(AN/ Hey folks it's Garouge/Crewefox with another chapter of Star of Ceartias. So guess what? This fic is now longer than the 1st take a stand with this chapter, and we've still got a bit to go! As always I'd love to thank everyone who liked, faved, followed, reblogged and reviewed the last update. Also I want to thank everyone who supported me this last week in the wake of the torrent of homophobic hate mail I've got regarding this story, thank you all so much from the bottom of my heart. And wow I've seen a crazy response to ziegelzeig's oc Ronin AKA Alice Kirabito, I've had so many messages and fan art submitted of her it's crazy. So without further ado let's get cracking with this chapter...)

Chapter 24- A Lesson.

Aleks and Judy aimed towards where the sound was coming from, and out of the smoke, appearing like a spectre was a white rabbit with her mouth and nose covered by a skull mask, dressed in black sneaking suit with shuriken and other weapons hanging off of it and in her right paw was a katana "Bonsoir Chief Wilde," Ronin spoke politely, twirling her sword "Professor Rattigan requests an audience."

Aleks knew who the figure was in an instant, a white bunny with a katana, just like Luna had described. He stopped himself blurting out her alias 'Ronin' as not to raise suspicion from Judy but kept his sights locked on the assassin. The smoke had almost cleared and Judy's amethyst eyes darted between her officers and saw that they were laying perfectly still yet their eyes were open and looking around in fear, their mouths were strained as if they were desperate to talk but their lips were glued together. "What have you done to them?!" Judy demanded, her tranq pistol aimed at Ronin's abdomen.

"I've paralysed them," Ronin replied, holding up a trio of thin acupuncture-like needles for them to see "they'll be fine...for about twenty minutes."

"What happens in twenty minutes?" Aleks asked anxiously, worried for his squad mates' welfare.

"The second toxin in the needles will manifest, it'll make them feel like every square inch of their bodies are on fire." Ronin answered as if it was no big deal. "They won't die but it'll be excruciating until their kidneys process the poison."

Judy read the situation and lowered her weapon and vocally analysed "Given the speed you disabled my officers I'd say you're well trained, and with that sword and the size of that handgun in your holster it's obvious you're a professional killer, but you didn't kill them which means Rattigan specifically asked you not to."

"Well observed Chief Wilde, you truly are a credit to our species." Ronin complimented sincerely "The Professor thought you would be in a more agreeable mood to talk if I spared the lives of your officers."

"And what makes him think I'd want to talk to him in the first place?" Judy replied, holstering her weapon, confident that the assassin wouldn't harm her.

"Well I've been told to inform you that the conversation will be beneficial for the both of you and it's the best interests of the city." Ronin relayed in a civil manner, Ronin retrieved a smart phone with headphones attached out of one of the pouches on her belt "You won't even have to leave your officers, you can video chat."

"And if I refuse?" Judy tested.

"Then I'd have to paralyse that fox beside you, knock you out and bring you to the Professor forcibly, but that would take well over twenty minutes and by that time your cops will start to feel the burn." Ronin explained "But if you take this phone, go into your squad car for privacy and have a nice little chat with the Professor, I'll be sure to give your officers the antidote before the second toxin comes into effect."

Judy was silent for a moment, she had already made her decision but was using those few seconds to see if any of her rodent officers were among the poisoned, there were only four which meant the rest had escaped or were still in the club, which also meant they had already called for backup and it was on the way. "I'll talk to Rattigan on one condition; you won't hurt Rojek or further harm my officers."

"As you wish." Ronin replied with a slight bow, extending her paw with the phone and the earbuds attached.

Judy looked up at Aleks and said without a hint of fear "If anything happens to me, you look after my girl, you hear?"

Aleks nodded at his superior and joked "Don't die on me chief, who's going to save me from Nick?"

