Skip to main content
Topic: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent (Read 8926 times) previous topic - next topic
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #25
Chapter 26 – The Reception

"Congratulations to the happy couple," Felicity said as she stepped up next to Oliver and Nyssa. They were standing off to one side, taking a break from the almost never-ending stream of well-wishers. “The ceremony was perfect.”

“Thea described it as short and sweet,” Oliver remarked as he looked around at ‘his’ guests as they enjoyed the cocktail reception. Despite Raisa’s assurance that she could cook for everyone, Oliver and Nyssa did not want to put her through all of that and Moira had agreed that it would require more effort than it was worth. Plus, a cocktail reception allowed conversation to flow more freely; as much business would occur tonight as celebrating

“Well, Thea was accurate in her description,” Felicity confirmed with a smile. “I know Oliver already thanked me for coming but I also want to thank the two of you for inviting me here today. You didn’t have to do that.”

“Felicity, you are a friend to the both of us. And today is a day for friends to come together,” Nyssa said happily. “Besides, we needed at least a few people present that actually knew who we were besides someone’s son or his fiancé.”

“Still, thank you,” Felicity said in appreciation.

“You’re more than welcome, Felicity,” Oliver expressed. “If anyone should be thanking anyone, it is I that should be thanking you.”

“What for?” Felicity asked in confusion.

“For assisting as much as you have since I came to work at Queen Consolidated,” Oliver explained. “I’m certain that I would have been completely out of my depth without you.”

“On the contrary, I think you would have been just fine,” Felicity vouched. “You didn’t really need my help with most of it and the parts you did you picked up very quickly. I’m mostly just assisting with research and ideas at the moment. Not that I don’t love my job. Because I do.”

“Easy Felicity,” Oliver calmed his excited Technical Advisor. “Thank you for the complement. And don’t worry, the exciting work will happen once the new Applied Sciences Building is completed.”

“I look forward to it,” Felicity said enthusiastically.

“Nyssa,” Sin called as she stepped up between Nyssa and Felicity. “I’m sorry to interrupt but if you’re free, could we talk?”

“Of course,” Nyssa replied before looking at Felicity and Oliver. “Please excuse me.”

"I'll catch up with you in a bit," Oliver said to his wife as he pecked her on the cheek.

"Of course. We will speak soon Felicity," Nyssa said before walking away with Sin in tow.

"Don't take this the wrong way, Oliver," Felicity began, drawing Oliver's look back to her. "But you are a lucky man."

"Felicity, I agree with you," Oliver said as he looked around the room before returning to Felicity. "I am the luckiest man in the world."

"It would seem then," Walter said as he joined the two. "That what I was about to say is superfluous."

"Walter, nothing you say is ever superfluous," Oliver noted with a smile.

"Well that is kind of you to say Oliver," Walter noted.

"Only the truth," Oliver responded.

"Yes, well, would you mind if I steal Miss Smoak for a moment?" Walter asked politely. "I have a question I would like to ask her about something she looked into for me recently."

"Not at all, Walter," Oliver said. "I will go and see if I can get to know my father-in-law a little better. Have you seen him?"

"Bruce?" Walter replied. "I believe I saw him speaking with Malcolm Merlyn."

#Arrow#

"May I ask,” Malcolm began respectfully. “Why are Oliver and Nyssa in Starling City?”

“I would think that was obvious, Al Sa-Her,” Ra’s replied calmly as he sipped at his drink. “Especially as we are attending their wedding reception.”

“My lord, please don’t think me a simpleton,” Malcolm retorted politely. “I know they would not be here unless they had a more specific purpose. One that you would approve of.”

“Al Sa-Her, I give you far more credit than that,” Ra’s responded, locking his eyes on Malcolm. “I allowed your separation from the league and all of its affairs. Do you wish to alter that arrangement?”

“No, my lord,” Malcolm quickly backtracked, easily understanding the implication behind Ra’s words.

“Hey Bruce, I see you found the opportunity to speak with Mr Merlyn again,” Oliver observed as he walked up to join the two men.

“Yes,” Ra’s confirmed with a small smile. He was curious how this would play out. “He is one of the few people present that I know.”

“I am sure that you can sympathise Oliver. I doubt that you know most of your guests yourself,” Malcolm pointed out evenly. “I am somewhat surprised you are still present. I thought you might have disappeared by now.”

“Oh, I think I will leave the disappearing acts to you, Mr Merlyn,” Oliver said glibly. “After all, you are the magician.”

“Well, we can’t all be friends with Little John,” Malcolm riposted, bringing a smile to Ra’s face. He had to admit, he was enjoying this and he was curious who would win in a confrontation between the two archers. “I believe I need to speak to Moira about something. If you will both excuse me.”

“It was nice speaking with you Mr Merlyn,” Oliver called to Malcolm’s back.

“Take care in poking the bear, Al Sah-him,” Ra’s whispered. “Al Sa-Her was once one of my most deadly assassins and I doubt his skills have diminished over the years. And I would hate to see my daughter become a widow at such a young age.”

“I will heed your warning,” Oliver replied. “So he knows?”

“He knew the moment he saw me,” Ra’s confirmed. “Al Sa-Her’s abilities in gathering information are formidable and his mind is sharper than the blade of my sword.”

“Will he be an obstacle?” Oliver wondered quietly.

“Al Sa-Her swore an oath the day I released him from the league. Violation of that oath would mean the forfeiture of his life,” Ra’s explained emotionlessly. Ra’s looked at his son-in-law and saw his calculating mind at work. “Come, let us find my daughter. I would spend time with her before my departure tomorrow.”

#Arrow#

“Tell me Zayda,” Nyssa said calmly. “What is on your mind?”

“I’ve been thinking about what you said. About having an aim and knowing where it is that I want to go,” Sin answered. “I’ve figured out where I want to go and what I want to do.”

“And where is that?” Nyssa asked, curious about what Sin had decided.

“I’m going to take your advice,” Sin replied. “I’d like to get into personal security.”

“I am happy that is what you decided,” Nyssa said happily. And she was happy. “It pleases me that you wish to make something of your life. Something more than what you have now or that is readily available to obtain. It is only by testing ourselves that we can better ourselves.”

“The only thing I have at the moment, is a future in the Glades; a bleak one. My home, my past has been the Glades. If my future is there too, I want it to be by my choice,” Sin stated evenly, keeping her emotions in check. “And that is where you come in.”

“Me, Zayda?” Nyssa asked innocently, despite knowing what Sin was going to ask of her. “How can I help you?”

“Nyssa, I know you already know what I am going to ask. I need training to be a bodyguard,” Sin responded. “And your father works for a company that trains bodyguards. I was hoping you could speak to him about him or his company training me.”

“My father owns that company Zayda,” Nyssa corrected Sin calmly. “And it is not based in America. I would not have you travel so far to receive training that can be just as easily obtained without having to leave Starling City.”

“You know someone that could teach me here?” Sin asked hopefully.

“I know one or two that have the necessary skills. I cannot guarantee that they would be willing at first but I will speak with them on your behalf,” Nyssa said. “I am positive that I can convince them to train you.”

“Thank you Nyssa,” Sin expressed cheerfully, wrapping her arms around Nyssa in a grateful hug. “What would I do without you?”

“Let us hope that we will never have to find out,” Nyssa replied, smiling as she returned the hug, actually surprised at how easily she did so.

“I don’t think I have seen you smile so much in such a short time as I have seen in the time I have been here,” Ra’s noted as he and Oliver joined the two. Nyssa and Sin separated from their embrace and turned to face the two men. “I am happy to see that the environment is good for you.”

“Not just the environment father, but the people in it,” Nyssa responded calmly. “Happiness can be found anywhere if you have the right people in your life.”

“Indeed,” Ra’s agreed.

“And how are you Sin?” Oliver asked the young lady. “Coping better today?”

“A little,” Sin answered slowly as if she was carefully choosing her words. “Everything is still pretty overwhelming. Not to mention the people.”

“If I may offer a piece of advice,” Oliver offered evenly. “Relax. Most of the people in this room, and that is exactly what they are, just people; they can sense tension and feed off it. If you are relaxed and in control of yourself, I have no doubt that you can hold your own. Especially with how quick you are.”

“I would agree with Oliver, young one,” Ra’s said, somewhat surprising both Oliver and Nyssa. “I can see a lot of potential within you. All you need is the right guide or guides to help you onto the correct path to allow you to unleash it.”

“I think I already have them,” Sin said, shooting Nyssa a glance. “But thank you for the votes of confidence.”

“You’re welcome young one,” Ra’s responded with a smile. 

“And now I think I need a drink,” Sin noted. “Please excuse me.”

“An interesting young woman,” Ra’s pointed out as the three assassin’s watched Sin walk away. “I look forward to seeing what becomes of her. Especially with your training of her, Nyssa.”

“I would not see her hurt again, father,” Nyssa reasoned. “She has already suffered so much in such a short lifetime.”

“And all without losing her sense of self,” Ra’s observed. “Impressive.”

“Agreed,” Oliver said before he locked his eyes on his wife. “When were you going to tell me?”

“Tomorrow,” Nyssa answered, knowing exactly what Oliver was asking about. “You spoke with Thea.”

“I did,” Oliver confirmed. “She blew a gasket at me for not telling her that you have a sister.”

“Talia?” Ra’s wondered, instantly alert. “What has your sister done now?”

“She called me this morning,” Nyssa explained. “To wish me happiness with my upcoming wedding.”

“I doubt that was all that she said,” Oliver noted unhappily. Talia was a sore spot for Oliver after what she had done. And the years had not healed it at all. “What else?”

“She advised me to take this opportunity and enjoy my new life so that she could assume her rightful place,” Nyssa continued. 

“That place is no longer hers to occupy,” Ra’s pointed out, his voice cold and hard. “It hasn’t been for 25 years.”

“She stated that her ascension was assured and that I should step aside while she still allowed me too,” Nyssa said. “Before I was removed from her path.”

“She threatened you?” Oliver questioned angrily. “I will find her and when I do…”

“You will bring her before me,” Ra’s stated; his tone challenging Oliver to question his directive in anyway. “Talia has much to answer for and she will answer to me before anyone else. Do I make myself clear?”

“As you command,” Oliver said softly, clearly unhappy with the command. Ra’s could sympathise with his son-in-law and it might even have been easier to allow Al Sah-Him to remove Talia as a threat to anyone but that was not the way of the League unless there was no other recourse. Not that he expected Talia to willingly accede to any request to stand before Ra’s al Ghul for judgement.

“Well, well, what have we here?” a cold, mocking voice fell across their ears as a woman stepped up to join them. All three of them turned to see Amanda Waller standing there imperiously. “I’m not even sure how to address you all.”

“Ms Waller,” Oliver said charmingly. “How nice to speak with you again.”

“Mr Queen,” Amanda replied. “I must say that so far today has lived up to the Queen Family reputation for events.”

“We aim to please,” Oliver pointed out glibly. “I believe you have already had the pleasure of meeting my wife, Nyssa.”

“Yes, we spent a lovely evening together a few weeks ago,” Nyssa said with a smile. “We had a lovely time discussing cause and effect."

"And this is Nyssa's father, Bruce Raatko," Oliver introduced as he studied Waller's reaction. She didn't react. "I believe you both work in similar fields."

"That would not be how I would describe our occupations," Amanda retorted harshly, staring at Ra's. "How would you describe our occupations, Mr Raatko?"

"Dissimilarly, Ms Waller," Ra's answered calmly, his gaze running over Amanda Waller as he considered her. "I believe Ms Waller and I have a few things to discuss. Would you two please excuse us?"

"Of course," Oliver said before leaving.

"I needed to speak with Mr Diggle anyway," Nyssa said before she too, walked away.

"Would you like a drink, Ms Waller?" Ra's asked as he took a glass of champagne off a passing waiter's tray. "No, I don't think you will. I believe you would prefer to keep your wits about you, as they say."

"Tell me, Mr Raatko, or would you prefer Mr al Ghul?" Waller asked snidely. "To what purpose has Oliver Queen returned from the dead? And why did you allow him to return to Starling City?"

"I'm sure you already know the answers to those questions, Ms Waller," Ra's stated as he sipped his champagne. "My daughter told me of her and Al Sah-Him's discussion with you."

"And how am I to know what they told me was the truth?" Amanda challenged.

"You are not to know," Ra's replied calmly. "Nor will I reiterate what they said here."

"Mr Raatko, you cannot expect me to assume what two assassins told me to be true, is actually true," Waller argued.

"I expect nothing from you, Ms Waller," Ra's countered effectively. "You wish to know my mind and why I have sent two members of my family to a single city. That that city is the former home of one of those two appears irrelevant to you. Believe me, Ms Waller, I already know more about you, then you will ever know about me, even if you managed to live as long as I have."

"I'm sure I can find out more than you think I can," Waller retorted evenly.

"And yet I already have," Ra's said, his voice unwaveringly calm. "I know that it was you who arranged for a mercenary by the name of Edward Fryers to be present on the island of Lian Yu in 2007. I'm sure we both know what events occurred there at that time."

"There was a reason for their presence," Amanda pointed out.

"Yes, they were to shoot down Ferris Air flight 637. And all so that you could kill one woman, Chien Na Wei," Ra's revealed. "If you had succeeded in your mission, General Shrieve would have had no need to detain you for I would have acted instead. And then we get to perhaps the most interesting and perhaps, dangerous, piece of information. The Canary. How do you think Al Sah-Him would react, knowing that instead of dying as he had believed when the Amazo was sunk, that Sara Lance survived and was retrieved by A.R.G.U.S.? That you have had her trained and conditioned to become a capable, relentless and yet insentient operative that is totally at your beck and call."

"You won't tell him," Waller gambled. "If you were going to, you would have done so already. It serves no purpose to tell him now."

"Not at the moment, Ms Waller," Ra's said, turning to walk away. "Not at the moment. Perhaps you should consider that."

#Arrow#

"Mr Diggle, I have a question for you?” Nyssa asked as she stopped beside the tall bodyguard.

“I may or may not have an answer to it, Nyssa,” Diggle replied calmly. Feeling Nyssa’s gaze on him, he continued without looking at the assassin. “What is the question?”

“I have a friend who is interested in entering the personal security field,” Nyssa explained. “Would you be interested in training her?”

“Who is she?” Diggle asked, curious why Nyssa was coming to him. “And why me? Surely your father’s company would be better suited to training her.”

“Perhaps it might,” Nyssa agreed. “But she is not suited for it. And this is genuine personal security. Sin is not a killer.”

“Sin?” Diggle asked in surprise. “The tiny young lady that always seems to know where you are.”

“Yes, that it Sin,” Nyssa confirmed with a grin. “Are you interested in training her?”

“To be honest Nyssa, I’ve never trained a bodyguard before,” Diggle explained. “My skillset is a carryover from my time in the military. And she doesn’t have that background or learning foundation.”

“Perhaps not, Mr Diggle. But she is a fast learner,” Nyssa pointed out. “And she has been and will continue to receive training from me.”

“What is she learning from you?” Diggle asked.

“Mostly self-defence skills. A few other things that might be of benefit to her,” Nyssa answered before lowering her voice to a whisper. “She doesn’t know what I am and I would prefer to keep it that way.”

“I will consider it, Nyssa,” Diggle responded. “No promises.”

“That is all I am asking for,” Nyssa said. “I would have her trained by the best.”

“Flattery will not get you everything, Mrs Queen,” Diggle noted with a smirk.

“Perhaps not,” Nyssa said with a smile. “But call me Mrs Queen again and you’ll discover what it will get you. A new scar.”

“You’re unarmed Nyssa,” Diggle pointed out with a soft smile.

“Mr Diggle, John, I am never unarmed,” Nyssa replied, causing Diggle to raise his eyebrows. “I always have at least 2 blades on me.”

“I’m not going to ask where,” Diggle noted.

“Good,” Nyssa said. “I would hate to disappoint you by not telling you.”

“Johnny never did like disappointment,” a woman’s voice said from the other side of Diggle and the two turned to see a Caucasian woman with brown hair standing there. 

“I’m sorry,” Nyssa apologised politely. “Who are you?”

“This is Lyla Michaels,” Diggle said somewhat tensely. “Lyla, please meet Nyssa Queen.”

“Nice to meet you,” Lyla said casually. “Though the wedding dress kind of gave it away.”

“Nyssa, would you please excuse us for a moment?” Diggle asked kindly. “I would like to catch up with an old friend.”

“Of course, Mr Diggle. Please consider my request,” Nyssa replied before turning to Lyla. “It was nice to meet you.”

“And you, Mrs Queen,” Lyla replied, missing the look on Nyssa’s face as she turned to walk away, though Diggle could imagine it. “Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, what have you got yourself mixed up in?”

“I don’t know what you mean, Lyla,” Diggle said innocently.

“I’d like to believe that, I really would,” Lyla replied openly. “But I give you more credit than that.”

“What is that supposed to mean?” Diggle asked.

"Do you know who he is?" Lyla asked, pointing across the room to where Ra's al Ghul and Amanda Waller were speaking. "Who he really is?"

"I know exactly who he is," Diggle responded. "He is Nyssa's father."

"He is more than that, Johnny," Lyla assured Diggle. "You know it and I know it. And the apple doesn't fall far from the tree."

"Nyssa is not her father, Lyla," Diggle pointed out, surprising himself that he was defending Nyssa to his ex-wife. "And neither is Oliver."

"We'll see, Johnny," Lyla said as her eyes looked off into the crowd. "I have to go."

"You're boss summoning you back?" Diggle asked.

"Something like that," Lyla replied. "You take care Johnny. And remember what I said."

"I will," Diggle promised. "But I'm telling you that you're wrong."

"We'll see," Lyla said. "It was good to see you again."

"You too," Diggle responded as he watched Lyla walk off into the crowd where she rendezvoused with the woman he had seen speaking to Ra's al Ghul earlier. And now he had more questions again.

#Arrow#

"So what else did he say?" Sin asked a little impatiently.

"As I told you. He said he would consider it," Nyssa replied, smiling at Sin's obvious excitement. "But he makes no promises."

"So he is just thinking about it?" Sin asked, a little downcast.

"That is correct," Nyssa confirmed. "But I think he will teach you. I think it will be a challenge for him."

"I'm not that bad," Sin complained. "I've learned so much since I me you and you started teaching me."

"Indeed you have, Zayda and it was not meant as a slight," Nyssa reassured her protégé. "I only meant to point out the differences between you. Age, size, experience, these are all factors to be considered."

"Considered for what?" Thea asked as she appeared between Sin and Nyssa.

"A hobby," Nyssa provided. "Sin is looking for one."

"Really," Thea exclaimed, turning to Sin. "I didn't know that."

"It's kind of a recent thing," Sin hedged.

"That's cool," Thea said happily. "If you're interested. I can teach you archery. You can join me and Nyssa."

"Nyssa knows archery?" Sin asked, a little surprised. "No I didn’t know that."

"Yeah, she is very good at it. Better than me," Thea acknowledged.

"Perhaps I can offer an alternative," Nyssa inserted, wanting to change the course of the conversation. "What do the two of you know about swords?"

"Swords?" Sin wondered. "Not much. I'm better with a baseball bat."

"I saw Tommy's dad fencing once. It looked weird," Thea admitted. "Oh, and I know that you stick'em with the pointy end," Thea said with a cheeky smile as she mimicked a thrust.

"Well that is the essence of it, I suppose," Nyssa agreed with a smile. "Although by the time I am finished with the two of you, you will both know a lot more than just that."

