[2nd of January, 2741 AD; up on the rooftops in Gel Heights, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Nano District]
Gavin pursued Harold Mars atop the building. He and Law looked around to find the ruthless man himself, but only found Eva and Mina in wait on top of the neighboring building. The fact that Harold could not be found baffled Gavin, but he remained on the trail. Harold had to be hiding somewhere amongst the rooftops and Gavin knew that he was going to find him sooner rather than later. Law stuck by as the two scoped out the immediate area.
“You two saw him, didn’t you?” Law asked Eva and Mina.
“I’m sorry to say that we did not,” Eva replied. “It’s unfortunate, but it looks as if Harold is just out of our reach.”
“We did hear that explosive noise, though,” Mina said. “Surely we can use that to find him!”
“Damn it, has this monster evaded us?” Gavin asked, tightening the grip on his gun. “We know you’re hiding somewhere, so it’s no use trying to evade us!”
“Getting loud may not be the best option,” Law said. “If we really want to find this guy, bro, then we’ve got to start looking.”
“Even someone like him has limits,” Eva said. “It doesn’t matter what he’s got, Harold will have to show himself soon enough.”
“Let’s start looking,” Mina said. “Nothing is impossible if we take a look around the area!”
Gavin traced his steps back to the door. That could only be the way up to the roof as no other route existed. As he tried to deduce Harold’s method, Gavin recalled the situation back in the room where he and Law joined up with Sorin and Johan. Two possible locations existed, yet it was unlikely Harold would try to descend to the streets.
“Come on, think,” Gavin said. “Where is he right now?”
It was then that Gavin realized a new possibility: Harold went through the hole in the floor, but did not go all the way downstairs. From that, there was one way Harold could go up, Gavin thought.
“Is it so?” Gavin asked himself.
“You look like you’re on to something,” Law said.
“Lawrence, keep yourself alert,” Gavin said. “That spreads to both of you, as well. There’s only one way for our enemy to hide right now!”
“So you figured it out too,” Law said. “Didn’t think a man his age would be able to pull it off, but I guess that’s what makes him so formidable.”
“But now that we know, we’ve got the upper hand,” Eva said. “Somewhere along the walls of these buildings, Harold is clinging on.”
It was the only explanation. Gavin tracked the edges of the building as he tried to find any trace of Harold. He would have to emerge sooner or later, Gavin thought as he continued to focus on Harold’s next move. It was then that Harold laughed, his deep cackle echoing in the alleys below.
“You’re not nearly as idiotic as you appear,” Harold said.
Gavin looked around to find him, but still could not find a single trace of Harold. At that moment, a loud, destructive crash broke out as Gavin turned to his left and aimed his gun forward. Law readied himself as well. Another crash rang out as Harold leapt over the edge of the building. His shirt had been torn in a couple of places, but overall he remained the same as before.
“Step back!” Gavin ordered Law.
Gavin wasted no time. He fired off three shots at Harold, all three hitting him in the chest. Harold stopped and clutched where he was shot as Gavin kept his line of sight trained on him. As Gavin continued to hold Harold at gunpoint, Harold laughed once more.
“It appears I was wrong,” Harold said. “You’re as every bit half witted as I thought!”
“I shot you three times, asshole!” Gavin exclaimed. “How the hell could you laugh at a time like this?”
Harold guffawed. “It’s hopeless to try and stop me,” he said, unbuttoning his shirt. “Your efforts are all for naught!”
Gavin could not believe what stood before him. Where he had shot Harold was in what appeared to be a metallic plate that covered the entirety of his chest. He saw the small bullets lodged within the metal, further proving what Harold said was true. However, Gavin knew that Harold was wrong about one thing in particular and he was going to show him that.
“All that means is that I’ve gotta change my target,” Gavin said. “Thanks for giving me the hint!”
“Unfortunately for you, you won’t have another chance!” Harold exclaimed as he charged at Gavin and Law.
“Look out!” Eva said.
Gavin cocked his gun again. “I just need one shot.”
Harold, however, threw down his fist at the ground. The explosive impact caused debris to fly up, distracting Gavin as he tried to get a good shot in. Law then decided to tackle Gavin to the floor, both men getting out of the way as Eva and Mina jumped in. As everything began to clear, the four surrounded Harold as he had nowhere to run.
