Prologue: The Girl In Black
The girl in black hung up the phone she was using at the sound of approaching footsteps. She placed it on the table beside her, thinking that it was how she was being tracked. This was not far from the truth. She ran for the window as the locked door was kicked down. Those who had found her raised their weapons at the sight of her standing on the windowsill. She shot them a grin as she leaned back, falling through the chilled night air. Several heads stuck out of the window and watched her, one of them swearing colourfully. She gave her pursuers a two-finger salute and turned to face the ground. It was rushing towards her, barely lit by the surrounding streetlights. Oh, how she loved the thrill of the fall! She landed with a massive bang.
Standing and dusting herself off, the girl observed the metre-wide crater around her. How much fun would the local authorities have explaining that to the public? A large rock, perhaps? Or maybe they would talk about that strange presence which had been causing trouble within the city.
Three men landed in front of her, their masked faces shadowed. She could not help but be impressed that they had been brave enough to follow her. The window she had jumped from was not on a small building. She gave them a slight smile from under her hood and ran the other way.
The girl in black knew they were following her. She could easily sense their presences. Still, they could keep up with her and that was a problem. She flicked her wrist, sending cyan sparks towards her pursuers. She used her power to take to the darkened sky. Only one followed, the others pursuing from the ground. So much for that plan, she thought as she hovered. The masked man zoomed towards her with a battle cry, sword in hand. The girl in black did not flinch as he came closer . . . closer . . .
He attacked, aiming the blade towards her heart. Clearly, this man did not know that she had a certain advantage when it came to battle. She caught the blade with her hands and tugged it to the side, causing the masked man to miss her. He tried to shake her grip from the blade. She pulled it from his hand, flipping the sword so the blade faced her attacker. He knew what was about to happen, taking off at his top speed.
She was faster.
She stopped in front of the masked man and brought the hilt of his sword down on his head. He fell from the sky and thumped on the pavement. She landed next to him and whistled at the sight before her. Pancake.
She ducked at the sound of a gunshot.
The glass storefront behind her shattered.
The other two men had caught up.
The girl in black scanned the area around her. She needed options. Apparently, it was not a good idea to bring a sword to a gun fight. She dropped the sword next to the corpse and ran towards the armed man. This stunned him momentarily. She could almost see his confused thoughts. Who in their right mind would run towards a man with a gun? She grinned.
She zapped behind him. He looked around as she raised her arm and whacked the back of his neck. He turned, growling. The man discarded his gun and grabbed her wrists. Fuck, she thought, trying to not show her surprise. Knew I shouldn’t have held back. The girl swept a foot beneath him, sending him off-balance. As he stumbled to regain his footing, she rolled to the gun and shot him once in the chest. Twice. Thrice. He collapsed.
She spun to where the third man had been standing. Her head drooped, and she groaned. He was gone. She walked over to where the second man was laying lifeless on the ground. “Thanks for nothing.” She shot him until there were no more bullets. She rolled her eyes when the next click came. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. She tossed the gun to the side and ran once again
The girl in black smashed through a glass door. She continued to race down the hallway, jumping down the stairs and running until she reached a certain room. She kicked down the door, only to find the third man standing in the shadows. He was tossing a small black book between his hands. Oh, joy. Another guy I have to kill.
“There is such thing as a non-dramatic entrance,” the man chuckled.
“Don’t have time for them today,” the girl replied, eyeing the book and what was hidden in its pages.
“You want this?” He held the book up in one hand.
She prepared to take it from him forcefully, her hand reaching for her dagger, when he threw the book at her. She caught it and blinked, confused. He was supposed to be working against her, not with her. Why are you helping me? “Wait. We missed the fighting part.” He crossed his arms. “You know, the fighting part.” A sigh. “The part where we fight, and I kick your arse before taking this.” She waved the book at him. “It’s kind of an important part of the system.”
“I cannot be bothered to fight you,” he said, stepping into the light and removing the mask. He threw it to the ground and rubbed his face before giving her a cocky smile. “You have no idea how uncomfortable those things are.”
The girl in black did a double take as she looked over the man. Not what I was expecting for a guy in a black kabuki mask. He had dark brown hair, slightly tanned skin, and light brown eyes. She would not deny that he was attractive. She internally chided herself for the thought.
He bowed to her. “Lovely to meet you, too, Topanga.”
She sighed. “Why am I not surprised you know who I am?”
“You are a legend,” he answered, coming closer. “Which is why I know what you are capable of and am not fighting you. An example would be the Hetsipara incident.”
The girl in black rolled her eyes. “I was having a bad day and that was, like, seven hundred years ago. Plus, the system was trying to eat me, so yeah.”
The man shrugged and held out his hand. “I am Colt.”
“Amneris, but you already knew that.” She looked between him and his hand.
He retracted it. “Not much of a shaker, then.”
She smirked. “It usually means someone’s about to be judo flipped.” Amneris cocked her head to the side as he laughed quietly. “Why aren’t you trying to kill me?”
“Aside from the immortality thing?” he joked. “Let us just say that I am a fan of sorts.”
“I could make you into a fan.”
“Play nice, Topanga.”
She hissed at the laughter in his voice. “Look, you can either try to kill me and die, or you can walk out that door like this whole thing never happened.”
“I choose life.” Colt bowed again. “As I said, lovely meeting you.”
“Sure,” she mumbled as he left, closing the door behind him. “I know there’s a catch!” she yelled to the ceiling. “There’s always a catch.”