Judy gave a flicker of a smile before stepping forward and taking the phone from Ronin before getting into the passenger seat of the police cruiser so she could talk with Rattigan privately leaving Aleks alone with Ronin. The SWAT cop kept his focus on Ronin who was standing five feet away with her katana drawn, true to his methodical nature Aleks made note of every weapon he could visibly see the bunny carrying and accessed the threat, normally he was 100% sure he could fire a shot and bring down an enemy this close but what after Luna had told him about Ronin's athletic prowess he knew that 100% was more like a 50%. Aleks then took notice of how Ronin looked physically, even though her mouth and nose were covered by a mask he tell from her eyes and the state of her fur that she was in her early twenties like him, her tight fitting sneaking suit showed off her toned muscles that came from intense training but what Aleks found most interesting was how perfectly still she was, no shakes of the paws, no shuffling weight from one foot to the other, her chest didn't even rise and fall when she breathed, the only part of her moved was her eyelids when she blinked. Aleks also realised something else; he no longer felt jealous of this rabbit, ever since Luna had told him about how Ronin kissed her the biting sense of jealousy had been at the back of his mind, wondering how attractive Ronin was, if she was cool and if she was somehow better than him but now all of that was gone and he wasn't sure why. But subconsciously his face began to show his relief, he was smiling and it did not go unnoticed.

"Now there's an odd face to pull in a situation like this." Ronin observed "What's with that smile?"

"Nothing." Aleks shrugged, being deliberately aloof.

"It's not a perverted smile, nor a nervous one, not even a sly one." Ronin ruled out "No, that is a content smile."

"You know a lot about smiles." Aleks replied, remaining calm.

"I know a lot about reading mammals." Ronin corrected "Speaking of which, you seem to be rather tranquil given the circumstances."

"I guess I'm not a panicky fox." Aleks bantered, surprised he was able to get under the assassin's skin so easily.

"I had heard Chief Wilde had nerves of steel after her long service in the police force but you're young and green, yet you stand face to face with the mammal who paralysed most of your team and you've got that dumb smile on your face." Ronin vented reservedly.

"It almost sounds like you're offended." Aleks commented, his smile transforming into a smirk.

Ronin's ears twitched at this accusation that she hated to admit was true but her curiosity was peaked, just who was this cop? Ronin read the nametag on Aleks' tactical vest and mused "Rojek, huh? I can't say I've ever come across you, but saying that; mammals who often run into me end up losing their head."

Aleks remained quiet and smirking which irked the bunny even more.

"Will you stop that?" Ronin requested.

"Stop what...Ronin?" Aleks teased.

Ronin's golden eyes narrowed and she cooed menacingly "Oh now this is interesting. How does a ZPD runt know my name? Because you sure as hell didn't get it through your normal intel."

"An angel told me." Aleks replied, unfazed by Ronin's tonal shift.

"An angel?" Ronin scoffed.

"Yeah, you met her a couple of nights back. Beautiful amber eyes, fur that's red like a fire and the body of goddess." Aleks described.

Ronin's ears went droopy as she breathed "Andraste."

"Oh and one more thing, that red feather you stole? My girlfriend wants it back." Aleks delivered a final verbal stab at his rival.

000

Marian had been keeping an eye on the Rose Thorn most of the night hoping to catch an image of Rattigan in handcuffs and being bundled into a police car, but when she saw the smoke bombs trigger around Judy her heart strained in panic, when the smoke cleared and she saw that the majority of Judy's cops were motionless on the floor and that Ronin was talking to Judy and Aleks she didn't hesitate contacting the team.

Minutes after the call, the majority of the team were sat in the team truck as Mage ploughed through the streets of Zootopia towards the canal district, which was on the opposite side of the city. "Bella give me an ETA until we reach The Rose Thorn?" Mage asked the virtual interface that resided in the truck.

"At top speed and most optimal route; 13 minutes." Bella replied.

"That's far too long, Mom could be dead by then." Scarlet freaked in the front seat, her hood was down and she was pulling on her long ears in frustration and fear.

"Ronin won't harm Mom or Aleks." Andraste assured, putting an arm around her baby sister.

"How can you be so sure? She's a psycho!" Scarlet replied in a stressed tone.

"Maid said she hadn't harmed them yet, we both know if Ronin wanted them dead she would've done it by now." Andraste convinced both Scarlet and herself.

"If I may interject Scarlet," Bella spoke through the speakers "according to Interpol files Ronin appears to be an 'Honourable' hitwoman, only killing targets she had been ordered to, if we're going by facts that gives Chief Wilde an 88% chance at survival."

"Uh, that's my baby's way of saying 'It'll be ok'." Mage translated, drifting into the next street, nearly hitting a pizza delivery car.

