Kings of Fortune

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Episode Twenty Four - Ambush Delight

*THUMP* THUMP *THUMP*

Zylo awakens to the aggressive knocking. This happens a lot in his life, he realizes. Opening the door, he finds Kitsune readily dressed and his pompadour nicely combed back in a hefty clump.

“…What’s up?” Zylo mumbles, eyes half open.

“Get dressed. The bounty for the Spades is up.”

Zylo throws on his blazer and heads into the living room to find Kitsune and Juniper, readied and waiting. He can’t help but grin exceptionally wide at Juniper, and she eagerly responds with a sweet, irresistible smile.

Scrambling through the halls of the Citadel, they meet Renzo in the contract room, and sure enough, the high-reward Spades bounty is posted on the board.

Contract Bounty: Lorraine Duvelle

Bounty Reward: 75,000 Soul

Location: Phoenix Lane Drive, Royal Hills

Default Baya Crew: Immortal Spades

Kitsune asks Renzo already standing by the board, “Are we registered on the rival list?”

“Yes, us and Neon Supreme so far.”

“Good. Let’s get a move on. The contract started several hours ago.” Kitsune hastily leads the way to the main room. “Heat time will start in thirty minutes.”

“What’s the rush?” Juniper reluctantly hurries along.

Kitsune’s sharp eyes leer on her, and then to the entire crew. “We claim this bounty no matter the reward. Don’t let anyone else take it.”

The New Pirates transport to the city parking lot and race toward Royal Hills in the T-wrecks.

“Okay, this one’s going to be a little different,” Kitsune starts. The window separating the bed and the front is slid open for Zylo and Juniper to hear his voice clearly. “You guys try to handle the crews while I go for the mark, got it?”

Zylo says, “That’s how we’ve done it tons of times.”

Renzo nods, agreeing.

“Okay, fine. We do it how we normally do it, but just make sure we don’t lose this one. Wakatta?” urges Kitsune.

“Got it,” the crew replies.

Juniper leans beside Zylo’s ear and whispers, “Hey, what’s up with Kitsune? He seems a bit different…”

She’s right. Kitsune is rarely ever so serious, or anxious.

“There’s something about this bounty that Kitsune is all riled up about, and I don’t think it’s the higher reward.”

‘Something is definitely on his mind, but he won’t tell us. Whatever it is, I’m trusting you, Kitsune.’

The drive takes about twenty minutes to arrive at Phoenix Lane Drive. It’s a residential suburban neighborhood on the northern side of the city. Each single family house on the street is separated by a small lawn or a patio, and the feeling is…eerie.

This small suburban area is definitely a side of town Zylo, and to an extent, all hunters, scarcely visits. There is no string of rooftops to run across, or high buildings to climb, or crowds of people to force through.

How do these people live like this?

“Do people have lawns so they can spend time mowing it? I don’t get it,” Juniper comments.

“No, people just enjoy feeling like they’re in touch with nature. Same goes for all those random trees in the middle of the sidewalk downtown,” replies Zylo. “They serve no other purpose. At all.”

“Guys, shut up,” hushes Kitsune. They’ve been driving around the neighborhood for ten minutes already and no one is able to sense the bounty. “Kuso. Doko da n—”

Suddenly, the truck is slammed into a hard swerve. A large, heavy object rams the hood of the truck, causing the vehicle to immediately skid off the road.

The back end of the truck jerks too violently, and Zylo and Juniper are tossed against the sides of the bed.

After a few seconds trying to regain control, Renzo safely stops the rampant vehicle over a nearby house’s front lawn.

“What the shit was that?” shouts Juniper, picking herself up.

The crew steps out of the truck, but immediately falls under a firing range. Glass bottles and bricks shatter around them and the Pirates quickly disperse for cover.

A bottle smashes against Zylo’s leg and he stumbles to one knee. The glass tore through his jeans, and he frantically pulls up the shredded pant leg to find his shin already hissing with blue steam. Another bottle flies toward him but Juniper quickly intercepts, smashing the glass into a million pieces scattering onto the lawn.

