“Well, you can do it without me.”
“Last I looked, you were surrounded.”
Regaining his cocksure manner, Marlowe laughed, “What are you talking about? It’s only us here.”
“Besides the fact that it’s insulting that you don’t think I could take you down by myself, if you look closer you’ll see that there are more people here than you realize.”
It was then that Marlowe noticed them begin to move out of the shadows, only now seen because they wanted to be. Marlowe tried to hold in his shock.
“Why would you hire them? Why would you go so far as to get the Fatestalkers?”
Josephine walked gracefully towards Marlowe and leaned in towards his ear. He strained to hear her.
“You won’t get this from many others, but calling the Fatestalkers shows what I think of your particular ‘skillset’.”
She pulled away slowly then, gave him a subtle wink, and turned to the group crowded in the alley.
“Come, we must get Mr. Sondell to his meeting.”
They walked out of the alley, one Fatestalker on either side of Marlowe. Exhaustion had gotten to Marlowe already, so there wasn’t much chance of him trying to escape. The months of lying in alleys and being locked up had taken their toll on him. He was also in the process of trying to decipher the meaning behind what Josephine had said to him. They had been close, this much was true, but that still didn’t explain the veiled request in her flirtatious talk.
The buildings around them slowly turned to wealthier looking facades. The streets no longer had mud interspersed with the cobbles, and there was no drain running through the middle of the street. Even here though it was clear to see that the city was not healthy. Built on marshes and flatlands, it was clear to the most observant that Mastoch was slowly sinking. Mud spattered the marble foundations of many houses in the wealthy district. Marlowe noticed all this as he half walked and was half carried towards a fate he had no control over. He was dragged out of his state of half-mindedness first by grunts sounding around him. When he looked up, Josephine had already taken care of at least three of the Fatestalkers. She looked at him with a fire in her eyes. Marlowe couldn’t help but feel something watching her fluid movements.
“Marlowe! Why don’t you stop staring and start helping?”
“I thought that we were meant to be going to your father?”
“Don’t talk about that right now! I’ll tell you what’s going on later.”
Marlowe sighed inwardly. Josephine was as forthcoming with information as ever. He shook his head in disbelief.
His two captors had remained by his side during the entirety of the fight. Dressed in long black hooded robes and wearing gas masks, they were a sinister sight. Marlowe didn’t know much about the Fatestalkers besides knowing that they were probably hiding their standard issue katana under their robes. He briefly thought through the situation and took action. He stamped his foot onto the boot of the Fatestalker on his left. The Fatestalker just turned towards him as if to show how ineffectual his attack had been. Luckily that wasn’t the only thing he had planned to do.
After stamping his boot down, Marlowe crouched down, dropped his shoulder and charged the Fatestalker…