Bullet who was sandwiched in the backseat between Spitfire and a untransformed Roar, leant over to the front a kissed Scarlet atop of her head before saying "Your Mom is tough, it's where you inherited all your guts from."

"Thanks babe." Scarlet replied in a jittery voice, despite the way she was feeling, she was appreciative of the comfort.

"Ok we're past the weather control plants," Spitfire noticed, "It'll be easy for me to fly ahead now."

"Can I hitch a ride on your back?" Scarlet asked, half serious.

But at that moment Mage turned another corner to find a stream of police cruisers and armoured SWAT vans heading in the same direction as them "Looks like one of your Mom's cops called in cavalry." Roar smiled.

"Good, we've got more chance of Ronin being in a cell by sunrise." Scarlet said, sounding more like her old self.

Then it happened; Bullet was the first to hear it (Of course she was); the whooshing sound through the air, the smell of smoke and flammable chemicals invaded her nostrils and then her sonar mapping sensed the shape of a small object ripping through the night in the direction of the police cruiser next them. "RPG!" Bullet screamed, a second later the police cruiser beside Bella exploded in hellfire and the two souls inside were instantly killed.

The pick up truck shook with the power of the blast and all the cop cars in front of Bella screeched to a halt, Andrate's battle ready mentality kicked in and she could spot three different snipers on evenly spaced rooftops ready to unleash their savage assault "It's an ambush!" she growled "Mage get us in cover!"

"Way ahead of you." Mage reacted, pulling into an alley while shots began to rain down upon Zootopia's finest.

"Who the hell are they?" Spitfire asked, even with the voice synthesiser she sounded furious.

"It's the Drowned, they were wearing the armbands." Andraste informed, double checking how many arrows she had in her quiver. "But I only saw snipers, I didn't see where the bazooka came from."

"There at least twenty attackers are engaged in combat with the ZPD at this moment, but The Maid tracks another convoy of vehicles is heading to the Rose Thorn." Bella relayed.

"It's a diversion." Bullet figured.

Another explosion erupted behind Bella, one cop fell to the sidewalk whilst her partner hastily tried to pull her to safety, Roar recognised the two law keepers in an instant, the chubby cheetah Clawhauser was pulling his partner and best friend Nala Priderock into cover. "Mom?" Roar breathed.

Spitfire read Roar's instincts and in a heartbeat she changed her plans "New strategy; we split up, me, Roar and Bullet will take care of this ambush while the rest of you head to the Rose Thorn." She commanded.

Alarm bells started ringing in Luna's head, she felt an acidic pool bubble in her stomach at being nearby Ronin so her fear propelled her to say "I'm of more use here, I'm better at long shots, Bullet's the girl for close quarters."

Spitfire was about to protest when Bullet backed up "She's right, I'm not the best with snipers."

Spitfire hadn't the time or train of thought to make an argument right now, instead she agreed "Fine." She was going against her better judgement but she was going to trust her best friend above all else.

Roar didn't need another word he initiated his 'elixir' form as he stepped out of the truck and let out a powerful snarl that sent shivers down everyone's spine in a 500 metre radius, he bounded toward Nala's side and could see her injuries were manageable "Take cover Clawhauser," Roar advised with a powerful voice "You've got a family waiting for you at home."

"How did…" Clawhauser began, but his concentration was placed upon the wounds to Nala's upper left arm.

A few feet away Andraste and Spitfire emerged from the safe truck to the sounds of screams and gunfire. Spitifre, even though she was covered by a thick coat of metal, the mouse underneath was worrying beyond belief for her rookies "Please look out for one another." The engineer pleaded as Andrate zipped up to the rooftops with a grapple arrow.

"We promise." Mage willed before putting the truck into gear once more and speeding off in the direction of the Rose Thorn.

000

Ronin had remained silent ever since Aleks had confirmed he was in a relationship with Andraste, she trying to calm herself down and was resisting the urge to take a few steps forward and sever the silver fox's head. She knew she needed to stay professional and complete the contract despite part of her wanted to scream in anger and another wanted to go home and eat her feelings with a tub of ice cream. But her concentration was broken when Alek's face dropped, he lowered his weapon and put a paw to his ear piece, he was obviously getting some disturbing news from dispatch "We've got trouble." He said, hastily "The chief needs to get out of that car, now."

