into the alley and scales the building.

He feels motivated, poised, brave. Seeing Rachel reinvigorated his purpose to hunt and reclaim his life. The journey will be long and he can only hope that she’ll wait for him. It’s the only way.

Almost like a veteran hunter, Zylo hops up onto the concrete ledge that runs along the second level and grips the windowsill on the next floor. Ledge after ledge he climbs with confidence, no longer fearing the potentially dangerous consequences.

Reaching the roof and beating his own personal record, Zylo sees the dark silhouette race across the rooftops several buildings down. He courageously chases in full sprint, jumping over air ventilation machines on one building and over potted plants and deck chairs on the other. He glides with the momentum building in his body and he too begins zooming across the rooftops.

For the first time, Zylo experiences the freedom and power of a true hunter. Accelerating with every passing rooftop, his amazing body soars through the sky leaping across far gaps between buildings.

Upon reaching the rooftop supposedly closing the distance to his target, Zylo finds the shadow he was chasing entirely out of sight.

The sky becomes cloudy and dismal and Zylo starts to fear the unknown. He anxiously peers over the ledge of the building, but finds nothing. His steps are careful and his eyes cautious.

While patrolling for hiding spots, a hard kick from behind knocks Zylo to the ground. He is quick to recover, and turns to find Elza in the same slim black dress holding a long black umbrella.

“I’m guessing you didn’t drink enough last night,” he says.

She smirks, for a fleeting second.

Elza dashes toward Zylo swinging her umbrella in two quick strokes, swishing past his ears as he anxiously slips away.

The black dress is by no means restricting. Though Elza is a petite girl, her calm and confident composure is wildly unpredictable, and horribly unnerving.

Zylo draws his rods but Elza chases with a flurry of forward jabs. He frantically weaves his head side to side, clenching his teeth as the tip of the umbrella whizzes past his eyes. Forced into the defensive before the fight even began, he finds himself constantly stepping back, forever retreating.

“Whoa, I don’t even know you that well, calm down!” Zylo impatiently knocks away one of her attacks and swings straight for her face.

With fast reflexes, Elza tumbles back from him, opening the umbrella and covering her body to block Zylo’s attack in mid roll. The umbrella becomes an impenetrable shield no different from an iron wall.

Elza recovers onto her feet and rotates the black umbrella toward Zylo, forcing him to keep his distance. The numerous red flower petals of the pattern twirl into the shape of a hypnotic eye gazing upon Zylo, teasing and laughing at his already demoralized will. The fast spinning umbrella covers a majority of her body, and he sees no discernable openings.

On top of that, Elza gives no breathing time. Quickly closing the umbrella, she lunges with a forward thrust aimed for his chest.

He flinches at the abrupt attack, and the fast tip of the umbrella strikes his shoulder. The rod drops uncontrollably from his hand as his nerves surrender to the pain.

Acting on reckless impulse, Zylo grabs the end of Elza’s thrusting umbrella with the empty hand, and swings hard with the other. “Eat it!”

In less than a second, Elza swiftly rotates her slender body toward the ground onto one knee with her back facing Zylo. The quick movement forces the umbrella out of his hand and glides over her shoulder, expanding over her back to block Zylo’s most arduous attempt.

“Damn it!” He steps away.

Elza begins rotating her open umbrella again, and Zylo is struck with a sense of déjà vu. He retrieves his rod from the ground and hastily retreats back a distance.

“You cannot beat me.” Elza closes her umbrella and turns to face him, staring Zylo down with a stern expression.

From the way he moves and attacks, Elza knows Zylo holds neither conviction nor purpose in his actions. The apprehension in his movements is obvious, and Elza means to give no mercy, even to an amateur.

She scoffs confidently, “What will you do next?”

Zylo skeptically circles around her searching for an advantage, a blind spot, anything. “That’s a really annoying weapon you have there.”

“It is not the weapon that is winning—” Elza rushes a straight line toward Zylo and sends the umbrella toward his head.

Panic strikes and Zylo throws his chest back to evade, nearly falling over backwards from the exerted movement. He avoids the attack but loses balance and strains to remain standing.

