Witch Hunter Robin Fan Fiction ❯ Witch Hunter Robin – Resolution of a Half-ling ❯ Unburied Hatchet ( Chapter 6 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Chapter 6 - Unburied Hatchet
Rashib `Carr' Hartmann leaned against the lamppost, lighting a cigarette. At the first wisps seeping out his triangular nostrils, his ears picked up an explosive bang. Tilting his head, he saw dark clouds rumbling out from a building. Passer-bys screamed at the flying glass fragments and other debris, running for cover. Although he was right opposite the STN-J hideout, he appeared oblivious and unharmed, at least physically.
“I love the smell of destruction, don't you, Bian?” He tossed the used cigarette at him, not caring about dirtying his clothes.
“Yes.” Bian gingerly brushed off the ashes from his shirtfront. “But won't this kill Amon too quickly?”
“Nah. My target cannot die by ordinary means. Only through certain pure bloods like me if what the legend behind his witch family is true. Oh, I do relish the challenge of ending their bloodline.” His tongue wiped his upper lip. “Now I recall something about you, Bian. You and Amon shared some similarities. Wasn't your father a plain old mortal?”
“Yyesss,” Rashib hissed, sliding behind him. “You know that after tonight, the police are going to investigate this. Can't have them bothering us, can't we?”
“No,” Bian replied fearfully, cringing at the icy hand touching his right breast.
Suddenly, an invisible force went into his body and brutally crushed his heart. Clutching his chest, he collapsed to his knees and finally hit the ground. His eyes remained opened and spoke of a dreadfulness that he had longed feared and foreseen.
“I don't feel so good,” Michael coughed, crawling out under the debris.
“Join the club,” Doijima concurred, combing her disheveled locks backwards with her fingers. Looking at her blackened palms, she groaned. “My hair. My nice clean hair.”
“Be grateful that I saved your head,” Sakaki protested, pulling Karasuma to her feet.
“Sneaky bastards,” Karasuma cursed, examining the wreckage. “Where are Amon and Robin?”
“In basement two,” Michael answered. “They won't be affected but I'm certain that little `gift' probably set off the security alarm...” A pair of dark eyes among the flames caught his attention. “Err… Doijima?”
“Saw it.” She pushed him out of the way. “Let's go.” Holding up her pistol, she signaled to the other two to. Unlike most flames, the area her eyes were locked onto did not produce heat or sway naturally. Even if it did, there was no wind present. Although the idea of beating up the intruders was tempting, it was wiser for her to let Sakaki and Karasuma care of them.
“Show yourself,” Karasuma commanded, watching Michael and Doijima leaving through a hidden staircase. Luckily, some of the maintenance systems were unaffected. “And no cliché laughter.”
“What's wrong with a little tradition?” The fire responded, gradually transforming into a woman dressed in black leather and high-heeled boots. Smiling, she took out a whip dangling from his her hip. Sakaki saw snake heads writhing at the tip, transmitting their mistress' diabolic desires.
“Identity yourself, witch.”
“A threesome, huh?” She mused saucily. “I can deal with it. Can you?”
Racing down the passageway, Doijima tried to recall the blueprint as fast as her brain juices could produce. Turn here. Turn there. Press this button. Then this. Pull down the handle. Pull up. Get in. Move there… oh jeez! Who was the blasted son of the gun who created this idiotic user-unfriendly getaway route? Michael was right behind her. For a computer geek, he was physically a lot fitter than she assumed. A stray thought rose. Had she ever seen him exercising? She made a low snort. Escape first. Nosy questions later.
“How much further?” He asked.
“How should I know?” Doijima speculated he was soon at his limit. “I didn't invent the route. Why not memo to them to simplify it in the future?”
“Wait!” He grabbed her arm. “Did you hear something?”
“Yeah, you!” She spat. At that moment, she sincerely thought she felt something fabric ramming in her face. “What…”
Michael burst out. “Amon!”
“Amon?” She repeated loudly, hardly believing what's in front of her. “Robin!” She scrutinized them briefly to check if they were truly there. “How? … When?”
“We came out from this hidden entrance.” Amon pointed plainly. “You can't see it now. The hologram program is making it invisible. Karasuma told me about it. Nice work, Michael.”
“Michael? You invented all this?”
“Yeah. Me and my computer.”
“How do you manage to keep yourself skinny by sitting all day?”
“What happened to you?” Robin interrupted, scanning at their unkempt state.
“What else?” Doijima retorted. “Unfinished business.”
“Odd.” Amon frowned. “Most witches stayed low. Why would they come here? Unless…” His voice faded for a moment. “The warlock who nearly killed me. He said that I'm one of them. The old lady told me there are many people wanting my head.”
“Don't hog the limelight. We are in it too.”
