The Duellist And the Emperor
3 Chapter Three-The Devil is In the Detail
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The Duellist And the Emperor
Author :Elcid
© Webnovel

3 Chapter Three-The Devil is In the Detail

Standing one shoulder width apart, with both his hands up in line with his shoulders, was Felix Sobek. Back in prison uniform and in solitary confinement. He had been held for close to three weeks, awaiting trial. The reason he was isolated into a private cell, was because he was considered too dangerous to be with other people awaiting trial as well.

Calmly breathing in and out just below his navel, meditating standing up, he calmed his mind to a still silence. It was interrupted as the door of his cell opened and there stood one of the guards.

'Time to go see the judge,' said the guard, as Felix's eyes slowly opened with his hands following in sync as they dropped down. It was his second time seeing the judge within those three weeks, that day the judge was going come to a final verdict.

Felix was handcuffed and transported to the court, in a prison van. Once there, he waited below

the courtroom, where there was a cell housing all the accused. Felix calmly waited silently sitting on a wooden bench, he felt no hopelessness just pent up anger. He did not know how to prove his innocence to the murder of Money Sling, his manager during the Lei Tai. They did not really have any evidence against him, it was his previous record that made the authorities suspect him.

Another accused approached Felix with his gang, 'Alo…nice prison uniform,' he began as he placed his hand on Felix's shoulder. In an instant, the man found himself in a joint lock, with Felix prepared to break his arm. His friends backed away and Felix shoved the man away causing him to fall. The accused got up quickly, stunned as he walked to his friends. 'I will kill you all before you hear the judge's judgement!' barked Felix.

The day prior to Felix going to trial, Detective James Stockhorn was reviewing Felix's case. It had too many holes, they did not have evidence pointing out that Felix was behind the murder. In fact, there were factual accounts that he was found passed out on the floor amongst the murdered victims-Money Sling and his henchmen. This is what led him to review the case causing a heated debate with Commander Dylan Wilson. What concerned him even more, was Commander Dylan Wilson pushing to close the case as Felix being the suspected murderer.

James then decided to pay Felix a visit, sitting in the visitation room of the prison. A handcuffed Felix appeared with an army of prison guards. A frowning James stood up from his seat and said, 'Remove the handcuffs, there is no need for that.' The guards first looked at each other and then they accepted the request removing the handcuffs. Felix's feet were also handcuffed, making it hard for him to walk. James' request lit up Felix's face with a mild surprise, as far as Felix was concerned the detective hated him.

James asked the guards to leave to their astonishment and they yielded to his demands. Felix and James sat facing each other, with James opening up the conversation, 'So…I did not come here to see your ugly face. I just have one question…why would you kill Money Sling?' 'Yea…Why would I kill him?' replied Felix as he did his best to calm his nerves. 'I am going to the prosecutor tomorrow, we literally have nothing on you in terms of evidence. This case is not closed and you, not the murderer,' said James and Felix stared back blankly not knowing if he should smile.

Wondering if James was simply pulling his leg. 'I still think you a spoilt rich kid, who did not learn from his first conviction,' James stood up and then barked, 'Guards!' once they were in, he left.

'Felix Sobek! Sobek!' Felix's eyes widened as he heard his name being yelled, it came from a female police officer who had gone down to collect him. He got up and walked to the front of the cell and the officer opened the cell door, then she led Felix up some stairs to the courtroom.

Felix glanced around, the courtroom was brighter in light than the cell underneath it. At the back was the gallery, with a few seated people. He noticed a familiar figure. It was a black man who wore a black suit and a navy blue tie with small polka white dots. The man was his father, Carl Sobek. In front was the judge and below the judges elevated seat was the prosecutor and for the first time since his arrest, Felix noticed a figure that he safely assumed was his lawyer. He glanced back at his father and they nodded at each other. It was a way of Felix saying thanks. He knew his father had brought the lawyer; it was also the first time since

Felix's arrest that his father came to see him. Felix felt a sense of relief, also amongst the crowd in the gallery, he noticed the figure of Detective James Stockhorn.

'Right Mr Sobek how are you feeling today?' asked the judge. Felix sighed and replied, 'Good.' Then the judge continued, 'Mr Sobek today is your lucky day…' pausing and clearing his throat the judge put on his glasses and then he quickly read a piece of paper he held in his hand. He then said, 'The state of Eastland, has no evidence against you and the prosecution has withdrawn the case, you should thank Detective Stockhorn. Right, you are free to go!' The judge's words evoked a soothing feeling of relief and forced a smile on Felix's face, as he could not resist.

