Kira Volkov - The Black Dragon - Chapter 2: Are You Strong?

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Description: The first cutscene of Chapter 2 of the Black Dragon TP. Kira reveals herself to Southtown as the mastermind behind the mysterious dark stalker attacks and poses a question to the citizens and their defenders - are they strong enough to survive the trial that she has put them through? Issuing a challenge to attack her in her stronghold, the mercenary queen awaits the inevitable response.

Nearly a week has passed since the dark stalker horde erupted into Southtown from seemingly out of nowhere, a tide of fur and claws sweeping across the city in a maelstrom of unrestrained destruction and death. Caught unprepared, the defenders of the city scrambled to rally their defenses. Blockades were established to stop the monsters from pushing deeper into the heart of the city where the citizens fled in panic to escape being torn apart.

The conflict was fierce and thick for several days. Eventually, the NOL and local PDF forces managed to contain the threat, heroically facing their foes in open combat as the creatures threw themselves mindlessly at their defensive emplacements. Slowly, the numbers of the foe have dwindled and the attacks become less intense and frequent - but not without cost.

It has been a week of heroes and demons. Countless lives have been lost, both human and beast, and their bodies litter the empty streets like so much detritus in the wake of a terrible storm. Carrion birds fill the sky and the streets at all hours, picking away at the grand feast left for them by the deadly conflict. The city lies still and quiet, its once bustling centers of business and tourism abandoned as those who remain lie huddled in hastily created shelters trying desperately to forget the nightmare that lurks nearby.

In the early hours of the morning, just when the city would normally begin to rouse itself for another day of work, something unusual happens. The attacks stop. Every single dark stalker across the entire combat front lets out a blood-curling howl, their bestial voices rising up in unison to create a warbling pitch that rings out across the entire city. Their cry given, they fall back from the fighting, retreating in an as of yet unseen act of coordination to a distance of a few hundred yards; far enough not to be attacked easily but close enough to been seen.

As the defenders scramble to understand this sudden change in behavior, a second anomaly ripples through the city. A broadcast goes out, the signal overriding local television stations and Internet feeds. Every functional screen in the city blinks and flickers for a moment, their previous images replaced with that of a young woman standing in front of a large section of polished black stone.

The mysterious figure is dressed like something out of an old action movie. A thick vest of tactical kevlar armor covers the majority of her torso, stopping short at her shoulders to reveal a pair of bare arms decorated in a web of tribal tattoos. Black and grey military fatigues drift down into a pair of thick combat boots, laden with at least a dozen tactical pouches and holsters designed to carry ammunition and weaponry. Twin columns of shotgun shells rest in small loops arranged vertically on either side of her armored vest, their crimson color standing out starkly against the backdrop of black that the rest of her ensemble is composed of.

The woman's features are clearly foreign. Her skin is fair and her hair a pale blonde like that of freshly cut wheat. A wild bob cut frames a slightly angular jaw line and a pair of sharp eyes that speak of a European heritage, the rest of her loose hair pulled into a tight ponytail in the back. A pair of aviator sunglasses conceal her eyes the tinted glasses resting stylishly halfway down the bridge of her sharp nose.

"Are you strong enough?"

Kira speaks in English and quickly dispels any question about her ethnicity, the thick Slavic accent impossible to mistake. She isn't going to bother trying to use Japanese. Her mastery of the language is more than enough not to make a fool out of herself but the strange lilting cadence just sounds odd coming out of her mouth. Furthermore, by using a foreign language she would help cement herself in the citizen's minds as an 'other', someone they can unite against in common hatred. The Asians have always been a xenophobic lot; now she would use that against them to further her own goals.

Still, it would be somewhat pointless for her to make an announcement to them that they can't understand. At the bottom of the screen, a translation of her words appears in neat kanji ensuring that everyone gets her message loud and clear.

The mercenary queen holds her arms out to either side, presenting the question to the viewers to ponder for several long moments. Though her tone is somber, she cannot keep the smirk off her face as she regards the camera as if she has presented an ageless philosophical query.

"That is the question that has shaped the course of my life. From the moment my home was destroyed by war-mongering politicians as a child, my existence has been one of desperate survival. First against the soldiers that came to rape and pillage my country. Then against the government who sought to exploit my skills and turn me into an obedient slave. Next came the warlords and criminal kingpins, violent and blood-thirsty despots, drug cartels, rival mercenary groups, special forces commandos, even monsters out of the damn fairy tails!"

The woman grows animated as she speaks, her hands gesticulating in wild sweeps as the list rattles on. She pauses and takes a slow breath, eyes closing for a few moments behind her shades. They open again as she exhales in a sharp huff, narrowing slightly as she returns her gaze to the camera.

"Each and every time that I have been faced with death, one simple question always presented itself. Are you strong enough?"