“More the merrier, huh?” Amon finished loading his gun. “Let's go.”
“No wait, Karasuma and Sakaki,” Michael objected.
“They aren't kids. Come on, we have to get out of here.”
“How much longer is this maze going to take, genius?” Doijima groaned.
“Patience, darling.” Michael pressed his finger onto a stained part of the wall. Hearing a low humming sound, Doijima turned around and saw a mechanic wall opening. However, her joy disintegrated at the stench of what was possibly sewage water.
“This sewage passage leads at least three blocks away from here,” He said, taking the lead. “There is an emergency hideout at a local hostel for foreign backpackers. We can clean up while waiting to re-group.”
“Right,” Doijima muttered, mentally counting the amount of rubbish debris floating by. “Right.”
Crushing the cigarette butt under the heel of his boot, Rashib lazily gazed at the spoils thrown at his feet - two witch hunters. Bound and gagged. A few inches in front of him, he saw their captor towering over them. Her snake whip coiled around her waist. Its snakeheads hissed proudly, reflecting a pride that a few could obtain. Their mistress stood still with her chin held high, obviously waiting for a compliment.
“Zena,” He began slowly, watching her glossy purple lips parted slightly. “Congratulations on your capture of these two distinguished witch hunters, Karasuma and Sakaki. Yet, it seems that in the midst of your enthusiasm, the catch of today's agenda has gotten away.”
“They won't get far,” She answered, bending down. Clutching Sakaki's head by the hair, she revealed reddish fang bites on his neck. “When my babies bit him, I was able to read his memories for a brief moment. The witch hunters have used a getaway passage that leads them a hostel three blocks from here. Give the word and the men and I will make Amon beg for your mercy.”
“The stage is all yours.” He shifted his attention to his lackeys whose presence were the least contribution to main event. “They are your entertainment tonight.” A snigger rose among them.
“Where's Bian?” Zena asked.
“He went to lie down.” Rashib curbed his impatience. “Apparently, his heart couldn't take all the excitement. You. You. And you. Assist Zena.”
“And what about you? Don't you want to have the main dish to yourself?”
“Of course. That is why you and the rest have to go in first. To draw him out.”
“They are taking too long,” Doijima checked her watch for the tenth time. “Where could they be?”
“Captured,” Amon concluded. Then, he felt his handphone vibrating. “Hello? Nagira? Where are you?”
“Somewhere safe…” His voice sounded haggard. “Ah… those sneaky bastards… whacked me with their magic... my head hurts… They got Karasuma and Sakaki and disappeared without a trace. They should have brought me along.”
“Stay where you are. You won't get lucky the second time. And it's best that…”
“I know the drill…” There was a temporarily pause. “This isn't some random craziness. It was well planned without even planting a mole. They are really out to get you.”
“They? The witches?”
“That's a little too obvious.”
“Solomon? Father Juliano?”
“Maybe… In case you didn't noticed, Administrator Kosaka and Hattori were conveniently absent. That's my thinking. Well, guess this is my cue. You take care, little bro… Oh yeah. Have you…”
With that, Amon turned off his handphone. Robin looked at him questioningly.
“Nagira escaped. He saw them taking Karasuma and Sakaki.” He saw Doijima getting her gun. “Chances of them being alive are slim but they might want to have an exchange. Probably no later than tonight. It's best we conserve our energy till we can determine their whereabouts. Alright?”
“Okay,” Doijima replied reluctantly.
“I'm taking a bath. Care to join me, Robin?”
“Sure…” Robin stammered, blushing a little. Grabbing two towels, she quickly followed Amon into the bathroom.
“You shouldn't have said that!” Robin protested as soon she firmly shut the door.
“Solomon knows we're alive.” Amon turned on the shower. “Kosaka and Hattori weren't around when we were attacked. I don't think they played us out. They were watching us all the time or rather should I say, me, from the start. Father Juliano… Solomon must have known that whatever power is in me would awake one day. That I would be unable to control it. Should that day come, it's either they find some way to contain or eliminate me.”
“Eliminate? Then, the witches, James `Slick' Stone, Cheryl `Rexas' Hamasaki and Rashib `Carr' Hartmann are sent by them?”
“James and Cheryl are dead. That leaves Rashib and we haven't seen him yet.” Amon touched the water coming out of the spray. He frowned at its coldness. Adjusting the temperature, he continued, “The people behind this know that Father Juliano would object so the alternative is to send witches to do the dirty work for them. After all, it is common for hunters and witches to die at each other's hands. I have to give credit for all the homework and preparations they did just to get me.”
“And me,” Robin added. “Don't think I'm always under Father Juliano's protection. Besides, I haven't taken any birth control pill lately and what we did back there. They most likely consider me dangerous as well.”
