'The Pit: Hell Frozen Over' - Arc 3, Chapter 3: 'The One Truth' (Closed, Started)

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Travis smirked as the warden's made their exit. Before they were even gone Travis pulled the boy back into his cell, kicking and screaming, randomly firing his weapon in each and every direction in an attempt to escape. Travis, unfortunately could not be as creative as he wanted and resigned himself to just snapping his neck, but it was something. Travis left the cell and regrouped with his remaining men. "Who feels like starting a war? Someone carry that dead warden back there. Everybody carry as much ammo as you can, take them from the extra guns. Clyde, your my top lieutenant now."

The Dragons quickly made there way towards Crip turf, careful, knowing their enemies could be around any corner. Eventually they made it there, the guards letting them pass with the warden corpse in their arms.

"I wanna speak to the leader of the Crips!" Yelled Travis.

Iron-fist was following the Dragons to see the result of her intervention. Unfortunately for her, the plan she set in motion didn't eliminate all of the dragons. However it did weaken the group significantly, even though it cost the mafia an entire hit-squad. What came next was a surprise, and as the day went on Ilene simply watched in awe as the head of the gang worked against himself and destroyed his whole base and followers. What remained was to wait for him to be alone and pounce at him when the time was right. Ilene couldn't hear what went on between the dragon - Travis - and the wardens, but their mere presence irked her. Something was terribly wrong, and Iron-fist was going to find out about it herself. Perhaps she will have a chat with the Dragon before she will dispatch him to his demise.

Lucia had almost forgotten they were in Siberia. Despite the blanket she wrapped herself in she was still colder than she had ever been. The cold numbed some of the pain, though it was unlikely there was anywhere on Earth cold enough to numb it all. Her face was dry, her cheeks burning red and she had to constantly wipe her eyes to prevent her tears from freezing on her face. She'd felt absolute despair before, but not like this.

The room was dark and she could feel the still presence of the large man in the room with her. He remained standing at the door. Silent. Well, if not silent surely not loud enough to be heard over Lucia's wailing. For two straight hours she remained balled up on the cot, crying her eyes out. She had never felt more helpless in her life.

Was all that training for nothing? Had her new persona been nothing but a cheap trick? A facade to protect her from the reality of her situation? And if not, did she even have the willpower to summon Kusanagi again?

Her crying slowed down as the third hour approached and eventually turned into an inconsistent whimper. She was trying to clear her head and focus her thoughts. She was trying to see past the pain.

I won't... I can't give in... I can't...

**************************************************************************************************************

Sticks and Conrad watched Travis' group from afar as they set out to Crips territory, "His second-in-Command, Clyde was it? You bugged him right?" Conrad gave him a firm nod, but said nothing. "Good. Follow them. If it looks like he'll spill information he shouldn't, make him the primary target. Secondary targets are to be assigned via your judgement."

"Roger that," Conrad said as he moved out.

Nikolai wasn't sure if her shivering was because of the cold, or her crying. Perhaps it was both. After a fashion, he decided to do something about it. Taking of his own wolf skins and leaving himself bare-chested. He was used to the cold by now, so it didn't matter. He slid them across the floor at her feet, intention clear. It wouldn't do for her to catch anything down here, but it was more than that.

"Master is cruel" he told her, his voice softer than had ever been spoken out loud. "All Men are cruel. Your tears are their sport, little girl. But while they laugh, you can play your own game..."

She didn't respond to that. Not out loud at least. Was it fear, anger, or grief that fueled her silence. In the darkness it was herd to tell.

"Does the little girl know my name?" he asked her.

Dumbfounded, she stared at him long enough to insult any normal person. Though... she was clearly not dealing with a normal person. Getting into a sitting position she reached down for the wolfskin and threw it over her back. She hesitated several moments longer before speaking up, "No... I-I don't."

Her voice trembled, but she spoke with confidence.

The small band of Dragons made there way through Crips territory, hauling the mangled corpse of a young warden. They passed under the gaze of dozens of gang members who all wanted the small group of men dead. Eventually they arrived at the entrance of what looked like an old storehouse. Two men armed with uzis stopped them from entering, "Ya'll gonna see Zig Zag, yo gonna need to leave yo weapons herr."

