Red Wine

"So,"

Jackal, Ryker, and Ming were at the dining table.

"You ready to tell me how you wound up in the middle of literally nowhere?"

Ryker paused his eating as he balls his fist.

His past flashed before his eyes. Jackal and Ming could feel the rage and anguish that overcame the white-haired man.

He recalled working diligently for the association even though he was of the lowest ranks. He worked tirelessly hunting down petty criminals with his Astro gear.

He also recalled being left for dead by the woman he respected the most.

"Life is cruel, snow-white. So you don't have to talk if you don't want to."

Ryker took a deep breath. "No, I owe you two for saving my life. So it's the least I could."

He stands up and begins his narration.

"As you already know, I'm a C-Grade bounty hunter working for the BHA. Or I was... Until recently."

"Being a C-Grade, I did not command any respect from everybody else. We were seen as grunts. The weakest next to D-Grade hunters who could barely take down a monster without a team."

He sighed and continued.

"A few days ago, we were summoned by the Flag Master himself. He sent us on a joint mission with several other C-Grade and D-Grade hunters. The party consisted of 20 of us with an A-Grade hunter as our supervisor in charge."

Jackal and Ming listened attentively without budging a look away from Ryker.

"During our travels, our ship halted in the location where you found me. For no reason whatsoever, we were  attacked by our very own supervisor." He slammed his fist to the table.

"I saw that witch cut down my friends and colleagues like we were livestock." Ryker lowered his gaze. "We tried to fight back, but we were too weak. A single A-Grade hunter massacred 19 others with ease. The difference in power was substantial."

"How did you survive?" Ming asked.

"I ran," Ryker said calmly.

"At first, we tried to fight back. But after seeing how hopeless it was for us, I turned heels and ran with my tail between my legs." He finished, his body shaking uncontrollably.

'Detecting immense anger and sadness.' Ming thought to herself.

"We were confused and horrified. A person we viewed as a role model, someone we saw as a goal, someone we wanted to become, someone we looked up to. That same person pointed her blade at us."

[FLASH BACK]

A blue cruiser with the emblem of the bounty hunters association was sailing in the vastness of space. Cries of anguish were coming off the cruiser. 

Inside, several people wearing suits similar to the one Ryker had been charging at a woman with red hair. 

The woman wore a malefic smile on her face as she cuts them down. 

"Why!?" One of them shouted. 

"Why are you doing this? What did we ever do!?" 

The woman curled her lips. "You are trash and my superiors have ordered me to take out the trash, that's all." 

She pointed her sword at them. It had a crimson blade and was dripping with blood. 

"Now, if you don't mind... please die." She said with a smile before leaping forward. 

Ryker was at the backward ranks of the hunters. His body shakes as he sees the woman creeping closer with each swing she takes with her sword. His heart raced as he ponders on what to do. 

It then dawned on him. "I'm going to die!" He scream and turned around sprinting towards the exit. It didn't bother him that he was jumping into the vastness of space. He lost all his reasoning and composure. 

"Where do you think you're going!" 

Ryker gasped as a sword was flung toward him barely grazing his left arm. 

"Ack!" He cried in agony. 

He grits his teeth and turns to the woman. 

"Fuck you!" He said before hitting the button beside the door.

The door opened and the woman gasped. 

"No!"

She dashes forward to stop Ryker but was too late as he jumps out of the cruiser not before sticking out his middle finger at her. 

"Oh well," She presses the button closing the door in the process. 

She then looks over at the pile of bodies in the cruiser. 

"The Flag master will be pleased to know that I took care of the trash, hihi. Next stop, planet Skrull." 

She giggles before covering her mouth. "I'll personally report this to the Flag master." She blushed. "He might reward me for doing a good job!" 

 [FLASH BACK ENDS]

Ryker finished his narration.

"I see," Said Jackal as he rubbed his chin. "She's the one that placed a Hex on you."

Ryker nods his head. "Her Hex makes her target unable to move for a while once she so much as grazes them with her blade."

"Ohooo. A troublesome ability indeed." Jackal noted. 'Of course, that would only work on a weakling.'

"Now it's your turn to answer my questions." Ryker returned to his seat.

He takes a sip from the cup in front of him.

"Where are we?"

"We're in Red Wine." 

Ryker gasped.

"Red Wine!"

"Yup." Both Jackal and Ming nodded their heads.

"B-but that's a lawless area. The planets here are home to nefarious criminals."

"Precisely," Ming said.

"Who are you?"

"I'm Jackal and she's Ming. Why, are you suffering from short-term memory loss snow white?"

Ryker slammed the table. "You know exactly what I mean... Who the fuck are you!?"

"For someone who's a weakling, you sure are rude. Especially to the people who saved your life." Ming snapped back.

Ryker sat back down.

"Are you space pirates?"

"Bingo!" Jackal clasped his hand.

Almost at the same time, a loud explosion occurred making the cruiser shake.

Ryker lost his balance and fell.

"What in cosmos was that?"

What he heard next sent a chill running down his spine.

"Captain Jackal o f the Black Stallion crew. We have you surrounded, surrender now in the name of the Association."

He clenched his fist.

"Those bastards."

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