Chapter 123: Who are you?

Arron marched down a cramped hallway that had not been cleaned in years.

All the trash covering the floor allowed his footsteps to be muffled instead of the normal loud clack of footsteps on a para-steel floor. There was only one light that worked in the entire hallway and it was right above the last office door that had a grimy sign above it [Berts P.I. & Information].

Arron was being followed by two other low-level enforcers from the Ryu family who had come along as backup for him.

The three of them stopped outside the door with their hands on their weapons. Arron nodded to one of the grunts who then stepped forward. He had to kick the flimsy metal door twice before its cheap mechanical lock broke and the door swung open and slammed into the wall of the room.

The three rushed in and scanned the messy office with their weapons ready. Arron’s eyes stopped when he found Bert sitting behind a desk. Their target had a confused and blank face that was trying to understand what was going on but was unable to make sense of anything since he was drugged out of his mind.

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“Whaaaa…?” slurred Bert.

Arron took out an injection pen that had a fast-action wake-up drug from his belt.

Normally he kept it on himself just in case someone tried to drug him secretly or openly, but it also came in handy for times like this. The two enforcers grabbed the dazed man’s arms holding him still while Arron walked up to him and stabbed the injection pen into the man’s neck.

The enforcers held the man for a few minutes until whatever drugs he had taken had been flushed out of his system by the wake-up drug. The process was never a pleasant feeling.

“Don’t you guys know how to knock?” complained Bert as his wits came back to him.

“If we did that, you would have run and then we would have had to chase you. I don’t feel like running today,” said Arron.

“I’m busy with work and I can’t see you today. Please leave,” said Bert weakly.

“Can’t do that. Word on the street is that you know something about a killer who has been targeting girls working for the families,” said Arron.

The man’s face turned a shade paler at hearing this and glanced at the weapons in their hands before holding up his hands in defeat.

“I do know her. But! I have nothing to do with these killings! All I know is that she was paid a once-in-a-lifetime sum to take on this mission.”

“Who is she and who hired her?” asked Arron leaning in closer to make the information broker even more uncomfortable with his breath hitting Bert in the face.

“She didn’t say their name just that it was someone ‘BIG’. That usually means it’s not any of the usual clients from the families. It’s not an internal fight between the families if that’s what you’re worried about.”

“Her name,” said Arron, poking Bert in the chest with his finger.

“Come on don’t make me give up one of my main sources of income…” said Bert trying to protest but after looking at the three stone faces again he gave up any idea of resisting.

“Stella is the name she goes by when receiving missions from any of the families. I… sold her a fake I.D. of some dead person who was never reported to have been killed. So even if you had her real name that was given out by Mother and Father you would not find her.”

Arron only stared at Bert who let out a long sigh and then swiped over all the information he had collected on her including a holographic picture of what she looked like when she visited him.

“Her list of targets was rather large so she should still be working. That’s all I know,” said Bert.

“You have been very helpful. We will come back if we need more help,” said Arron as he motioned for the two enforcers to follow him.

“Please don’t. I have enough problems already,” said Burt as the door was slammed shut.

As Arron walked out of the shabby building he sent off two messages requesting information on the person using the new ID, one to Kix, and one to the Ryu family ‘Researchers’ at the main office. This was done for insurance as he did not want to put all his eggs in one basket.

They silently waited in their shabby rental hover-car which looked like it was ready to fall apart if someone gave it a hard kick.

After only ten minutes of waiting the Ryu family sent him the information he needed which included the most recent scanning of the fake ID when it was logged buying items near another pleasure palace.

Arron did not ask how they were able to get the information so fast and just plugged the address of the pleasure palace into the hover-cars auto-navigation.

When the hover-car stopped at their destination, Arron turned to one of the enforcers, “You stay here and keep the car safe. If someone were to steal it, the rental place is going to try and rip me off by making me pay them more than the car is worth.”

The enforcer only nodded his head and stayed in his seat while Arron and the second enforcer got out and walked to the building.

As Arron passed through the doors two scantily dressed women near the doors stepped in front of him to greet him.

“Welcome guest! What service would you like to…” When they saw Arron’s grim face, his clothes, and the enforcer that came in behind him they paused for a second.

“Sir, what family are you from? Are you here to speak with the manager?” asked the older female of the two.

“Ryu family. Tell the manager it is an emergency and that I have come to talk about ‘That’ issue,” was all Arron said.

“’That’ issue?” asked the confused woman for a second but she shook her head to clear it. “I will immediately inform him.”

Arron only had to wait a few minutes near the front desk of the lobby where several guests who were coming in and leaving tried to give him a wide space due to his scary scowl.

“Sorry, lighten up. You’re scaring my customers!” said Poe, the manager of the building, when he came out of a hidden door behind the lobby desk. “This is our first time meeting in person so I really have no idea why you have come.”

“As I said it’s because of ‘that’ issue which everyone has been experiencing.”

“Are you talking about the… mishaps? We haven’t had any problems… wait are you saying that we’re next?”

“The killer was spotted at a place near this building. You should prepare for the wo…”

“AHHHHHHH!” A scream could be heard echoing down from the main stairwell that was busy with hundreds of people going up to enjoy themselves or returning from one of the rooms on a higher floor.

Everyone on the stairs froze as they looked up towards the woman who was screaming hysterically.

“What’s going on? I can’t see with everyone in the way. Bring up the video footage!” ordered Poe to one of the people at the front desk. With a few quick taps, the stairwell video was pulled up and enlarged so that they could all see.