“The damn Se7ens!” Juniper yells.

Sure enough, Ronnie and Cody of the Split Se7ens are standing on the rooftop chucking the projectiles.

“What is this? They were waiting for us?” Zylo rubs his hand over his injured leg feeling for any remaining shards of glass.

“Seems that way. Let’s go!”

Together, he and Juniper rush to the front yard surrounded by a tall white wooden fence. As they approach, a lurking shadow shifts from behind the high barrier.

Immediately, Zylo pulls Juniper back by the shoulder, yanking her body just inches away from the swinging tip of a hockey stick. A second later, Violet leaps over the fence with a demented grin.

“Great.” Juniper tightens her grip on the guitar, “Well, come on bitch, come at me!”

Sprinting through the lawn, Renzo smashes the coming projectiles with his chains before leaping up onto the edge of the roof. He runs toward the two Se7ens and slings the chain around in a fifteen foot radius.

The cold ridged metal slaps against Ronnie’s unsuspecting face and sends him rolling off the roof onto the ground below.

“Whoa, chill!” Seeing his partner’s demise, Cody leaps onto the roof of the adjacent house. He races along the slanted roof desperately trying to escape, and crushes a number of shingles along the way.

A man emerges from the front door angrily shouting, “Yau mo gau chou ah! Get off of my house! What are you guys doing?!”

Without a second of hesitation, Cody drops down from above and punches the man unconscious. He runs off into the street and disappears without a single glance back.

Kitsune’s eyes squint with uncertainty, cautiously circling the large and bulky woman responsible for prematurely halting their truck. She stands almost seven-feet high holding a weapon almost as tall as Kitsune, and he is left wondering how he entered this fight to begin with.

She is Miranda, known for her incredible strength and feared for her frightening weapon—an enormous six-foot totem pole made of the densest wood and carved into shapes of spiritual animals. Her red bandana wraps the front of her brown hair while the rest stretches to her waist in a long braided ponytail.

Miranda stares confidently through her aviator sunglasses, but doesn’t say a word. Gripping the bare end of the enormous totem, she leans back and swings the great weapon 360° around her.

“Oh, jeez!” Kitsune dives desperately to the ground as the heaving totem swishes over his head. A gust of wind rustles his hair, dragging a frightful chill through his spine. Chances are he won’t survive much longer unless he finishes her fast.

Scurrying back to his feet, he hastily shuffles low to the ground aiming for Miranda’s legs. A dark shadow casts over Kitsune’s rushing body and he quickly throws himself backward onto the ground. He falls clear as the enormous totem smashes a crater into the pavement he stood on moments earlier. The broken bits of crumbled asphalt flick against his stunned and disheartened face.

“Why are you so afraid, Kitsune? You rarely ever run so fast from a fight!” she laughs just before swinging her totem again.

Kitsune leaps high off the hood of the truck toward Miranda, soaring over her dangerous weapon. He flies past her head and strikes hard with the pipe.

The thick metal bashes against her jaw, cocking her head back and pushing her into a stumble. By the end, he lands softly onto his feet behind her and casually brushes off his dirtied vest.

Miranda is far from finished though. Still holding the totem with one hand, she wipes the blue substance from her lip with the other. Her eyes focus with aggravated rage and she roars, “Time to die!”

Kitsune slowly steps back from her and cries out to his crew, “Tatsukete! A little help here!”

Violet flails her weapon in wild directions, cutting away clean portions of the white fence. The pieces rain down around them but the chaos only fuels her madness. She screams in joyful rage before banging the hard weapon against the metal of Juniper’s guitar.

“God, I hate you so much!” Juniper roars. Gritting her teeth, she pushes against Violet’s weapon, then sends a front kick.

Violet is nimble, and arches her body just enough to avoid the bare tip of Juniper’s foot. “Close one, honey!”

Unfortunately for her, Zylo emerges from behind Juniper and throws a fast upward swing, smacking the hockey stick straight out of her hand.

The weapon flies into the air, and Juniper smashes her guitar against Violet’s cheek before it lands. She spins to the ground with a loud shriek, and Juniper can’t help but smile. “I’ll handle her. You get to Kitsune!”

