more time and energy than Adriel imagined. However, the answer he was prepared to give might cause some new and perhaps more permanent discomfort. “Not here. What we have to speak about requires much of your time. More so than you can afford to waste at this moment.” That response ticked away against the thin fibers of the FBI agent's patience. No one can drop a bombshell on his conscience the way this priest just did and expect Michael to take his word for it. Even if he's an actual priest, anyone that has uttered that name has lived to regret it in one way or another. The only saving grace this priest had going for him were his final words. More of a warning in actuality. Reasoning had to take precedence over desire. “Fine,” Michael hissed, “Where?” “Come to the Aria Casino tonight. You'll be shown the way by one of our associates. He'll be the first to greet you.” This had bullshit written all over, yet Michael knew he wouldn’t deny this request. Adriel could be just a pawn in some grand scheme. They could be setting up a trap that Michael willingly agreed to. Not that he had much choice in the matter. Every trace of Project Mabus had to be destroyed; especially knowledge of his true identity. Michael nodded in agreement. The priest smiled once again as if he expected this result from the very start. “You have my thanks Mavryk.” Adriel made his way to the door and stopped just before opening it. “If I may be so bold, I have a bit of advice to offer you for your battle tonight.” Adding pretentious to the growing list of annoying traits wouldn't be difficult in Michael's book. First he has the nerve to accost him in the middle of a mission with life-threatening information and then he has the gall to actually give the man who single handedly took down the Ten Most Wanted fugitives advice about combat. Michael motioned for Adriel to finish his statement. “Use the past to your advantage but don't get lost in those memories.” The priest calmly walked out of the room without another look leaving Michael in a confused but inquisitive state. Those words could mean everything and nothing at the same time. The only way he'd get confirmation is through confrontation which graciously awaited his arrival.
“I swear to God, he'll be out here soon,” a stagehand pleaded. “Please, don't hurt me!” Meryl kept a firm grip on his collar and drew him in closer. “You have until the count of three.” Her words dripped with poison. The man gasped. “One.” Air pumped in and out of his lungs quicker than a mouse's heartbeat. “Two.” Her fist cocked back, aimed squarely and the center of his terrified face. Everyone else could only standby and watch. Their orders were to never lay a finger on the guests no matter one; not even in self-defense. “Three.” The stagehand braced for impact. He didn't even realize the voice that uttered those words didn't come from Onyx herself. The savior had at long last appeared. “Where the fuck have you been? That cock-basket is already in the ring,” she snapped referring to Ryoo Myung-Dae in the most cynical way she could think of. Michael calmly approached her, doing a few mundane but pointless stretches, appearing as if he were trying to prepare himself for a grueling battle in the most stereotypical way possible. Michael took his place behind Meryl as they stood just before the curtain. She stared up at him and noticed a change in his expression. It was oddly stoic coupled with a look of uncertainty, as if all of his thoughts had drifted away from this death pit. Perhaps the legendary Michael Madison was actually nervous for a change. A deeper probe into his sullen yet distance eyes told Meryl that might be true but it didn't look like his mind was even in the building. Unfortunately, they lacked the time and place for an appropriate discussion. The sooner this fight started, the sooner it would end. These guys just needed a fire lit