Volume III of Legacy: Black Star, Part 1 - Cover

Volume III of Legacy: Black Star, Part 1

Copyright© 2023 by Uruks

Chapter 22: Lucille’s Scheme

All the components have been found. Now comes the long and tedious process of combining the DNA sequences within the correct volumes.

Brocktree had spent a good long time grilling Leon on all the Elementals’ movements in and around Nirvana station. He even asked about the Werewolves, expecting Leon to know everything about Mozar’s associates. Lucille had mentally told him of a secret hangar on Platform 611 where the Werewolves had camped. Leon didn’t feel comfortable selling out the Werewolves, but considering that they had tried to kill him, he relayed the information to Brocktree so that he could still maintain the premise of being a competent spy. He didn’t know how Lucille knew about the Werewolves’ hideout, or why she wasn’t the least bit surprised when they showed up. Still, Lucille always seemed to know things. Even when they were children, she always seemed more knowledgeable about the goings on than he was. In any case, the Werewolves were only secondary to Rachel’s and Torsha’s fate. Lucille still had yet to tell him how she arranged their rescue. If he found out she was holding them hostage somewhere, he swore he’d ring her neck no matter how pretty that neck might be.

As for the Elemental movements outside, Leon supplied Brocktree with only the barest bit of information that he knew. He explained that there were only sparse scouting parties for now, so there wasn’t much help he could be until the attack came. He suggested that they leave the Elemental scouting parties alone for the time being so as to draw the Elementals into a trap on the day of the invasion, and Brocktree seemed to like the idea. Leon also did his best not to mention Tork or Grafael, and he kept Kormal’s presence a secret as well. Hoping not to reveal his ties to James, Leon then concocted a story of how he had infiltrated Nirvana using the same methods as the Werewolves. Lucille helped in that regard as she telepathically detailed a smuggling operation connected to the Werewolf Mercenaries. Again, it made Leon wonder how Lucille knew so much about the Werewolves. He began to wonder about a few other things as well, especially in concern to Rachel’s and Torsha’s fate. A suspicion started to seed itself in his mind, but he would only ask her about it when they were alone, when there was nothing to distract him.

When Brocktree was satisfied, he waved off Lucille and Leon as he began making plans with Strass. James had left ages ago. Leon would’ve liked to know where he’d gone, but Lucille held his greater interest at the moment. When they were alone in the metallic hallways of the fortress, Leon almost asked Lucille what she knew about the Werewolves, and what exactly she was plotting by getting him into Brocktree’s inner circle. However, he noticed a number of Werecats gathered outside a doorway at the other end of the corridor. Curious, Leon headed that way to see what all the hubbub was about. Lucille made a sound as if she wanted to object, but said nothing as she followed him.

Leon slowly made his way through the Werecats to get through the doorway. They surprisingly gave him entry, allowing him to pass without complaint. He supposed that his little show with Slayer-1 had earned him a bit of respect in their estimation. Leon finally made it to the open doorway. The only living person in there was Savine. She was in a white hospital room as medical droids buzzed all around with various surgery equipment. In the center of the room sat the medical tube where lay Mozar’s headless corpse. On a small floating table next to him sat his golden staff. Several droids were displaying holographic projections which showed different statistics and data concerning the body.

Savine’s back was to Leon as she stared silently at the corpse. Her mechanical tail sat completely still on the floor behind her. Her ears twitched slightly as if she had noticed him, but otherwise remained motionless. No one said a word. All the Werecats gathered were just as quiet as their leader.

After a long period of silence, Savine finally said in a deathly quiet voice, “The reports have come in. All scans show positive. The droids confirmed that this is indeed Mozar’s real body. If it really was a Double, it would’ve disintegrated by now. That means that ... it means that Mozar really is dead.”

The way she said that, she almost sounded depressed. As for Leon, he really didn’t know what he felt. Mozar hadn’t exactly been a friend, but he had been... ‘interesting’ might’ve been the right word. Leon felt like there was much he could’ve learned from the grizzled old hound. Still, Leon was more than a little curious to know what could’ve happened between Mozar and Savine. What kind of hate engendered between them could be so strong that even the loss of the one she hated made Savine feel empty inside?

