Zhang had entered the small trinket store within Gothic CIty limits saying nothing, his tall frame dodging and weaving past hanging ornaments and charms along his way. To the ordinary eye, the store housed a series of incoherent random thoughts , but to the few that knew its true value, the store was a house of horros of death and myth under the fascade of antiques. Zhang reached within his long trenchcoat revealing a small porcelin jar which he placed upon the the counter top.
I seek to barter.
The storekeeper behind the counter returned the silence as the pipe he was smoking filled the room with the aroma of its scent. Not even looking at the item, the old man responded with a voice that seemed to originate from death itself. And what is it that you seek?
It was a simple question that deserved a simple answer, but Zhang was more complicated than simple. He was a wanderer, a traveler that had a heavy burden that few knew. I seek a door.
The shopkeeper gave Zhang a sharp glance. Much like the store he occupied, there was more to their conversation once you looked past the words. It was an intriqing request, one that deserved an equal item to trade. Curiousity had struck the old man like it hadnt in years, and now it had turned to the small porcilin jar which Zhang had placed upon entering.
His small aged hands grasped the jar, looking at the craftsmanship which adorned the it. Much like everything that had transpired within the walls of the small shop in Gothic, the true treasure was not revealed until the shop keeper removed the top, gazing upong the contents inside. His eyes opened widely, amazed at what he was witnessing. As a young boy he thought of it only to be a myth, and now his finger rolled through its dense black mass like a child with a new toy.
Such a offering would have fetched anything that the shopkeeper possessed and as such he jotted an address down on a paper, as he passed it toward Zhang. The door you seek lies here.I hear that a group of young ones calling themselves the MzTak have claimed residence there though.
Zhang's brow would shift sharply as his hand would take hold of the paper, but the shopkeeper would continue with his words of warning. The door still remains closed but another may be interested in the location as well. There was a fight and an explosion. And now there is attention.
The attention is most unwanted but more of an annoyance than anything. Zhang replied. Do you believe this other has interest to the door?
The shop keeper merely shrugged. I cannot give what I do not know.
Thank you for your business. A grateful Zhang replied. He had wandered for so long on this tedious journey and through a series of unfortunate events, he was one step closer to a goal.
May I see it? The shopkeeper spoke out once more, knowing Zhang would know the true intent of his request. To offer such an offering would only come from a name I have not spoken in ages.
There was some hesitancy, but he knew the old man was sincere in his request, and as such, Zhang obliged the request. From his pockets Zhang revealed his open hands, each finger wearing a ring designed and made from Kunlun. He had worn them for so long they acted as part of the finger itself. Each ring a revelation of where he was from.
The...they are beautiful. The shopkeeper would stammer upon his words as he locked on each ring as they themselves were telling a story.
That they are, Zhang replied, bringing forth the one which clung to his left fourth finger. He looked at it, remembering when he had received it and who had bestowed it upon him. Your grandfather gave me this one, Xao. He was a better Xian than I.
Zhang's words took the shopkeeper by surprise. He was a withered old man, yet even his frail frame did not reveal his truth and Zhang appeared to be the age of his grandchildren yet he claimed otherwise. He would smile, knowing Zhang was telling the truth as peace fell over him. And with it Zhang left the store only to find the door.
Even from a distance Marcus could see more in the alley than a man standing there. The street was littered with more dead bodies than alive, but still the repetitive nature of the criminals continued. Even before the leaders body was cold, another eager, rambunctious punk stepped up to take his place. Still wet behind his ears, the kid went by the name ‘Pop Rocks’ as the only remaining member of the MzTaKs with a gun, there were few objection. Already Marcus was planning his demise, picturing that sweet moment when the kid’s spine would break in two, though it did not register on an emotional level. Pop Rock’s death would be nothing more than a means to an end and nothing more. To him the kid was not even human and therefore deserved none of the rights and privileges that went with it. The kid was deemed as a criminal and therefore to Marcus he must be stopped, and the city cleansed! But just as he clinched his fist tight against the wall, chipping the brick with little ease, Pop Rock began boasting, “As the new leader I deserve the leaders jacket!” and with that said he reached down to remove the ex-leader’s jacket to claim as his own. But just as he reached down, one of the younger members, spoke up almost fearful to say, ‘Wait, you know the rules..” he then looks up and down the alley “..they will be coming first!”
Suddenly a cold chill swept the streets, as every member of the gang gasped. Around each member's ring finger a red ring began glowing brighter and brighter but without any glow, almost as if it was intentionally trying to hide from the light. At the same time the gang members froze in an almost trance like state, more afraid to move than limited too. Marcus, however, felt nothing but frustrated as he failed to notice the rings when fighting them, leaving him to verbally scold his mistake, “Amateurish Marcus, very amateurish. Not worthy of a Champion. You must do better in the future!” Just then, as the gang members froze in fear, three luminous figures dressed head to toe in red, stepped from out of the shadows without making a sound other than a eerie echoing howl. Almost levitating above the ground, the three figures stood over the deceased looking down upon them through red tented masks. Then with but a wave of their hands another reddish glow enveloped the dead, flickering around them like a mystic funeral pyre. In the end the bodies vanished from sight just as the light grew dimmer until all that was left were the member's jackets.