Elza roars, “I win by skill!” She tumbles beside his body and with a clear shot, thrusts her powerful umbrella forward.

The tip of the weapon clangs loud against the metal rods of Zylo’s desperate block. The impact is strong and he is thrown far across the roof, slamming against the railing.

“You have no conviction in your actions, New Pirate. You lost this fight before I even attacked.” She readies her umbrella again.

She’s right. Zylo doesn’t have conviction. His plan so far was to follow his crew, expecting them to do the brunt of the work and he would coast by unscathed.

Then, he thought Rachel would be enough motivation for him to fight and kill, but he was wrong. Seeing Rachel only provided a false belief in his purpose. Deep down, he is still unwilling to fulfill his duty as a hunter. He cannot fight, and he won’t kill.

“I will teach you, and the only way to learn…” Elza slowly steps toward him, “Is by fighting for your life!” She jets forward with rapid footsteps.

‘I saw Rachel, and seeing her again felt better than I thought it would—but she isn’t enough. I shouldn’t be fighting for Rachel, and I shouldn’t be getting my life back for her. I should be fighting for myself, fighting so that I can live.’

Zylo feels his hands trembling with newfound resolve, and the cold steel of his rods more than willing to assist his new endeavor. With few options remaining, he quickly sits up onto one knee and hastily connects his weapons into an extended form.

Elza springs into the air, preparing to plunge her weapon mercilessly into his body.

There are only a few seconds left to react.

Gripping each end of the lengthened rod, Zylo raises the weapon toward her to block. He watches in bated breath, and braces against the devastating strike.

A blinding gleam of light flashes from the point of impact, followed by a forceful gust of wind rushing through their bodies. Zylo’s blazer flutters as he pushes against her attack.

The light fades a second later, and Elza is found suspended in the air with the tip of her umbrella stopped several inches from his rod, resisted by an invisible force.

She is pushed away and lands gracefully onto her feet, her voice modestly revealing her surprise and annoyance, “How?”

Zylo doesn’t reply. Instead, he drags his extended rod and charges with renewed vigor, confident in his chances of victory.

Elza blocks with her opened umbrella, but the incredible force of the attack slams her toward the ground, pushing her onto one knee and almost knocking her over.

Eyes steaming with furious intent, Zylo violently wails the rod against her protective weapon, hoping one of the hits will eventually collapse her.

“Come on, just break!” His attacks continuously push her lower with every hit while her feet skid against the asphalt to resist.

Elza knows she is at a disadvantage and swiftly tumbles away. “Regretfully, I must be going. Anyong hee gyeseyo,” she farewells and jets off to the next building.

“Hey! I was just starting to win that!” Zylo chases.

Elza reaches the roof at the end of the block and readily leaps off. Her body soars over the wide street below and lands on the ledge of the building across.

Without second guessing himself, Zylo jumps after her, and his body flies over the road of passing cars and pedestrians until his feet land with a hard thump just behind Elza.

’Holy crap, I just made that jump! Go, go, GO!

His feet race after her step after step his legs moving as fast as the wind. The run overtakes him barely feeling the ground beneath his feet as his body glides like the breeze.

Getting to the end of the ledge, Elza leaps toward the wall of another building and slides down several stories all the way to the street level.

Zylo does the same. His hands scrape against the brick wall of the building but he doesn’t care. The momentum carries him, keeping him trapped in the heat of his tunnel vision toward Elza.

The moment his feet touch the ground, Zylo glides again, tracing Elza’s exact path through the wandering crowds of people. She carefully weaves her way past and Zylo trails her like a persistent shadow.

Following her into the road, he closes in and swings the powerful rod against her.

Elza desperately turns her feet and body to block, and her umbrella opens in time to face the incoming attack. The incredible force of the impact lifts Elza off her feet and sends her careening across the road. She lands crudely amid a dispersing crowd of pedestrians.

“Got her!”

Suddenly, a loud crash of shattering glass echoes through the street and Zylo immediately gazes upward.

Flying out from a second floor window is Renzo’s body dropping lifeless onto the pavement below.

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