"You're going to teach us how to fence?" Thea questioned.

"No, Thea, I am not going to teach you how to fence," Nyssa declined. "I am going to teach you how to use a sword. The both of you."

"I think I might actually enjoy this," Thea noted and Sin smiled in agreement.

#Arrow#

"I'm glad you decided to come," Oliver said honestly. "It means a lot to me."

"You're welcome," Laurel replied as she sipped her champagne. "Though I didn't exactly come because of you."

"No, you came because Tommy invited you," Oliver pointed out. "And I respect that. But I think it still would have taken a lot for you to choose to come to my wedding today."

"You're right Oliver, it did," Laurel agreed. "But Tommy is your best friend and I owe it to him; despite whatever feelings I may or may not have regarding you."

"Well I hope that we can be good friends again," Oliver stated. "If not today then perhaps one day in the future."

"I'd like that too, Oliver," Laurel replied, smiling.

"I see you two found each other while I was gone," Tommy observed as he joined them. "And I was only gone for a moment."

"Don't be jealous, Tommy," Laurel told him. "Oliver was just thanking me for coming today."

"Oh, well that's ok then," Tommy noted with a smile. "Did he tell you about the new job I have?"

"No, he did not," Laurel replied, shooting Oliver a look. "You finally speak to him did you?"

“Yes, I finally spoke to him,” Tommy said with a touch of defeat before recovering. “Anyway, Oliver has hired me as the General Manager of his new nightclub.”

“He did?” Laurel asked, turning to look at Oliver. “And why did you do that? I thought your club was like your pet project.”

“It still is,” Oliver stated calmly. “But with my working at QC and all the work for the applied sciences building, it doesn’t leave me very much time to work on the club.”

“Overestimated how much free time you would have despite being that near the top?” Laurel asked a little smugly.

“Just a little,” Oliver replied glibly. “Makes you appreciate how much work our parents put in despite what we think.”

“Some parent’s more than others,” Tommy noted sullenly as Laurel’s phone rang. 

“Excuse me,” Laurel said before walking away from the two men.

“So you got any plans for a honeymoon?” Tommy asked innocently, causing Oliver to shoot him a look. “I ask, only because your last trip went for a little longer than planned.”

“No, Tommy,” Oliver stated calmly despite the grin threatening to spread across his face. “Neither Nyssa nor I have any plans for a honeymoon just yet. As you say, our last trips didn’t exactly go as planned.”

“Too soon to be joking about that yet, huh?” Tommy asked.

“Just a little,” Oliver noted as Laurel re-joined the two. “Everything alright?”

“Yeah,” Laurel replied as she put her phone away. “That was just my dad telling me to be careful going home tonight.”

“What’s happened?” Tommy and Oliver both asked at the same time before Tommy continued. “He doesn’t usually call you to say things like that unless something has happened.”

“It seems that some woman just killed the head of the Triad and blamed it on Frank Bertinelli,” Laurel explained, forcing Oliver to school his features lest he react. “Dad is worried about a gang war erupting because of it.”

“Just what this city needs,” Tommy noted sarcastically. “Another gang war.”

“I should let Bruce know so that he can let his security know,” Oliver said, making an excuse. “I’ll see you both later.”

#Arrow#

“I never thought we’d get out of there,” Oliver said after the car door had been shut by Maseo.

“If I had had to listen to the platitudes of one more guest, I would have stabbed them,” Nyssa pointed out, drawing a look from her husband. “They would have lived,” Nyssa assured her husband as he smiled at her.

“I love you,” Oliver declared as he kissed his wife.

“I know Beloved,” Nyssa replied after they broke the kiss. 

“I take it the abrupt exit is not because you two want to get started on your wedding night early?” Diggle wondered from the front seat as Maseo climbed in.

“No, unfortunately,” Nyssa replied, her disappointment evident. “It appears that someone, an unknown woman, has killed the head of the Triad and named Frank Bertinelli as the cause.”

“It’s Helena,” Oliver said dejectedly. “She has made her choice.”

“The foundry it is then,” Diggle said as he shut the glass separating the front from the back and started the car.

“I really hoped I had reached her,” Oliver noted. “That I had gotten through to her that she didn’t have to kill anyone else to get justice for all the crimes her father has committed.”

“Perhaps justice is not enough for her,” Nyssa pointed out as she reached behind her back. “Perhaps what she really wants is vengeance.”

“Perhaps,” Oliver noted as he looked at Nyssa, wondering what she was doing. Finally curiousity won out. “What are you doing?”

“I am changing Beloved. I will not walk into the foundry and spoil this beautiful dress,” Nyssa said as she reached and slowly undid the zipper.

“And I had really imagined you undressing in different circumstances,” Oliver noted, twisting his body slightly so he could recline a little more to watch his wife. Noticing his movement, Nyssa stopped.

“Oh no Beloved. Turn around and shut your eyes,” Nyssa commanded. “You will not ruin your surprise.”

“I have a surprise?” Oliver asked, unmoving as he leered at Nyssa.

“You’ll find out later tonight Beloved,” Nyssa told him. “Now turn around.”

“I’m going to kill that woman for delaying my wedding night,” Oliver grumbled as he did as he was told.

#Arrow#

“I should really be there with you,” Diggle said over the comms.

“Dig, I didn’t know you were interested in taking a more active role,” Oliver said softly as he and Nyssa slowly infiltrated Bertinelli’s mansion.

“I wasn’t but situations like this, I’m sure you could use the additional help,” Dig pointed out.

“He has a point, Beloved,” Nyssa noted as she stopped and crouched, her eyes scanning the grounds in front of her. 

“He does,” Oliver agreed, mimicking his wife’s actions. “Dig, make a list.”

“What kind of list?” Dig asked, puzzled.

“Anything you would need to join us in the field. Clothes, body armour, weapons,” Oliver explained. “And don’t forget something to hide your face. I’ve already been arrested once.”

“Do not remind Beloved,” Nyssa said as she began to move forward again. 

“I’ll start now,” Diggle said. “You should be almost at the mansion now. Be careful.”

“Always, Dig,” Oliver assured his bodyguard. Diggle didn’t respond, not that Oliver was expecting him too. He turned to Nyssa. “We should have encountered a guard by now. Bertinelli has to know that the Zhishan is dead and that the Triad would be coming for him.”

“I too, am suspicious,” Nyssa said, turning to look around more fully. She noted Aziz’s presence behind her and too the right but knew that he would do nothing unless her life was in imminent danger. Suddenly, a gunshot broke the silence of the night, quickly followed by many more. “That explains the lack of guards.”

“The Triad is already here,” Oliver said hurriedly, his mind at work. “I’ll find Frank. You stop Chien Na Wei.”

“With pleasure,” Nyssa said as the two assassins separated, disappearing into the night; the noise from their increased pace inaudible over the gunfire from the house. Nyssa used a car by the side of the house as a stepping stone up onto the ground floor roof before entering through a broken window. Moving further in, she heard footsteps in the corridor outside the room and after a moment of judging where they were, opened the door silently. Stepping into the corridor, she swiftly drew, nocked and released an arrow, killing the Triad gunman. Drawing a second arrow in preparation, Nyssa made her way down the corridor.

She killed two more Triad men and one of Bertinelli’s before she reached the top of the front stairs and silently descended them, listening for threats. Hearing the gurgling sound that accompanied a throat being slit, Nyssa leaped over the side of the balustrade where she was confronted by a rapidly emptying corpse and the sight of Chien Na Wei about to stab Frank Bertinelli. Drawing her bow, Nyssa aimed at Chien Na Wei, trying to decide if it was better to kill her before or after she killed Bertinelli. The Triad assassin made the decision for her as she dived to the side behind the couch before coming up with the Jian she had sheathed on her back, now in her hand.

“Shall we finish what we started?” Chien Na Wei asked, brandishing her sword.

“As you wish,” Nyssa acquiesced, releasing her arrow. It flew straight at the white-haired woman’s heart but was deflected at the last moment by the blade of the Jian. It was all the time Nyssa needed as she vaulted over the couch, her sword drawn and already swinging. Chien Na Wei was forced to duck to avoid the attack but recovered quickly to launch one of her own. Frank, seeing the two women engaged with each other and deciding that escape was the better option, recovered his briefcase and gun and made a run for it.

#Arrow#

“Where do you think you are going?” Frank heard his daughter call out right before the sound of a gunshot. An instant later, pain exploded from his leg, causing him to stumble to the ground and drop what he was carrying.

“Helena?” Frank asked in shock as he managed to roll over, only to see his daughter standing there with a gun pointed at him. “What are you doing?”

“Payback for Michael. I know you had him killed; Salvati told me,” Helena explained.

“I did that to protect the family!” Franked shouted up at his daughter, but she paid him no attention.

“I had to take everything away from you because you took everything away from me,” Helena declared as she looked at the fallen man before her, a look of anguish on her face. “You finally get to know what it feels like to find out your own blood is responsible for the death of your entire world,” she said as she lifted the gun in her hand, ready to finish it. As she was about to pull the trigger though, it was knocked up and out of her hands but Oliver’s bow as he appeared out of the shadows.

“You don’t need to kill him, Helena,” Oliver pointed out, his voice emotionless through the modulator. “The police will be here any moment and they will have everything they need to put your father away for the rest of his life.”

“That isn’t enough for me! Not now,” Helena announced before lunging at Oliver. Oliver ducked the swing and swept her legs out from under her, flipping her to the ground. Helena recovered and attacked Oliver. As the two exchanged blows, Oliver mostly blocking as Helena unleashed a furious flurry of strikes as he waited for a window to put her down without killing her, he saw that Frank had recovered one of the guns and was raising it at them. Pushing Helena to the side, Oliver snatched an arrow from his quiver and released it at Frank, but not before he got a shot off at Helena, hitting her in the shoulder even as the arrow pierced his own. The two Bertinelli’s collapsed to the ground and Oliver dropped down beside Helena to examine and treat her wound.

#Arrow#

“It would seem that the SCPD are going to interrupt us once again,” Chien Na Wei pointed out as the two assassin’s paused in their attacks. Neither had been able to land a killing blow, interrupted as they were by both Triad and Bertinelli men interrupting their melee.

“You will die, Chien Na Wei,” Nyssa assured her opponent even as sirens sounded outside, soon accompanied by the screech of tires. “I promise you that.”

“But not today,” Chien Na Wei retorted before kicking a chair at Nyssa and turning away to escape. Nyssa was about to pursue when the front door was kicked in and she heard officers entering. Sighing in annoyance, Nyssa moved to make her own undetected escape.

#Arrow#

“The SCPD just released a statement,” Diggle announced as the two assassins descended into the foundry. “Both Frank and Helena Bertinelli have been arrested on multiple counts. It look like neither of them will be out anytime soon.

“You didn’t kill her?” Nyssa noted in slight surprise as she set her bow down.

“There was no need to,” Oliver replied as he set his own bow down. “She had already suffered enough. And, perhaps in time, she will see that her father has faced justice and that she can move on.”

“I don’t know about that Oliver,” Diggle said, offering his opinion. “She seemed pretty intent on destroying her father’s world. But not killing her, I believe that was the right thing to do. At least this way, maybe she can get some help.”

“I don’t know if anything will be able to help her, John,” Nyssa said to the bodyguard before she turned back to her husband. “But we all make choices in our lives. And those choices have consequences, both for us and the people around us. And we have to live with them, both our own and those made by others. And sometimes, the hardest choices to deal with are those made by those closest to us. Our families.”

“But every choice has a consequence,” Oliver noted, staring at his wife.

“Indeed they do,” Nyssa replied.

#Arrow#

Iron Heights Prison Hospital

Helena was angry. Angry at being denied the chance, the right to kill her father. And now she was here. They had pulled the bullet out of her shoulder and bandaged her up without too much trouble. Then they had told her to enjoy the comfort while it lasted. Tomorrow she was going to general population. As if being restrained to a bed was comfortable.

“Miss Bertinelli, how’s the shoulder?” a woman’s voice asked from the doorway, surprising Helena as she didn’t expect the nurse back for another hour.

“I doubt you care,” Helena shot back as she turned to see who was speaking. The woman was African American and stood there as if she owned the room. “What do you want?”

“I want a great many things, Miss Bertinelli,” the woman replied smoothly. “But the question should be, what do you want?”

“What do I want?” Helena mocked. “I want out of this prison. I want to put a bullet in my father’s head.”

“And I can make that happen,” the woman declared, garnering Helena’s complete attention. “I see that I have your attention. I am putting together a squad of individuals to do some work for me. Agree to join the team and I promise you your father’s head.”

“And when I’m done?” Helena questioned. “I get sent back here?”

“Perhaps. Perhaps not,” the woman said candidly. “It all depends if you survive the squad.”

Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #26
Chapter 27 – The Yuletide Cheer

"You move very well for a man of your size, John," Nyssa complemented as she and Dig circled each other. They each held a pair of metal batons that they were using to spar with. So far, Nyssa was letting Diggle keep up. "Not many can move as fast as you can."

"Coming from you Nyssa, I'll take that as a complement," Diggle replied as he twirled the baton in his right hand, wondering where Nyssa would strike from next.

"It was meant as one," Nyssa said before lunging forward. She struck low twice, bringing Diggle's guard down before pivoting on her ankle and striking Diggle in the shoulder just before he could raise his guard again. As he reeled from the strike, Nyssa continued her attacks, one to the small of the back, another to the back of the thigh. As Diggle hopped from the pain, Nyssa finished with a sweeping strike to Diggle’s good calf, sending the giant bodyguard crashing to the ground. Nyssa went back to circling Diggle as the man groaned.

“You alright Dig?” Oliver called from the top of the salmon ladder.

“Yeah, I will be,” Dig replied as he regained his feet and walked around a bit to shake off the hits. 

“Did you want to spar with me next?” Oliver asked as he let go of the bar and dropped to the ground below. “I need to work on my knife skills a little bit.”

“I think I’ll be good,” Diggle replied as he set his batons down on one of the empty benches and picked up a towel. “Thanks.”

“Your loss,” Oliver said casually.

“I think I can live without the additional scars,” Diggle stated glibly. “Besides, I am going to take my nephew to the mall. He wants to let Santa know what he wants for Christmas.” Oliver stopped at Diggle’s words and the bodyguard noticed. “Oliver? You alright?”

“Yeah, it’s just,” Oliver started, trying to find the words. “I didn’t realise that it is Christmas already.”

“Well that is because you have been busy with your father’s list and your company almost exclusively since you got back. What is it? Three this week alone?” Diggle pointed out. “You didn’t even really plan your wedding a whole lot.”

“Well some of them are just giving it up now. All I have to do is pay them a visit,” Oliver explained. “And the Triad is quiet because Bertinelli is still alive to keep most of his underlings in line, so we avoided the gang war there,” Oliver stated. “But what I meant was, there were no holidays on the island. Every day was the same, ‘How do I stay alive?’ When you’re focused on that, you forget things like Christmas.”

“In the League, despite knowing what Christmas is, we do not celebrate it,” Nyssa revealed as she came back into the main area. Diggle hadn’t even noticed that she had disappeared. “To us, it is just an opportunity to catch our targets off guard.”

“That’s cold,” Diggle commented as he thought about her words. “But I suppose analytically effective.”

“My dad,” Oliver said, smiling as the memories came to him. “He threw a party every year. And he would put a Christmas tree in every room in the mansion. Everywhere, no matter where you went…” Oliver said wistfully, trailing off. “It smelled like Christmas.”

“Maybe you should take the holidays off, you two, and spend time enjoying them with the family,” Diggle suggested as he picked up his drink. “Besides, if I remember right, St. Nick has a list of his own. I wager that you both are in the ‘nice’ column,” Diggle said as he began to walk away. “Go home Oliver. And you too Nyssa,” he finished, leaving them to think on what he had said.

#Arrow#

“Oh my god, I am so glad you two are here,” Thea exclaimed as Oliver and Nyssa walked in the front door of the mansion. They had returned to their penthouse to find a message from Thea reminding them that Moira and Walter were having a dinner party that night. The husband and wife assassins had quickly showered and dressed before Maseo had driven them to the mansion.

“You look very pretty, Thea,” Oliver said as he kissed his younger sister on the cheek. “Aren’t you enjoying the occasion?”

“Best night of my life,” Thea replied, letting out a groan that screamed boredom.

“Thea,” Oliver called, his tone completely changed. “Why aren’t there any decorations up in the house?”

“Umm, what do you mean?” Thea questioned, clearly taken aback.

“No wreaths, no trees,” Oliver noted to Thea’s nervous laugh. “No Christmas.”

“I’m sure they haven’t gotten around to it yet,” Thea dodged. “We have all be very busy lately with the wedding and all.”

“Does mom at least have some of those boxes of candy canes?” Oliver asked as he smiled at the happy memory. “You remember? We used to see who’d finish first?”

“Yeah,” Thea said, smiling herself now. “I always won.”

“No,” Oliver disagreed, though still smiling. “If I recall, you cheated.”

“Well, she went sugar-free last year,” Thea said with a sigh. “So I doubt you’ll be seeing any of those around.” Before Oliver could say more, Thea walked off, leaving the two newlyweds standing there.

“Are you alright Beloved?” Nyssa asked in concern as she came up beside her husband. “You look like something is bothering you.”

“Something is bothering me,” Oliver confirmed. “I’m just not sure what it is yet.”

“Put it aside for now Beloved,” Nyssa advised. “We have a dinner party to attend.”

“You sound as excited as Thea,” Oliver observed as he turned towards the dining room. 

“Oh I am,” Nyssa said derisively. “Very excited.”

“Shall we then?” Oliver asked before joining his wife in entering the dining room. Out of habit and training, both their eyes immediately scanned the room. “Walter and Moira were at the heads of the table while the majority of the remaining seats were taken up by prominent people from Starling’s high society; including Police Commissioner Nudocerdo and Malcolm Merlyn. Oliver listened to what was being said, trying to catch the gist of the current conversation as he and Nyssa sat down next to Walter and opposite Malcolm.

“I think that people seem to forget,” Nudocerdo was saying. “Was that Robin Hood was a criminal.”

“And stealing from the rich and giving it to the poor is really the job of the Democrats,” one of the businessmen that Oliver didn’t recognise joked, eliciting chuckles from everyone.

“I understand that, Commissioner,” Malcolm said. “But all joking aside, crime is down for the first time in 5 years.”

“That is because of the changes that have been implemented by my department,” Nudocerdo argued confidently.

“Or perhaps,” Walter said, joining the discussion. “It is because of the chilling effect that the vigilante’s activities are having on the city’s criminals?” This drew several murmurs of agreement from around the table and left Nudocerdo without a retort.

“Oliver,” Malcolm called after glancing at Moira and Nyssa. “I am interested to hear what your thoughts are on all of this.”

“I don’t think I have been back long enough to form an opinion,” Oliver deflected graciously. “I think I will leave it to those that are more informed.”

“I disagree.  I think a fresh young outlook on this would benefit us,” Malcolm prodded, smiling. “And, as one of those that will guide this city into the future, I would like to hear what you have to say.”

“Oh, I’m just trying to do my part,” Oliver again deflected, schooling his features to hide his irritation at Malcolm’s actions.

“A part that was allowed to continue by what is reportedly the Vigilante’s first appearance,” Malcolm noted pointedly. Oliver saw that he now had several people from around the table looking at him, waiting to hear from him.