Before Travis could react the double doors swung open and the hulking man that was Zig Zag appeared, pose in-toe, "Hold up nigga, I don't think we should treat our guests this way. They wanna carry a piece, they can carry a piece. These suckas be way out numbad as it is, ya get me?" When his subordinate nodded Zig Zag looked to the Dragons and the dead warden. "Damn son, you gone fucked his shit up!" Zig Zag burst out into laughter before his expression darkened and he walked up into Travis' face. He had a good foot on him. "Now tell me why a cracka like you is marchin up in my terf after tha shit you pulled? Give me one good reason why I shouldn't pop yo goddamn head off like a bottle of fine wine?!"

Nikolai smiled a strangely childlike smile. It was fitting, for sharing secrets in whispers.

"I do not know my name too." he told her "Most are clever enough to call me what I am, 'Dog'. A Dog fetches, A Dog guards, and barks, and kills. I am a Dog, so they call me 'Dog', but this is not my name.

Then there are the few, like Azrael," he said the word out loud in her hearing "who call me 'Nikolai'. They call me this because they ask 'What is your name?', and I say, 'Nikolai'; but this is just a word to them. They do not know the why of the word. They do not care. So for them, this is not my name. It is what they call me, but it means nothing."

He faltered just a little, as if he was expecting to be punished for saying these words out loud, but then he went on.

"Many long nights I have been in this place. Since, I think, I was younger than you. Every one of the one long, long nights, when I close my eyes, I hear a woman screaming. Just one word she screams, 'Nikolai! Nikolai! Nikolai!'. again and again. Perhaps she is screaming for me? At me? Perhaps she is my mother? Or maybe Nikolai is someone else? I do not know these things. What I know is this. Nikolai is a good name, a strong name, for a strong beast. So I take it, claim it for my own. After I do that, who Nikolai really is does not matter. I take my bad dream, and I make other Beasts fear to speak it. That is the why of the word. That is why my name is 'Nikolai'.

Many make names for themselves here. They call themselves Orphans and Dragons, but to know the name, you must know the Beast. They call you 'Lucia', but that is not your name. Lucia was a little girl who lived above ground. In this place, you are what you choose to be, and they will not know the why of Lucia, or whatever name you make. They will not understand, and that will be your weapon."

He leaned a little closer, for this was the most important secret of all.

"Men are greedy as well as cruel. They like it when you say 'Master'. They like it, so they do not ask why. If they asked 'Why? Why am I Master?', maybe they would ask 'Who is Master? Is it Azrael, is it Surface Men, or is it neither?'. They do not ask themselves, so Nikolai gets to choose, and they do not know."

Lucia sat speechless as he explained himself. At first she thought he was just an idiot or a nut-job, but as he went on she thought of something she hadn't since first arriving at the Pit. She thought of the other innocents who suffered the same fate that she had. Of course the thought had occurred to her almost everyday, but it had been a long time since she seriously explored the idea. It was a painful thing to do after all.

There was something in the way he spoke. In the way he expressed himself that revealed something wounded... something fundamentally broken. His was a mind that was trying to rationalize the illogical. A mind that was trying to give purpose to a meaningless existence. However, there was no logic or reason in the Pit. There was only despair. There was only madness, betrayal and misery.

Though it made little sense... there was wisdom in his words. This man, despite everything that had happened to him... despite everything that he had to do in service to his masters...

He had made something for himself.

Not because he was told to, but because he wanted to. Something only he could understand.

Lucia looked down at the cot she sat atop considering what he had said. After several moments of silence she met his gaze, "Lucia... Lucia died the day I stepped foot in this place," Lucia was no longer trembling, in fact she was incredibly still. Completely calm. "Part of me knew that... it's probably why I never told anyone my surname. Not even Orphan," Lucia sighed but didn't look away.

"When I took my first life the other day I finally accepted the fact that the little girl I used to know was gone forever and on that day I was given a new name. A name all to myself. A name that gives me power," Lucia gripped the wolfskin she was wrapped in as hard as she could. "Nikolai," She spoke with authority.

"You may not call me 'Lucia'. My name is 'Kusanagi'."