Kuso.” Kitsune grips the pipe held over his head and digs his feet into the ground to brace the incoming attack. Then, the enormous shadow of the totem casts over his body and ruthlessly slams down.

The incredible force of the colliding weapons rumble a quaking boom around the vicinity, nearly deafening to their ears. The end of the totem pushes through the defending pipe and crushes Kitsune’s face and body into the pavement.

Zylo arrives too late and witnesses his crewmate being smashed into oblivion. Sprinting fearlessly for Miranda with the momentum of the run pushing him, Zylo forcefully wails the side of his weapon against her calf. The hard force of the metal ripples through her leg but she doesn’t fall.

Almost like a reflex, Miranda turns toward Zylo already swinging her frighteningly massive weapon. His rod twirls to the ready, braces firm, and he holds his breath.

Miranda’s enormous totem swings like a battering ram toward Zylo with the momentum of a speeding truck. The weapon pounds ineffectively against an invisible barrier just inches away, and a flash of light ignites before their eyes.

The immense force of Miranda’s attack is redirected back and she is instantly repulsed from Zylo. Her feet slide and skid along the pavement before finally stopping several yards away.

Zylo immediately breaks from his stance and runs up the side of a parked car, kicking off into a jumping strike. He launches nearly nine feet into the air, scrunching his body together and pushing both hands and feet down onto the handle of the rod.

RAH!” Zylo roars as he forces all his strength and weight into the weapon. The powerful tip of the rod beats the side of Miranda’s face. Her body falls back but the weapon continues downward, striking her collar to her chest, before finally entrenching into the hard pavement.

She howls from the pain and drops the totem onto the road with a thud, but her body remains standing.

“Just FALL!” he furiously shouts.

Rushing toward her fast as the breeze, Zylo grips the handle tight and slams the steel against her chest. The swift, powerful motion of the attack carries the wind as the metal wallops against her firm torso.

Miranda’s overbearing body falls backwards off her feet, and she crashes to the ground.

Zylo exhales his tensed breath, and turns to find Kitsune gone.

“Try to get me, whore!” Violet laughs cynically while dodging Juniper’s attacks. Still weaponless, she tumbles under a guitar swing and lunges toward Juniper’s chest, immediately tackling her onto the grass.

Violet howls in joy as she wails Juniper’s face like a frenzied beast. Tears stream from Juniper’s eyes when her nose is struck, disorienting her vision.

Struggling to break free, Juniper kicks a hard knee into Violet’s back and swings a fast punch at her face. Then, she pushes Violet over and hastily mounts on top.

“I’m gonna kill you!” Violet screams and jerks erratically.

Juniper stares down her nose at the cornered dog, wildly jerking with desperation. There will be no mercy.

She must be put down.

Juniper enunciates after every unrelenting hit,

“Shut…” she punches Violet’s screaming lips.

“Your…” her knuckles pound against the cheek.

“MOUTH!” she throws one strong punch into Violet’s nose.

Suddenly, Renzo pries her up from Violet’s body and drags her into a run.

“Hey, what the hell! I still wanna finish that crazy bitch,” Juniper glances back at Violet’s flat, motionless body.

“No, Kitsune needs help,” says Zylo, joining them midway down the road. “He went after the bounty on his own.”

The three members of the New Pirates sprint down the street, passing concerned and panicked residents of the neighborhood. Some of these residents shout and grumble about the noise while others run into their homes to lock their doors.

Police will likely arrive in minutes.

The New Pirates reach the next block, and immediately stop. There, they find Jacks standing over Kitsune slumped beside a streetlamp.

“Stealing’s a crime, you know that.” Jacks kicks Kitsune’s lifeless body without a hint of restraint, and the Pirates are unable to help.

Kitsune’s face is covered in bruises while blue ichor rapidly hisses around his nose and mouth. His sunglasses are crooked over his black eye, and his tie loosened behind his ruffled vest.

Kitsune has been utterly crushed.

Jacks turns to the rest of the New Pirates, and grins, “You’re early to the show.”

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