"She's in the middle of a conversation with my employer, I'm afraid it'll have to wait." Ronin responded in a professional manner.

"Listen there was back up heading here but they've just been ambushed by The Drowned and there's another pack of them heading this way, we've got about three minutes before they reach us." Aleks informed, looking at his paralysed team mates and shared the fearful look in their eyes.

Like she said earlier; Ronin was good at reading mammals and could tell if someone was deceiving her so she could tell that Aleks was telling the truth, within a second she had formulated a new strategy, she produced a bottle of pink fluid and stated "Get your comrades to inhale this, it's the antidote, one sniff of this and they'll be back to normal in thirty seconds." She then threw the bottle to Aleks, who caught it easily and went straight to his squad mates.

Ronin was about to go over to the car and inform Judy and Rattigan of the situation when the screech of tires caught her attention, she turned thinking the Drowned had already arrived but instead an image that at first confused her but very quickly enraged her. A pick up truck was speeding towards the Rose Thorn but already hanging out of the door was The Undying Scarlet looking at Ronin with pure hatred. "Merde, why now?" she griped, pulling her goggles down over her eyes as Scarlet launched herself at the assassin while screaming at the top of her lungs, Ronin saw the trajectory of where Scarlet was heading and moved out of the way at the second allowing Scarlet's face to collide with police cruiser's door.

Inside the cruiser, Judy jumped in alarm at the sudden jolt while Scarlet fell to the floor with a loud groan.

"Nice entrance." Ronin mocked.

"Scarlet!" Aleks yelped, he was kneeling beside one of the paralysed SWAT officers.

"Rojek I suggest you concentrate on reviving your squad." Ronin advised before looking over at Mage and Bullet emerging from the shooting star with their weapons drawn "You two want a piece of me as well?"

"Where's Chief Wilde?" Bullet asked loudly, the voice modifier made her voice sound scratchy and robotic.

"In that car, taking a video call." Ronin answered, motioning to the car "She has not been harmed, but she will be if I don't get her to safety, the dr-"

"The Drowned are coming, we know." Mage interrupted, his voice sounded a lot deeper with his modifier on.

"Then you know we have no time for a pointless…" Ronin began but she spotted a fist flying towards her, she dodged it and hissed "fight."

Scarlet, who had her muzzle covered by her red scarf, had her claws bared as she threatened "You're going down this time Ronin." Her voice modifier didn't mask her anger.

"Didn't you hear what I just said? We haven't got time for this." Ronin enforced "Now I can get Chief Wilde to a safer location if you let me."

"As if I'd trust you." Scarlet spat, ready to jump into another attack.

"Fine, you get her somewhere safe and I'll take care of the Drowned."

"Why would you help us?" Bullet asked with suspicion.

"The Professor was adamant that no police officers were too be killed either by myself or other parties, that is the job I've been tasked with." Ronin explained, cautious that Scarlet would strike at her given the chance.

Aleks had already gave the antidote to five of his fellow officers and the first two were getting to their feet, the polish fox had overheard the conversation and added "Good luck trying to get the chief to safety, she won't leave her officers."

Before anyone could reply Judy stepped out of the cruiser, eyed the three Ceartais members and sighed "Why do vigilantes always gravitate around me? It's like your begging me to slap cuffs on you." she then handed the smartphone and earphones back to Ronin.

Scarlet felt a little fearful for a moment, thinking that her mother would see through her disguise, she was stuck for words but luckily Aleks hollered "Chief, we have a convoy of Drowned cultists heading for our location, our backup was ambushed on their way here." He had revived eight of his team mates now

"Sweet cheese and crackers," Judy seethed, turning to her cops who were slowly getting back to their feet and ordered in a loud voice "alright everyone take up defensive positions, we're treating this like a terrorist attack, we'll give them one chance to surrender and if they do not comply shoot to kill."

"Chief Wilde allow me to offer my assistance, the Professor insisted that no harm should come to you or your subordinates." Ronin spoke.

Before Judy reply Scarlet butted in "As if she'd team up with one of Interpol's most wanted."

"I'm getting rather sick of you, girl." Ronin replied with spite, Judy left the two to argue and went to her officers to manage them.