Once again, Marcus looked on, focusing his full attention on the events, putting his photographic memory to the test. As every detail could be important, he observed the figures in red actions, from the way they moved to the way they stood. Nothing was to insignificant to learn. But through it all, the one thing that was clearly obvious to all, was that the figures in red moved as if guided by tradition over anything else. But just as the dead disappeared from sight, the figures in red crept back into the shadows from where they came, leaving as silent as when they came in. Immediately, the remaining member’s rings stopped glowing, as they all took in a deep gasp of air, quickly trying to regain their composure. Then while everyone else was shaken, Pop Rocks took it upon himself to speak up again shouting, “Then its decided, I’m the new leader!” after which he snatched up the jacket from the ground and dawned it as his own. Once again Marcus looked on, this time eager to investigate. Already he was hypothesizing on the events, even adding the aspect of ‘Magic’ to the equation. But as any good philosopher would say ‘Proof is more important than theory’ he knew he needed to get his hands on one of those rings, before anything else.
She could hear the aircraft coming, but she couldn’t leave. Not yet. She came to Gothic for a reason and she couldn’t leave until she fulfilled her mission. If it meant having to be taken custody by law enforcement to get the job done, so be it. Exposure didn’t matter to So-so, because as of now, she had no blood family (as far as she knew). Yes, Catalina and Mari and Tassi were as close to a family as she would get, but they wouldn’t be in danger if she was caught. He shot a line into the sky, asking if she had one as well. She did, but she wasn’t about to go with him. She watched as the colorful vigilante would vanish into the night sky. The assassin would take a step back and lightly bow her head. She was staying behind.
She watched as he soared away, but was still able to hear the footsteps of the officers that has now surrounded her. She posed no threat, didn’t raise her weapon, didn’t get into an offensive or defensive stance. But even so, an officer came up behind her and grasped her by her injured arm, pulling it behind her even though she had stated before that her range of motion was limited due to injury, dropping her sword in the process. She couldn’t feel pain, her unforgiving training sought to that. But the True Blue Captain called him out, ripping him off of her as he released her arm. So-so grasped her shoulder with her uninjured hand, putting pressure on the wound to help stop the bleeding that was still oozing. But she released her grasp as the Captain then took hold of her good arm, putting it behind her as he began his process.
Once more the assassin didn’t fight back not even a word murmured from her as the mask was suddenly pulled off of her face. She blinked for a moment, her eyes adjusting to the darkness around them. The soft face of a young 13 year old was exposed. Her midnight blue eyes looking at the other officers that seemed like more of a threat than she did.
"Young lady, you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you?"
He began reciting her rights. She didn’t understand them, she had never heard of these ‘rights’ before. But it didn’t stop her from giving a soft “Yes.”. As he would begin to escort her to his vehicle. While she walked towards the Captains car, her eyes still scanning the officers. Each of them looked as if they were ready to draw blood on her. There was a hunger for blood in their eyes, she knew it all too well. The only one out here who didn’t have it, was the Captain.
As he opened the door to his car, the red and blue lights still flashing, she slid in, her head held high as began examining the interior of it. There were several ways to escape with the tools she had with her… if she needed to. But she wanted to cooperate. The less she resisted and complied with his demands, the more of the possibility that this Captain Lambert will help her in his own way.
The Mutt stayed quiet in the back of the vehicle as he began driving off to the station. The dim yellowish streetlights of Gothic City could be seen running along her features as she examined Captain Lambert from his rear view mirror. He seemed like a decent man, trying to do the right thing and not corrupted by the powers of the city. There weren’t many of those in this city.
Pop Rocks words carried down the empty alleyway, blending with the old newspapers and debris in an unusual dance until they both vanished once they came to the adjacent street. There were no sirens signaling an emergency. There were no cars rushing pass in obscurity. Outside of the flickering corner light which casted an eerie lamination to the situation, they were all along.
And then appeared Zhang.
He had learned in Shaolin to move a mile between a breathe. It was but hyperbole, but Zhang's appearance from nowhere made that notion come into question. There was no clacks of his feet striking the asphalt. There was no memory of him walking down the adjacent street. There was just Zhang
Yo!!! One of the outer members called aloud. Take a look at Yao Ming over there.
Pop Rocks would glance carefully through his crew, sizing up the seven footer as he approached. The reference to the former basketball player would make him chuckle as it did the rest of the crew. Yo my dude. You in the wrong part of town. There aint no General Tsao's chicken on this block. This here is my block. I run this part of town.
Zhang would remain silent as he stood close to the crew as they spat their ignorance, his impressive stature towering over everyone. A simple tiger claw to this throat would end it quickly. The removal of his larynx would prevent even a whimper of help. He would use then use the unexpected attack to deliver a quick kick to the base of one closest to Pop Rocks to the base of his jaw and neck, using the force of his attack and the anatomical structure of his anatomy to throw him afar to better take care of the others. The numbers would have to be eliminated and he would then use one of his favorite tools, the nunchaku, to clobber and disable the rest with a series of twirls and strikes. All of it had crossed his mind until he saw the rings on each of their fingers. They had discovered the door.
Zhang would slowly raise his gloved hands in the air in an attempt of peace. They had no idea the power which they had tapped into and they had no idea that beneath his gloves he wore the ten rings of Kunlun. I have no query with you. I am merely a messenger. It is only fair that you receive such a message since I know where the rings you possess have originated. The path you have chosen is not a righteous one. Depart now so I can approach the door.
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