“You are not implying that…” Amon's tongue went numb for a few seconds. “When this is over, we'll see a doctor. More importantly, this Rashib is behind all of this. Either he's doing his job or a personal vendetta.”
“What can you do? Guns won't work on him and you're a ticking time bomb. Oh god! The drug has worn off. I'll be forced to use my Craft on you. And the Curse…”
“Will not happen,” Amon held her tightly. “Mother had foreseen it. You told Karasuma that you saw her exactly on the day she was taken away. Magic is a twisted half-truth that feeds on our fears. Definitely there is a way and you are the answer.”
“This is surely a dream. You never accept your witch heritage. In fact, you never believe it.” Robin withdrew from his embrace. “Now then. Could you please take off your clothes? We wouldn't want Rashib to see you all wet and sloppy.”
Lying on her side, Doijima drummed her fingers on wooden area of the bed. As much she respected Amon and Robin's romance, she would appreciate if they could hurry up a little. Michael was back at his usual position. On a chair. Imagining that he had a computer screen in front of him.
“You know,” Michael began, probably, to end the awkward silence. “Administrator Kosaka and Hattori weren't around when it happened.”
“At some meeting, I supposed,” she slothfully replied. “What could they be doing inside for so long?”
“Don't complain. You literally hog it the instant we arrived. Back to what I was saying, don't you think that all of this is simply too much of coincidence?”
Then, the bathroom door opened. Michael, brushing away his thoughts, turned to face the couple. Both were in their bathrobes. Robin's hair was bundled up neatly with a towel while Amon's was like a head shawl. Making a fake cough, Amon started to talk.
“There is something I want to say to both of you.” Doijima sat up straight. “I want you both to leave this place and lay low for the time being.”
“What!” Michael protested indignantly. “What about Karasuma and Sakaki?”
“They are somewhere safe, including Kosaka and Hattori. Solomon will not harm them. Listen, all of this is a cover-up to get through Robin and me. There are cases that Solomon use witches as undercover agents. This Rashib character is one of them. His so-called gang is merely made of misfits whom he can manipulate easily. If Solomon authorizes it, he would sell them out and still act innocent.”
“Hypothetically reasonable,” Doijima rebut. “Like a CIA or FBI thriller, striking a deal with convicts and terrorists? Solomon wouldn't stoop that low.”
“Not really,” Robin replied. “There is an old saying about using fire with fire. As long as the means justified the ends, ethics have no role in it.”
“The incident at the park where my powers fully manifested. Did Kosaka include it in his weekly reports?” Michael shook his head. Amon continued. “Then, it means that Solomon sent spies to check on STN-J all along.”
“It wasn't me,” Doijima objected.
“Of course not. You were out of their circle long ago. Otherwise, they would assign you to somewhere else. Since Kosaka left it out, it puts STN-J under suspicion. It's not like they didn't anticipate it.”
“Betting that Karasuma and Sakaki's capture is a bluff is little too risky to assume, isn't it?
“No, Solomon wants them out of the way so that I will be forced to confront Rashib. Michael is a hacker under a `contract'. Now that STN-J quarters is gone, he is a liability and if he tried to hack into their system, they will know where he is and probability of him remaining alive is relatively low compared to Doijima whom may or may not be an asset, depending on how beneficial you are to them.”
“Nil. No Craft power. No personal alliances with anyone back at Solomon. If I had, they would prefer me dead. So I guess I have nothing to lose now except my beautiful body.”
“And my brains,” Michael added. “Don't we make a lovely pair?”
“And that's why you two have to lie low,” said Robin.
“No!” Doijima's eyes flashed defiance. “This is the last straw. When this is over, I'm going straight to Solomon headquarters and slapped some bloody sense in their heads. You were the best top hunter they had and now, they want to terminate you for some dysfunctional genetic cocktail in you? Don't they any super duper antibiotics or antidote? What about us? We put our lives on the line everyday for them and this is what we get? And don't say it's okay, Michael. It is not okay for you as well. They took your life and treated you like some IT-techno machine till you expired!”
“I wasn't going to say anything,” Michael quietly replied. “But Amon and Robin are right. We have to hide for now. If the witches come, and they will surely come, we will be in the way. Look, we always spoke of leaving Solomon. Perhaps, this is time to do so. I know it's not glamourous but at least it's better this way. Solomon will not harm the others. The most they undergo an interrogation.”
“However, as much I like to leave all of this behind,” He turned to Amon. “I wish my exit was more exciting. Like planting a virus in their main computer. You know, a little revenge.”
“But not today,” Amon said half-approvingly. “Not on the opposite side of your field, at least.”
“Yeah. It's not as if I'm going to bury the hatchet soon.”
“You will.” Amon's eyes shifted to Robin. “In time, you will.”
To be continued… the last chapter….