"Well what do you expect with all the shit you've pulled?" Scarlet snarled back.

"Scarlet," Mage alerted "but your fight on the back burner for now, we need to focus on helping the ZPD."

"He's right, we need to make sure no one else gets hurt, you saw what happened to those cops on the way here." Bullet implored.

"…Right," Scarlet begrudgingly accepted, glancing over at her mother who was tending to her SWAT officers "no more dead cops."

"Guess this what they call a 'Team Up'?" Ronin asked in a cheeky manner.

"Bitch don't even…" Scarlet began to growl but the approaching sound of multiple engines halted her words, three trucks and two cars came around the corner and were heading right for them.

"Everyone get ready!" Judy shouted, taking over behind her car and aiming her tranq pistol at the convoy along with all of her officers, Mage and Bullet shielded themselves behind Bella while Ronin and Scarlet took no shelter, they just stood defiant in the roadway, ready for the battle.

"Mage, can you work a little of your magic?" Bullet asked, sounding nervous.

"Way ahead of ya'." Mage focused on the five vehicles and detected their built in computers through his mask's HUD and sniggered "Hope you guys are wearing your seatbelts." Before sweeping the air with his wand and causing all the vehicles to break suddenly before shutting down their engines suddenly.

Bullet heard the shouts and moans from inside The Drowned's vehicles which gave her a momentary feel of smugness before she mapped the convoy and counted twenty eight enemies "There's twenty eight of them, most have guns some have melee weapons." She shouted loud enough so Judy and the SWAT team could hear.

"How does she know that?" Judy asked Aleks rhetorically, to which the silver fox could only shrug.

The first few members of the cult began to emerge from the convoy, both predators and prey in varying sizes and all of them donning the armband that displayed The Drowned insignia. Judy felt a twinge of fear seeing that the cops were outnumbered two to one but she had the unwanted advantage of an assassin and three super heroes on her side, she'd have to defeat the drowned first before apprehending all four of the lawbreakers. She rose a megaphone to her lips, pressed the button and announced "This is the ZPD, drop your weapons and put your hands behind your heads, if you do not comply we will respond with lethal force."

Judy got her answer when a polar bear pulled the trigger of his assault rifle and bullet ripped through the air, with the police chief as it's intended target, but the bullet was stopped mid air and deflected into the concrete of the sidewalk by Ronin's katana.

Then all hell broke loose.

"Fire at the Drowned!" Judy bellowed her order and all the SWAT team began firing sporadically when they had a clear shot.

Bullet on the other hand didn't rely on having a clean line of sight she started aiming at the shapes of mammals firing weapons and charging at the rose thorn, each shot she fired found their mark. Ronin and Scarlet charged together, Scarlet got hit with two shots to the stomach but that only made her more angry as she bounded at the Polar Bear who had shot at her mother, she swiped her sharp left claw across the bear's face causing him to drop his rifle, she then latched onto his collar and started pummelling the large pred's face, the sound of bone crunching was masked by all the gunfire and shouts, eventually the polar bear fell and Scarlet moved onto the next large mammal she could spot, an Ox. The cloven hoofed giant saw the blur of red rage racing towards her and waited for the perfect moment to slam down a baseball bat across the side of Scarlet's jaw, the teen hybrid was sent clattering to the ground, her jaw instantly dislocated and ears were ringing as she went face down into the road's tarmac. The Ox rose the bat above her head ready to bash the heroine's skull in, but was electrocuted by one of Mage's shock cards that landed in the centre of her chest and fell backwards in an convulsing state.

"Scarlet! You ok!?" Mage barked, using his wand to blow a watermain under the road that caused a jaguar and a horse to be flung into the air and land in the canal.

Scarlet staggered to her feet, grabbed her jaw with a whimper of pain put it back to where it usually rested and felt the nanobots repair the damage, she couldn't talk just yet so she gave a thumbs up and continued to battle on.

Bullet started to notice some of the cultists were starting to take cover behind parked cars and mail boxes and decided to pick them off, she jumped onto Bella's hood before somersaulting through the air, she was high enough now to hit three cultists in cover, as she spun through the air she fired three shots with each gelatinous tranq bullet hitting the targets in the head as she landed on the tarmac she used her ballet skills and performed a passe' en releve' twirl while shooting two more cultists firing at the cops before using a penche' kick to knock out a African wild dog.