“Well,” Oliver said, pausing to consider his words for a moment. “To begin with, I think this vigilante needs a better codename than ‘The Hood’ or ‘The Hood Guy,” Oliver joked to everyone’s laughter. “I would have thought the media would have come up with something a bit more creative.”

“I agree,” Malcolm said once the laughter had died down a bit. “How about, ‘The Green Arrow’?”

“Lame,” Oliver retorted immediately.

“Perhaps,” Malcolm continued. “Just ‘The Arrow’ then?”

“That’s not bad,” Oliver noted with a smile directed at Malcolm. “Malcolm was about to speak again when Walter’s phone rang.

“Forgive me,” Walter begged off as he stood. “It is the office. Please excuse me,” he said before he left the room.

“So, Nyssa,” one of the other men called. “How is being married to what was Starling City’s most eligible bachelor like?”

“It is amazing, thank you for asking,” Nyssa replied politely.

“I think I can speak for all of us here, Mrs Queen,” another man said. “That you make a beautiful addition to any event.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” Oliver said as he kissed Nyssa on the cheek. 

“Thank you for the complement,” Nyssa replied calmly. “And please, call me Nyssa. Mrs Queen is my mother-in-law.”

“I’ll remember that,” the man noted as a patrolman entered the dining room and made his way over to the Police Commissioner, leaning down to whisper in his ear. Oliver watched as Nudocerdo listened, sighed and then used his napkin to wipe his mouth as he rose. 

“I’m sorry, Mrs Queen,” Nudocerdo said, speaking to Moira. “But something has come up.”

“Is everything alright?” Oliver asked curiously.

“The vigilante has struck again,” Nudocerdo announced as he looked around the table. “Adam Hunt was just found with an arrow in him. Please excuse me,” he said before following his patrolman out of the room, hushed and hurried whispers accompanying their departure.

“Awful, simply awful,” Moira noted. “I do hope they catch this man soon. Before his actions begin to inspire others.”

“I couldn’t agree more Moira,” Malcolm said as he looked directly at Oliver. “I couldn’t agree more.”

“Oh,” Nyssa suddenly exclaimed, her hand rushing to her stomach.

“Are you alright Nyssa?” Moira asked in concern.

“I’m not sure,” Nyssa replied. “I am suddenly feeling quite unwell.”

“Would you like to lie down for a moment?” Moira offered.

“Thank you for the offer, Moira,” Nyssa said graciously. “But I think I’ll have Maseo drive me home.”

“I’ll have him get the car ready,” Oliver said, standing.

“Stay, Beloved,” Nyssa insisted. “I’m sure it is just something I ate not agreeing with me. I’m probably still just adjusting to the quality of the food.”

“The doctor did mention that,” Oliver said. “Are you sure?”

“I am quite sure,” Nyssa stated. “I will have Maseo drive me home and return for you.”

“Alright then,” Oliver said in a resigned and somewhat unhappy tone. “If anything changes, call me.”

“I will,” Nyssa said before she stood up and walked calmly and somewhat gingerly from the room. After a moment, everyone continued on eating.

“I remember my wife suddenly feeling unwell after eating,” one of the men said casually. “Although that wasn’t caused by the food.”

“I think you might be getting a little ahead of yourself there,” Oliver pointed out. “After all, we are only just married.”

“Quite so,” Malcolm agreed.

#Arrow#

“What were you able to find out?” Oliver asked as he and Diggle walked into the Foundry where Nyssa was waiting for them.

“Quite a bit,” Nyssa replied. “But it is confusing.”

“How so?” Diggle asked as he sat down in one of the chairs.

“Hunt was killed by a trio of arrows to the chest. The grouping was quite small and an educated guess tells me that a compound bow was used. Not unlike this one,” Nyssa said as she held up her own bow. “Whoever killed Adam Hunt has considerable prowess with a bow.”

“Hunt was already crossed off the list,” Oliver observed. “It would make no sense for us to kill him now.”

“Detective Lance came to the same conclusion,” Nyssa shared. “He believes that they are dealing with a copycat.”

“I remember when you first asked me what that meant,” Oliver said with a smile.

“Back on task, please,” Diggle prodded gently. “Do you think this might be a setup? Someone looking to divert suspicion onto you for Hunt’s murder?”

“It’s possible,” Oliver said with a frown.

“You said this guy was really good with a bow, right?” Diggle asked, receiving confirming nods from both Oliver and Nyssa. “So he would be particular about his choice of arrows then, right?”

“If we can obtain one of the arrows…” Nyssa began, latching onto Diggle’s train of thought.

“We can get a bead on where he purchased them,” Oliver finished.

“So, what are you gonna do?” Dig asked calmly. “Break into Police Evidence again?”

“Of course not,” Oliver said after a moment of considering his options. “I’m going to do what anyone does when they need help,” he said as he looked at first Nyssa, then Diggle. “I’m going to call a cop.”

#Arrow#

“Are you ready?” Nyssa asked as she and Sin approached the front entrance to Queen Consolidated. 

“Honestly, no,” Sin replied nervously. “I’ve never done anything like this before.”

“There is a first time for everything, Zayda. You will be fine,” Nyssa reassured her friend as they entered. “I do hope you remembered to leave my gifts at home.”

“I prefer not going to prison,” Sin quipped as they both stepped up to the metal detectors in the lobby. Once they had passed through and were signed in, Nyssa guided Sin into a lift and they were on their way up. “This is a really big building,” Sin pointedly out candidly.

“That it is, Zayda,” Nyssa agreed, trying to relax her. “But you will get the hang of it. I have faith in you.”

“Thanks Nyssa,” Sin said gratefully. “What would I do without you?”

“I do not wish it find out, Zayda,” Nyssa replied gratefully right before the lift doors opened. Nyssa guided them out and around the corner to where Oliver’s office was located. Inside, Oliver and Diggle were seated, discussing something. Nyssa held the door open and allowed Sin to enter first. Both men stood as the two entered. “Sin, you have already met Oliver.”

“Indeed we have,” Oliver said with a broad smile. “How are you this morning Sin? Not overwhelmed yet I hope.”

“Only a lot,” Sin replied honestly. 

“It took me a bit to get used to it as well,” Oliver confided, trying to ease the nervousness that seemed to be flooding the girl. “You’ll be fine.”

“And this is John Diggle,” Nyssa introduced the big man. “He is Oliver’s bodyguard.”

“It is good to meet you Sin,” John said, smiling and holding his hand out.

“You too, Mr Diggle,” Sin replied, reaching out with her own hand and watching it be engulfed by John’s. “I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity.”

“I’m just the teacher, Sin. Nyssa is the one giving you the opportunity,” Diggle said. “And call me Diggle, or Dig.”

“Dig, Nyssa may have facilitated this but you could have said no,” Sin pointed out. “Since I’m here, you are the one giving me the opportunity.”

“She has you there Dig,” Oliver said good naturedly. “You could have said no.”

“Yeah, you keep telling yourself that,” Diggle replied. “We both know Nyssa has you wrapped around her little finger.”

“Gentlemen, we can finish this discussion later,” Nyssa said, interrupting the two men. “Diggle, I will leave Sin in your capable hands.”

“Got it,” Diggle confirmed.

“Sin, I will see you tonight at the penthouse,” Nyssa said.

“I’ll be there,” Sin replied determinedly. Nyssa smiled but said nothing more.

“Right this way,” Diggle said with a wave of his arm, guiding Sin from the office. Once they were gone, Nyssa turned to her husband. 

“Has he received the phone yet?” Nyssa asked as she moved over to Oliver’s desk.

“He is receiving it now,” Oliver answered as he checked a small video link on his computer before picking up a mobile phone that had been sitting idly on his desk. Checking the screen again, Oliver paused for a moment before dialling a number and putting the phone on speaker.

“Lance,” Detective Lance’s voice emerged from the phone.

“I didn’t kill Adam Hunt,” Oliver announced, knowing that his voice would be distorted at the other end.

“You!” Lance snarled.

“You call me ‘The Hood’. It’s not a great nickname,” Oliver remarked as he watched the screen. “You told Commissioner Nudocerdo that you might be dealing with a copycat, another archer like me. That makes me your best bet to take him down. But to do that, I need your help.”

“Good luck with that,” Lance growled.

“I need one of the arrows from Adam Hunt,” Oliver declared.

Yeah, we’re pretty good at pulling leads off evidence ourselves,” Lance groused. “Thanks though.”

“Not like I am,” Oliver replied. “I can do things that the Police can’t, for obvious reasons. I can go places they won’t.”

“That’s called breaking and entering,” Lance pointed out smugly. “I’ll add it to the list.”

“If this other archer doesn’t stop with Adam Hunt, then we both have the same problem,” Oliver snarled at the phone from his office, careful to keep his voice from carrying. “Think about it and then call me. The number’s been programmed in,” Oliver said before hanging up the phone. On the screen, Oliver saw Detective Lance set the phone down on his desk before leaning back in his seat, a thoughtful expression on his face.

“What do you think?” Nyssa asked. “Will he do it?”

“I don’t know,” Oliver replied honestly, looking out of his office to see Doug Miller entering Walter’s. “We’ll just have to wait and see.”

“I dislike waiting,” Nyssa remarked.

“I know,” Oliver said, smiling. “Want to join me for lunch with Thea?”

“No thank you,” Nyssa declined. “I want to prepare for the lessons tonight.”

#Arrow#

“Thea, is there anything that you would like to tell me?” Nyssa asked, noting the apprehensive look on her sister-in-law’s face. “You don’t seem happy. Is it about Oliver and the Christmas party?”

“It’s just this time of year,” Thea proclaimed. “I’ll be fine.”

“If you are sure,” Nyssa began.

“I am,” Thea stated firmly.

“Very well then,” Nyssa said, turning to move away. “Shall we join Sin then?”

“Sure,” Thea said and followed Nyssa through the penthouse. Nyssa led them to a room in the back, Thea remembered it had been an open area gym with a pair of bowling lanes, but it now looked a lot different. The bowling lanes were gone, replaced with a sectioned off area where Nyssa could practice her archery. The gym was mostly intact but Thea noted the addition of a salmon ladder off in one corner. “Who uses the ladder?”

“Oliver mostly,” Nyssa replied as she walked further into the room. “Though I do climb it from time to time. Sin, where are you hiding?”

“I’m not hiding,” Sin called as she emerged out of a door that Thea hadn’t noticed before. Looking closer, it looked like Oliver and Nyssa had had a small room built onto the far wall of the gym, its room providing a higher area to stand on. “I was admiring.”

“Admiring what?” Thea wondered, curious about what was in the room.

“You haven’t seen inside?” Sin asked, receiving a shake of the head in response. “You need to see this then,” she announced, beckoning Thea to follow her. Thea, unable to resist, followed with Nyssa trailing behind. Thea entered the room and her eyes exploded. The room, from floor to ceiling and on every wall. Held weapons of almost every kind Thea could think of and many that she couldn’t. Bows, swords, clubs, spears, axes, knives, batons and many more. But not guns, Thea noted quickly. They were all archaic, so to speak, in design but modern in their construction. “Your face looks like mine when I first walked in here.”

“It is, something to see,” Thea stumbled to get out, her eyes not knowing where to look first. “It is a lot of weapons.”

“I like these,” Sin announced as she moved to stand before a pair of Sai, carefully running a hand along the handle of one of them. “I’d like to learn how to use them.”

“One thing at a time, Zayda,” Nyssa said from the doorway, startling the two girls as they had forgotten she was present in their wonderment. “First, you will learn the katana,” Nyssa stated as she picked up a trio of practice swords from a rack near the door. “Come.” The two girls reluctantly left the weapon’s room and joined Nyssa in the middle of the gym. “Before we begin, so as to try and curb your curiousity, I will answer a single question from each of you. Sin.”

“How many people have you taught to use a sword?” Sin asked.

“Not very many directly,” Nyssa admitted. “I have supervised their training, and tested them once they had completed it. But I have only directly educated a few.”

#Flashback – 3 Years Ago#

“I thought you said you were an archer?” Nyssa heard the voice practically demand as she approached the sectioned off training area. She had done as she had been commanded and sought out Oliver Queen to see how his training was coming. Despite his only recent acceptance of her father’s offer, she had high expectations from him due to his 2 years of survival on Lian Yu. And yet it sounded like there were already difficulties.

Entering the training area, Nyssa observed Oliver holding one of the League’s compound bows as he aimed at a target across the room. Even from where she stood, she could tell that Oliver was far from comfortable and it showed in his accuracy as he once again missed.

“I see that this will be a long day for you,” the assassin that was instructed to teach Oliver said from where he stood behind Oliver. “You will not leave here before you can put a full quiver of arrows into the target.”

“Well, maybe, if you give me a bow I can actually use,” Oliver said as he gestured at the compound bow in his hand. “Instead of this. Then everything will go faster.”

“That is the bow I use,” the assassin stated calmly. “That is the bow you will use. Or you will not use a bow.”

“What works for one,” Nyssa noted as she walked over to the two men. “May not work for another. Have you let him demonstrate with the recurve?”

“No Nyssa,” the assassin replied deferentially. “I have not.”

“Perhaps you should fetch it then,” Nyssa offered, though it was clearly an order. The assassin bowed and stepped away as Nyssa turned to Oliver. “How are you?”

“I was great until he tried to get me to shoot with this thing,” Oliver replied as he set the bow down on the table next to him. “Now I am just frustrated.”

“The league prefers the compound bow for its size,” Nyssa explained as she stepped over beside Oliver and picked up the bow. “It is more easily maneuvered in tight quarters.”

“I’m pretty sure that hitting my target is more important than my ability to get around in small spaces,” Oliver pointed out. “I’ll manage.”

“I would hope so,” Nyssa replied as the assassin returned with a larger recurve bow, handing it to Nyssa. “Try with this. Do Not Disappoint.”

“This is more like what I had on the island,” Oliver said as he took the bow from Nyssa and nocked an arrow. Setting himself, he drew back on the bowstring and aimed at the target. He exhaled softly and then released the arrow, which flew true and impacted the target where the heart would be.

“My apologies Nyssa,” the assassin apologised, bowing his head. “I will do better from now on.”

“See that you do,” Nyssa stated. “With your next student.”

“Nyssa?” the assassin questioned.

“You will have no further part in the training of this student,” Nyssa commanded firmly. “Find Namir, if you can, and send him to me.”

“At once,” the assassin responded, bowing his head and then leaving the training area.

“Who’s Namir?” Oliver asked as he fired another arrow into the target next to the one he had fired moments earlier.

“Your new teacher,” Nyssa replied. “Again,” she commanded, indicating the target. Oliver wordlessly consented and fired an arrow into the head of the target. “Too slow,” Nyssa commented and swiftly picked an arrow and the compound bow up from the table, spun, nocked the arrow and fired it into the target; impacting at the exact same point as Oliver’s and knocking it from the target. “You must be swifter.”

“Copycat,” Oliver remarked casually. Without hesitation, Nyssa drew her dagger and held it to Oliver’s throat.

“Excuse me?” Nyssa demanded harshly. “What is this copycat?”

“It just means closely imitating something,” Oliver explained calmly. “That’s all.”

“I would hope so, for your sake,” Nyssa said, before lowering her knife. She regarded Oliver for a moment before speaking. “Do you know how to use a sword?”

“A little,” Oliver replied, suddenly downcast. “Some on the island, a friend; they like swords and tried to teach me to use them. I wasn’t very good.”

“Then you have much to learn,” Nyssa said as she set the compound bow down and walked to the side of the room to a rack of training swords. Picking up two, she returned to Oliver, holding out one of the swords. “This is a Katana.”

“A samurai sword,” Oliver noted as he set his bow down and accepted the sword from Nyssa.

“It’s correct name is, a Katana,” Nyssa advised. “It has a single edged, curved blade that tapers to a point.”

“Nice,” Oliver said casually as he held the sword out in his right hand, testing it.

“First lesson,” Nyssa said, drawing Oliver’s attention back to her. “You hold the sword with both hands.”


#Present#

“Thea,” Nyssa said, turning to her sister-in-law. “What is your question?”

“Why the Katana?” Thea asked.

“A practical lesson in control,” Nyssa replied as she held out a pair of swords. “Many events in life test our responses. A person who is better able to control their response to different events, will survive better than one who cannot. As you will be learning together, you will also be sparring against each other. If you do not control your own blade, you will hurt each other.”

“Right,” the two girls remarked together as they each accepted a sword. Much as her Beloved had done 3 years before, the two girls each held the sword in one and slowly moved it around. Taking up her own sword, Nyssa began.

“First lesson,” Nyssa said, drawing the two teen’s attention back to her. “You hold the sword with both hands.”

Oliver smiled as he heard Nyssa’s words from where he stood just outside the gym, not wanting to distract his wife. The phone in his pocket vibrated and he stepped further away so that his voice could not be heard.

“I wouldn’t bother trying to trace this call, Detective,” Oliver advised. “You’ll never make it through the encryption.”

“There’s a heating vent on the corner of O’Neil and Adams,” Lance said, choosing not to remark on what the vigilante had told him. “You’ll find what you’re after there.”

“It would be a mistake to try and trap me, Detective,” Oliver warned calmly. “It would not end well for your men.”

“Look, I’m trading away just about everything I believe in ‘cause it is the only way that I have to get this bastard,” Lance snarled through the phone. “You got till Christmas. After that, copycat or not, I’m coming after you and your girlfriend.”

“You can try,” Oliver offered before he hung up. He spared one last look back towards Nyssa before he grabbed his jacket and left the penthouse.

#Arrow#

“I see Detective Lance got you a Christmas present after all,” Dig said as he walked up to Oliver who was busy examining the arrow that Lance had procured for them. “Nyssa not here?”

“She is at home with Thea and Sin,” Oliver replied as he turned and held up the arrow for Diggle to see. “Teflon-coated, titanium blade. Serrated to split the bone. Shaft is made of some type of specialised polymer, stronger than your average carbon fibre.”

“You sound like you want some of your own,” Dig observed.

“It is a nice arrow,” Oliver stated in admiration, his eyes running along the arrow. “And, it is a custom job.”

“Why did Lance give you the arrow?” Dig asked.

“Nelson Ravich was killed earlier this evening,” Oliver answered.

“Another name that you had crossed off your father’s list,” Dig noted calmly and yet worryingly. “So, is this guy trying to frame you or challenge you?”

“Doesn’t matter,” Oliver said as he put the arrow down on the bench beside him. “Either way, I need to find him.”

#Arrow#

“Felicity,” Oliver called to his Technical Advisor, who was seemingly engrossed in her work. When he didn’t get a response, he called louder. “Felicity!”

“What?” Felicity startled, jumping in her seat. “Oh, Oliver it’s you,” Felicity said, seeing her bossing standing there. “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you come in.”

“Or knock or call your name apparently,” Oliver remarked casually.

“Right,” Felicity said as she shut down her tablet. “What can I do for you?”

“As you know, Nyssa is into archery and has been for quite some time,” Oliver said.

“I have heard her talking about it once or twice, yes,” Felicity agreed.

“Anyway, with Christmas coming up, I wanted to get her some more arrows but, I want it to be a surprise,” Oliver said as he opened the tube he was carrying and withdrew an arrow. “She gets these custom made and I can’t seem to find out where. Obviously I can’t ask her either,” Oliver said as he showed the arrow to Felicity. “I was hoping that you could help me find out where it came from.” Felicity stared at the arrow for a moment, wondering why she was nervous. Discarding it, she reached up for the arrow. “Careful,” Oliver advised.