"Kusanagi." Nikolai let the word roll around his mouth, around his mind. "Kus-an-ag-i... this is a name from far away. It is a mystery, a secret that your enemies will never know. They will not know it, but they will feel it. When they look twice at a shadow, when they jump at a whisper, and in their last breath they will feel Kusanagi."

Nikolai chuckled, deep and low in his thick accent. "It is good. I like it."

There was silence for a while, then Nikolai spoke again.

"A Red Day is coming Kusanagi. There are many who think they know, many who think they hold the reigns, but they do not. Until that day comes, on the outside, I must be the faithful Dog, and you must be Lucia, but we will know better. When that day comes, I have another part to play; but, when I am done, I will come for you Kusanagi, and if you want, we will leave this place. There will be danger, and blood, with every step, but my Pack is strong, and so are we. We could even leave with Tristan, if you ask. You must ask now though, if it is what you want. We will have no other time to talk, as Nikolai and Kusanagi."

Lucia didn't know what to say and sat in thought for several minutes. Was this a trick? Was this some kind of game Azrael was playing? No. Looking him in the eyes... she saw a sincerity she hadn't seen since her days on the surface. For whatever reason this... Nikolai wanted to help her. She knew what she wanted to say, but she was afraid of the answer.

After some hesitation she worked up the courage to face the truth, "Does... does Orphan really have to die?"

Nikolai would not meet her eyes. This was a feeling he did not know. It was... uncomfortable. Was this guilt? How should he know what guilt was? All he knew was, though the answer was so clear it was almost sat in the room with them, he could not say the words directly.

"Azrael must believe he has won, that all danger has passed; and when the Red Day comes, it must be his Dog that he calls to his side, above all others..."

Lucia continued to stare at him. What came out of her mouth next sounded as if it was meant to comfort Nikolai, but even if she didn't show it, these words tore her heart asunder, "If Orphan dies it will be of his own freewill," She winced in disgust. "I was caught because I was weak and now Orphan will pay for my failure. If he comes for me," Lucia looked down at her hands and formed them into fists. "I will not disappoint him again. Whether he's alive or dead."

Lucia looked back up at Nikolai who returned her gaze. Nikolai could feel her eyes burning into his. The light in the room was virtually non-existent, but Nikolai could swear her eyes were green when they had been with Azrael.

They were now blue.

Travis stood toe to toe with Zig Zag and said "Because you need me."

The Crips surrounding them burst into laughter. "You serious? Why da fuck would we need you?" chuckled Zig Zag.

"Well", smiled Travis "right now I'm the only thing protecting you."

The Crips laughed even harder. "Look around you cracker! This yo' whole crew and we know it. This right herr," Zig Zag pointed to his various men taking sights upon the Dragons, "this is just a lil bit of the Crips a'ight. So you ain't makin' no god damn sense."

Travis kept a sinister smile as he spoke. "Because this war you starting is gonna get you all killed. The Aryan leader is dead, Zulu killed him. That means the Aryans are gonna lay everything they have down on the Zulu." Travis put a hand on his gun and laughed at the Crips who cocked their sights at him. "Now I know 'people' like you like to stick together," Travis raised his fist in the black power symbol, "Black pride and all that." The surrounding Crips showed faces of disgust and Zig Zag in particular looked like he wanted to rip out The Dragon's heart. "But you should know something," continued Travis, "The Wolves give the Aryans their meth. But they've been lacing it with steroids so they'd get all antsy and take it out on someone. The Wolves want you and the Zulu to take out the Aryans, then when your weak they're gonna team up with the Wardens to do some 'ethnic cleansing.'"

The Crips were angry to say the least. Zig Zag took control of the talking and shouting among his men. "You really think we gonna listen to a small time racist mu'fucker like you? What proof you got!"

"I'm glad you asked. Boys." With Travis's words the Dragons dropped the dead warden onto the floor. "We heard this litte bitch talking to one of the Wolves, one of the high rankers too. His boss sent him, the leader of this shithole, or at least he thinks he is. We waited till they were done and he was alone before I could fuck him up." Zig Zag scoffed. Travis was getting angry and impatient now. "Look nigger if you don't believe me how about we just fight right here!"