Ronin had her own way of taking care of these fanatics; the messy way. The first fool to charge at her was otter clumsily holding a dagger, she threw a shuriken which went straight through his open screaming mouth and pierced the back of his throat causing the water mammal to floor to the ground and panic as his lungs filled up with blood. A female rhino came at the assassin next, Ronin used her excellent athletic skills to jump at the Rhino's face while pulling out her handgun and sending a bullet through her skull and before she landed her jump she severed the head of a kangaroo cultist. Ronin heard a shout of anger from her right and saw a buck deer coming at her with a machete, she dodged the downward swipe and with one swift slice of her blade she not only severed the hoof that held the machete but also large part of the Buck's left antler. The Buck collapsed to the floor howling in anguish as his arm bled out, Ronin shut him up by taking the antler that she had cut off and plunging it into the deer's heart. The swordswoman looked around the makeshift battlefield and saw that only a few cultists were left standing, most had been rendered unconscious by the three members of team Ceartais, some were killed by the SWAT team and the rest had been slain by her hand. Ronin was satisfied that Judy and the rest of her cops were safe, her job was complete and she quickly wiped the blood away from her sword with a handkerchief before sheathing it, she was about to drop a smoke bomb and disappear into the night but just as was about to flee, a powerful paw grabbed her and threw her high into the sky towards the rooftops of an apartment building, she got over initial shock within a second and looked down at who was able to throw her with such strength; it was Scarlet who was looking at with pure anger in her navy blue eyes. Ronin allowed her body to ragdoll to reduce injury when she landed, she crashed into an air conditioning system on the roof and felt pain course though her body, her ribs were cracked but not broken.

Ronin was just rising to her feet when she heard the thud of paws landing eight feet away from her, she looked up to see The Undying Scarlet in a fighting stance. "Listen child, I've had a pretty bad night, so I really want to blow off some steam and you really don't want to be on the receiving end." Ronin breathed, pulling her katana from her scabbard "I'll give you one chance to leave."

"Do I look the type to run from a fight?" Scarlet responded, pointing to the bullet holes in her uniform.

"Baka." Ronin simmered in Japanese, her years of training under a Japanese master had gained her a fluency with the language "You are a fool blinded by your rage." She flipped her katana dull part of the blade faced Scarlet, the reverse blade technique would keep Ronin alive but it'd still hurt.

Scarlet had watched enough anime as kid to know what 'Baka' meant, it just added more fuel to the fire of her anger. Within the same second both warriors jumped at each other, Scarlet sent a punch flying way too early and Ronin took full advantage of that mistake, she brought down the full side of her sword to the back of Scarlet's head sending the red clad vigilante colliding with the same air conditioning unit Ronin crashed into moments before. Ronin landed on solid ground and threw herself into another attack, zipping towards the grounded Scarlet saw her coming and attempted to throw a punch at bunny but failed as Ronin read the obvious counter and let the sharp edge of her Blade skim across Ronin's chest causing a squeal of pain to release from Scarlet's mouth as well as a streak of blood that coated both the katana and the rooftop. "I told you to leave, you should have listened." Ronin's voice boiled.

"SHUT UP!" Scarlet roared, throwing a quintet of punches at Ronin and all of them missing the agile sword wielder.

Ronin reacted by sending a well time kick to Scarlet's stomach causing the teen to stumble back with her arms flailing as she hit a brick chimney stack, Ronin saw an opening and let her wicked impulses take hold of her reflexes, she threw two shuriken into Scarlet's wrists the sharp object tore through fabric, fur, skin and bone and imbedded in the red brick of the chimney stack all to the tune of Scarlet's pain filled screams. But there was no respite, Ronin got out her handgun and emptied her magazine into the hybrid teen's strained body, a bullet in the liver, the pancreas, one in both kidneys, her bowel, her intestines, both kneecaps and both shoulders, Scarlet was letting her tortured howls fill the night sky as her body threatened to black out from all the pain. Ronin could see how weakened Scarlet was a felt a wave of disappointment and discuss join her already present fury, she stepped towards the vigilante and removed both shuriken from her opponent's wrists and let her fall to the floor in a bloody, hyperventilating mess. The contract killer could already see Scarlet's body trying to heal itself so she knew she had to keep up the assault if a lesson was going to be taught. Ronin eyed a thick iron plumbing pipe leading from the smallish water tower on the roof and an idea quickly manifested, she grabbed Scarlet by the ankle and started dragging her over to the pipe "You'll notice that I didn't shoot you in the heart, head or lungs, like I said to you and Andraste in Rainforest district there is no sense in killing you for free." Ronin told in an agitated voice "I don't want to test how 'undying' you really are if I'm not getting a paycheck."