“Yeah,” Felicity said agreed as she accepted the arrow from Oliver. She carefully examined it, rolling and turning it over in her hands until she found something near one end of the shaft. The composite that the shaft is made from is patented,” Felicity noted a she turned to type on her computer. After a moment, she had a result. “And that patent is registered to a company called Sagittarius. That’s Latin…”

“The archer,” Oliver said, cutting Felicity off and surprising her at the same time. “I’ve been reading some,” Oliver offered by way of an explanation. “Could you find out where and when this was purchased?”” Oliver asked casually as he took back the arrow from Felicity and put it back into the tube.

“According to Sagittarius shipping records, that particular arrow, along with the rest of the bundle shipment which it was a part of,” Felicity said, trailing off as she wrote something on a notepad. “Were sent to this address,” Felicity said, tearing off the slip of paper and passing it to her boss.

“Thank you Felicity,” Oliver said with a warm smile. “You are once again remarkable.”

“Once again,” Felicity replied, returning the smile. “Thank you for remarking on it.”

“Merry Christmas,” Oliver said as he turned to walk out the door.

“I’m Jewish,” Felicity said quickly, stopping Oliver in his tracks as he turned back.

“Happy Hanukkah,” Oliver amended before continuing his journey out the door.

#Arrow#

“I am in position Beloved,” Nyssa said as she stepped carefully up to the edge of the rooftop across from the address that Felicity had given Oliver.

“Alright, approaching the warehouse,” Oliver replied as he made his war down the alley to the warehouse. He saw Nyssa standing above, ready to assist him in case of trouble. Reaching the only entrance, Oliver tried the door and finding it unlocked, cautiously opened it and stepped inside.

"I have a bad feeling about this Beloved," Nyssa relayed to her husband. "It feels too easy."

"I'm beginning to agree with you," Oliver responded as he walked slowly deeper into the room, taking in the workbenches along the side walls. Something at the end of the room drew his attention and as he drew closer, he saw that it was a single black arrow; jammed upright into the floor. "Nyssa..."

His words were cut off by the door he had entered through slamming shut though a quick check of the room showed no one else present. 

"Beloved, can you here me?" Nyssa's voice sounded in Oliver's ear.

"Yeah, I can hear you," Oliver said as he looked around. "I'm alright."

"What happened?" Nyssa asked as Oliver's attention was drawn by the sound of liquid filling a container. On the table behind the arrow, hidden in the shadows until now, sat a large device. It consisted of a large central tube with 6 smaller containers hanging above it; 3 contained a green liquid while 3 had a red liquid. And the worrying part, all six were rapidly draining into the central tube, at the top of which was a small flame.

"Not alright anymore," Oliver shouted as he spun back to the door. "Nyssa, get back!" Oliver shouted as he drew and fired an explosive-tipped arrow into the door before running headlong at it, hoping he had weakened it. His shoulder connected with the door at the same instant the bomb behind him detonated. Oliver crashed through the door and rolled to the side just as a large gout of flame exploded out of the open doorway and into the alley.

"Oliver?" Nyssa called and Oliver saw his wife leaning over the edge of the roof above him, looking down. "Can you hear me?"

"Yeah, I'm ok," Oliver reassured his wife as he sat up. "Let's get out of here."

#Arrow#

"Whoever set that trap, went to a lot of trouble not to see it fulfilled," Nyssa noted as Maseo pulled the car to a stop outside the Queen Mansion. "Odd, considering they had to know who they were luring."

"I agree," Oliver said as Maseo climbed out and opened Nyssa's door. Nyssa climbed out and Oliver quickly followed. "We will have to think about this," Oliver said as he wrapped an arm around Nyssa's waist and led her up the stairs and through the open doors where Diggle was waiting for them "Hey Dig, I see the halls are decked."

"You ok?" Dig asked in a concerned tone, noting Oliver's stiff walk and barbecue scent. 

"I'll manage," Oliver assured his bodyguard.

"He is unfortunately still sometimes too stubborn for his own good," Nyssa proclaimed.

"Thank you," Oliver said to his wife before turning back to Diggle. "Is everyone having a good time?"

"Are you sure this is a good idea, Oliver?" Diggle questioned. "With everything that is going on, maybe now is not the best time."

"My family needs this party, Dig," Oliver said firmly. "So I need it," he continued before walking of into the mansion.

"See," Nyssa pointed out as Diggle's attention was drawn over her shoulder. Nyssa turned to see a young man standing just inside the door, holding a bunch of flowers.

"Hi, Mrs Queen," he greeted politely. "Thea invited me, I hope that’s ok?" Nyssa said nothing as she glanced down at the flowers he held. "Ah, these are for the other Mrs Queen, sorry." Nyssa just glared at the boy before turning to Diggle.

"Watch him," Nyssa whispered before walking off.

"Good luck kid," Diggle said to the kid with a mocking grin before following after Nyssa who had followed after Oliver and caught up to where he stood with his family just as Thea was asking a question.

"Why do you smell like barbecue?" Thea wondered curiously.

"I tried to light the fireplace at the penthouse," Oliver offered. "One of the things I haven’t had to worry about for a while. Opening the flue."

"Well, I'm glad you both managed to still make it," Moira said.

"As are we," Nyssa said as she joined them. 

"You guys look great," Oliver complement. "Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas," everyone responded.

"Let's get a holiday photo," Oliver requested, gesturing at the photographer.

"I've already sent out our Christmas cards, Oliver," Moira noted.

"Let's get a picture just for us," Oliver suggested.

"Of course," Moira sighed with a smile. Nyssa noticed Thea roll her eyes but smiled nevertheless while the photo was taken. Once he was finished, the boy from the front door stepped forward.

"Mrs Queen," he called, holding out the flowers. "These are for you."

"Well, thank you," Moira responded politely. "I'll uh, I'll go put these in water."

"Is everything all right?" Walter asked his wife, stopping her as she moved past him. She leaned in closer to Walter and whispered something in reply before walking off. 

"Everything ok, Walter?" Oliver asked in concern as he stepped up beside his step-father.

"Yes. I'm sure it will work itself out," Walter said in a reassuring tone before walking after Moira.

"That was odd," Nyssa remarked now that they were alone; Thea having disappeared with the boy. "I wonder what is going on."

"I don't know," Oliver replied, looking in the direction his mother had disappeared. "But you're right, that was odd."

#Arrow#

"John, have you seen Thea?" Nyssa asked the bodyguard. Oliver had wished to speak to Tommy and Laurel and Nyssa, concerned about Thea, had decided to go in search of her.

"Not since the photo was taken," Diggle replied calmly. "She was walking away with the kid. You think something is wrong?"

"I'm not sure," Nyssa said after a moment. "I just have a bad feeling."

"Yeah, me too," Diggle responded. Nyssa said nothing has she walked off, deciding to check Thea's room. As she got closer, she heard Thea's raised voice.

"Wait, what are you doing?" Thea said. Nyssa heard no reply as she stopped outside Thea's door. "That's not why I brought you up here." Nyssa had heard enough and opened the door. "Nyssa!"

"I would leave, if I were you," Nyssa advised the boy, even as he tried to button up his shirt. He said nothing as he slipped past Nyssa and disappeared through the door. Nyssa turned to Thea. "Are you alright?"

"Yeah, nothing happened," Thea answered. 

"Why aren't you downstairs?" Nyssa asked curiously. "I thought Oliver organised this party for you."

"I told him, I didn’t want a party," Thea replied as she sat down on the bed. "But he went ahead anyway because he got a case of the holiday blues."

"Why would you not want a party?" Nyssa wondered as she sat down next to Thea.

"Because all this party is doing is bringing up memories," Thea answered a little sadly. "Memories I have been trying to forget."

"Why would you want to forget them?" Nyssa prodded gently.

"Because no matter how fancy or good natured the party he puts on," Thea replied. "Our family will never be the way it used to be. Ever again." Nyssa said nothing for a moment, considering how she should reply when there was a knock at the door. Nyssa looked up to see Maseo standing there.

"Excuse me," Maseo apologised. "But Oliver is looking for you."

"Tell him I will be there in a moment," Nyssa said before turning back to Thea, only to see her disappearing into the bathroom. "Or now."

#Arrow#

"What is it?" Nyssa asked her husband as she walked into Oliver's former room. Diggle was there too and he turned the TV on.

"The other archer has stepped things up," Dig stated as the TV came to life to show a newscast in progress. "This just hit the news. He has taken hostages."

“Happy holidays, Starling City,” read a fearful woman, her makeup ruined from her tears. Behind her were several other hostages, all gagged and bound to chairs. She was reading off a sheet of paper, looking up into a camera that was obviously held by her captor. “For the past three months, this city has been laid siege to by a vigilante known as ‘The Hood’. But the police have been unable to bring him to justice because they lack the will to do what justice demands.” She sobbed before continuing. “I will kill one hostage every hour in the name of this vigilante until he surrenders himself to my authority. Any intervention by either the police or other parties will result in the immediate death of all the hostages.”

“Police are at the scene,” Diggle said after he turned the TV back off. “I really think you should stay away and let them handle this.”

“Dig, those people are there, because of me. And he will kill them if I do not show up,” Oliver argued firmly. “I have to end this.”

“Nyssa,” Dig begged.

“He is right, John,” Nyssa replied sadly, clearly concerned. “We caused this, we need to fix it.”

“Oliver, this guy,” Diggle tried. “This guy is very dangerous.”

“So am I.”

#Arrow#

"Alright, I’m in position,” Oliver announced as he looked down at the police cordon surrounding the warehouse. He was close enough that he was able to pick out Detective Lance as he stood at the command center the Police had set up.

“Please be careful Beloved,” Nyssa asked through the radio. “Something about this doesn’t feel right.”

“I will,” Oliver promised as he drew a grapping arrow and nocked it. “I’m going it.”

“Good luck,” Dig said. “We’ll be waiting here for your call. Either way.” Oliver didn’t reply as he turned off his radio before he drew back on his bow and launched the arrow across the divide. Once it was seated and the cable taut, Oliver stepped off the roof and sailed through the air towards the warehouse. Landing on the roof, Oliver made his way around, searching for the skylight that he had noticed illuminated the hostages. Locating it, he jumped through it and descended to the ground in the center of the ring of hostages.

“Where is he?” Oliver asked through the modulator as he drew his knife and quickly released the hostages, keeping his ears and eyes open as they all stood and rubbed their wrists.

“I don’t know,” the woman who had read the statement answered fearfully.

“It’s going to be ok,” Oliver reassured them. Sheathing his knife, Oliver hefted his bow and moved towards the hallway as he recalled the layout of the warehouse. “Follow me.” He led them down several hallways until they reached a set of stairs. “Get up to the roof.”

“What about him?” the woman asked as the other hostages started up the stairs.

“I’ll take care of him,” Oliver reassured her. “Move!” he urged her. Once she had started up the stairs, Oliver began his search for his opponent, or opponents, though his gut was telling him it was a single archer. As he made his way down another corridor, he felt he was being watched. Once he reached the end of it, he turned around to see the other archer standing at the far end of it.

“Thank you for coming so promptly,” the archer said politely. His voice was modulated the same as Oliver’s and though he wore the garb of the League of Assassins, Oliver also saw the badge of the Red Viper. “After the warehouse, I knew I’d have to do something a little more dramatic to get your attention.”

“Well, you have,” Oliver called out as Oliver continued his examination. His compound bow and sword were both standard issue to the league. There was nothing unique about him. “What do you want with me?”

“What any archer wants. To see who’s better!” the archer yelled as his arm snapped up to draw an arrow. Oliver was faster and he sent an arrow whistling down the hallway while his opponent was still nocking. The other archer dodged it and returned fire. Oliver ducked under it and launched a second arrow down the hallway before he stepped around the corner and out of the other archer’s line of sight. He heard two more arrows impact the wall behind him as he moved into the main section of the warehouse. Leaping up onto a pile of debris, Oliver ducked down behind it and readied another arrow.

He waited as he heard the other archer enter the room and could picture in his head as the other archer searched carefully, an arrow nocked and drawn, ready to fire. Listening and judging where he was, Oliver jumped up and fired at the same instant as the other archer turned and released his arrow. In a cruel twist of fate, both arrows flew true and knocked the bows from their respective archers’ hands. There was no time to consider his next move as the viper assassin advanced on him at a trot, drawing his sword. Seeing little recourse, Oliver reached over his shoulder and drew his wakizashi, the sound of it leaving its scabbard a reminder of how many people he had killed with a blade and the silent promise he had made on this sword when he had received it. The assassin slowed to a walk as he regarded Oliver.

“I complement you on your skill with the bow, Al Sah-him,” the assassin said mockingly, using his league name. “Now let us see how you handle the sword.” As soon as the last word had left his mouth, the assassin lunged forward, swinging his sword. Oliver parried it away and attacked himself but the assassin simply avoided it and attacked again.

After almost a full minute of them striking, parrying, blocking, punching and kicking at each other, neither had managed to find more than a glancing purchase with their blades as they stepped back to regard each other again.

“Impressive,” the viper assassin complemented Oliver. “I have not had this much of a challenge in more than a decade.”

“I’m not finished yet,” Oliver pointed out as he drew his knife with his left hand. Noting this, the viper reached to the side and picked up a length of rebar from a pile of debris, swinging is casually to judge its weight. Satisfied, he advanced on Oliver again. Oliver dropped into the stance that Namir had taught him and once the assassin was close enough, Oliver swept forward. Steel met steel, sending sparks flying as the two traded blows again. Oliver was the first to find his target, running his knife across the assassins forearm, penetrating the armour and drawing blood. This only seemed to enrage the viper as he redoubled efforts and, momentarily catching Oliver off guard, swept his feet out from under him.

Oliver fell heavily to the floor and the viper was on him immediately, kicking him several times in the side with heavy, steel-toed boots.

“First Hunt, then Ravich,” the viper snarled as he kicked Oliver again and again. “And now you,” he finished, kicking Oliver one last time, who felt his ribs crack from the onslaught they had received. The viper backed off momentarily to regain his breath and center himself. Oliver groaned in pain as he shifted slightly so that he could see his opponent. As the viper returned to attack him once again, Oliver struggled to his knees before suddenly lashing out with his sword, catching the viper across the thighs and dropping him down to Oliver’s level. The two traded shots again until Oliver moved the wrong way, causing his side to explode in pain as he felt a rib break. 

The assassin used this window of opportunity to plunge the piece of rebar through Oliver’s right shoulder. Oliver screamed from this new pain and swung wildly with his left hand, managing to catch the viper across the head with the guard of his knife and knocking away. Either the knife hit or the impact with the floor knocked him out as he ceased moving. Oliver considered killing him right then and there but the seeping blood that was soaking his jacket warned him that that action would cost him too dearly and so Oliver struggled to his feet. Sheathing his knife and barely able to hand onto his sword, Oliver stumbled away from the assassin, retrieving his bow as he made his escape.

Moving through the warehouse, Oliver found the right window through the haze that was descending on him and flinging it open, he climbed through it and fell to the ground hard. His shoulder screamed in pain as the rebar was still impaled in him, moved around while he felt at least two of his cracked ribs, break. He dropped his weapons to the alleyway and reached up with his left hand to his ear, activating his radio.

“Nyssa, Dig,” he managed to cough out. “Help.” And then he saw no more.

#Arrow#

“Hey, easy!” Dig said as Oliver bolted upright. Dig needn’t have said anything as Oliver quickly fell back to the bed as his ribs announced their complaint of this sudden abuse. “Relax.”

“What happened?” Oliver groaned out as he regained his breath.

“Nyssa and I found you in the alley and got you out of there,” Diggle explained. “We cleaned you up as best we could but we didn’t want to risk removing the rebar unless it had cut something. So we cut your jacket off of you and got you changed before bringing you here.”

“Right,” Oliver said simply as he mind started to catch up.

“You have a pneumothorax, 3 broken ribs, 2 cracked ribs and a concussion to go along with the rebar wound in your shoulder. Luckily, it didn’t do any serious damage,” Diggle filled him in before looking behind him as the door began to open. “Looks like some people are here to see you,” he said before stepping back to allow Nyssa, Moira, Thea and Walter to crowd around.

“Oliver!” Nyssa cried gratefully as she came up on Oliver’s left side, taking his hand in hers. “I was so worried.”

“Are you alright?” Moira asked worriedly.

“You look terrible,” Thea said sadly.

“Well, thank God you were wearing your helmet,” Walter said, more relieved than worried.

“Huh,” Oliver said, confused.

“I explained to them how you were out riding and a semi pulled right out in front of you,” Diggle explained helpfully, filling in Oliver. “How your helmet looked to have taken the initial impact of the rebar before it pierced your shoulder.”

“Remind me to buy stocks in that company,” Oliver joked softly.

“What were you even doing out?” Moira enquired.

“You bailed on your own party,” Thea added.

“Well, it seemed like the right move at the time,” Oliver sighed. “Like you said, all the party was doing was bringing up bad memories.” His words surprised Nyssa as much as Thea, as she hadn’t known he was outside the door.

“Okay,” Thea said, clearly feeling the impact of those words. “But when I was saying that, that was me being a bitch, you know.”

“Oh the truth is,” Moira said, consoling her daughter by wrapping an arm around her shoulders. “I don’t think any of us were at our best.”

“I think, the real truth is, you wanted to bring us all closer together,” Walter said as he moved closer to Moira. “Well, here we are,” he pointed out, drawing chuckles from everyone, though Oliver soon gasped in pain.

“I think,” Moira said as she leaned down to kiss her son on the forehead. “That we should let you get some rest. Nyssa, take care of him.”

“Always,” Nyssa promised sincerely, her hand still holding Oliver’s. Walter patted Oliver’s forearm before following after Moira.

“So,” Thea began as she moved closer to her brother. “I know I haven’t exactly been the best sister since you got back. But the truth is, Ollie, I’m not the same person I was five years ago. I different now.”

“So, maybe, we can just try to accept each other,” Oliver suggested softly, his energy levels waning. “Not for who we were back then but for who we are now.”

“I’d like that,” Thea said, leaning forward to hug her brother softly, being careful of all the wires and bandages. As she straightened back up, she saw that Oliver had dozed off.

#Arrow#

“About 2 minutes after we got you out, the warehouse exploded,” Diggle said to Oliver, filling in the blanks. “All the hostages were able to get to safety and the police never entered the warehouse. No biological evidence will have survived the fire. Let’s hope the archer didn’t either.”

“He’s alive, and he was different,” Oliver said as he looked out the window of his room. He was still in bed but after a nap he had felt more refreshed. “He was alone and being fought better than any other assassin that she has sent.”

“You are sure that it was her?” Maseo asked calmly.

“He wore the badge of a Red Viper,” Oliver stated. “Who else would it be?”

“I do not know,” Maseo admitted. “But the methods and skill levels are off. She has always sent multiple assassins. And she does not possess that many of the skill level you describe.”

“Hold on,” Diggle interrupted. “Who is this ‘she’? You all speak as if you know her.”

“Some of us better than others,” Nyssa said softly, speaking for the first time in almost an hour. “The ‘she’ that we speak of, is known as ‘The Mistress’.”

“Those assassins from the road spoke of a mistress,” Diggle recalled. “They said that she wanted to speak with you.”

“That is correct, John,” Nyssa said quietly. “But she is also known by another name. Talia al Ghul. My older sister.”

