7 – The Fugitive
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Inside the circus tent, the criminals are panicking. The Special Forces surprise attack truly caught them off guard. Seven members had died in only one day. The eighth will likely die soon after the seventh.

"Bird Eyes, how is it?"

A clown-looking person asked anxiously.  He is a 4-star villain, Puppet Master.

Bird Eyes, a man dressed as a bird, replied, "With our current strength, it will be hard to penetrate north gate defenses."

"Shit! Old man, this is all your fault!"

The old man in question sat silently as if he was unconcerned by the situation. 

"Let's not make it look like it was all my fault. You all agreed with my plan, didn't you?"

When this old man visited them a month ago, he offered them cooperation in order to escape to the north region. 

While they were hiding quite well, their disguise gradually would have been exposed, so they took advantage of the Blackjack offer.

Their original plan was to deceive the regiment that was chasing them by appearing in two different places while the real ones snuck into Denia City. Then, they could escape to the northern region with the help of Blackjack acquaintances. 

But who would have thought that instead of the enemy being deceived, they were the ones who get tricked. Denis has become a guillotine to chop their head.

"You! You..."

Of course, Puppet Master wouldn't be satisfied with the answer. He had been suspicious of this old man from the start and now is the perfect time to let out his frustrations.

"You know, something feels missing here. Their timing was too perfect. It's like, someone leaked all our plans… It's you, isn't it?"

With a clean, agile motion, the Puppet Master swung his knife and stopped just before it touched the old man's skin.

"Guh!"

"You know, I don't mind killing a scum like you right away."

It wasn't the Puppet Master who said that, but the old man that he was trying to threaten. When the Puppet Master knife finally stopped, it was not because of its owner, but because of an external force that made it stop. 

"Yes, yes, let's stop the debate first and start thinking about a solution," said the gigantic man stopping the fight between the two.

He has a body four meters tall and a pair of black wings on his back, as well as the big horn on his head, which made him well known as the Demon of Rhona, a five-star criminal who destroys entire fortresses by himself. Because of his calm disposition and his strength, he often becomes the mediator in the organization.

"All our plans will be in vain if there is a traitor among us!"

"I'm always watching him and he doesn't make any strange moves. Are you doubting me?"

At the Demon glare, the Puppet Master voluntarily steps back albeit with discontent.

"You too, Blackjack. I don't know the truth of the incident or anything that happened behind the scenes, but we are all on the same boat now. You may be disgusted by our behavior, but in the public eyes, your sin was the same, no, worse than ours. You are now the enemy of the empire, the enemy of all people in the empire. Please remember that," said the Demon.

"I am well aware of that. Still, thank you for your concern."

"Fine. Then let's-"

"Oh! Wait a minute! I got a signal!"

Suddenly, a young man of short stature sliced ​​his wrist. He then used the spilled blood to draw a magic circle. The others didn't seem surprised by his strange behavior as if they were used to seeing him.

He is the one-star villain, Cursed Kid.  Even though he only has one star, his role in the organization is very crucial.

He then chanted a spell which made the magic circle start to glow. After that, two people appear on the magic circle.

"Phew. It worked!"

"Why took so long! I thought my head was going to fall off just now!"

"Be thankful you're still alive."

They are both 3-star villains, the Tari-Ari brothers. The two of them managed to escape from Special Forces pursuit and headed for the previously marked place to teleport.

"Tch. This means we've lost another precious teleport point," complained the Puppet Master.

"What are you saying! Do you mean it's better if we die?!"

"Stop it. We don't have time. Let's think of a solution to get out of this situation.*

The room became silent. Everyone was silent without anyone expressing an opinion. Deep down in everyone's heart, they already know this is a checkmate.

Where did they go wrong?

Was it wrong to blatantly fall into a trap?

Not really. They were quite confident in their combat power. Regardless, in their group, there are 2 five-star criminals and 4 four-star criminals. With the combination of each member's unique abilities, they will be able to sweep through almost any obstacle. That's the fact. But this time, they were simply not given the room to maximize their abilities.

"Ahh! Goddamit! Old Man, just use that device as bait while we escape!"

"Where are you running to?"

At the simple question of the old man, Blackjack, they fell silent again.

That's right, all the way out has been completely blocked. They were like rats being led into a trap called Denia City.  Yes, these traps are meticulously crafted step by step to get rid of them.

“Delta… That fellow, It seems his mind has not dulled with age,” muttered Blackjack.

"I see. I see. I see! If every road leads to death, then let's take as many lives as we can with us!"

Puppet Master seems to have gone mad.  His eyes were red as if they were going to ooze blood.

"Calm down, we still have a chance. The detective is also a human, there must be a hole in his plans. Not to mention that the world is always full of factors x," said Demon.

"Then, how?"

"Listen, this old man has a plan."

All eyes immediately turned to Blackjack.  The old man explained his plan which left everyone flabbergasted.

"Insane! You may think I'm crazy but this old man is much crazier!"

"In my opinion, we can give it a try. Too bad Kila King isn't here."

"Then who is willing to sacrifice?!"

"Since I proposed this idea then I will stay behind."

In the nutshell, Blackjack proposed some will stay behind to buy time while the rest run away.

Once again everyone questioned the sanity of this old man. The Puppet Master was even more suspicious that he was hiding something. Still, he would not waste this opportunity.

"We too will stay."

Unexpectedly the Tari-Ari brothers volunteered to stay. It's a bit surprising indeed but their thinking is rather predictable. They might want to bet because Blackjack dares to stay, maybe he already has plans of his escape with bigger odds.

"Then I'll stay too."

The voice came from the flamboyant man who had just come out of the tent booth.  Handsome, with blond hair and blue eyes, he looked like a prince from a fairy tale.  However, the strong killing intent on his entire body could not be hidden. He might be smiling but it just made him look scarier.

Luca the Predator, 4-star criminal, that is he.

"You…?"

"Fine, since Luca also volunteered, a total of four people will stay. Plus with Puppet Master's pawn, the total will be in the nineties," said Demon. "Is that enough?"

"I will try," said Blackjack.

"Puppet Master, go make as many pawns as possible."

"Don't order me around..."

The Puppet Master went to the booth where the captives were. The pawns are humans who have lost their ego and so they obey all the orders from their masters.  If this ability is combined with Crazy Bomber Kila King, they will be able to make Cannon fodder which can explode upon death. Unfortunately, the bomb maker isn't here.

"By the way, Luca, why do you want to stay behind?" Demon asked.

"Ah. Captain of the judgment unit, I have heard many stories about her heavenly beauty. I wonder how she would taste… ah! Just imagining it is already driving me crazy." Luca looked high with a flushed face.

"Advice from me, choose your prey carefully," Demon advised while glancing at Blackjack.

"They! They finally made a move!" shout Bird Eyes.

The attack finally began. A rain of arrows tore apart the tent until it nearly chopped down.

"Good luck."

Demon and others fleeing through a hidden passage.

At the time...

Shiing!

A knife was thrown at Demon's back but blocked by Luca. Next moment a follow-up slash came intending to chop off Luca's head. However, he had noticed the attacker's presence for a long time. Not only can he parry the slash, but Luca also makes a counterattack and slightly cuts off enemy skin.

"Come! Come here! Men, women, I'm not a picky person!"

More than thirty people attacked the tent. Every one of them is an elite among elites. They are,

"Ah. Judgment Unit. Long time no see."


A/N :

Some adjustments on chapters 2, 3, and 5 [03/9/2021]


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