"Y-you…" Scarlet struggled, her vision was blurry and her body felt like it was on fire.

Ronin then sat Scarlet up against the pipe, deliberately knocking the heroine's head off the iron, before getting out her garrotte wire and making a noose with it; tying the end to the pipe and slipping the loop over Scarlet's head and tightening it slightly around her neck. Ronin then stood back and reloaded her handgun while saying venomously "You know when I first fought you, I was excited. I thought that there was finally an opponent worthy enough to go against me, to be kill an immortal would be the greatest triumph of any assassin but after that pathetic display I realise that I was wrong."

"I'm g-oing…." Scarlet panted, she was still too weak and not all of the bullets had been forced out of her body yet.

"Please realise that when I do eventually kill you I'll no longer take pride in it, you are no longer worthy of my full strength, you're just a dumb little girl trying to be a hero." Ronin spoke, knowing her words were cutting deep from the pained yet defeated look in Scarlet's eyes "Think about it; everyone you've faced so far has been petty criminals or those radical cultists, you've never faced a true enemy. You call yourself a hero but when the first trial bests you the mighty immortal turns into this pathetic mess."

Suddenly Ronin heard footfalls on the fire escape, she quickly turned around to see Bullet aiming both her pistols at her, the markswoman fired a shot from each gun but Ronin wasn't worried, with ease and grace she sliced through both tranq bullets before flying forward and upper cutting Bullet in the face before quickly slicing through the metal cord that connected her high tech handguns with her Katana. Scarlet tried to get up and help but the noose around her neck tightened, cutting into the flesh. Ronin gut punched Hannah causing her to drop her guns, she then fell to her knees winded by the blow but that was quickly followed by a kick to the chops from the bunny's big feet. "Bullet!" Scarlet bawled, tears cascading down her face, the noose kept getting tighter the more she struggled.

"She's the same as you, isn't she? A kid who has no clue what they're doing." Ronin figured before sending another kick to Hannah's midsection, but in the assassin's mind she was picturing kicking Aleks Rojek.

"Leave her alone!" Scarlet begged, choking slightly from noose that was already making her neck bleed.

Ronin looked at Scarlet and Bullet and connected the dots "Ah, you love her." She observed before stepping back from Bullet, who was groaning on the floor "Very well, I'll take my leave, but first…" Ronin then bolted Scarlet and pierced her katana into the heroine's gut then twisted it triggering another tormented scream from Scarlet.

When she stopped screaming, Scarlet looked at Ronin and panted "You b-bitch!"

Ronin then pulled out her blade and said in the coldest voice she could muster "I want you to remember this moment the next time you think you'll be anything more that stupid little girl cosplaying as a hero."

"Scarlet! Bullet!" A voice hollered, Ronin turned around to see The Mage appearing on the fire escape, the assassin daren't chance another altercation and dropped a smoke bomb.

Mage saw that Bullet was already getting to her feet so ran through the haze of smoke to Scarlet with Ronin already vanished. Mage quickly untied the wire while saying in a panicky tone "We've got to move, your Mom is already looking for us."

Bullet joined Mage in helping Scarlet to her feet and breathed "Let's get back to Bella."

Scarlet was led down the fire escape but she really didn't register the moment, she was silently crying; she wept due to the pain, she was teary eyed because she came so close to dying but the reason she was crying the most is because she was experiencing a new and terrifying feeling; defeat.

(AN/ So what did you guys think? PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Review! Next time on SOC; We learn what Judy talked to Rattigan about, Kodi finds himself in trouble, Alice is heartbroken and some difficult conversations are going to take place. Please review and c ya soon...)