“Whoa,” Diggle exclaimed before any further speech was cut off by the door flying open and a teary eyed Thea rushing in. She moved right up to Oliver and wrapped her hugs around him.

“Thea, what’s wrong?” Oliver questioned, laying his left arm across Thea’s back. “What’s happened?”

“He only went upstairs for a moment,” Thea squeaked out. “He said he only needed to pick something up.”

“Thea, you aren’t making any sense,” Oliver said as he rubbed his sister’s back. “What has happened?”

“It’s Walter,” Moira said from the doorway. “He’s been kidnapped.”

Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #27
Chapter 28 – Aroused Suspicions

“How are you feeling Beloved?" Nyssa asked as she assisted Oliver into the Penthouse.

"Better now that I am out of the hospital," Oliver replied as he walked slowly forward. "I gotta say, spending a week pretty much flat on your back is monotonous."

"It is better than being flat on your stomach," Nyssa shot back. "As you well know."

"I wish I could forget some days," Oliver said softly.

"It is behind us and that is where it should stay," Nyssa stated as they continued their slow journey.

"Right," Oliver agreed. "You know, if I hadn't have stayed in hospital, I'd be up and moving around by now. And I definitely would not have had to fight off that infection."

"And the first blood test they did would have revealed the presence of the herbs in your system," Nyssa countered. "That we could not risk."

"I know," Oliver conceded. "Still sucks."

"If I had entered the warehouse with you, you would not have been injured so gravely, if at all," Nyssa pointed out.

"Perhaps," Oliver said. "But the assassin made it very clear in his statement that you couldn't. 'Any intervention by either the police or other parties will result in the immediate death of all the hostages.' That was clearly directed at you. And we couldn't risk the lives of the hostages."

"I understand that Beloved," Nyssa chided gently. "It is however, still vexing."

"I'm alive. The hostages are all alive. No one got blown up,” Oliver pointed out. “I’d call that a win.”

“Hmm,” Nyssa hummed softly. “I still want to find the assassin.”

“So do I, in about 6 weeks,” Oliver stated, before his mind caught up and identified Nyssa’s tone. “What number are you up to?”

“165 different ways, so far,” Nyssa admitted casually.

“165 different ways to do what?” Thea asked as she walked out of the gym, Sin following close behind.

“Ways to die,” Nyssa explained.

“Wood chipper,” Sin spoke up, drawing everyone’s attention. “That’s on my list of worst ways to go. You go in feet first and it just slowly draws you in as it mulches you up. Beat out being eaten by a shark for me.”

“167,” Nyssa noted with a smirk at her husband.

“Don’t encourage her,” Oliver begged with a smile. “Please.”

“Go back to the gym, you two,” Nyssa said to her two pupils. “I’ll be there in a moment.”

“Get well Ollie,” Thea wished before turning back to the gym.

“Yeah, take it easy,” Sin said a moment later. She looked over Oliver for a second before she followed after Thea.

“How is their training coming along?” Oliver asked curiously.

“Quite well,” Nyssa replied happily. “I didn’t know you were going to take that much of interest.”

“I didn’t know you were going to teach my sister how to wield a sword,” Oliver retorted. “Or Sin for that matter.”

“It is a good skill to have, don’t you think?” Nyssa pointed out. “Especially as those targeting us use swords. If they happen to broaden their targets to our friends and family, it would be best that they are able to defend themselves.”

“True,” Oliver said evenly. “I just wonder what else you are going to teach them at the same time.”

“Do you trust me, Beloved?” Nyssa asked.

“You know I do,” Oliver replied instantly.

“Then trust me now,” Nyssa pleaded. “Trust me to know what I am doing.”

“Very well,” Oliver said after a moment of consideration. “I’m going to go sit down for a bit. Maybe have a nap. Enjoy your practice session with the girls.”

“Thank you Oliver,” Nyssa said gratefully as her husband turned and walked away.

#Flashback – 3 Years Ago#

“Use both hands,” Namir commanded. “You have the skill but you continually fall back to the use of your right hand to the exclusion of your left. You must break this habit.”

“I’m better with my right,” Oliver stated as he lunged forward with the sword Namir had chosen for him. He thought he remembered that it was a Chinese Dao. He had also given him a large knife for him to use in his left hand but Oliver had barely swung it.

“And if I was to remove your right?” Namir asked as he easily and effortlessly turned his larger opponent’s attack aside.

“Then I would need to use my left, wouldn’t I,” Oliver said rhetorically. “And I would have to learn to be good with it real fast.”

“Learn now, so that you are ready later,” Namir advised before dashing forward, bending under Oliver’s rushed swing and slapping Oliver hard across the back of the knees with the flat of his sword, causing Oliver to fall to his knees. “Or there may not be a later,” Namir concluded, resting his sword blade against Oliver’s exposed neck.

“I have a question,” Oliver said once Namir had withdrawn his blade and allowed him to stand. “When are you going to fight me using them?” Oliver asked as he point at the pair of Kukri that Namir had sheathed on his hips.

“The day I stand opposite you with these in my hand,” Namir replied, resting his empty hand on one of the hilts. “Will be the day that I believe you have a better than average chance of killing me. And not before.”

“Do not be so quick to challenge Namir, Mr Queen,” Nyssa counselled as she walked into the training area. “Namir is one of the deadliest assassins in the league and that is before he draws his blades.”

“You honour me, Nyssa,” Namir said as he bowed his head at her approach.

“How is he progressing,” Nyssa asked of the assassin that she had assigned to train Oliver.

“Surprisingly well for one with so many bad habits,” Namir replied sincerely. “His skills with a bow are impressive given that he was mostly self-taught. His skills with sword and knife however, are lacking. It will take time but I have every confidence he could be quite skilled.”

“Thanks Namir,” Oliver said in a friendly tone. “I guess I will see you tomorrow then for more swordplay.”

“On the contrary Mr Queen,” Nyssa countered. “My father has decreed that you are being your assimilation training. Starting tomorrow.”

“Assimilation training,” Oliver parroted. “That doesn’t sound so bad.”

“Say good bye, Mr Queen,” Nyssa commanded before turning and walking away.


#Present#

"Sin, your guard is too high," Nyssa critiqued as she stood off to the side. "Thea is not over 6ft tall. Lower your guard."

"Yes, Nyssa," Sin acknowledged even as she lowered her sword more. She waited a moment before lunging forward with her sword only to find it parried away by Thea. Recovering, Sin spiralled away and raised her guard again, not as high this time.

"Good, now counterattack," Nyssa urged her young friend. Sin considered for a moment her opponent before dancing forward and swinging upwards with her sword. Thea brought her sword across her body to parry the strike away as she had been taught. Sin, seeing this, pivots inside Thea's parry and brings her sword up to rest against Thea's throat.

"I think I win that one," Sin said with a smile as she stepped back from Thea and lowered her sword.

"Yeah, I'd say you did," Thea agreed as she lowered her sword.

"Well done, Sin," Nyssa congratulated her young friend as she joined her two students. "Using what you knew and improvising a little. Very well done."

"Thanks Nyssa," Sin responded happily. 

“You’re welcome,” Nyssa said as she twisted and flicked the sword in her hand around in her hand absently until she had reversed her grip and the blade of the sword ran along her forearm. “That will be all for today. As always, you’re welcome to the showers and kitchen and I will see you both on Thursday.”

“No worries, Nyssa,” Thea replied. “Thanks.”

“Thanks Nyssa,” Sin chimed in as Nyssa turned and walked out of the gym. As Thea turned to walk away, Sin reached out and grasped her arm, stopping her. “Thea, can I talk to you for a moment?”

“Sure, Sin,” Thea responded. The two girls walked into the store room and put their training swords away before Sin spoke again.

“I want to ask you something, but I don’t want to cause trouble,” Sin said as she stood there.

“Well unless you ask it, I don’t think either of us are going to know if it will cause trouble or not,” Thea proclaimed sagely. “Ask.”

“It concerns Nyssa, and your brother,” Sin advised carefully.

“What about my brother?” Thea asked, suddenly very focused on Sin.

“I’m going to sound like a crazy person but I want you to listen to what I say before you comment,” Sin requested politely. “All of it, please.”

“All right,” Thea agreed.

“You know about the vigilante right?” Sin asked and Thea nodded. “Right, well you may or may not know that he has a partner. A woman.”

“I know about her,” Thea replied. "I saw her the night I was kidnapped. She had a bow and a sword and she fought with the Chinese Blonde that was holding me hostage."

“Right,” Sin declared. “I know people who have seen her as well. And what they tell me fits with my suspicions."

"What do you mean, your suspicions?" Thea asked. "You think you know who it is?"

"As I said, I have suspicions but no proof," Sin clarified.

"Ok, but who do you think it is?" Thea prodded. "If you know, you should tell the police. The guy is a murdering psycho."

"That's the thing," Sin said hesitantly. "I think the female vigilante is Nyssa."

"Nyssa?" Thea exclaimed in surprise. "As in my brother's wife, your friend Nyssa?"

"Yeah," Sin attested. "I was right, I sound like a crazy person."

"Only because you think that Nyssa is a vigilante," Thea pointed out.

"Yeah," Sin said slowly. "I don’t think it's just Nyssa."

"Who else do you think is involved?" Thea questioned.

"I think your brother is 'The Hood'," Sin revealed.

"What!" Thea practically screeched. "You think my brother is a murderer?"

"It fits," Sin argued. "With everything that you can find out from the news and the papers plus what I hear from friends, it all fits."

"Do tell, miss detective," Thea said somewhat cynically.

"Well, to start with," Sin began. "No one had ever heard of or seen the vigilante until after you brother and Nyssa returned to Starling City. And then, the very next day, Oliver and Tommy are kidnapped and then rescued by 'The Hood'. That is a little too convenient."

"That proves nothing," Thea argued.

"Right, but I have more," Sin said. "Your brother's welcome home party was right next door the same night that that Adam Hunt guy was robbed of like $40 million. Then there was that auction. The vigilante killed the shooter but only after he had started shooting. And Oliver and Nyssa disappeared that night."

"Nyssa hurt her wrist and Oliver took her to the hospital," Thea explained. 

"Perhaps, but what about the riot at Iron Heights Prison?" Sin asked. "Laurel was there at the same time as 'The Hood' and Laurel is or was a friend of Oliver's. Right after that, Oliver was arrested on suspicion of being the vigilante."

"The charges were dropped, remember," Thea pointed out.

"Right, they were, but what do you remember about that night?" Sin wondered.

"Ah, not a lot, really," Thea replied as she thought back. "Ah, I was held in a warehouse. The blonde bitch gagged me. The female vigilante showed up. She was dressed in red and black and they fought. When the police came, the blonde ran and then the woman in black met up with the hood and they both took off as well."

"What details do you remember?" Sin asked. "Anything that stood out. Anything you didn't tell the cops or didn’t remember at the time?"

"Nothing much, the woman wore a veil across her face and only her eyes could be seen. She was kinda tan," Thea said. "The hood, he had a full mask on and I couldn’t see anything else about him. I thought I might have seen his eyes for a moment but I couldn’t be sure."

"Interesting, everyone else I've talked too said that you can pretty easily see his eyes because they stand out between the hood and the mask," Sin explained. "They say he is Caucasian."

"The hood I saw might have African American, but I can't be sure," Thea said.

"Anyway, because your brother was at the mansion the whole time, the charges were dropped but Nyssa disappeared for a while," Sin pointed out.

"She went for a walk around the grounds with Mr Diggle. Said she needed to clear her head" Thea explained. "She wasn't there when I got back to the mansion but she arrived soon after."

"Hmm," Sin sighed as she thought about this. "Still, it kinda fits."

"Ok, I'll agree with you that when you lay it out like that, it does seem a little plausible that Nyssa could be this female vigilante. She can fight, use a sword and a bow," Thea counted off. "But my brother can't do any of those. He wouldn’t when he disappeared and he was stuck on a deserted island for 5 years," Thea pointed out. "Now, maybe Nyssa was able to teach him how to fight, but there is no way she could teach him to use a bow unless she had one and neither of them have said they had one. So that is where everything falls apart."

"Yeah, I guess you're right," Sin admitted after a moment. "Everything just seem to fit is all. You probably think I'm crazy now."

"No, not crazy," Thea said as she reached out to hug Sin, surprising her. "Possessing an overactive imagination maybe, but not crazy."

"Thanks,” Sin said, enjoying the familiarity of the hug for a moment before breaking it.

“You’re welcome,” Thea replied. “Now, if you will excuse me, I really need a shower. The downside of all this training, I guess.”

“Yeah,” Sin intoned, her mind still distracted.

#Arrow#

Later that night, Sin was walking through the Glades. She had tried going home but her mind was way too active for her to sleep so instead she was going to visit a friend. She knew her friend would be up because Janice was nocturnal. Sleep all day, awake all night. Sin didn’t care because Janice always welcomed her in when Sin had needed a place to crash in years past. Now though, things were different.

Rounding the last corner before Janice’s place, Sin was confronted with the sight of an unmarked van parked outside her friend’s home. As she got closer, the front door to Janice’s home opened and 5 men exited, 4 of them carrying a pair of bodies between them. Sin realised that one of those bodies was her friend Janice due to the red streaked black hair that it had. 

“Hey!” Sin yelled without thinking. “What are you doing?”

Surprised, the men dropped the bodies while the fifth man raised a gun at Sin and shouted something that Sin didn’t understand. Realising that she was in trouble, Sin began to slowly back away while taking in the landscape around her. The man with the gun shouted again at her, but with no idea what he was saying, even if she could probably guess, Sin kept backing away slowly. When the gunman and another man started to walk towards her at an increasing rate, Sin turned and started to run. She hadn’t even made it three steps when she heard, and recognised, the sound of silenced gunshots behind her. 

“Shit!” Sin exclaimed as she leaped over a fence into someone’s front yard and kept running, hoping the fence would give her some cover because she was short. She heard more gunshots behind her and the picket fence in front of her started to splinter and crack as bullets struck it. Weaving away a little, Sin dived over the fence, rolled to her feet and started running again, her lungs heaving in air as she did. Sin was suddenly grateful for the exercise regime that Nyssa had basically ordered her to undertake as she could really feel that she was fitter than the last time she had had to run this hard. Bullets again impacted the next fence she was running towards and just as she jumped over it, Sin felt pain explode in her right arm and waist.

Crashing to the ground, Sin spared a single moment to look at her side to see the bullet graze there before lifting herself up off the grass and setting off again; only one more yard and fence before she reached the corner and could get out of sight without risking anyone. She didn’t look back as she clumsily threw herself over the fence, her side and arm protesting as she impacted the ground. Clenching her teeth to stop her scream, Sin struggled to her feet and took off again; pumping her legs monotonously in a steady cadence. She didn’t stop or slow down to look behind her for almost 4 blocks and when she did, she saw no one there. Struggling to breathe as her lungs worked overtime and her side screaming in agony, Sin looked for a place to hide while she tried to bandage herself up. After that, she needed to find help.

#Arrow#

“Nyssa?” Oliver asked when he felt Nyssa climb out of bed.

“I heard it as well,” Nyssa confirmed, already knowing what had awoken Oliver. As he started to get out of bed, Nyssa stopped him. “Wait, I will investigate.”

“Be careful,” Oliver said needlessly even as he drew a pair of knives out from under his pillow. Nyssa crouched and pulled a sword out from under the bed, before advancing to the bedroom door. With a last glance at her husband, Nyssa ducked out the door.

Nyssa slowly made her way down the hallway, listening carefully for anything out of the ordinary. Hearing nothing as she reached the balcony overlooking the main area, Nyssa looked around before slowing descending the stairs. After checking the gym, Nyssa made her way towards the elevator entrance foyer and abruptly stopped as a figure stumbled around the corner. Even in the lowlight, Nyssa recognised the silhouette and turning on the lights confirmed it.

“Zayda,” Nyssa called abruptly. “What are you doing here?”

“Hey Nyssa,” Sin drawled somewhat, as if she had been drinking. “Needed help.”

“What kind of help?” Nyssa queried as she relaxed a little, absently twirling her sword in her hand. When Sin didn’t immediately answer, Nyssa prodded. “Sin!”

“Friend taken,” Sin slurred as she stumbled forward again, leaning against the wall. “Nowhere else to go.”

“Zayda?” Nyssa said, her instincts telling her something was wrong. Sin made to step forward again but the wall that was holding her up ended and she collapsed to the floor. “Zayda!” Nyssa exclaimed as she dropped to the floor next to her friend. Sin was moaning as she lay on the floor and Nyssa started to examine her, knowing something was wrong. Pulling one of Sin’s hands away from her body, Nyssa saw that it was coated in blood, a lot of blood and it was both fresh and dried. “Oh no,” Nyssa said as she hastened her examination.

"Nyssa?" Oliver's voice echoed from the top of the stairs.

"It's Sin," Nyssa called as she found first one injury, and then another. "She has 2 bullet wounds; a deep graze to her side and a full penetration wound to her upper arm. I don't think it hit the bone however. She has, however, lost a lot of blood."

"I'll call Dig and grab the medkit," Oliver said as he turned around.

"Zayda, if you can hear me, fight," Nyssa urged. "Fight this."

#Arrow# 

"She's coming round," Sin heard Diggle say as she slowly awoke. The last thing she remembered was getting into the lift at Nyssa's place and barely being able to type in the passcode to get the lift moving. Before that...

"Janice!" Sin exclaimed as she tried to sit up. Flaring pain at her waist immediately doused that idea and she settled back to the bed.

"Easy Zayda, it's alright," Nyssa said reassuringly as she came to sit on Sin's left side. "You're safe."

"Where am I?" Sin asked, realising that the room she was in did not look like any hospital that she had ever seen before, anywhere. 

"You are still at our apartment," Nyssa answered gently. "As I said, you're safe."

"You didn't take me to a hospital?" Sin asked in a tired voice.

"Gunshot wounds in hospitals get reported, Zayda. You know that," Nyssa remarked. "Besides, it seemed like you have something important you need to tell us. Who is Janice?"

"Ah right," Sin said. "Janice is a friend of mine. And I think she was kidnapped."

"You think?" Oliver asked from off to the side where he had been sitting unnoticed.

"Well I'm pretty sure," Sin retorted, adrenaline strengthening her voice. "It's not often that you see your friend being carried out of her house by 2 guys after midnight while another one opens up on you with Ryback's gun."

"Ryback's gun?" Diggle queried, digging out his phone.

"Yeah, the one with the ship and the sub and he used it to kill like half the bad guys," Sin described in her own way. "It had the silencer and everything."

"Was this the gun?" Diggle asked as he handed his phone to Sin.

"That’s the one," Sin confirmed, handing his phone back.

"Suppressed MP5K," Dig identified. "It matches the bullet wound to her arm. You have a good eye," Diggle said as everyone looked at him. "Just in case anyone is interested."

"I just did what everyone has been teaching me to do," Sin replied. "Nyssa told me to keep my eyes open and notice if something is out of place. Diggle told me on my first day to do the same thing plus if I ever get shot at, try and get a safe look at what they are using so I know how to avoid it," Sin explained. "I'm still working on that last part."

"I think you did pretty well," Diggle pointed out. "Neither of your wounds are life threatening and you're tough, for someone so small. You'll be just fine in a day or so."

"Not if it hurts this much I won't be," Sin retorted as she tried to shift in bed and immediately grimaced in pain.

"Perhaps John can get you something for the pain," Nyssa said, looking up at the bodyguard.