"D' FUCK YOU JUST SAY TO ME!" They were face to face now.

"You heard me NIGGER!" The Dragons stepped back and readied their guns.

Zig Zag stepped back. "A'ight. Tell you what. Me and you. One on one. You win, we join those skinhead fucks. I win, y'all die here."

"Sounds good to me coon." Zig Zag led Travis into an open area. Travis snidely took the meth out of his pocket and snorted it. He'd never taken any drugs before. It gave him an even greater sense of bravado. His vision seemed blurred, yet oddly focused. His hearing was numbed and felt like he was partly submerged in water. Either it was because it was his first time or something was put into that meth. He turned to face Zig Zag from across the room. It was a large circular area that was surrounded by the Crips, all brandishing melee weapons; meanwhile those with guns remained up top, constantly aiming down at the 'ring'.

Travis twitched and sniffed. "Sumthing wrong with you cracka!" yelled Zig Zag.

"Just eager to fuck up a darky!" replied Travis.

With that Zig Zag charge at Travis. In return The Dragon let out a fierce battlecry and rallied towards the Crip leader at equal speed. They met in the middle, Zig Zag going in for a big boot to the face, Travis for a take down. Travis managed to duck under his leg and grab the other one from under him, bringing him down awkwardly onto the floor. Travis began laying fist after fist into his spine, but Zig Zag, seemingly unaffected turned and elbowed Travis hard in the face, sending him careening to the side. However Travis was back up in an instant. His head hurt but it was more like he was aware of the pain rather than actually feeling it. He acknowledged it, but wasn't waned off by it. He charge at Zig Zag again at full force, jumping up and kneeing the man in the jaw, sending at least 3 or 4 teeth flying out of his mouth. Zig Zag smiled and spat blood onto The Dragon's chest before punching him there. Usually Travis would be winded, but the meth was working wonders. Travis kept laying blows into Zig Zag's head while he struggle to defend himself. Eventually the larger man managed to push Travis back, getting up to his feet and booting him in the chest before laying his own barrage of fists into his face. Travis, to his shock remained unfazed, ignoring the fact that his face was bleeding and he had two black eyes. The two men stood there trading fists, each one stronger than the last. In the very moment Zig Zag showed a hint of slowing down Travis sent a sharp fist right into his neck, staggering the man. Quickly Travis jumped up and hit him in the neck again, and again and again. Zig Zag was on the floor gasping for breath and Travis finished him with a strong, mighty boot to the side of the head.

Zig Zag lay on the floor coughing up blood, and within seconds a load of Crips rushed Travis, bringing the Dragon to the floor and beating him with fists and clubs. Again, Travis knew this was painful, but the pain hadn't kicked in yet. However, before Travis was beaten to death the Crips were being thrown off of Travis by Zig Zag. He looked down at Travis who quickly got up to his feet, not acknowledging the possible damage to his body.

"We good cracka. Go tell those Nazi punks we're in." Zig Zag spat at Travis's feet and they left to find Sticks.

The view into the ring was partially obstructed by a few armed men and a guarding tower, but it didn't hide the whole encounter. Iron-fist heard the shouts coming from inside - the more she heard the more curious she got. The Dragon killed a warden, yet he met with the wardens himself just a few minutes ago...

Something is up. They're playing them, but I don't know why

The two went at each other with admirable ferocity. Iron-fist chuckled at their manly bravery and stupidity. They all seemed so willing to give up their lives for the simplest of things... honor.

The battle ended with the dragon winning. The leader of the Crips subdued, it seemed like the Dragon got what he came in for. He left the corpse of the warden behind and left the gates of the enclosed gang turf. He was walking together with five other companions, all vulnerable and right in the open.


It was a small aisle that Iron-fist decided would be the place where the dragons will die. She followed the group from up above and listened to the conversation down below. She first had to kill his companions, and next was the leader.

She placed her right hand over he prosthetic and leveled her pistol straight at the rear guard of the group. A young kid in his teenage years, but his demise was of no concern to her. She hit his body twice and watched him as he tumbled down to the floor. The others were startled at the sound of gunfire. They scanned the area with their eyes to find the one of shot their comrade and end him before he ends them. She decided to kill the first man in the group and shot him in his left shoulder and lower back.

