57 Into Darkness
Despite the situation she was in, Zoey was strangely calm. She could see everything happen in slow motion, so she was able to plan and react as necessary. The instant the her target had disappeared after she shot him, she had known that he had to be in her blind spot. Now, even as the man's blade stabbed at her ankle, she was calm. Right when the blade was about to make contact, he suddenly retracted his strike and raised his blade above his head defensively.
There was a loud clang of metal on metal as Zoey's knife came in from above in a diving attack and the man in black deflected it. Zoey blocked a low sweeping kick that came at her and retaliated by flipping backwards and connecting her foot with the man's chin in a graceful backflip kick. At the same time her knife whistled in from behind, aiming at the man's back while he was staggered from the kick.
As the knife penetrated its target, the man's form disappeared into a wisp of smoke like before. He reappeared on her left side again, avoiding her right hand that held her deadly handgun. He knew the damage that thing could do and was doing his best to avoid the threat entirely. As Zoey was reacting to his reappearance, she caught a glimpse of a glowing object in the man's hand right before a concussive blast sent her flying through the air.
Even through her Ice Armor array, Zoey felt like she had been hit by a truck. The impact was clearly designed to incapacitate a target, but thanks to her Ice Armor, most of the impact was negated. She hit the ground and rolled back to her feet, already aiming her 9mm Custom at her target. She fired several times in quick succession, the dull booms echoing through the crater not too far behind her. Her shots all hit the man in black leather, but each time he disappeared and appeared like a phantom a short distance away. He seemed surprised that she was fine after he hit her with the shockwave attack.
In truth, He was quite shocked with how much of a fight she was putting up. She had even managed to land a kick on him while his talent was active. Less than a month ago she was nowhere near this strong. He had to capture her now before she became stronger and even more dangerous. The stronger someone that had a Harmonic Heritage became, the stronger the effect was when they were used to boost your power. But the nobles liked to catch their Harmonic Heritage carriers early while they were still developing as it was easier to keep them docile and under control even if they became stronger later. There were many methods to control and manipulate someone, and the nobles were practiced masters of that art.
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The fight continued as the man in black appeared again on Zoey's left side and attacked with his blade once more. Zoey recalled her knife and did her best to deflect and avoid his strikes while attempting to get a shot on him with her 9mm Custom in her right hand. But the man kept staying out of the gun's angle and when she did manage to get her sights on him he would do his warping trick and disappear. Even though Zoey had the advantage of her Dark Star Vision, he was still faster than her. He was probably at a higher rank than her, but Zoey would not let him win.
Sparks scattered into the rainy night and thunder boomed in between the clashes of blades and the impact of kicks and blocks. Lightning snaked across the sky above and briefly illuminated the two fighting below. Behind them the dark depths of the crater loomed like the maw of some great beast waiting to swallow whatever fell off the edge. As they fought, the Kreppelin airship caught up and drifted to a stop above the trees. On the deck, the crew gathered to the railing to catch a glimpse of the excitement below through the occasional flash of lightning while Markus Rellen and his remaining guards prepared to drop down to the surface.
Zoey was aware of the airship's arrival thanks to her link with Viridi who was still waiting in the sky for her chance to strike. She already had several opportunities, but Zoey had told her to hold off. This fight was valuable experience for her and she still had many options to facilitate her escape when she needed to.
"Looks like you are enjoying this as much as I am little fox," the man said to her as his blade deflected another strike by Zoey's knife. "Why don't you at least tell me your name? We will get to know each other really well soon after all."
His leering grin made Zoey realize that she was not taking this fight seriously enough. Even if she had more options to help her escape, there was no way he did not have other methods to capture her that she did not know about. He may have been just playing with her this entire time!
Once she realized this, Zoey made a desperate swing at the man with her handgun. He saw the opening and eagerly swung his blade, knocking the gun from her hand. At the same time, he grabbed her left arm that was controlling her knife with an iron grip and locked her right arm against his side, preventing her from moving. Having trapped her, he grinned at her with that creepy smile while he held her.
"Looks like the game is over, little fox!" he said excitedly. "There will be no more running from your fate."
The next instant his expression twisted as he realized that something was approaching from behind. He tried to release Zoey and pull his disappearing act again, but Zoey had been waiting for this moment and grabbed onto him. She had discovered early in the fight that he could not use his disappearing ability while making contact with her. Now she had the pleasure of watching his moment of panic as he realized he couldn't escape.
A single Shadow Blade sliced deep into his back and blood flew, mixing into the rain as it fell. The next instant, Zoey activated her Crystal Claw Bracer and a glowing magical claw pierced into his side and up into his chest. As the man stared in shock at the expressionless mask covering Zoey's face, her knife whistled in from behind and buried itself into the back of his skull. The last thing he saw was the glowing, molten lava behind Zoey's emerald eyes as she killed him.
Zoey released the body and let it drop into the mud. She turned and collected her 9mm Custom and walked towards the crater, stopping on the edge as Viridi landed on her shoulder.
Zoey turned to see Markus Rellen approaching while his goons gathered around the body behind him. Markus had a deranged, panicked look on his face as he slowly stepped closer, gasping for air and his hands outstretched as if he was trying to grab her from where he was.
"From the moment you first existed, you belonged to ME! You have no rights, and your life is mine to command! If you disobey me again, I WILL NOT SHOW MERCY!" he roared at her through the rain. He looked rather pathetic with his mud splattered clothing and drenched appearance.
As the thunder crashed above, Zoey slowly raised her hand and removed her mask and hood, revealing her face. As time seemed to stop for Markus, she lifted both hands in Markus's direction, extended both of her middle fingers and said in a clear, beautiful voice, "Fuck you."
Then she stepped back and dropped into the darkness below.