Outside the courtroom towering over Felix's lawyer was Carl Sobek. Interrupting their conversation was the presence of Detective James. 'Thanks, Carl,' said the lawyer as they shook hands and concluded their conversation. As the lawyer walked away, Carl turned to James who looked up.
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'Mr Stockhorn,' said Carl. 'Mr Sobek,' replied Detective James. 'Thanks, your investigation has

freed my son,' once saying that Carl tapped Detective James on his shoulder. 'Well the case is still unresolved, and I am not a fan of your son. If he ever causes trouble in Feiville, know that he will deal with me!' said Detective James as his eyes lit with fury. Carl replied with a cocky grin as he stared back and as Detective James walked away Carl muttered, 'Fool.'

'Money Sling…' murmured Detective James as he read some documents from work, that he had brought with him to his apartment. The detective had become obsessed with the case having even travelled to Wobbleton, in the Sud Republic. The police force there shared the information they had on Money Sling, who was known to mingle with unsavoury characters.

The Wobbleton trip did not reveal anything that Detective James did not expect, it was when he travelled back to Eastland that he saw the devil in the detail. There was camera footage of Felix going into Money Sling's hotel room. But there was something wrong with the footage it seemed edited, something Detective James cannot believe he overlooked. The specialist at the police station confirmed it as well, so Detective James interrogated the head of security from the hotel, who then spilt the beans, 'Look…he said he will kill my family!' anxiously said the head of security at the hotel. 'Your family will be alright…describe how this man looks like,' said Detective James.

Better than the physical description of the man, was the original footage, which the head of security had kept by saving it during the editing process. Detective James took every visual note with his eyes as he looked at the man who had committed the murder. The man was white, bald with a flat snake-like nose and a black goatee. He looked like he was in his thirties with epicanthic folds in his yellow wolf-like eyes. The footage showed how he had entered Money Sling's hotel room and how he had left minutes after Felix's arrival. His face was not in any of the police databases and the head of security at the hotel did not know his name. Boiling with excitement and knowing he had solved the crime. Detective James tried in vain to track down the killer and although reluctant at first, he still presented the evidence to Commander Dylan Wilson, who scoffed at the footage.

'You heard me, we are closing this case! We simply going to tell the public that it was Money Sling's own involvement with the underworld that led to his death!' barked the commander. 'That is bullshit!' grunted Detective James, his blood boiling at that point as he gazed up at Commander Dylan Wilson. The commander looked shocked, and he responded with, 'You bastard! I am suspending you!' Left with no words, Detective James removed his badge and threw it against Commander Wilson's wall. He removed his gun dropping it on the floor as he marched for the door. Opening it he turned around looking at the commander and exclaimed, 'I QUIT!' then he slammed the door.

James was done with the police and out of a job, he headed to his uncle who was a famous bounty hunter known as Drasul Stockhorn. His uncle had been James' guardian since James was the age of five. James had lost his parents to a plane crash.

Drasul Stockhorn was also a high calibre martial artist, using the rare and nearly extinct Dragon Style. He had passed down his knowledge of the martial art to his nephew who was also a great practitioner of the style. The Stockhorns were descendants of an ancient clan of dragon handlers who dwelled in the mountains of the Dragon's Lair long before the Daoists. Legends say that they

were dragons themselves manifested as humans physically.

Drasul's office was downtown and it consisted of one staff, himself. Despite the nature of his work and unlike his nephew, he always had a joyful spirit, expressed with a permanent smile on his face. He was excited his nephew had finally joined him. Detective James Stockhorn had surprisingly failed the tests to become a Union Guard and instead of taking the tests again, he joined Eastland's police force.

'Anyone can become a bounty hunter, but your experience makes you more than qualified,' said Drasul. Sitting in his spacious open office and calmly smoking his pipe as he caressed his grey hair, he gazed at his nephew with his piercing sky blue eyes. Drasul was clean shaven and was darker in complexion compared to his nephew. 'One thing I like about this gig is I do not have to worry about bureaucracy,' said James as he gazed around the office and then spotted the desk that his uncle had set up for him, he went there and sat down. 'Yes but, there are no rules in the bounty business my boy! We catch our prey dead or alive, depending on the requests. You have the skills, but you will need to cure yourself of the bureaucracy you experienced in the police force. Because whether you like it or not you were infected,' Drasul chuckled as he took a puff from his pipe and continued, 'On another note, I have a case for you. There is a wanted man known as Mr Biggs, a criminal element from the South. Word in the street is that he is in Feiville. The bastard is hiding and still operating, his currently exploiting young girls using them as sex slaves,' pausing Drasul threw a flash drive James' direction, James caught it and Drasul continued speaking, 'The details are on the flash drive, more importantly, it's your first task. There is big money there.' 'Thanks, uncle!' said James excitedly, as he had already put the flash drive on his laptop and was going through the data Drasul had compiled on Mr Biggs.