"I'll see what's available," John replied before heading for the door.

"I'll join you. It's time for my meds anyway," Oliver added as he climbed gingerly to his feet. Diggle braced him as they left the room together. 

"Nyssa," Sin said once Oliver and John had left. "What about Janice?"

"I will call the police anonymously and file a missing persons report," Nyssa began.

"They won't do anything," Sin interrupts dismissively. "They never do."

"What do you mean?" Nyssa wondered.

"This isn't the first time that people have gone missing from the Glades," Sin revealed, grimacing as she moved to a more comfortable position. "Every 2 months or so, there is a rash of people, kids and teenagers mostly, that go missing from the Glades. Been happening for a few years now.”

“And no one has informed the police?” Nyssa asked incredulously.

“Sure, but no one ever sees the kids being taken,” Sin said. “The police just put them down as runaways and file a missing persons report. And that’s where it stops.”

“Well, we will have to see about that,” Nyssa stated firmly. “We’ll find your friend Zayda.”

“Promise?” Sin asked.

“I promise,” Nyssa assured her friend just as Diggle and Oliver came back in.

“I have something here that should help you get some rest,” Diggle said as he stepped up to the bed. Nyssa gave them some space and moved to stand next to her husband.

“You heard,” Nyssa said, knowing that he had indeed heard what she had promised. 

“I did,” Oliver confirmed. “Don’t make promises you can’t keep, Nyssa,” Oliver cautioned softly. “It hurts worse.”

“When was the last time I failed to uphold my word, Beloved?” Nyssa asked rhetorically. They both knew the answer to that.

#Arrow#

“Well, she wasn’t lying,” Felicity said as she stared at her computer screen.

“What do you mean?” Nyssa asked. After making sure that Sin was resting comfortably, Nyssa had come to QC that morning to ask for her help in finding anything out about all the missing persons. It was now early evening and Felicity had some information for her. 

“Over the past 2 years there has been a regular spike in missing persons cases in the Glades, practically every two months like clockwork,” Felicity said as she turned her screen so that Nyssa could see the data. “Looks like between 5 and 10 new cases each time. So probably double that for those that go unreported. Huh, that’s weird.”

“Felicity?” Nyssa wondered. “What is weird?”

“An anomaly,” Felicity answered, concentrating.

“Felicity!” Nyssa called out, breaking the blonde’s focus. “What is the anomaly?”

“Oh, the pattern broke,” Felicity said as if that was all the explanation necessary.

“I’m not following,” Nyssa pointed out.

“Remember when I said the missing persons cases would spike every 2 months, well, they missed a spike,” Felicity described as she ran her finger over the screen. “There should be a spike here, in October of this year, but there isn’t.”

“Is that important?” Nyssa asked curiously, her mind at work. 

“It could be,” Felicity remarked. “I can’t be certain of anything really.”

“Felicity….” Nyssa started before her phone rang. Pulling it out and seeing it was Sin, Nyssa looked back to Felicity apologetically. “Please excuse me a moment,” Nyssa apologised before moving away a short distance and accepting the call. “Sin, I told you I would call if I found out anything.”

“I know, but this is important,” Sin said a little breathlessly. “I found the van.”

“The van?” Nyssa wondered. “You are supposed to be at home resting!”

“I couldn’t just lay around while my friend being taken who knows where,” Sin explained. “I had to do something. So I took a walk around the Glades.”

“Where are you?” Nyssa asked immediately.

“I’m at the corner of 8th and… HEY, let me go!” Sin yelled. In the background, Nyssa heard a man speaking in Mandarin. She wasn’t able to hear all of it but she did understand one phrase; no escape this time. “HELP!!!” Nyssa heard Sin scream before her voice was cut off but a loud smack. She then heard the phone get thrown to the ground and the call was ended abruptly.

“Zayda,” Nyssa whispered, her voice strangely broken.

Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #28
Chapter 29 – And Two Become Three (Or Is It Four?)

"Nyssa?" Felicity called out, noticing the Nyssa was eerily quiet. "Is everything alright?" she asked. Nyssa said nothing for a moment before slowly and deliberately pocketing her phone and turning to face Felicity.

"Unfortunately, it is not, Felicity," Nyssa answered her friend softly as she considered what she should say.

"What's happened? Is Sin ok?" Felicity asked. At Nyssa's look, Felicity explained. "I heard you say her name before you moved out of earshot. Is she of?" Felicity repeated.

"I'm, I'm not sure," Nyssa hedged. "I think she might have been taken."

"Taken?" Felicity queried. "As in kidnapped?"

"Yes," Nyssa confirmed, her mind working, trying to figure out who might have taken Sin. Unfortunately, the list of potential candidates was not a short one. 

"Was she talking to you when she was taken?" Felicity asked, suddenly focused.

"Yes," Nyssa replied, adding. "She was about to tell me where she was when I think someone grabbed her. I think they surprised her. I heard the phone hit the ground and then the call ended."

"Could be the phone was dropped and damaged," Felicity said as she moved to her computer and started typing, rapidly. "Could be that the kidnapper smashed it." Glancing at Nyssa, Felicity quickly added on, "I'm sure it was the former. I'm forever dropping my phone."

"Thank you, Felicity," Nyssa said, grateful at Felicity's attempt to distract her. "But I think we both know it is more than likely the latter. I do not believe for a second about you being clumsy with your phone."

“Yeah, I tried,” Felicity said, pausing from her typing to look at Nyssa hopefully before resuming.

“What are you doing?” Nyssa asked, moving to stand beside Felicity to see what she was doing.

“Uh, something I probably shouldn’t be doing,” Felicity admitted without slowing. “Actually, I’m positive I shouldn’t be doing this.”

“Felicity, I don’t care if what you are doing is illegal, if it helps Sin, I will pay you legal bill and if necessary, break you out of prison myself,” Nyssa promised honestly.

“You would do that?” Felicity asked in surprise. “You could do that?”

“Felicity, I am capable of more than what you think I am,” Nyssa advised. “Trust me Nura, when I say I can do something, I will see it done.”

“Right,” Felicity accepted. “Ah, what does that mean? Nura?”

“It means ‘Light’, Felicity,” Nyssa answered calmly. 

“It’s nice,” Felicity commented as she typed. “Alright, I’m in.”

“In to where?” Nyssa asked, focusing on Felicity’s screen. 

“The phone company’s computer system,” Felicity answered. “I’m looking to find where Sin was when she called you.”

“How does that help us?” Nyssa wondered curiously, playing dumb.

“Because, if I know where she was when she made the call, I know which traffic cameras I need to access when I finish hacking them,” Felicity replied, eyeing Nyssa out of the corner of her sight. "Hopefully, we might get a picture of who took Sin which we can anonymously send to the police. Can I get Sin's phone number from you?"

"Then I hope that she was standing near one," Nyssa said honestly as she brought up Sin's number on her phone and handed it to Felicity. She watched Felicity flick through screens, barely reading them as she searched for Sin's records.

"Ok, I have Sin's phone records. Last call was placed within 20 metres of Eighth and Roberts which is the only intersection she could be at," Felicity explained as she brought up a map of the city. "Luckily, there is a traffic camera on that intersection. Unluckily, there is only one."

"Then let us hope that it saw what happened," Nyssa said as Felicity brought up a list of cameras, quickly selecting one and bringing up a frozen image of the intersection. "When did you gain access to the traffic cameras?"

"About 20 seconds after getting into the phone company," Felicity answered, turning to seeing Nyssa staring at her. "What? Computers and me speak the same language."

"I believe that will be a language that I will never understand," Nyssa commented casually. "Can we see Sin?"

"I'm just tracking through the footage now, starting 30 minutes before Sin made the call, just to be safe," Felicity said. The two watched as the footage raced along until Nyssa spotted something.

"Stop!" Nyssa commanded as Felicity acted. "That is Sin," Nyssa said as she pointed at a figure on the screen.

"Are you sure? They are on the far corner of the intersection compared to the camera," Felicity asked.

"I am sure," Nyssa assured her. "It is Sin."

"Ok then," Felicity accepted as she played the tape. "Let's see what happened."

The two watched as Sin approached the corner of the intersection and stated around it. Something seemed to catch her eye however as she suddenly ducked back out of sight and pressed herself against the fence, reaching to hold her side. After a moment, she peeked around the corner again at something out of sight down the street before ducking back. They watched as she reached into her pocket and pulled something out.

"She is reaching for her phone," Felicity supplied. Sin peeked around the corner again before appearing to dial.

"She has just called me," Nyssa said, noting the timestamp and watching as Sin put the phone up to her ear. Nyssa and Felicity watched as, while Sin spoke, a man approached from the direction Sin had been looking and as she looked around again, he surprised and grabbed her. They saw Sin attempt to kick the guy but he twisted her around. She tried to bring the phone to her ear but he battered it away before slapping Sin hard. Disorientated from the heavy slap, Sin didn't put up any more fight as the man grabbed her, wrenched the phone from her hand and carried her back the way he had come, crushing the phone under his boot as he went.

"And he trashed her phone," Felicity concluded. "But she is alive."

"Yes, but for how long?" Nyssa wondered. "As you know, Sin is from the Glades. Kidnapping her makes no sense. Unless..."

"I positively do not like the way you said 'unless'," Felicity stated somewhat fearfully.

#Arrow#

"It is a human trafficking ring, or at the very least, a part of one," Nyssa announced forcefully.

"Whoa, hold up," Diggle cautioned carefully, not wanting to draw Nyssa's ire but needing her to calm down a little so that she didn’t go charging off, putting arrows in the wrong people. "It's a long way from Janice, and now Sin, going missing to human trafficking. We should sit down and examine everything."

"And while we do that, Sin is taken to who knows where," Nyssa argued. "To who knows what fate."

"I am not disagreeing with you Nyssa," Diggle said calmly. "All I'm saying is that we need to slow down and do this right. If we get it wrong, Sin and anyone else they have are gone."

"Nyssa, you know he is right," Oliver said from where he was sitting on the couch. "We have both seen what traffickers do when they are cornered."

"I remember Beloved," Nyssa responded, calmer then she had been but still with an underlying tone of anger. "But this is Zayda."

"All the more reason to do this right," Oliver stated. "If we are dealing with traffickers, and I'm not saying we aren't. Then we have time to do this right. Our first issue is finding out who is behind this."

"I heard Mandarin being spoken by the man who took Sin," Nyssa revealed. "He said, 'the fish that got away'."

"Mandarin, possibly makes it the Triad," Oliver claimed. 

"Possible," Diggle agreed, happy that the situation was calmer. "What else do we know?"

"Felicity said there was a pattern of reported cases of people going missing spiking every two months for two years,” Nyssa relayed, remembering what she had been told. “Except for October this year. There was no increase in the number of cases this year.”

“Now why is that?” Diggle asked, sounding thoughtful. “What happened in October of this year,” Diggle wondered, even as he realised what it was and looked at Oliver and Nyssa, who appeared to have the same conclusion. “You returned.”

“The docks!” Nyssa said.

“They were using the docks to transport their victims out of the country,” Oliver said, spelling out what they were all thinking. “When we took down Martin Somers, we removed the Triad’s access to the docks. They had to either wait until they regained access or to figure out another way to move their cargo. Evidently, they have found a way.”

“Air transport is too costly,” Nyssa said.

“And road travel is too risky,” Diggle added. “What with all the inspection points.”

“So they must have regained access to the docks,” Oliver concluded, shifting in his seat to try and get more comfortable. “The question is, which one?”

“I might be able to find out,” Diggle put forward. “Or at least narrow down the list some. Let me make a few calls,” Dig said as he moved out of the room, pulling out his phone as he did so.

“What are you thinking Beloved?” Nyssa asked, noting the thoughtful expression on her husband’s face.

“I’m just remembering the first time I saw a human trafficker,” Oliver admitted softly, not looking at his wife.

“There was nothing you could have done that night,” Nyssa reassured him, knowing which part he was thinking about.

“Doesn’t stop me from reliving the memory, trying to figure out a different way,” Oliver replied, eyes fixed on a distant point beyond the window.

#Flashback – 3 Years Ago#

“My daughter, are you rested?” Ra’s asked Nyssa as she knelt before him. 

“I am rested enough,” Nyssa replied, neutrally. “You have a task for me.”

“I do,” Ra’s confirmed. “There is a man, who runs an organisation that profits from the trafficking of flesh. We have been tracking him for some time but his movements have been erratic, to say the least.”

“This has changed?” Nyssa questioned, already knowing the answer.

“You would not be here otherwise,” Ra’s said imperiously. “We have recently learned that he will be spending the next week at his chateau in France, ostensibly on holiday but in reality to prepare for an upcoming auction he will be holding there.”

“What is your wish?” Nyssa asked, seeing multiple paths.

“I wish for you to kill this man before the auction begins and acquire a list of guests that would have been attending,” Ra’s commanded. 

“As you wish father,” Nyssa replied, bowing her head before standing to leave.

“I have not finished,” Ra’s said just Nyssa went to start walking. At his daughter enquiring stare, Ra’s continued. “This man, apparently is quite fearful for his safety. And while I have every confidence in your skill and abilities, I find myself disinclined to allow you to undertake this mission alone. Therefore you will be taking two assassins with you.”

“Two, father?” Nyssa asked, struggling to conceal her incredulity. “Surely no amount of security would warrant a pair of assassins needing to accompany me. One would be most sufficient.”

“I agree with you, my daughter,” Ra’s responded, confusing Nyssa. “However, one of the two assassins I will be sending you is unblooded and untested. I would not wish to risk your safety on his failure, therefore, you will have two assassin in accompaniment.”

“I was not aware of a new assassin having completed their training,” Nyssa said, wondering who her father would be sending with her.

“They have yet to complete their training but their previous skills and progress so far demand that they be tested,” Ra’s replied calmly, moving to a side table to pour himself a drink. “I am sure that he will not disappoint.”

“He?” Nyssa queried as the doors behind her opened. Turning, she saw two assassins striding into the hall. One of them she was easily able to identify as Namir, due to his stature and armament but the other was more traditionally armed with bow and sword. It was not until Nyssa got a clear look at the Recurve bow the assassin was carrying that she realised who it was. She had not seen him in several weeks, not since her father had taken him for assimilation training. 

“Nyssa, I would like you to meet your companions on this mission,” Ra’s said, stepping forward even as Namir and Oliver knelt. “Namir who already know and have worked with before.”

“It is my honour to accompany you once again,” Namir said graciously. 

“And this, is Al Sah-him,” Ra’s introduced, revealing to Nyssa, Oliver’s new name. “I am sure he will not disappoint you, and by extension, me.”

“It is my honour to accompany you on this task,” Al Sah-him said emotionlessly. 

“He is ready father?” Nyssa asked, curious about his answer as she looked over Al Sah-him as he knelt before them.

“If he succeeds on this mission, then he will be,” Ra’s responded calmly. “I leave it to you to test him,” Ra’s said dismissively.

“As you wish,” Nyssa said, knowing she now had leave to depart. As she walked out of the hall, Namir and Al Sah-him fell in wordlessly behind her. “I didn’t know you had been tasked to continue Al Sah-him’s training,” Nyssa observed, using Oliver’s new name.

“My lord, you father, requested I continue to train and test Al Sah-him as he was taught the ways of the league,” Namir said. “I could not refuse.”

“And has he learnt the ways?” Nyssa asked.

“He will not disappoint you, my lady,” Namir replied, glancing at Al Sah-him, who showed no reaction to the conversation about him. “I assure you.”

“We will see, Namir,” Nyssa said. “We will see.”


#Present#

“Anything?” Nyssa asked Dig as he re-entered the room. On the couch, Oliver stirred and awoke from the nap he had been having.

“My guy at Interpol struck out,” Diggle replied, seeing the downcast look that Nyssa shot Oliver. “But, my contact at A.R.G.U.S. says that Chien Na Wei, aka China White, has recently been seen making multiple trips to a dockyard area in Starling City, about 3 miles up from Somers’ old place.”

“How reliable is this contact?” Oliver queried. 

“I’d have to say pretty reliable,” Diggle said. “I trust her.”

“Ms Michaels?” Nyssa wondered curiously.

“Your ex-wife?” Oliver asked, looking at Dig. “I didn’t know you two were speaking again.”

“She was at the reception,” Nyssa said before Diggle could say anything.

“Of course,” Oliver said. “With Amanda Waller there, she would bring company.”

“Should I be worried about how much you know about my life?” Diggle asked cautiously. 

“No point,” Oliver said. “If we need to find out about you, we will.”

“Right. Well that is good to know,” Dig responded. “But yes, Lyla did get me this intel.”

“Which means Waller is allowing us to know,” Oliver stated cautiously. “She wants us to go after the Triad.”

“Amanda Waller has been after Chien Na Wei for over 5 years now,” Sarab said from the corner where he had been standing silently. “Each time she has gotten close, she got away.”

“Not this time,” Nyssa declared, her voice promising a painful death. “She dies tonight.”

“Waller is up to something,” Oliver warningly. “She wouldn’t give us this information unless it benefited her.”

“Beloved, I do not care,” Nyssa stated heatedly. “I will get Zayda back, even if I have to make a deal with the devil herself.”

“Then I am going with you,” Oliver said as he struggled to his feet. “You will need the backup if you are going against the Triad.”

“You are far from able to accompany me, Oliver,” Nyssa pointed out. “You are still healing from you battle last week.”

“Pain is inevitable, Nyssa, but suffering, that is optional,” Oliver recited. “I am going.”

“No you’re not,” Diggle declared. “You would just put her and Sin both in more jeopardy.”

“I will not allow Nyssa to go up against the Triad alone, Dig,” Oliver said. “The league is forbidden to help us in this situation and the Triad is too numerous to handle alone. Especially, while searching for Sin.”

“She won’t be alone Oliver,” Diggle asserted. “I’m going with her.”

“I can’t ask you to do that, John,” Oliver said. 

“You didn’t. I offered,” John pointed out. “The way I see it. You’re injured and because it is the Triad that took Sin, neither Sarab nor any of the other assassins are allowed to interfere or assist in her rescue. That leaves me. Now, I could let her go alone, in which case it is 50/50 whether she gets killed or not. But, I believe that both you and Nyssa are trying to help this city. To make it better. And that is why I’m going to help in any way I can.”

“He is right, Beloved,” Nyssa said. “Thank you, John.”

“You’re welcome Nyssa,” Diggle responded. “Looks like I’ll be using your bow again, Oliver. I’ll try not to break it.”

“That might not be necessary,” Oliver said before turning his gaze to Sarab. “Sarab, has the last of Dig’s list arrived yet?”

“The last two cases arrived yesterday morning,” Sarab replied. “They were delivered to the Foundry by Namir and placed with the remainder of Mr Diggle’s listed equipment.”

“There you go,” Oliver said. “No need for a bow.”

#Arrow#

“Well, how do I look?” Diggle asked as he stepped forward into the light more so that everyone could see better.

“Formidable,” Nyssa described as she went over Diggle’s attire with a trained eye. Steel-toed combat boots, black pants with armoured thigh plates, padded undershirt with Kevlar weave jacket over the top with attached hood. Armoured chest and shoulder plates. Balaclava to conceal his face and gloves for his hands.

“Badass,” Oliver described more colloquially. “How does it feel?”

“Surprisingly comfortable,” Diggle admitted as he moved around to get used to the outfit. “I thought the additional armour plates would weigh me down or restrict my movements too much but they don’t.”