She jumped over the railing and went down to the narrow path below. With her blade already protruding from her prosthetic she went down behind the now last man. Her blade cut through his body right below his left shoulder. Iron-fist held him tight as he struggled to push her away from him. While he as spiked on her blade she aimed her pistol at the remaining three men.
"Leave the Dragon and I won't kill you. My business is with him".

Conrad moved swiftly when he noticed they were being tailed. The labyrinthine twists and turns of the Pit were nearly impossible to navigate, but Conrad had done his homework. He knew what corners to cut and what alleys to avoid. By the time he had setup 50 yards down the twisting alleyway the woman had already sprung into action. He'd have to be ready to get up and move as there weren't very many firing lanes between him and the Dragons. When the carnage ended he could hear her demand via the bug on Clyde. Conrad radioed Sticks, "A woman with a prosthetic arm has killed half Travis' crew," Conrad scoped up to examine her with his dragunov. "I'm not sure if she intends to interrogate or murder him."

"Probably both," Sticks admitted. "Kill her."

"But then the Dragons will know we tailed them."

"It's better they know we'll be keeping tabs on them anyway. Travis is a loose-cannon and needs a tight leash."

"Roger that," Conrad took aim on her back--center mass--and pulled the trigger.

Iron-fist held her hostage firmly, but the large buff man wrestled with her and pushed her away. She stumbled backwards and was about to fall behind the body of the first Dragon she killed when she heard a loud gunshot. A bullet hit the man that shoved her back before he could could attack her. Someone was watching them from afar... someone with a high-powered rifle. It couldn't have been anyone in the Pit but a warden.

Shit, I don't know if I could dodge another one

Iron fist pulled herself up and dashed forward towards the one who was just shot. She caught him before he tumbled down and shoved his body forward. Iron-fist raised her pistol and fired two more rounds at the person standing behind him, hitting another one.

"Tell your sniper to stand down or I kill you all!". Ilene screamed at the two.

Everything was going according to plan. Travis had the Crips on their side, he had the Warden on his side. Everything was looking up. The other Dragons joked and talked amongst themselves as Travis was still in a stupor from the meth; and before he knew it shit had hit the fan hard. Three of his men were dead and a woman with a prosthetic was holding them hostage. Though they appeared to have some sort of guardian angel, a sniper from far away. They were being tailed by the wardens. It didn't faze Travis, in fact it mad him feel more secure- after all he did agree to be a pawn.

Travis laughed in her face and spat on the dead Dragon she was using as cover. "You know there's only two ways we get out of this. We all die, or we all live. Sure you're pretty fast, and I'm guessing you'll go to kill me first, but Clyde here could probably reach for his gun and get a shot off before you get him. And even if you get him too, my sniper is sure to get you the second time. You only missed that shot by luck. So why don't you take your pretty little head and go on home girly."

"Tell your sniper to stand down or I kill you all!"

Conrad grunted in amusement and moved a few feet to the left to account for his target's movement, "Orders?"

Sticks was silent on the other end for a few moments, "Let's wait and see how the Dragon handles this. If he looks like he's about to squeal take him out first and then clean up the rest of his crew. Though, I imagine he's not so stupid that he doesn't think you'd put one between his eyes if he spoke a word about our plan."

Conrad scoped up on Travis. His fate was in his own hands now.

He laughed in her face. That pig fuck rapist dared to laugh in the face of his own demise. He spat on his own subordinate.

So he's that kind of a boss...

"You know there's only two ways we get out of this. We all die, or we all live. Sure you're pretty fast, and I'm guessing you'll go to kill me first, but Clyde here could probably reach for his gun and get a shot off before you get him. And even if you get him too, my sniper is sure to get you the second time. You only missed that shot by luck. So why don't you take your pretty little head and go on home girly."

"I came here to kill you in the name of every woman you defiled. I am not leaving until I end you". Iron-fist kept her pistol straight at the two while she raised her prosthetic and aimed it up. "Wanna see some fireworks?". From her mechanical hand escaped a little grey canister. Iron-fist fell to the ground and closed her eyes while the flash-bang exploded and blinded those around her. She couldn't stand to have someone put her in their fine crosshair.