“You really are so concerned, aren’t you Lawrence?” Gavin asked as he got up to his feet. “No matter. It looks like we’ve got this prick cornered.”
“Don’t underestimate him,” Eva said. “I’m sure we all would like to have a crack at this despicable excuse of a human, but he’s far from done.”
“You all think you’re ahead of me,” Harold said. “I’ve already shown you why it’s foolish to fight me.”
“Why don’t you just shove it, you fiend,” Mina replied. “You can’t run nor hide from us anymore! You can’t even attack!”
“I can’t attack?” Harold asked. “What a marvelously foolish remark! Dare to put that theory to the test?”
“You won’t get a chance,” Eva said.
“The moment you showed your pathetic face was the moment you lost, don’t forget that,” Gavin said. “Because once you make your move, I’m going right for the head!”
Harold did not respond and lowered his head.
“What’s the matter?” Law asked. “Are you already out of excuses to try and justify yourself?”
“I must thank you,” Harold replied. “You gave me just enough time.”
“Just enough time?” Mina asked. “There’s no time for you at all!”
A sudden realization hit Gavin. He remembered how Harold escaped to the roof, throwing down his fist at the ground much like he did moments ago. Gavin could only see smoke after that happened, which helped in Harold’s escape. The scene was the same as before, only under different circumstances. That sudden realization alerted Gavin to what Harold was going to do next. But Harold threw down his fist at the ground first.
“Everyone, look out!” Gavin exclaimed.
Smoke appeared from where Harold punched as everything clouded up for Gavin and the others. It was both Harold’s escape and method of attacking, Gavin thought. That was why it was important to remain on the defensive until the smoke cleared out.
“He can’t get away!” Mina said.
“Don’t worry,” Eva said, “I’m not going to let him do that.”
“So this is how he responds,” Law said. “Like a coward, he uses obscurity to try and attack us while we’re not looking!”
“Very perceptive,” Harold said. “It looks like you’re catching on and that’s exactly why I can’t let you live!”
Gavin had to take a chance. Out of him, Law, Mina, and Eva, there was only a one-in-four chance of guessing who Harold would attack first. There would be no room for error; however, Harold’s words gave Gavin a clue. Strong as they may be, Harold had one easy target. A target that Gavin was confident would be able to defend, but Gavin knew that he could not afford to give Harold any sort of chance at attacking.
“I’ve found you!” Gavin said.
He hurried over in the direction of Law’s voice and threw his fist out in a horizontal motion. Gavin could not risk it with a bullet, so he settled on his next best option. The strike proved to work as the smoke started to clear out as Gavin caught a glimpse of Harold. Gavin had landed a successful strike upon Harold’s face as the two were in a standoff with Law bearing witness to the scene.
“That’s the bro I know,” Law said. “Acting upon that instinct really did you some good, though it did much more for me in the end.”
“I-Impossible,” Harold said. “Just how? How were you able to see through the smoke?”
“I didn’t,” Gavin answered. “And it’s not as if I’m going to tell you. Besides, I’ve got you all figured out now.”
Harold uttered a parted chuckle. “That’s rich,” he said. “You figured me out like some sort of tactician? I’d laugh, but you’ve given me quite the pain.”
“Save it,” Gavin said. “You can’t attack us without trying to hide first. I’d wager that you can’t use your most devastating attack without the help of some obscurity, which was why you tried so hard to make it difficult for us to see but I managed to see through the ruse.”
“You can’t even fight fair,” Mina said. “But why should we expect you to when you’ve been hiding from us all this time?”
“Is that so?” Harold asked.
“There was no way Kirk would lose to you in a fair fight,” Eva said. “That can only mean you had to sneak up on him to kill him. I’ll never forgive you for such a cowardly act, nor will I forgive you for what you did to Kirk!”
No one said a word. What followed next was the faint sound of something rustling from below as Gavin stared Harold down. Then, Harold cracked a large smile as he looked back at Gavin.
“If it’s a fair fight you want, then it’s a fair fight you get!” Harold exclaimed.
In the span of what seemed to be less than a second, Gavin felt a sudden pain hit him in the abdomen. He dropped down to his knees as Harold withdrew his fist. Though it was nowhere near as powerful as Gavin saw before, the punch packed just enough to send pain into his body.