The crowd of Werecats slowly shuffled away, their eerie silence pervasive. Soon, only Leon and Lucille remained as Savine stayed as still as a statue while standing over Mozar’s corpse.

Lucille then caught Leon’s eye with a knowing look. The meaning of her gaze felt significant somehow. Without a word, Lucille walked away. Leon knew she meant him to follow her. He also knew that the time for answers was drawing near.

Lucille led Leon out of Brocktree’s fortress and to the surface of Platform 181. The security personnel didn’t even bother checking Leon out, and he suspected it was because he was with Lucille. She had discarded her black cape and gloves, appearing more casual in her simple tight leather outfit. With her gloves gone, she displayed delicate fingers with black nail polish the same color as her lipstick. They were walking through the well-lit streets of Platform 181. It was the night cycle, but there were still plenty of people about. Drug dealers selling drugs, hookers selling their bodies, and random acts of violence from drunken pirates or roving gangs. An undressed woman with a slit throat was not an uncommon sight for him as he followed Lucille that night.

Leon had no doubt that Brocktree got a piece of the action wherever it was happening, whether it involved addiction, rape, or murder. For some reason, their blatant showiness of such nightly activities repulsed Leon more than he thought it should. He was no stranger to such things. And it was true, there was plenty of crime throughout Tarrus. However, on Nirvana, instead of crime being outside the law, it was the law. The Elementals, and the Ministry of Fire in particular, had always taken special care to control the criminal element throughout the planet. It was impossible to stamp out all crime, but Leon knew for a fact that criminals behaving this boldly would’ve been rounded up by Patrollers or Elementals by now. In fact, most of the urban areas surrounding the Ministry of Fire were virtually crimeless, as was a great deal of District 9. Criminals wouldn’t dare get out of line living near a man with the Demon-Slayer’s reputation. Leon never completely considered himself an Elemental, but if there was anything in their philosophy that he valued, it was their need for order. That, at least, they seemed to have in common with Mystics in some ways.

Lucille turned down an alley in which a couple of drunks were engaged in a brawl which apparently involved some hooker who they both wanted a turn at. The woman, a human dressed in white furs and already nursing a black eye, cringed in terror as the two combatants slashed at each other with knives. One was a male Satyr, and the other a human, but they appeared evenly matched. The fight ended with the human knocking away the Satyr’s knife, slamming him against the wall, and stabbing him in the gut at least a dozen times. Leon heard a wheezing sound as the Satyr tried to get a breath before falling lifelessly to the ground. The human, one of Brocktree’s personal guards by the cut of his long trench coat, laughed as he advanced on the woman. She squealed and tried to cover herself as he pulled her up roughly and began pawing at her clothes.

Lucille didn’t even seem to notice as she walked into the alley. Leon followed, wondering if this unhappy chance was what brought her to the alley in the first place.

When the man noticed Lucille coming up behind him, he grunted and slashed wildly with his knife as he screamed, “Piss off!”

Lucille caught the man by the wrist before his knife could touch her. The blade stopped only a few centimeters from her cheek, but Leon made no move to help. He knew Lucille didn’t need any help against a drunken Pure-Skin. The pirate finally got a good look at Lucille’s face and he gasped in recognition, his fury being replaced by sheer terror.

“L-Lady Lucille! I-I’m sorry! It’s dark! I didn’t recognize you!” He tried to pull his hand away, but Lucille’s grip was too strong. The man started whimpering like a child. “Please let me go! I’m really sorry! Please, don’t-”

Before the man could finish, Lucille pushed his hand forward, shoving the knife into his throat while he still clutched it. The man wheezed, and then fell to the ground lifeless. Leon almost smiled. Lucille hadn’t changed much.

When the girl saw the man lying dead, she got up and said, “Th-thank you. I-I’m new at this. They don’t usually get that rough, ya see? So-”

The woman trailed off as Lucille glared at her. Leon knew full well that it was not a look of pity that she gave to the prostitute. Quietly, Lucille said, “Leave now.”

Something in Lucille’s smoldering demeanor must’ve frightened the poor girl more than the brawling pirates, because she soon bolted as if the Lord Corrupter himself was at her heels.