She was down on the ground when she pulled two strings connected to her mechanical arm. A pair of knives flew forward and pinned one of Clyde's legs. She pushed herself up and shot him three times before noticing she was out of ammunition in her pistol.

The woman rattled on about defiling women, Travis paid no attention to her ramblings; that was until she blinded him. Both he and Clyde saw nothing but white light as they covered their eyes and tried to maintain balance, all Travis could hear was Clyde's screams. As he got back his vision he had seen the woman kill Clyde. That was it. Every Dragon was dead, except for Travis.

"YOU BITCH!" Travis rushed her, grabbing her prosthetic arm and throwing her down the corridor with ease before grabbing his assault rifle off the ground and aiming it at her. "KILL THIS FUCKING SLUT WARDEN!" Travis blindly fired upon the woman, trying to avoid the Warden, but his aim was rocked by the flashbang.

Conrad shook his head in frustration.

Everyone in this goddamn shit-hole has a hard-on for theatrics.

As soon as the flash-bang went off and the woman dropped to the ground he was moving. He climbed over to a neighboring out-croft above the alley, but still didn't have a clean shot on her as Travis had just knocked her down. However, Travis was still out in the open. He scoped up on him and held his finger firmly on the trigger, ready to pull if he had to.

Iron-fist was pushed back before she could get to reload her pistol. The last man standing then proceeded to fire rounds from his assault gun into the air. She was lucky the Dragon shoved her so hard she fell on her back. Beneath her was a corpse of one of the men she killed. She pushed her body forward and slid on the ground before she kicked him hard in the groin. Iron-fist continued to slide forward and she stopped when her blade was about to slice the Dragon's stomach.

"I will gut you right now if you don't stop. I need to know what you did with the wardens. Why is there a warden protecting you right now?"

Still without a clear shot on the woman Conrad's cross-hair danced upon Travis' forehead. Though it was hard to tell what was being said as the bug was being muffled by Clyde's limp corpse Conrad could make out the important part.

"Why is there a warden protecting you right now?"

Travis' next words could very well be his last.

Travis groaned in pain as the woman held a knife to his stomach after kicking him in the groin and asking him about the Wardens. "Arrghghh you dirty bitch!" the meth was seeming to wear off. It was coming to his attention that it probably wasn't meth; to give him such strength, such ignorance of pain, and yet to wear off so quickly? What the hell did he take?

The woman was getting frustrated. Travis spat "I don't know what the Wardens fucking want! They're bullshitting me and I know it" Y'know what, go right ahead and fucking gut me. My boys are dead and that fight with the Crips was probably pointless, all that's gonna happen is the niggers are gonna kill me now so go right ahead!" Would this even work? If Sticks was willing to sell out one of his own men what would he do to Travis, he needed to tread carefully.

"Yo, check it nigga we got fuckn' bodies over herr!"

Fuck.

Conrad looked below him to see eight-or-so Crips turn the corner, all of them armed with guns. The sniper-fire must have drawn the attention of a patrol nearby. One of them ran down the alleyway to see what had happened, "Aw sheeit!"

Conrad couldn't tell what he'd discovered, but he had his own problems to deal with, "I have to abort."

"What?! Take him out!" Sticks commanded.

Conrad gritted his teeth and whispered into his radio, "If I open fire I'm a dead man. I'm out in the open."

The radio was silent for a moment, "Re-position. Try to kill the girl if you can, but if not make sure Travis dies before he can spill anything."

Conrad slowly began climbing across to the other side of the alley while Crips below swept the area. This was not an ideal situation to be in.

The Dragon continued to resist even though Iron-fist was about to slice his gut open. He definately knew something - he walked out of that meeting with the corpse of a warden.

Why are you hiding this from me?

She grabbed the Dragon's gun with her good hand and pulled it down. She then awkwardly aimed the bulky device with her one hand.

"You got the dead warden after you met with a group back in your camp! Don't bullshit me, what is this about?".

Ilene heard some voices coming from behind her. They were the crips, she was sure of it. Maybe she could play some of her old contacts, or if the exchange comes to blows... she will have a meat puppet to stand behind.