“Bad choice, man,” Law said. “Now it’s our turn!”
Gavin turned his head up to see Law run at Harold. On the other side, Eva and Mina helped Law in the fight. Harold kept his arms near his face and the back of his head while Gavin struggled to get up. Gavin had to get back up. It was his best bet now to look for an opening and take the next shot. However, with Law, Eva, and Mina fighting Harold, that shot would have to wait. Gavin decided to look at his gun and saw how many bullets he had left: two.
“Like I’ll need another shot,” Gavin said.
He placed his hand upon his right pocket and felt the bullets hiding within. Gavin came prepared but he also had faith in himself. The pain had all but faded by now as Gavin got up to his feet. It was just the right time, too, as Harold had pushed back against Law while keeping Eva and Mina at bay with his other hand. No room for error now, Gavin thought.
“All this strength and still you can’t get through,” Harold said. “It’s just as I expected… You stand no chance against me!”
But as Gavin lined up to take his shot, Mina leapt at Harold. She sent a kick flying towards Harold and hit him in the head as hard as she could. Mina’s kick caught Harold off guard as he went reeling back.
“Just shut up already,” Mina said, “We’re going to beat you no matter what it takes!”
“Wow, that was some kick,” Law said. “Even he’s got to feel that one.”
Everyone watched as Harold continued to stumble backwards. Gavin had him now. He refocused his shot on Harold and aimed for his head. One bullet was all that was needed.
“You’re all a bunch of idiots,” Harold said. “It seems that none of you can pay attention!”
“The fuck are you talking about?” Gavin asked.
“I’m talking about this,” Harold replied, backing up towards the edge of the building. “Now watch as I make my escape!”
Gavin realized what he meant and fired his shot without another word. But it was already too late as Harold proceeded to fall over the edge of the building down into the alleys below. Eva and Mina hurried over to where Harold fell over while Law went over to Gavin.
“How the hell can that bastard be so damn slippery?” Gavin asked. “He took a kick to the head from Mina for god’s sake! How in the fuck does he have the audacity to use that to plot his escape?”
“It’s just like that,” Law said. “He’s getting desperate, so he’s gotta use every possible path to his advantage even if it causes him harm.”
“We’re on the move,” Eva said. “Mina, you and Law continue the pursuit by following Harold. Gavin and I are going back downstairs.”
“Wait, how are we going to do that?” Mina asked.
“We use the same path he took,” Law said. “Surely there’s something that we can use to climb down. It wouldn’t make sense for a multi-story building to not have one, after all.”
“Then it’s settled,” Eva said. “Now move!”
Gavin could not be upset now. He needed to stay focused. He followed Eva as their chase continued. Harold had slipped out of their grasp, but Gavin was not about to give up just yet. He also hoped that the others would not give up, either, especially not Sorin.
[2nd of January, 2740 AD; in the alleys of Gel Heights, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Nano District]
Sorin continued on as he, Gale, and Johan kept on the lookout for Harold. Then he heard it for himself. A succession of loud collisions filled the alleyway as Sorin tried to locate the source. Harold had proclaimed his escape a few moments prior, so Sorin had to keep on his guard. He had to for the sake of both Gale and Johan, both of whom remained unarmed.
“You can’t run from me now, Sorin Wilk!” Harold exclaimed.
As Sorin turned around, he watched as Harold leapt from the windowsill above and landed in front of him. Johan kept his distance away from Harold as did Gale. There was no use in running now, Sorin thought. Harold stood in front of him with nowhere else to go.
“I wasn’t going to run away,” Sorin said. “You like to think that you’ve got an upper hand, but it’s you who’s at a disadvantage now.”
“That’s right,” Gale said. “You stand no chance against us when we’re all united together.”
“How stupid,” Harold replied. “Do you intend to take me on then?”
“I won’t, but he can,” Gale said, looking over at Sorin. “And so will they, because your time is up.”
Just as Gale said, Mina and Law descended down from the roof by way of the nearby pipe. They stood opposite of Sorin and surrounded Harold, who now had no possible escape. Sorin needed to fight with everything he had if they were going to win, because he knew that the fight was not over yet.
To be continued…
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