Lucille turned back to Leon with an unreadable expression. “Do you think what I did was a kindness to that girl?”

Leon crossed his arms and shrugged. “Couldn’t really say for certain, but I suppose so.”

“Well, it wasn’t,” Lucille answered, her voice sounding dead. “She’s too soft for a place like this. A girl like her, she’ll be dead within the month, or worse. Such is the fate of the weak. If I was truly kind, I would’ve slit her throat and spared her that fate.”

Lucille stared at the ground, her bearing somber. She was in a strange mood tonight. Lucille was never one to give into bouts of melancholy.

Suddenly, as if the whole thing hadn’t occurred at all, she shot Leon a playful grin and said, “Care for another chase, darling?”

Lucille bent her knees and suddenly shot into the sky. Leon followed after her, his jump taking him to the rooftops overlooking the alley. Lucille hopped from multiple buildings in a zigzag pattern as if she were trying to lose a pursuer. She would have if the pursuer was anyone else except Leon. He guessed that she was trying to lose any tails Brocktree might’ve put on them. Whatever she wanted to show him, she didn’t want her boss to know about it.

After a brief, but ultimately enjoyable chase, Lucille came to what looked like an abandoned warehouse at the edge of Platform 181. The sight of a seemingly endless abyss below the giant floating platform instilled in him a slight sense of vertigo, but he did his best to ignore it.

Lucille stood at the entrance to the warehouse, and Leon knew she meant for him to enter first. He could feel a presence inside, the presence of...

With a gasp, Leon tossed aside the rusty metal slab that served as the door and burst inside. “Rachel!”

She was there sitting in the center of the warehouse. Various boxes and tools had been pushed aside for her to rest on a white cot. She looked injured, as did Torsha who sat next to her, both females sporting bloodied bandages on their faces, arms, and legs. James was there as well, sharing a brew of some kind with Rachel. A few of his men were gathered standing in the shadows of the warehouse acting as lookouts, their weapons were already trained on Leon.

Leon ignored the armed gunmen as he advanced. “Rachel! Torsha! You’re not hurt too badly, right? You didn’t-”

Rachel pushed James away as she stood to her feet, glaring daggers at Leon. She raised a finger, and said in a loud voice, “You just stop right there, mister! And you can take your feigned concern and shove it up your ass while you’re at it!”

Leon realized immediately his mistake. The last time they met, she thought he had betrayed her. “Rachel, I ... I know what it looked like, but ... but you have to believe me, I didn’t-”

“I know, okay!” she said with a groan as she rubbed her forehead in frustration. “At least, I-I think I know, but I ... I’m still really mad at you, alright! Especially about the part when you didn’t fill me in on your little trick! James told me that-”

Rachel’s eyes widened in surprise as Lucille entered to stand beside Leon. The pirates’ guns were instantly trained on her as well.

Lucille gave a small smirk, and said, “Is now a bad time?”

Rachel looked angrier than Leon had ever seen her as she glowered at Lucille. “You gaudy little hussy! I’m gonna-”

As Rachel took a step forward, she grimaced and clutched her bandaged stomach.

James was at her side in an instant, giving her support by cradling her elbow. “Easy. Easy there, pumpkin. Why don’t we all take a little breather, eh?”

Surprisingly, Rachel seemed to calm down and let James lead her back to the cot. She sat down next to Torsha without objection. The way she regarded James ... could so much have changed in the few hours since Leon had last seen her?

James looked at Leon, and then at Lucille. In that moment, Leon saw recognition. As he had begun to suspect, James and Lucille had met beforehand and made some kind of deal together.

Leon scowled at Lucille, and then at James. “I see the two of you know each other. I played along, just like you suggested, Lucille. Now I want some answers. Namely, what kind of scheme you’ve concocted with James, and why it had to involve Mozar’s death.”

Torsha perked up. “Mozar! Wait, what?”

James put a hand to Torsha’s shoulder. “It’s not what it sounds like, luv. Look, I know there’s some explaining that needs doing, but I think-”

“That I should be the one to start,” Lucille finished coolly. All eyes turned to her. “But before that, would you mind calling off your minions there, Captain? Nothing awakens a Mystic’s killing instinct like the guns of little men trained on her.”

The source of this story is Finestories

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