"Move!". She ordered him as she got up on her feet.

"Alright alright I'll tell you everything bitch-YO CRIPS ITS ME YOUR NEW ALLY- I'll tell you whatever you need to know." The crips rushed forwards and aimed at the two.

"You whadda fuck man?" One of them said.

"That's dat racist asshole who done fucked up Zig Zag" said another.

"Oh fuck him then let the bitch have 'im."

"Nah man, Zig Zag said we gotta protect this piece of shit."

"Everybody shut the fuck up!" One stepped forwards, more well spoken than the rest. "Listen lady, we way more likely to kill him than you, so just tell us what's up and we'll shoot this racist fuck right here and now."

Ilene was standing in between the Dragon on one side and a group of black crips on the other. The little solace she got was that the crips weren't immediately hostile towards her. She felt uncomfortable talking in that speech, but she had to do what she had to do.

"Motherfucking 'iz a fucking killer rapist, and da sisterhood has 'is number. Y'know who I am, Iron-fist. Been tailing da fucker for a week. Hiz been talking with wardens, then got ya a guard body. This shit stinks, and Imma get the truth from here 'fore I gut his pig rapist ass. Hiz got da wardens up with a sniper protecting him, almost killed me".

Travis burst out into laughter. "Are you seriously talking like that? I mean really? Putting on the whole black voice! Fuck me you have no dignity. And Iron Fist what the fuck kind of a name is that?" Through his laughter he turned his attention to the Crips, wiping away some of the tears. "Listen I dunno if a Warden is following me or what, go ahead and check I got nothing to hide. I was just on my way to do what Zig Zag wanted me to do, and this bitch stopped me."

The Crips remained silent as they exchanged glances. If the well spoken man was their superior it was clear he didn't know what the right call was. After awhile the Crips began nodding to each other and an insidious smile spread through their ranks like a plague, "Yo, fuck dis shit. I ain't neva gonna believe some fuckn' cracka over one of our bitches," The leader of the group tilted his pistol sideways and pointed it at his head. "Any last words motha fucka'?!"

Conrad sighed to himself. He preferred to stay hidden and take his enemies out with clean shots. However, the situation had gotten far more complicated than he had bargained for.

If only I made that initial shot.

When he realized Travis was out of time he acted. After donning a ski-mask Conrad stood up on top of one of the structures lining the alleyway and shouldered his rifle, "YOU BETRAY THE WOLFPACK, YOU DIE YOU STUPID MOTHER FUCKER!"

Conrad fired a single shot that met halfway between the girl and Travis, grazing his shoulder and sending the two of them in opposite directions. The Crips' response was immediate, "Aw snap!" They opened fire forcing Conrad to withdraw to the other side of the alley. He had done all he could.

One of the Crips walked over to check Travis' wound, "No shit cracka? The Wolves ARE out for your blood? You wasn't playn' us?!"

Little did they know... Conrad would never miss such an easy shot.

'Fuck.'

That would have been the last thought rattling around The Dragon's thick skull had the Warden not decided to take action.
A bullet shot by and grazed Travis's shoulder, knocking him down to the ground. Even a graze was a hard hit from a high powered rifle. He sat against the wall holding his shoulder as one of the Crips came over to check on him.

"No shit cracka? The Wolves ARE out for your blood? You wasn't playn' us?!" said the Crip.

Travis grew a sick smile. "Of course, why the fuck would I march right into Crip turf if I wasn't desperate, and this bitch killed the last of my crew."

The leader of the group nodded to his men who all turned to face Ilene with their guns at the ready, "I don't know what tha fuck is goin' on 'round herr, but looks like this dumb crack's story checks out. If you don't mind I thank we'd like ta bring you to Zig Zag. You can tell him yo story and he'll check if dat shit's legit."

The man who helped Travis to his feet walked over to his leader, "What 'bout tha Dragon?"

"He can do whateva tha fuck he wants. We'll get some low rankin' niggas to clean up his crew."

Nikolai melted into the corner as Sharptooth, flanked by two of his Dogs, entered the cell block. Inclining his head to one of them, the Dog entered Kusanagi's cell, and woke her with a sharp kick to the ribs.