One of the female workers had fallen to her knees and was pointing to something round on the ground only a few feet away from her.

When Arron looked closer he saw the round object was a severed head of a young female…

“Lock down the building!” ordered Poe frantically over the building’s internal comms.

Red sirens began to blare as his orders were followed. The guests who were unsure what was going on all started to panic.

Out of the corner of Arron’s eye, he saw one of the guests moving through the crowd with a hood covering their face.

“Everyone stop where you are!” roared Akira as he moved towards the panicked crowd.

As soon as he said this the hooded figure bolted to the hallway leading to the rear of the building.

Arron did not bother talking to the manager and just gave chase to the escaping assassin.

The enforcer tried to follow him but more and more worried guests were flooding down from floors above trying to escape the several decapitated bodies they had seen on floors above them. With such a crowd flooding the lobby, the enforcer was cut off from Arron.


The ground shook as an explosion in the rear of the building went off.


A second explosion could be heard as Arron reached a large hole in the wall of the hallway next to the closed para-steel exit door. The hole led into a storage room and at the far end of the room there was another fresh hole that led outside towards a dark alley.

Arron dashed through the smoldering holes in the wall while calling the Ryu family HQ.

“This is Sorry, I have found the assassin killing the palace girls! I am calling for backup.”

“Where are you?” asked an office worker of the family.

“The killer is cornered requesting …”

Slash! Kaching!

A sharp long blade slashed down on Arron’s right arm trying to sever it. It only managed to cut his wrist-datapad in half before bouncing off of the parasteel metal arm.

“Who has who cornered?” asked the ambusher before throwing a round object toward Arron.

Arron did not have time to think and just jumped back through the second hole into the storage room as a loud ‘Wooomp!’ and a shock wave from the explosion slammed into his back.

Arron gathered himself and after checking that he was okay, once again dived back out of the building doing a quick roll while bringing his weapon up into a low ready position as he scanned the area but found that the target had already escaped.

His ears were still ringing from the explosion but with the help of his special sunglasses visor, he was able to catch the sound of running footsteps that were headed deeper into the dark alley maze.

As he rushed forward and then slowed down at a dark corner so that he could cautiously check the area…


A long blade swung out of the shadows, aimed at his neck.


With skilled training, Arron leaned back and used his right arm to block the sudden attack.

“Stop following me! I am just doing my job!” said a female voice that was slightly altered by a voice changer.

“I am doing my job as well. I need to capture you and take you in to face justice before the families!” said Arron as he blocked another slash that was aimed at his stomach.

Now that the ambusher was right in front of him, he was able to see that the long blades attacking him had folded out from the assassin’s mechanical arms and formed a sort of bladed sword which she was able to swing around quite effectively.

With the blades constantly slicing at Arron’s neck and chest he was on defense trying to protect his vitals.

He did not want to kill her and so he was refraining from shooting her while he tried to think of an alternate way to take her down.

Swoosh! Kachack!

Akira’s blood went cold as one of the attacks he blocked bounced off his arm… but at the last second was aimed again at his face slicing right across his cheek and forehead.

Instead of blood gushing out… There was only torn synthetic skin and metal. The large slash destroyed Arron’s mask and revealed a large portion of his real face underneath.

“Wait… You’re not someone from the families! Who are you?” said the surprised assassin.

“What are you talking about? Am I not allowed to hide my identity just like you? This is a common thing in each of the families to keep the Office of Reason off our tracks,” said Arron trying to throw her off his tracks.

Swoosh! Several more attacks were launched at Arron’s head.

“That’s a lie! I know I recognized you! You are one of those new recruits! I’ve read your files before just in case I was given a mission to normalize you! There was no mention of you wearing a mask! This is big! You can forget about taking me in for a reward! When the families hear this…”


The assassin clutched her stomach where blood was now gushing out of a new large hole.

As she fell to her knees she clawed at her wrist data-pad trying to start a call to expose him and ask for help.

Arron’s foot shot out and stomped on her arm stopping the action. With another stomp, he crushed the wrist-datapad to the point that it could no longer be used.

“I didn’t want to kill you. Honestly, I just wanted to capture you and turn you in. I’m sorry.”


Only allowed on

A second shot from Arron’s gun ceased the assassin’s struggle to escape.

Without any emotions showing Arron went into action to clean up this mess as there was little time left for him. He rummaged through the weapons on the assassin’s body and found four high explosive grenades stuck to her body sewed into a suicide vest.

“That makes everything more simple…” said Arron as he stripped off all his clothes leaving him barefoot and only wearing a pair of gym shorts that he wore underneath his clothes because he had been planning to head to a gym and work out before all this happened.

He quickly tore off the assassin’s baggy hoodie which now had blood all over it and pulled it over his head.

Arron stopped for a moment as he looked at his bare feet and the assassin’s shoes. He took them as well and slid his feet into them and grimaced as his feet were crammed into the far too small pair of shoes.

He piled up all his clothes, wrist-datapad, sunglasses, and gun underneath the assassin’s body.

After a quick search of the ground nearby the dead assassin he found the trigger for the suicide vest that had been dropped when she died.

Arron did one last look at himself and the area before running to a safe corner of the ally and pressed the trigger button.


A large fiery explosion smashed into the walls of each of the buildings nearby, tearing them down and leaving a large hole in the center of the alley. The force of the explosion along with the heat was enough to leave no trace of the assassin or Akira’s clothes that had been placed underneath the body.

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