“The armourers at Nanda Parbat will appreciate the praise, Mr Diggle,” Nyssa said.

“The League of Assassins made this?” Diggle asked, a little shocked. “I thought they were not allowed to assist you.”

“And they aren’t,” Nyssa confirmed. “A similar outfit, with similar capabilities could be sourced from multiple other outlets. The League armoury is just the safest. And if my father had wanted to prevent this, you would not be wearing that.”

“Right,” Diggle said. “Well, thank them for me.”

“Weapons time,” Oliver said as Sarab wheeled forward two large containers and opened them. Diggle stepped forward and looked over the firearms inside. “Pick your poison Dig.”

“Oh, this is nice,” Dig said as he reached into the first case and pulled out a two-tone Glock 17 with threaded barrel. That went onto a bench behind him before Dig reached in again and pulled out an FN Five-Seven, again with a threaded barrel. Looking it over, Dig whistled in appreciation before setting it down beside the Glock. From the second case, Diggle obtained a HK UMP9 with fore grip weapon light, laser sight and threaded barrel. Hefting it once or twice and looking down the sight, Diggle then set it next to the handguns and pulled out the last firearm he would be taking with him tonight, a HK 417. Holding it with experienced hands, Dig carried it over to the bench and, after unfolding the bipod, set it down as well.

“That is a lot of firepower, John,” Oliver noted.

“It is,” Dig agreed as he started to quickly and efficiently disassemble each of his selected firearms. “But it gives me versatility if I need it.”

“How long do you need for a weapons check?” Oliver asked, knowing that Diggle would want to check his guns himself. 

“30 minutes and I’m good to go,” Dig assured him. 

“Ok,” Nyssa accepted. “I will be waiting,” she said before walking off to get ready herself.

#Flashback – 3 Years Ago#

“Roving guards patrol the grounds,” Namir described to Nyssa and Al Sah-him. They had travelled to France without difficulty and made their way here, to their target’s chateau. “There is also a pair of guards on the roof. But they are lazy. They do not move around.”

“Did you find a way in?” Nyssa asked.

“Multiple,” Namir answered. “It just depends on how many bodies you wish to leave behind.”

“I care nothing for traffickers of the flesh,” Nyssa said. “They all deserve the same fate.”

“I had a feeling you would say that,” Namir responded. Despite the icy exterior that she presented, underneath, Namir knew Nyssa to be quite emotional in her beliefs; one of which was the fate deserved by those who harmed women for fun or profit. “The removal on one of the guards on the east side will create an opening that can be followed all the way to the kitchen. Another path is through the southwest maze, but that could be difficult to pass through in a timely fashion. The last path is wading along the river and gaining entry in through the terrace.”

“I will take the east side. You and Al Sah-him can traverse the river,” Nyssa commanded. “Remember, our mission is twofold. We need the guest list for the auction that is to be held tomorrow. And the head of this organisation dies tonight. Beyond that, if the removal of any of the other guards or staff can be done without sounding an alarm, I see no reason for them to see the dawn.”

“As you say,” Namir said.

“As you command,” Al Sah-him said, speaking for the first time since they had stood before her father. Once again, Nyssa was reminded of the efficiency of her father’s assimilation processes. They stripped away at the very fabric of a person’s identity, removing layer upon layer of it until rebuilding the empty shell into a loyal member of the League of Assassins.

“Be in position in 1 hour,” Nyssa commanded. “We will attack then.”


#Present#

“Alright then, it looks like we have the right dock," Diggle announced as he and Nyssa looked out over the cranes, truck yards and stacks of shipping containers below them. "Judging by he armed guards holding Kalashnikovs anyway."

"I would have to agree with you," Nyssa conceded, her eyes searching. "Sin could be anywhere. There are multiple buildings she could be in."

"And that is if they are keeping her and the others in one of the buildings," Diggle said. "Could be they are keep them in one of the containers ready to transport."

"You won't know until you get down there and start looking around," Oliver pointed out over the radio. "I have a map of the docks in front of me. Let me know your search progress and I will tick off where you have been."

"Do you believe we will get lost, Beloved?" Nyssa queried, smiling underneath her veil.

"You won't," Oliver said calmly. "But Dig might."

"I don't get lost," Diggle argued as he adjusted the 417 slung across his back. "Though I won't deny being geographically embarrassed once or twice."

"We'll will inform you of our progress," Nyssa said to Oliver, while looking at Dig. "Shall we go?"

"Lead the way," Dig replied, grasping and removing the safety from the supressed UMP9 that had been dangling in front of him.

#Arrow#

"Well, they probably heard that," Dig said after knocking out the last of the four men that had been guarding a small warehouse near the water. They had been able to infiltrate the docks without alerting any of the guards. Unfortunately, they hadn't seen one of the men guarding the warehouse when they attacked and he managed to fire off a burst from his assault rifle even as Nyssa put an arrow through his throat. 

“Do they have the keys?” Nyssa said as she examined the lock on the door. 

“No time,” Diggle countered as he raised his gun. Taking careful aim, Diggle fired once and destroyed the lock on the door. Kicking the door in, he led the way inside, gun raised. He was met by a collection of screams. “I think we found the victims,” he said as he shined his weapon light around the room, revealing about 10 teenagers, mostly girls, all in a scared and miserable state.

“I would have to agree with you,” Nyssa said as she stepped out from behind him, her eyes searching the victims. “She isn’t here.”

“Dammit,” Diggle said softly. A noise from the collection of teens drew both of their attentions again.

“You’re looking for someone?” one of the girls asked as she stepped forward. “Someone taken like us?”

“We are,” Nyssa said calmly, stepping forward. Even she knew that the teens would respond better to her then to Diggle. “Are there others like you?”

“Yes,” the girl replied. 

“Do you know where they are?” Nyssa asked kindly, crouching down. “How many there are?”

“Not exactly. I’ve been in 2 other places like this one,” the girl said. “Both were almost full like this.”

“And do you know where they are?” Nyssa urged, hoping the girl had an idea.

“Not exactly,” the girl said. “One was a building that looked like this one and the other was a shipping container near the water.”

“That is very helpful,” Nyssa said, reaching out to squeeze the girl’s shoulder gently. “Now, my large friend here is going to make sure all of you get out of here safely. Alright?”

“You’re not coming too?” the girl asked, worried.

“I can’t,” Nyssa responded. “I have to go and rescue my friend and all the others that were taken like you.”

“You promise?” the girl begged.

“I promise little one,” Nyssa said, squeezing her shoulder again. “Now go with him and he will make sure you get to safety.”

“Ok,” she said. Nyssa stood and turned to Dig.

“Get them out of the dockyard and somewhere safe,” Nyssa commanded. “Then come and find me.”

“Where are you going to be?” Diggle wondered.

“Finding my friend,” Nyssa replied, her voice cold. “Whatever it takes.”

#Flashback – 3 Years Ago#

“Mr Moreau,” Nyssa called out as the man entered the room. “How are you this evening?”

“I’d be better if you lowered the bow,” Moreau replied calmly, eyeing the veiled woman who was pointing a drawn bow at him. “And then took off all that armour.”

“I’m afraid I have a different objective,” Nyssa said politely. “One that will be completed shortly.”

“Is that so?” Moreau wondered. “Well if that is the case, would you mind if I had one last…” He never finished his sentence as Nyssa released her arrow, watched it cut through the air and pierce Moreau’s forehead directly above between his eyebrows.

“I would mind,” Nyssa said as Moreau’s body fell lifelessly to the carpet. Satisfied that he was dead and already possessing a flash drive with the guest list on it, Nyssa exited Moreau’s office as quietly as she had entered. Moving around the outside of the chateau, she eliminated 3 more guards without them ever knowing she was there as she headed towards the large garage. Gaining entry through a side door, she immediately noticed the scent of blood heavy in the air and soon thereafter, found three bodies, each with their throat cut. Following the trail of bodies that, Nyssa found a slightly ajar door that would normally have been concealed in the wall.

On the other side of it, Nyssa found a set of stairs descending into the foundations. Advancing carefully, Nyssa stepped over a man with his neck broken and came upon Namir crouching in the intersection of 4 hallways.

“Namir,” Nyssa whispered as she stopped beside him, her question unspoken.

“Each hallway is a dead-end, containing cells for the holding of victims,” Namir described before point down hallway number 3. “Al Sah-him is currently down there, clearing it of guards. In fact, he approaches now,” Namir announced as Al Sah-him appeared. Wordlessly, he nodded at Namir before turning and starting up the last hallway before suddenly stopping, his sword raising. Nyssa, curious why he stopped, looked past him and saw a man in an expensive suit, hiding behind two handcuffed teenage girls with a gun pointed at one of the their heads.

“Get out of my way!” he shouted. “I’ll kill her! I swear!”

“Lower you gun,” Nyssa said, stepping up next to Al Sah-him but keeping her arms down. “And we will let you live.”

“Not a chance,” the man shot back. “I’ve seen what he’s done down here. I lower my gun and he’ll kill me.”

“If you don’t lower your gun,” Nyssa responded. “He’ll kill you anyway.”

“You don’t believe me!” the man yelled before pulling the trigger and shooting one of the girls in the head. As her body crumpled to the ground, Nyssa felt, more than saw the rage radiating off of Al Sah-him. And it intrigued her. “I told you I’d do it. Now move.”

“Al Sah-him,” Nyssa said, knowing that was all she needed to say. Al Sah-him sprang forward, charging towards. The man panicked and shifted his aim to try and shoot the assassin advancing on him. He managed to get off 4 rounds, one of them even hitting, before the assassin reached him. Al Sah-him released his rage in an instant, starting by driving his sword through the man’s leg just above his knee before quickly pulling it back out. Losing the support from his leg, the man fell forward, throwing his arms out to try and cushion his fall but Al Sah-him sword flashed through the air again and relieved him of his gun, hand and all. Barely catching himself on his one remaining hand, the man managed to right himself to a kneeling position as he screamed in pain while cradling his stump. Al Sah-him dropped his sword and drew his knife, and as Nyssa, Namir and the girl watched, proceeded to slowly eviscerate the man kneeling before him; seeming to revel in the screams the man screeched as his intestines erupted from his abdomen. Soon enough though, the man slumped forward as blood continued to empty from his body onto the stone floor.

“Effective,” Namir said from behind Nyssa as she considered the scene before her. Walking forwards, she managed to hear Al Sah-him utter a pair of words that both confused her and comforted her in a way she did not understand.

“For Thea.”


#Present#

“How is it going, Nyssa?” Oliver asked over the radio as Nyssa killed the last Triad member at small warehouse she had them guarding. She had been searching for the locations the girl had mentioned early when she had found one that was housed inside a disused fuel tank. Eliminating the guards there, she had summoned Diggle to escort the kidnapped victims to safety while she continued her search. Finally, she had found the warehouse that the girl had mentioned.

"The warehouse that the girl described is now unguarded," Nyssa repllied to her husband as she quickly searched the dead guards, eventually locating a set of keys. "I am entering now." Oliver said nothing, knowing that it need not be said that she should be careful. Unlocking the door, Nyssa held her sword at the ready as she stepped into the doorway, he eyes being greeted by the familiar sight of scared teens cowering on the floor; one of them very familiar. "Dig, I have Sin, She is in the warehouse near the docks," Nyssa said in Arabic so that no one understood her.

"Roger that," Diggle acknowledged. "I am almost at your position." Nyssa looked outside and saw that Diggle was making his way down a laneway between containers. 

"Stay there, I will send them to you," Nyssa said, again in Arabic. Seeing Diggle stop at her words, Nyssa ducked back inside. "It is time to go," she said to them in English, her voice modulated. "My friend is waiting outside, he will show you to safety."

"Where will you be?" Sin asked, stepping forward.

"I must find the others like you," Nyssa replied, stepping back out the door and looking around. "Go now."

"Let's go," Sin said to the others around her. As they exited the building, Nyssa directed them towards Diggle and watched as they all reached him safely. Once he had corralled them and turned to lead them out, Nyssa headed off towards the waterfront, looking for the container.

Neither she, nor Diggle noticed one of the escapees break away from the group.

#Arrow#

"I had hoped I would meet you here," Nyssa heard a familiar female voice  say behind her as she searched the cooling bodies of the guards that had been stationed at the shipping container. 

"Chien Na Wei," Nyssa said as she stood and turned to face the Triad assassin. "We meet again."

"There will be no interruptions," Chien Na Wei announced. "I have ordered any of my surviving men to abandon this area."

"Cutting your losses?" Nyssa prodded.

"So to speak," China Na Wei replied as she casually reached over her shoulder and drew her Jian. "And your companions."

"Otherwise occupied," Nyssa said, setting her bow on the ground. "Dig, container is at the end of Pier 7. White lady," she said over the radio, trusting that Dig would understand. "They will not interrupt us."

"Then let us see who will die tonight," China White proclaimed as she began walking towards Nyssa, raising her Jian. Nyssa drew her sword and also advanced. A clash of swords sounded their meeting.

#Arrow#

Sin knew she was crazy. She should have just stayed with the group and followed the big guy with the guns. But she had to know. And so she had split off from the group when no one was watching and carefully made her way through the stacks of shipping containers, searching. She followed the sounds of fighting, even once coming across a bleeding Chinese guy but didn't stop to look at him. Eventually, she heard the familiar sound of swords clashing and she knew she was close. 

Inching forward, she looked around the corner of the container she was hiding behind to see the woman in black and red fighting another woman with snow white hair. She couldn't help but stare as the two women traded sword strikes, intertwined with kicks and punches, faster than she could follow them. They fought across the waterfront, threatening at anytime to knock the other into the water or fall in themselves. But the woman in black finally managed to kick the other woman away, and they stood staring at each other as Sin watched their shoulders work to get air into their lungs.

And then the woman in black turned her head, searching and Sin knew, deep down that she was what the woman looked for. A moment later, it was confirmed and the woman in read locked her eyes on Sin and said a word in a disappointed tone that confirmed everything for Sin.

"Zayda," she said. And Sin knew that she was in the wrong place, at the wrong time. 

"She is why you came?" the Chinese woman asked. "Good. She can join you in death," she declared as she sprang forward, intent on impaling Nyssa on her sword while at the same time throwing a knife at Sin.

Sin was frozen in place as she watched the knife coming at her; until her vision was blocked by the largest man she had ever seen as he appeared from the sky. She heard two different whistling sounds and when she managed to regain herself and look past her saviour, she saw the Chinese Snow White teetering on the end of the dock, an arrow in one shoulder and a bullet wound in the other, before falling back and disappearing into the water. Nearby, Nyssa stood, sword still raised, unharmed.

"Nyssa," Sin called out. She attempted to move to her friend but the mountain of a man who had saved her held out an arm, blocking her way. "Let me go," Sin demanded but the tall man, who was dressed the same as the man who had saved her that night, simply shook his hooded head.

"Zayda, you should have gone with the others," Nyssa said, her voice unmodulated, as she walked over. "It's not safe."

"I'd say I'm safer right now than I have ever been in my life," Sin countered, gesturing at first Nyssa and then the man who had stepped in front of her. "Especially between you and him."

"You have no idea how much danger you are in right now," Nyssa stated forcefully, her eyes turning to Aziz. "Thank you Aziz for protecting her. Would you like me to attend to that wound for you?"

"What wound?" Sin asked, turning to look at Aziz as he shook his head in declination and saw the knife meant for her, embedded in Aziz's forearm. "Oh shit, are you alright?" Aziz said nothing, merely nodding once. "I guess I owe you a thank you."

"You owe him more than that," Nyssa pointed out as Aziz nodded once more at Sin before looking up and away from them. Nyssa and Sin both looked as well to see the man with the guns from early approaching.

"Nyssa, we should go. Sin has to be close.... by," Diggle said as he noticed Sin standing next to Nyssa and Aziz. "Oh boy."

"Something like that, John," Nyssa agreed.

"Mr Diggle?" Sin questioned in disbelief.

"Well this is going to get complicated," Diggle observed. "But as the police are undoubtedly on their way. I suggest you all get out of here while I open this last container before catching up."

"That sounds like an excellent idea," Nyssa responded. "Come Sin, we need to leave. Oh and John, don't tell him. Leave that to me."

"Him?" Sin wondered.

#Flashback – 3 Years Ago#

"You performed the mission flawlessly, Al Sah-him," Nyssa complemented once the two of them were along in the safe house. 

"Thank you, my lady," Al Sah-him replied calmly. Nyssa wondered if what she was about to do was the right thing or not. Maybe she should speak to her father. Maybe she should speak to her sister. Or perhaps, to no one.

"Do you know what the true purpose of my father's assimilation training is?" Nyssa asked casually.

"No, my lady," Al Sah-him replied. 

"They are designed to break down a person, completely. To strip everything away that makes them who they are and leave nothing but an assassin that is completely loyal to my father," Nyssa explained. "No past, no present, no future. Only my father."

"Prudent, my lady," Al Sah-him responded, his tone unchanged.

"Indeed it is," Nyssa agreed. "You should get some rest. We will be leaving early to return to Nanda Parbat."

"As you command," Al Sah-him said.

"Have a good night, Mr Queen," Nyssa said before disappearing from the room and leaving the assassin alone to contemplate her words.


#Present#

"The news is just catching up to what has happened tonight," Oliver announced as he heard Nyssa and Diggle descending loudly into the Foundry. "And the police report that all the girls are getting checked out as we speak," Oliver continued as he turned in his seat. "You both did goooood...hello."

"Uh, hi, Mr Queen," Sin replied cautiously with a small wave of her hand. 

"What is she doing here?" Oliver asked heatedly.

"She," Nyssa enunciated with a sideways glare at Sin. "Decided to break away from the group and see if her suspicions were true."

"Suspicions?" Oliver questioned.

"Yes. It seems we have quite the little detective here," Nyssa said with a gentle smile. "Do not worry Beloved. What she knew is circumstantial at best to anyone else."

"I'm more concerned with what she knows now," Oliver pointed out. "What are we going to do about this?"

"I am not sure about that," Nyssa replied honestly. "It would depend if you agreed."

"Agreed to what?" Oliver asked.

"To her helping us," Nyssa stated clearly. 

"No, absolutely not," Oliver responded immediately. "It is too dangerous."

"No one is suggesting we send her out their untrained Oliver," Diggle spoke up. "But she knows now. We can’t change that. So we have three options; kill, trust or enlist."

"And I will not let you kill her," Nyssa declared.

"You know I would never do that," Oliver said tiredly, turning to look at Sin. "But I don't know you."

"What is there to know about me?" Sin asked pointedly. "I have no family. The only home I have is Nyssa's and the only people I genuinely feel safe with are all connected to you."

"Then, before I even try to make a decision, one way or another," Oliver said, forcing himself to calm. "I have a single question for you."

"Shoot," Sin replied.

"What will you do to save this city?"

Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #29
Chapter 30 – Things Start To Heat Up

"I'm worried about mom," Thea said as she and Oliver sat on the couch, eating Big Belly Burger and watching TV. In between bites, Oliver was looking through a collection movies before finally selecting one and holding it up for his sister’s approval. “I’ve seen it before,” Thea said as she munched on her fries.

“Well you’ll need to cut me some slack,” Oliver responded with a smile, looking down at his choice. “I have apparently missed a lot while I was away, including the cinematic genius of Zac…Galafinikis?”Thea just shook her head as her brother mangled the pronunciation.

“I’m serious,” Thea said as Oliver set the movie down. “When you and dad disappeared, mom, she spent more and more time at home,” Thea explained, sighing. “Pretty soon, she stopped going out altogether.”

