Zero looked at the head of the little girl resting on his shoulder as he relaxed on the seat of the Skyline Rail, enjoying the aerial view of Ravenhall.
The rich expanse of skyscrapers in a radial pattern cascading outwards from the epicenter that was the Emperor’s palace seemed to go on forever, in a massive landscape of greenery and the ever so frequent skyscrapers spread evenly, with an uncountable number of transport networks running between each sector.
Of course, the rail itself wasn’t at that high an altitude.
Zero turned his shoulder sideways to get a better look at the child. Now that she had calmed down and fallen asleep, her expression was a lot more angelic. Soft curls of amber locks set down on her cheek, as she exhaled in small puffs of air.
The rail compartment was empty, with the only other passenger being Hunter. After all, hardly anyone ever travelled to Dar Street.
Dar Street, or as it was commonly known to most citizens of Ravenhall, the Fences of Hell, was the outermost sector of the city, forming a perfect circle along the edges. Dar Street was where most of the military forces had set up shop, a security perimeter of sorts.
Next to Zero, Hunter noisily chugged down a beer can. His silver eyepatch was fastened around his head, and the visible green eye was closed, enjoying the feel of alcohol making its way down his throat.
“Humor me,” He said, after finishing off his beer, a perplexed look suddenly appeared on his face. “How does someone from the Fences manage to land up downtown?
Zero had been thinking along the same lines. “I was meaning to ask the girl earlier, but she wasn’t in the state to respond.”
“Were we ever that scared of blood?” Hunter asked, frowning as he leaned back against the windows. “Or were we always psychotic little shits?”
Zero thought hard about it. The first time he had killed someone…his first task, assigned to him, ten years back? He found it hard to believe that such a long time had passed.
“Yeah,” Zero chuckled, “We were always maniacal little shits.”
“Ah, whatever,” Hunter crunched his fingers, “Too bad, so sad.”
The Skyline Port at the Dar Street Terminus wasn’t nearly as impressive. Compared to the one downtown, it looked shabby, as if no one ever bothered to clean up the place. There was hardly any staff either. Not that it mattered, considering the entire rail system was automated.
“You think we’re going to see an Infernus?” Hunter asked jokingly, as the eerie silence of the building was starting to set in.
“Shut up,” Zero chided, “Don’t scare the kid, moron.”
The little girl had woken up, although still groggy. Noticing what were apparently familiar surroundings, she got a somewhat eased look on her face, but the horrors of the past hours hadn’t completely faded out of her memory.
“Okay,” Zero asked, “We’re in Dar Street. Where exactly do you live in Dar Street?”
The girl frowned, looking down to think for a while, before gazing back up at the bounty hunter. “The Fifth Gate. Mommy used to say that we were near the Fifth Gate.”
“The Fifth Gate?” Hunter asked, raising an eyebrow. “You mean, the Fifth Arc?”
The Fifth arc was one of twenty massive gateways that led out of the city. They were colossal, with the First and the Twentieth Arcs being the largest, reaching upto a height of nearly a hundred meters.
“Kind of exciting, isn’t it?” Hunter asked again, “So close to the Red Zone, so close to almost instantaneous death. I wonder what it would feel like to be torn apart to shreds and be stuffed down by an Infernus.” A look of cruel curiosity appeared on his face, as the girl squirmed and clung tightly to Zero.
“Alright, Fifth Arc. Where’s the goddamn map?”
“No need for it,” The girl timidly responded, “I sort of remember the way home. It’s quite close.”
“Then you can get home by yourself?” Hunter asked, checking the time on his wrist-app. The girl, squirming in a fright, and held Zero’s hand harder.
“I think we’ll leave you home, if you can show us the way.” He responded, with a smile. The girl nodded, while Hunter walked over to the closest beverage dispenser. He inserted a note of 15 Den, and as the machine froze up on him, he kicked it until the beer can dropped out from the collection tray.
“Really?” Zero asked, “This is your fourth can in the past five hours.”
Hunter peered out of the windows of the viewing gallery, as they continued to walk out of the station. Once outside, they were greeted by a strong gust of cold winds. “I need some fuel, you know. Let’s get this over with already. We have some money to collect, if you remember.”
“Clear as day,” Zero replied. Looking down at the little girl, he said, “Lead the way, kid.”