A minute into going through the info, James thought of the assassin who had killed Money Sling. It was still an unresolved case and he felt guilty when he heard that the head of security from the hotel and his family were found murdered in their home. James saw this on the news and his gut feeling knew the assassin was behind it, but there was nothing he could do now that he was no longer in the police force. He tried to brush the thoughts away, concentrating his mind on catching Mr Biggs.

'Wassup?' enquired Drasul, looking at the frown that conjured itself on the silent James. 'Nothing…' James replied, maintaining the frown as he gazed at his uncle. 'You know off topic, Mr Biggs is involved with a weird secret society it would seem,' began Drasul, 'there is a lot of weird shit going on in Feiville, in fact, the world. Especially with the Separatists…' James immediately jumped in and exclaimed, 'Crazy bunch!' 'I am sympathetic to their cause…terrorist they call them. But the Lei Tai and the union are slowly by surely changing to filth. It's amazing is it not?' Drasul paused upon that question as he looked at James expecting him to know what he was on about, but James replied with a question, 'What is amazing?' 'Well,' began Drasul, 'Felix Sobek is the nephew of one of the leaders of the Separatist movement. Well former leader, since he died. Rest his soul.'

'Look...if I was still in the force, I would investigate you now…I am just saying, uncle. Regardless of cause or not…There are outlaws,' said James. 'Bounty hunters operate outside the law!' snapped Drasul as he then broke into wild laughter.

Mr Biggs was on the list of the most wanted in the world, ranking as number two, below Silver Serpent who ranked number one. Drasul did not directly go after him, even when he found out the man was living in Feiville. He had not even shared the information with the police. The intel was that Mr Biggs shipped in girls from across the world into Feiville, to work as sex workers for high-end clients. These girls were sex slaves, and some were underage, being as young as fourteen years of age. Drasul had found out the girls were brought in by trucks, he just did not know where in Feiville those trucks dropped the girls as this information would indicate where exactly Mr Biggs was in Feiville.

James was going to find out, he fished for information amongst truck drivers who dwelled in the downtown sleazy bars and brothels where they hung out. Taking the little break, they had from their crazy work shifts. His snooping around led him to gather the information that there was a truck delivering weird cargo, some witnesses claimed to have heard people inside the truck. The truck was coming in during the day, avoiding the heavy control from the police that they will get at night. It delivered its cargo to a warehouse and James suspected the warehouse was where he would find Mr Biggs.

James waited in hiding near the suspected warehouse waiting for the truck to come around. He had noticed that the guards guarding the warehouse were too tense and not your usual security. Something important must have been inside the warehouse.

The truck came and was allowed in after all the necessary checks. Muttering, 'Fuck it!' James headed towards the warehouse; he disposed of the guards outside using his Dragon Style. Not killing them, just rendering them unconscious. Marauding around for a brief minute he climbed a ladder leading to the roof. There he found a door which he entered and found himself inside an attic. There was an opening on the floor allowing him to see what was below in the warehouse. James caught a glimpse of the girls, two guards and Mr Biggs.

Remembering his face from the data that Drasul had given him, Mr Biggs was a short chubby old man. He had a black beard which was greying at the end; his skin was darker in comparison to James' and he wore a black suit and a black bow tie.

Peering down James could see the girls looked frightened as Mr Biggs touched them against their will, feeling them up. The two guards followed suit with predatory smiles on their faces. 'Did you guys pay the driver?!' snarled Mr Biggs as he turned to the guards who looked at each other in confusion, before one of them said, 'His been paid.' Mr Biggs turned back his attention to the girls and said, 'Take these whores away and bring me the girl I asked to be prepped.' Obeying his orders, the guards barked at the girls to move.

James watched patiently, something told him to wait. Although his heart quaked, he used his will power to calm down. Minutes later, the guards brought a girl who they shoved towards Mr Biggs who grabbed her as he smiled. The girl was barely dressed and tried to maintain a brave face.

