A few moments later, Liam returned from his trip to Squad 4 with a rather disheartening scowl on his face. It was foreboding enough that Joe immediately sprung to interrogate him, “So, did you manage to contract Sergeant Larson?”
Liam sighed. “No. Not at all.”
“What the hell?” Joe blurted out, his brows rapidly furrowing.
“He’s a combat instructor for the Insurgent Trifecta! Of all the damned times he could have chosen, he chose now to go MIA?! God, the Ambrosia Fruit is about to ripen. What kind of irresponsible dimwit would think to ghost his people at a time like this?!”
Joe’s tone was angrier than he usually allowed himself to be, but it was not without reason.
Joining the Insurgent Trifecta would make one a serviceperson, whose calling to their nation overrode whoever they were as normal citizens. For one thing, a serviceman had to at least be receptive to calls from his superiors!
“If I may, sir, Sergeant Larson has been offline since last week,” Liam said.
Joe’s brows were practically knitted together. “The Ambrosia Fruit is so close I can almost taste it. Nothing is more important than this.”
“What exactly is in that man’s mind to be unavailable at such a critical moment? Is this… an act of disobedience against his superior?”
An act of disobedience, that was as lethal an accusation within a military organization as it could get. At the very least, the man accused could be brought to court!
As the one who brought Zayn into the organization, Liam was naturally incentivized to suggest any leeway to cover him. “That’s impossible, sir! My understanding of his upright standing tells me that he would never disobey his orders. Maybe he’s undertaking some form of isolation training?”
“Isolation training?” Joe echoed his words as his scowl softened. It sounded plausible. Still, after a moment, he added, “Continue your efforts in contacting Zayn Larson.”
“Tell him about Taio Cruz’s revenge. Taio’s powers are too potent. No one is going to escape him unharmed, but worse of all, he could hold grudges to the end of time without ever letting them go. To murder that same bastard’s brother-in-law… God, there’s no way Taio would let him off.”
Liam nodded with a worried frown. Taio was too strong, and his disciples were innumerable.
It would be impossible for Zayn to beat Taio in any way. Sighing heavily, Liam murmured, “The hell did you do, Zayn? For God’s sake! Killing Taio’s brother-in-law? How the hell are we going to fix this?”
Joe’s consternation was etched just as plainly on his pate as Liam’s. It had taken the organization a huge streak of luck and effort to recruit an actual martial prodigy, and they thought it would spell the start of the Insurgent Trifecta’s ascent to their former glory.
Instead of that, said genius managed to incur the wrath of Taio Cruz! Zayn was truly a reckless wild card, Joe surmised, despite what his amazing prowess as a fourth-tier superior class fighter might bely.
At the end of the day, Zayn was just a young man, endowed with the typical proclivities to act out on impulses rather than basing his actions on their immediate and future consequences.
As the Insurgent Trifecta was hit with new troubles, Taio’s stormy expression had seen no relief since he left his rival organization’s building. Walking next to him was a second-tier superior class fighter, who asked, “Are we really going to let this Larson guy go?”
Taio stopped on his track before dishing out a terrifying blow to a banyan tree nearby.
Its half -meter-wide trunk snapped, and Taio snorted amid the crash. “Let him go? What a f**king lark. He killed Wade. The only way to even things out is to have him pay his life unto the one he slew.”
“Joe Pennywise had made his stance clear, though,” the same man reminded, “It seems like he’s made up his mind to protect this Larson bastard to the very end. So long as he hides within that building, he’s effectively untouchable.”
Taio’s wide, googly-eyes rolled aside as an idea leaped into his mind. Coldly, he rebuffed, “He can’t hide in that hole forever. A week from now, the Ambrosia Fruit will be ripe for the taking… And that son-of-a-b*tch will have to partake in the scramble that ensues, no doubt about it. I have ways to f**k him up then.”
The more Taio ruminated on his plot, the better his chance for revenge seemed to be.
Soon, a sadistic smirk shadowed his lips while he muttered under his breath, “You think your pathetic power is enough to protect him from retribution, Pennywise? Oh, just you wait. I’ll pommel that little sh*t t with my bare hands… while making sure you occupy the front-row seat to witness my revenge!”
Even now, the wound from losing his dead brother-in-law felt fresh. Wade might have been his family later in life, but they were good friends with one another for years. He had been brother to him.
How could Taio possibly let Zayn go after seeing Wade’s wife slogging through her life in listless tears since Wade’s violent death? He could not give a f**k if Zayn was the Insurgent Trifecta’s newest combat instructor. He had to pay for the life he took.
Justice… is non-negotiable.