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Chapter 6 - King

On the night after the day Halle visited, Jack headed to the harbor as the card instructed. In a rare show of sobriety, he hadn't had a drop of booze.

He realized at some point that he was being followed. Just as well, he knew it was someone acting on behalf of Enrique.

'Don't worry,' he yelled as he stopped and turned. 'I ain't gonna run or hide from this.'

No one answered.

'Tch. What a boring fella you are.'

Turning back around, Jack continued on. That night was a dark one, with neither moonlight nor a single star piercing the cloud-shrouded sky. Jack only had the road lamps to guide him as he meandered through the empty streets, and as he did, memories of the grand match between him and King flooded back...

King's legendary skills had earned him his nickname to match. He had been both Jack's teacher...and his greatest rival.

Seven years ago, Jack and King had played the game of their lives.

It was Jack who found himself the winner. Their game was used by the privileged in the underworld of the Republic to decide the outcome of a struggle for power. King, forced to take responsibility for losing, was killed. Though indirect, it could not be denied that Jack's win had been King's ultimate loss.

Around an hour after leaving the bar, he reached the harbor. The smell of refuse and brine wafted in on a warm breeze. An enormous boat was floating on the dark night sea just ahead, waves lapping quietly at its sides. Its hull was painted a solid black, making it almost impossible to see.

It was the same boat Jack and King had been on for that final, fateful game.

As Jack approached the gangway, he was met by a small silhouette from the shadows--Halle.

'Welcome, Victory Jack,' she said. 'I really didn't think you would come all the way out here on your own two feet. Heh. I have to admit, you've got courage.'


Normally Jack might have had a joke or a comeback, but tonight alone he was a different man. Glancing at Halle, he boarded the ship without a word.

The light from the portals shone blue, glinting off his eyes as he passed. The sound of the steam whistle was swallowed by the lonely darkness, and slowly, the ship slipped free from the harbor and out to sea.

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