"Rise an' shine Cunny Bunny! Azrael promised he'd pay you the deposit. I just wish you'd been there to 'ere 'im squeal." He told her, with a leering smirk. He threw something small at her feet. When it landed, Nikolai saw that it was a human ear.

"Now, it's showtime. Remember, all you 'ave to do is stand there, and look all sweet an' innocent like. The Big Man'll do all the talkin'. You keep your pretty little trap shut, or I'll get to cut off another piece, an' then I'll fuck you while my 'ands are still bloody. Y'got that?"

Next he turned to Nikolai himself, who had not moved or made a single expression during the exchange, and spoke to him as if he were a brother.

"Nikolai, you mangy ol' bastard!" he greeted, giving him an affectionate punch on the shoulder. "You ready to give the punters the show of a lifetime?"

The corners of Nikolai's mouth twitched "I will not disappoint them."

============================================================================================================================

Lee had woken early from yet another of his recurring flashbacks. While he was not a deep sleeper at the best of times, lately his rest had been particularly poor. He doubted if he'd had the equivalent of a single good night's sleep in the better part of this week. It made no matter though, he was a man used to getting by with the bare minimum of what he required.

He sat at his desk, his attention only half on the documents he was studying, the other half waiting for the knock on the door from Warrant Officer Korovich. Today was going to be a long day.

Kusanagi's eyes shot open when Sharptooth entered the room. Motionless, she lay there preparing for the worst. Gritting her teeth, she curled into a ball holding her ribs after the blow, but didn't make a sound. She slowly sat up just as he had thrown the ear on the cot. She wanted to leap from the bed, grab his throat and squeeze the life from his lungs. She wanted to watch as his eyes rolled to the back of his head. She wanted to hear him beg for mercy.

But she knew better. As painful as it was... she would have to bide her time.

As he turned to speak to Nikolai she looked up at him, burning a hole into the back of his head. Kusanagi would have to be strong today.

Stronger than she's ever been.

****************************************************************************************************************************************

Orphan had spent the night reminiscing. Thinking back to his former life. To days long gone.

He recalled a time before "Orphan" existed. A time when he had something to live for. And something to die for. It made sense that he'd think of these things not because he knew the end had come and he wanted to reconcile his past, but because there wasn't a single point in the last 30 years that he thought he'd feel that way again. At least, not until now.

Now he had nothing. He had forsook his home, his weapons and now, his name. For after today the name "Orphan" would no longer be something those in the Pit would fear. But he was okay with that.

At the end of everything he just wanted to thank her. Because of her he wouldn't die as Orphan. He would die as the man who came before.

Orphan got to his feet and started for his final resting place with nothing but his ragged cloths and his fists.

Travis had headed back to his cell, carrying all of the guns with him. It was hard, he kept dropping them and nearly accidentally firing them. But he didn't mind the busy work. He was in a somewhat good mood. His entire gang was dead, even Clyde-he hadn't even been promoted for more than a day before he was dead. There were no more Dragons, just The Dragon.

He got back to his cell and laid all the guns down. He had way more guns then he even needed. 12 SMG's and 3 assault rifles, yet there was only one of him. He still had the Kevlar from before, which completely slipped his mind while the woman held him hostage. Then again there was a close range grenade blast near the Kevlar, so it could very well be useless. Travis didn't know; he truly knew nothing about guns. Before coming to the Pit he only ever used his hands or knives to kill people, perhaps he used a gun once or twice but never when planning a murder.

He wrapped an SMG strap around his torso and carried an Assault Rifle by hand. He took the extra ammo from the other guns, as much as he could carry, before stashing the guns in his cell. He had nowhere special in his cell to hide them so he just stashed them under his bed. He then made his way towards Aryan territory.

He walked there without incident, it was the early hours of the morning when he was travelling, but he still kept one eye over his shoulder. Was Sticks still tailing him? Perhaps one of Iron Fist's friends, as she was stuck with the Crips. He was paranoid, yet he was careful not to look fearful.

He got to the main hub of Aryan territory and spoke aloud, just like he did in the Crip base. "I need to speak with Hon Von, whatever the leader of the Aryan Brotherhood! It's about the Crips and he's gonna wanna know!""

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