Kira's smirk widens, her perfect white teeth flashing in a cocky smile as she holds her hands out again as if to present herself to the audience.

"And my answer has always been a resounding - 'Yes!'. For you see, if my life of troubles and hardship has done one thing, it has revealed to me a truth of the world that many people seem to have forgotten: the strong rule the weak. Oh you can argue yourself into knots about the philosophical differences between democracy and monarchy, communism and capitalism, but regardless of your beliefs it is the people with power who call the shots. What are wealth and fame but proxies to true strength? The richest man in the world can do nothing to stop a skilled assassin's bullet from splattering his brains across the wall. The most popular celebrity in America might rally their followers to speak out against a policy or person they dislike but, at the end of the day..."

The woman leans forward, holding her hands up towards the camera. Her fingers clench into tight fists as she grins wildly, her grin growing wide with fanatical zeal.

"Is it strength that rules the world! The strength of raw physical might. Every country, no matter how 'free' or tyrannical enforces its laws through this very principal. Police forces and military soldiers are but an embodiment of the government's strength, a hammer to crush the dissenters and malcontents who haven't their own strength to match it. Since the dawn of human history, when man first learned how to pick up a stick and bludgeon his neighbor with it to steal his food, survival and prosperity have been nothing more than a contest of strength. Morality is a luxury afforded those who can fight to defend their beliefs. There is no true good or evil! Only those who have the power to determine the course of history. And those who do not can do little but whine about the unfairness of their own pathetic ineptitude!"

Kira pauses, allowing the truth of her words a few moments to sink in. It is not something that many people want to hear, despite knowing deep down that it is undisputable fact. Break the law, go to jail. Not because you agree that the laws are right and just but because suited thugs slaved to the will of the government will break down your door and drag you there. That society has 'agreed' to follow these rules changes nothing. Everyone faces injustice at some point in their lives and without money or influence or old-fashioned might there is nothing they can do but sit helpless while it happens.

"For centuries now, we humans have grown complacent in our daily lives. Our invention of tools and technology have allowed us to become the masters of our world. Few alive today remember what it was like to live before the advent of guns and cars, to brave the wilds every day in search of food and wood, knowing full well that beasts lurked in the shadows who were every bit our superior in terms of raw ferocity and deadly strength. Hell, most of you probably wouldn't even last two days without your cell phones."

She shakes her head, chuckling at the thought of modern city dwellers trying to survive in the jungles where she's spent most of her adult life. It would be an amusing sight and an eye-opening experience for those that managed to avoid the dangers. Sadly, she doesn't have the time or means to transport an entire city to the jungle. Instead, she brought the jungle to the city. The results speak for themselves.

"It is an undeniable truth that those with true strength have the power to rule. For too long mankind have relied upon their government to provide that strength, cowering behind your walls and your militaries, content to grow fat and lazy in your ignorance of the dangers that lurk in the darkness. So, citizens of Southtown, I now present to you a question. The very same question that I have been asked every waking moment of my life."

The Dragon holds her arms out to her side, her lips peeling back to reveal a flash of white teeth as her smile grows even more wild and fierce, her arrogant posture inviting the entire world to challenge her at once.

"Are /you/ strong enough? Do you have the will to do what it takes to survive when pushed to the very edge? Will you fight with tooth and nail for your very lives or will you allow yourselves to be swept off the cliffs of oblivion? Who possesses the strength to rule this city: man or monster?!"

Kira reaches up with one hand, slowly pulling the shades from her face. The camera zooms in to focus on the secret hidden behind those darkened lenses revealing a pair of piercing eyes the color of brilliant sapphires. Rather than the tiny black dots of normal human pupils, those striking orbs are split vertically down the middle like the eyes of a cat; or a Dragon.

"My bet is on the monsters. If you would disagree then come and prove it, if you dare! The Black Dragon awaits your answer!"

The camera quickly begins to pull away from the mercenary's face, panning out to reveal more of the scenery around her. What had appeared to be a strange bit of black stone turns out to be a massive statue in the shape of a resting European dragon. The field of view continues to widen revealing a towering building composed of the same polished obsidian, several floors layered atop slightly larger ones below to create a miniature mountain that thrusts up from the sands of a wide beach.

Anyone who has lived in the city and pays attention to the news would recognize the structure in an instant. Western-style casinos are a rarity in Japan, even in a city like Southtown, but ones as massive and ostentatious as this are quite unique. Even without the glowing neon sign spelling out the name of the establishment above its wide array of doors, it is impossible to mistake the site that has been marked as the lair of the one responsible for this calamity.

The Dragon's Den.

Log created on 14:32:49 04/29/2020 by Kira Volkov, and last modified on 14:33:49 04/29/2020.