'So, you the virgin,' he said licking his lips and then continued, 'I promised a friend of mine, that he would taste you first before the big event with the Brotherhood.' Mr Biggs lit with excitement as he spoke and then James wondered who were the Brotherhood? Were they not the secret society his uncle had mentioned? All these thoughts raced in his mind as he closely watched the events before him.

'Medil!' shouted Mr Biggs, and a person came forth, strolling towards Mr Biggs and stopping once he was beside him. Mr Biggs pushed the girl towards him and he grabbed her saying, 'You are going to enjoy me.' 'Just do not kill the bitch…please. Well, I am going to go taste one of the other girls myself,' said Mr Biggs, sniggering as he walked away. James could not see the stranger's face as he wore a hood. He watched the stranger drag the girl away, meeting no resistance. James immediately stood up and made his way out of the attic and back on the roof. From the top he took a few steps and saw Mr Biggs entering a large container with a girl, the container had been converted into a room and not far was another container where the stranger took the girl he was with. 'Ok, time to make a move,' muttered James.

Inside the container and wearing nothing but white shorts was Mr Biggs; standing behind a girl who lay bent over and naked, with her torso and head laying on the bed. 'I am gonna fu…' Mr Biggs words froze in a sudden as the door to the container busted open and there stood James with his gun pointing it at him. Mr Biggs immediately put his hands in the air, as he stared back. James motioned with his head for the girl to leave and she made a dash for it. 'I am here to collect my bounty…Mr Biggs, you are coming with me,' he said as a grin appeared on his face. 'It's amazing how you caught me,' began Mr Biggs as he composed himself to a calm demeanour, 'I am well connected with people in high places.' 'I am not surprised, that is why you have been able to operate and hide this long,' said James. 'The Brotherhood...will teach you a lesson!' hissed Mr Biggs. 'The Brotherhood?' asked James. 'You a dead man,' said Mr Biggs as he charged for James who opened fire. Shooting Mr Biggs once between his eyebrows straight in the middle. His head rocked back as he fell flat on his back.

Meanwhile, in the other container room, the stranger was thrusting the girl he was given hard, that she uncontrollably moaned while tears trickled down her eyes. This further aroused him, until he heard the gunshot. He suddenly got off the girl, put on his clothes at an incredible speed; dashing for the door. When he turned to look at the container room where Mr Biggs was he saw the eyes of James peering back at him. James recognised those eyes, yellow and wolf-like, the stranger was the assassin. The man who had murdered Money Sling.

James pointed his gun at the stranger who put his hands up in the air and walked towards James smiling. 'Medil! That is your name, right?' asked James. But the stranger only responded with an arrogant grin on his face. 'Oh, you the silent type…maybe I should shoot your leg,' said James, and when he glanced at Medil's leg it was gone. Looking up, he felt a sudden punch that made him stumble back. He touched his nose as he felt warm blood trickling down. 'That was just a warning…next one is going to kill you,' sneered Medil. James chuckled as he put his gun back into its holster and said, 'So you can fight…I see my gun is going to be futile given your skills.' James raised his hands sizing up Medil who in astonishing speed charged for James, striking him with his hands which he shaped up like the head of a snake. His thumb bent and tucked with all fingers held together. James deflected them and gave Medil a front kick, which made him take a few steps back. 'That's…' James tried to catch his breath and then Medil said what James wanted to say, 'Yes that is the Serpent Style.' Then he launched at James coiling in like a snake and then striking out with great speed with his right hand.

James deflected the attack with his right hand as he spiralled to the right; his right foot had first crossed stepped to the left, in front of his left leg. His left foot then came forward from the back during the spiral. At this time, he was positioned at an angle away from Medil's attack. James' left foot ended behind Medil feet and his left hand came forward above his right. Using his left hand

and left foot he swooped Medil up in the air, who landed hard on the ground. As he landed James attempted to stomp him. But as he stomped, Medil using his astonishing speed was no longer on the ground.

'That evasive movement…Dragon Style,' said Medil. James smirked and then lit his face back in seriousness as he glared at Medil. 'You killed Money Sling,' he said. Medil laughed and then ran towards James, picking up an instantaneous speed and then disappeared in a blur. James glanced around in disbelief as he sighed; Medil was gone.

James was awarded quite significantly for the bounty on Mr Biggs, as it did not matter that the man was dead. The money was enough for him to retire but he was not going to rest, two things were on his mind, the Brotherhood and Medil the Assassin.


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