“What snapped her out of it that time?” Oliver wondered, curious.

“Walter,” Thea said, smiling as she recalled the memory of that morning. “One morning, he showed up. And you know when he gets all British and stern-like,” Thea said as Oliver smiled, knowing what his sister meant. “Moira, get dressed. We’re going out for lunch,” Thea said in a British accent, chuckling. “And somehow, it worked.”

“Hmm,” Oliver considered, lost in thought.

“I’ve been thinking,” Thea announced.

“Uh-oh,” Oliver jibbed.

“Shut up, I’m serious,” Thea said. “Maybe Walter wasn’t abducted. Maybe he is having some sort of mid-life crisis and is with some stewardess or something in Bora Bora. Maybe he is too ashamed to call home and tell us he is alright,” Thea tried. “Just because we haven’t heard from him doesn’t mean that he is, that he’s gone, right?”

“Right,” Oliver agreed with a small smile before something on the TV drew his attention. Turning it up a little, he sat back to watch.

“So what strikes me, is that this vigilante, who they are calling ‘The Hood’; this vigilante was actually making a difference,” the woman on the screen was saying, causing both Oliver and Thea to give the panel news show their full attention. “In the four months that he was active, assaults and muggings are down. The murder rate dropped by 16%. So, in a very real and quantifiable way, this man, this vigilante, has been a positive force in this city. So where has he been for the past six weeks? We’ve seen his partner, the woman that people are calling ‘Artemis’, thanks to her actions in freeing all those young girls. But where has he been?”

“Looks like everyone’s disappearing,” Thea remarked casually. Oliver glanced at his sister, silent. “So where is Nyssa tonight?”

“Out with Sin,” Oliver replied. “I am not sure where.”

#Arrow#

“That was an admirable effort,” Nyssa said as she stood on the rooftop, breathing easily while beside her, Sin was bent at the knees, sucking in air by the lungful to try and regain her breath. “But you will need to be faster.”

“Faster!” Sin exclaimed between breaths. “I near on killed myself just trying to keep up with you. How the hell am I supposed to be faster?”

“Perhaps the answer is not in speed alone but in the course you take,” Nyssa suggested.

“The course I take?” Sin asked. "I was following you."

"Indeed you were," Nyssa agreed. "But what was the purpose tonight?"

"You told me to keep up," Sin replied instantly.

"And how would you be able to tell if you were able to keep up with me?" Nyssa continued.

"I would be able to follow right behind you," Sin proposed.

"There is a better way," Nyssa stated.

"I'd catch you?" Sin wondered.

"Indeed you would," Nyssa said by way of confirmation.

"So tonight was just a game of catch me if you can?" Sin asked somewhat unbelieving. "That doesn’t make sense."

"It makes perfect sense when you consider it, Zayda," Nyssa countered. "Think, why do people run in this city?"

"Umm, exercise," Sin deadpanned. At Nyssa's look, she tried again. "People are chasing them. Or they are chasing someone."

"That is correct," Nyssa said. "Tonight was about seeing if you could catch me. I was your prey tonight and you didn’t catch me."

"I don’t think I will ever be able to catch you," Sin responded. "You're too fast."

"You almost caught me Zayda," Nyssa revealed to Sin's surprise. "If you had slide under that fence instead of struggling to climb it like I did, you would have caught me."

"I don't think I would have fit through the gap," Sin said. "And there was gravel. That was going to hurt if I slid through it."

"Zayda, you have yet to learn a simple truth," Nyssa declared. Once she had Sin's entire focus, she went on. "Pain is inevitable. But suffering from it; that is optional."

"I don’t see how," Sin said in disbelief. "Pain hurts."

"Then I will have to teach you, Zayda," Nyssa said in a somewhat menacing tone, sending a chill down Sin's spine. "But that is for later. We still have almost an hour before we need to meet Oliver and John at the Foundry."

"And what are we going to do in that time?" Sin asked. "More running?"

"That is exactly what we are going to be doing," Nyssa confirmed. "Are you tired?"

"Maybe before I met you I would have been," Sin replied. "But not now."

"We shall have to work on that then," Nyssa said a little cheekily. "Run rabbit, run."

"Oh shit," Sin exclaimed after realising what Nyssa said. An instant later she took off. Nyssa counted to 5 in her head before beginning her pursuit.

#Arrow#

"Remember what I taught you," Nyssa said as she watched Diggle and Sin square off against each other. "Just because you opponent has obvious advantages, it doesn't mean that he doesn’t have disadvantages.”

“I have to admit, I’m not seeing any,” Sin said a little nervously as she grasped her training sword tighter, never taking her eyes off Diggle. Diggle, on the other hand, was quite relaxed as he stood opposite Sin.

“That is because you are looking too hard,” Nyssa reasoned. “Stop trying to find them and relax. If they do not make themselves known at first, then be patient. They will be revealed soon enough.”

“Right,” Sin tried to accept. She didn’t have much time as Diggle chose that moment to step forward and swing at her head, using a one-handed grip on the sword to extend his reach before stepping back when Sin ducked under his blade. Sin retaliated by quickly following after Diggle and perform a series of strikes that she had learnt from Nyssa in the penthouse. Diggle managed to block or avoid them, but Sin did notice that she was faster than Diggle was, and that Diggle had a little trouble defending his lower leg area with the sword. Retreating, Sin considered this new information.

“That’s it. Patience. Test your opponent’s defences. Search for weaknesses. But be careful, they may be feigning weakness to lure you in,” Nyssa warned. “Again.”

Off to the side, Oliver sat making arrows while Maseo stood nearby, watching. In between arrows, Oliver would look up and watch the training and gauge how Sin was progressing.

“What do you think Sarab?” Oliver asked his friend. “How is she progressing?”

“Surprisingly, quite well,” Sarab replied, his eyes not leaving the combat before him. “I must admit, I did not think that she would have progressed as far as she has, as quickly as she has.”

“She is inspired and determined,” Oliver said calmly, his eyes checking an arrow for imperfections. “Those feelings and help you to do great things.”

“I have witnessed such things,” Sarab responded, turning to look at Oliver. “When will you be training opposite Sin?”

“When Nyssa tells me she is ready to accompany us,” Oliver replied without hesitation. “I will be the one to test her to see if she is really ready.”

“Is that fair?” Sarab wondered.

“Decidedly not, but that’s the point,” Oliver said before he was interrupted by his phone ringing. Frowning at the caller ID, Oliver picked it up and walked away from everyone before answering it, his voice automatically being modulated by the phone. “I wasn’t expecting a call from you, detective.”

“It’s not Detective Lance,” Laurel’s voice came from the phone, surprising Oliver. “I need your help.”

#Arrow#

Laurel was working in her apartment, alone when the lights went out. Standing, she looked around but saw no one. She was about to sit back down when a shadow of movement from the other room caught her eye. Slowly advancing, in case it wasn’t who she hoped it was, Laurel went to see what caused it.

“You should be more careful,” Oliver said, his modulated voice carrying through the silent room. “I could have been an intruder with ill intentions.”

“Technically, you still are an intruder,” Laurel countered, bringing a smile to Oliver’s concealed face.

“You said you needed my help,” Oliver replied. “I took that as an invitation.”

“I wasn’t expecting to see you in my apartment again,” Laurel said. “I was thinking more of an alleyway somewhere.”

“This offers us more concealment,” Oliver explained. “Unless of course, you would prefer to be seen speaking with us. I am sure your father would like that.”

“Ah no, here is fine,” Laurel responded even as her mind finished processing what the hooded vigilante in front of her had said. “Um, us?”

“Good evening Miss Lance,” a second, feminine modulated voice sounded in the room. Laurel spun around and found a second hooded vigilante in her apartment; one who was calmly sitting on her couch as if she didn’t have a care in the world. 

“You’re real,” Laurel exclaimed.

“Quite,” Nyssa stated. “The media has even given me a name.”

“Artemis,” Laurel said. “I think it fits pretty accurately.”

“You said you needed our help?” Oliver cut in. 

“I wasn’t even sure that you would come,” Laurel said, turning to look back at Oliver. “No one has seen you for a while.”

“You said it was important,” Nyssa reminded Laurel, causing her to look back at her again.

“Right,” Laurel said, moving to a side table and picking up a file. “My friend’s brother, Danny; he died two days ago fighting a fire. The police and the fire department say that he died in the line of duty. But my friend, she thinks he was murdered. And I am inclined to agree with her.”

“So you’re asking one killer to find another?” Oliver asked. When Laurel didn’t immediately respond, he pressed on. “That is exactly how you described me to your father, isn’t it? A killer completely lacking any remorse.”

“Then I guess this is your chance to prove me wrong,” Laurel said, holding out the file. “Take a look. If Danny de La Vega was murdered, then we have to bring his killer to justice.”

“Whose justice?” Oliver wondered as he stepped forward and took the file from Laurel. Without another word, he turned and walked away. Laurel turned to Nyssa but found that she had disappeared as well.

“I’m not even going to ask,” Laurel said to herself as the lights came back on.

#Arrow#

“You need to rotate your hips, John,” Nyssa said, surprising Diggle as she stalked past where he was pounding on the training dummy. “That, is where the power comes from.”

“Even if your arms are the size of bowling balls,” Oliver added as a joke as he came in behind Nyssa.

“How did it go last night?” Diggle asked as he took a break from his workout. “Laurel as spooked as we thought she would be, considering you executed someone right in front of her?”

“I guess she realised it was to save her life,” Oliver offered before holding out a file to Diggle. “She thinks someone is killing firemen.”

“That seems like a weird thing to do,” Sin said as she walked into the Foundry. “Aren’t firemen usually the ones that save lives?”

“They are,” Diggle agreed as he looked through the file. “It looks all in the job. And the file doesn’t offer much. A firefighter died in a fire.”

“Except for the inconsistencies,” Nyssa said. 

“He died wearing full gear,” Sin noted, reading over Diggle’s arm. “Even I know those coats they wear are supposed to protect them to like 400 degrees.”

“500 degrees,” Diggle said. “But the fire only got to 250 degrees. And his coat was covered in turpentine but according to the factory inventory, there was no turpentine in the building.”

“Which begs the question, how did he burn hotter than the fire that supposedly killed him?” Oliver wondered, looking at Diggle. “Can you look into it?”

“Yeah, I can reach out to a friend’s friend,” Diggle said. 

“If you find anything out, let the police know,” Oliver said as he turned away. Dig shot Nyssa a look and realised she was as surprised as he was.

“The police?” Diggle asked, puzzled.

“They just need something to jumpstart their investigation,” Oliver said. “And we need to focus on finding Talia and her assassins.”

“Oliver, I thought the point of being vigilantes was to do the police’s job,” Diggle said. “I thought you’d want to be out helping the city after 6 weeks.”

“And I am. By finding Talia,” Oliver replied. Further conversation was stalled by noises from upstairs. “Let me see what is going on upstairs,” he said as he headed for the stairs. Behind his back, Diggle and Nyssa shared a look.

“He ok?” Diggle asked.

“I believe so,” Nyssa responded after a moment. “He is just focused on stopping the assassin that injured him.”

“You mean nearly killed him,” Diggle corrected. “And in my opinion, he is focusing too much on that.”

#Arrow#

Oliver walked into his childhood home and was confronted by the sound of his mother speaking with someone in the sitting room. Curiosity getting the better of him, he walked in to see Moira and Ned Foster, the COO of QC, in talks; with Thea watching.

“Surely there are contingencies for these types of situations,” Moira said. “Bringing someone over from our London office, perhaps.”

“It is not solely a matter of the day-to-day operations,” Ned replied. “We have accountants and the vice presidents to do that. It's about the perception of the company. Public confidence.”

“Ned, the company will be fine,” Moira insisted.

“I don't mean to be indelicate,” Ned said with a sigh. “But this is the second time in five years that the CEO of Queen Consolidated has vanished under mysterious circumstances.”

“I don't need you to remind me of that,” Moira replied harshly, glaring at Ned. Oliver could understand he reaction. It wasn’t just the CEO of Queen Consolidated, it was her husband.

“The last thing I want to do is upset you,” Ned said, looking ashamed.

“Well, then you should consider this visit doubly disappointing,” Moira replied, rising to her feet to stare down at Ned. “Good day, Mr Foster.” Ned rose and walked out of the room, pausing to give Oliver an almost hopeful look. After he was gone, Oliver turned back to his mother. 

“What did Ned want?” Oliver asked.

“He wants mom to take Walter's place,” Thea said succinctly.

“He says that the company's stock price has been damaged by Walter's absence, and my stepping in would help settle the board,” Moira explained with more detail. “But I told him that I needed to be at home, for my family.”

“Mom,” Oliver said, looking at his sister briefly before looking back at her. “Thea and I are fine. We can manage here without you,” Oliver tried to assure his mother. "This sounds like something everyone needs you to do.”

“Well, maybe I don't care what everyone else needs,” Moira shot back harshly, before sighing and stalking out of the room. Oliver watched her leave, and then turned back to his sister. “She's going to be all right, Thea,” he assured her.

“Mr Queen,” Diggle called from the doorway. “Apologies for interrupting but we need to get going if you want to make your dentist appointment on time. Now sir.” Oliver nodded and sent a comforting look at Thea. She smiled back and turned to walk away.

“Hey John,” Thea greeted as she passed the bodyguard.

“Miss Queen,” Diggle replied as he watched her walk away before turning back to Oliver. “Eyewitnesses place a ’72 Ford pickup at the scene of Danny de La Vega’s fire.”

“Okay,” Oliver said, not understanding why Diggle couldn’t have told him this later.

“Stagg Chemical lit up ten minutes ago,” Dig revealed as he pulled out his phone. “I hacked into Stagg’s security feeds and found this parked on the street running along the plant.”

“Same pickup,” Oliver realised as he looked at the screen.

“I have our gear in the car,” Dig said, causing Oliver to look up at him in askance. “Oliver, by the time I get someone on the phone who will even listen to me, at least one of those firemen will be dead. Nyssa is helping Tommy with the benefit and the factory is too big for me to scour alone. I need, they need the man in the hood.”

#Arrow#

“East side is clear,” Dig said over the radio.

“Copy that,” Oliver replied as he made his way through the burning building. “I’m heading up to the north side as we speak.”

“I'll move to the south then,” Diggle said.

Oliver moved swiftly through the burning building, watching for any signs of traps. He was just about to turn away when he saw a fireman walking towards him. He ducked back behind a girder and waited.

“Portable one to Deputy Chief Seven,” the fireman said, presumably into his radio. “All clear of civilians.”

“Copy that,” someone replied over the radio. “Bail out and wait for second-in companies.” Oliver heard the fireman turn to leave when there was a loud thump. Stepping out from behind the girder, Oliver saw two firemen, one with an axe, struggling with each other. The one with the axe connected with a solid hit on the other and sent him reeling over the catwalk rail.

Oliver charged forward and smacked his bow into the axe-wielding fireman's knees. He followed up with a second blow to the head which sent him to the ground.

“Help!” the dangling fireman screamed. Oliver rushed over and was able to grasp his hand just as his other hand lost its grip. Pulling with all his might, Oliver was able to pull him back up and over the rail. As they both got their breath back, Oliver looked up to see a fireman's glove laying on the catwalk; its previous wearer standing a short distance away. He reached into his turnout with his bare and burnt hand; before withdrawing a small device and tossing it at the ground between them.

An explosion of fire erupted and separated the two. Oliver was about to pursue him when the man he had rescued started to cough. Looking between the two, Oliver chose to save a life rather than taking one.

#Arrow#

“Hello Beloved,” Nyssa greeted warmly as she answered her phone. “I understand a fireman is alive because of you.”

“Something like that,” Oliver agreed. “I called to pass on some information.”

“Yes?” Nyssa responded.

“The guy trying to kill firemen,” Oliver started. “He drives a 1970's Ford pickup. He has a burn scar on his left hand and a tattoo of a firefly.”

“That is very distinctive,” Nyssa observed.

“I thought so too,” Oliver agreed. “All the men of Engine Company 15 had the same tattoo. My guess, one of them is the killer.”

“I shall see if I can find out anything else as I am assisting Tommy today,” Nyssa said.

“Love you,” Oliver said. 

“Love you too,” Nyssa replied before hanging up.

#Arrow#

“Now what?” Diggle asked.

“Now we see what they come up with,” Oliver said as he stood to leave.

“And where are you going?” Diggle questioned.

“I'm going to keep looking for Talia's assassins,” Oliver replied. “They are still a threat.”

“I don’t disagree, Oliver,” Diggle said. “But I think you are focusing a little too hard on them right now. You need to take a step back and think about this.”

“No, what I need to do is protect the people I care about before they become targets,” Oliver shot back.

“You know what I think,” Diggle said. “Losing to that archer has you scared. And that is eating you up inside so much that you can't see anything else.”

“Thank you for the analysis,” Oliver said sarcastically. “I'm not scared for me, Dig. I moved past that a long time ago.”

“Perhaps,” Diggle conceded. “But until you stop letting that fear rule your decisions, you might as well have just died back in that warehouse 6 weeks ago.” Oliver said nothing as Diggle walked away, thinking about what he had been told. 

#Arrow#

“Miss Lance,” Nyssa said in greeting as she walked out of the firehouse. “I'm surprised to see you here.”

“I am helping a friend out. Clearing out her brother's locker,” Laurel replied.

“Yes, Oliver told me about that,” Nyssa said sympathetically. “Please express my condolences to her for her loss.”

“Thank you,” Laurel responded. “And you?”

“I was just assisting Tommy with preparations for his benefit,” Nyssa replied. “Checking to make sure that the guest list was accurate.”

“Tommy has been working very hard on that,” Laurel observed. “Please excuse me, I have to get inside.” Nyssa stepped aside to watch her go but decided to follow her back inside instead; her instincts telling her it would be profitable. She had to search around a little bit before she found Laurel but eventually found her speaking with Chief Raynes and holding out a photograph.

“I did some research. There are eight firemen in this picture,” Laurel stated. “You called yourselves the fireflies.”

“Yeah, well, that station house was shut down a few years back,” Raynes replied. “All the guys went to different companies, so…”

“Four of these men are now dead,” Laurel pointed out. 

“It's not all getting cats out of trees, Ms. Lance,” Raynes shot back. 

“But three of them died within the last six weeks, except for that man right there,” Laurel pointed at one of the men in the picture. “Garfield Lynns. He died two years ago in the Nodell Tower tragedy.” Nyssa chose that moment to step forward from where she had been observing silently, causing Raynes to notice her.

“Did you forget something, Mrs Queen?” Raynes asked. Laurel noticed Nyssa bristle slightly at the title but said nothing.

“Just wanted to see if my friend there needed some help,” Nyssa said pleasantly with a friendly smile. “What was the Nodell Tower?” she asked. 

“How do you not remember that?” he asked in disbelief.

“I was WiFi-free for a few years,” Nyssa pointed out. Raynes looked taken back by his forgetfulness as who Nyssa was.

“It was 22 stories of glass and steel. Except it turned out that the construction company who built it used substandard materials to save themselves a few bucks. It was nowhere near the structural code,” he explained. 

“Gas line blew,” Laurel said sadly. “There was a fire.”

“Yeah,” Raynes sighed in remembrance. “Melted right through the stanchions. Whole damn thing came down.”

“Bad day,” Laurel said softly. 

“34 civilians and 6 of my fellow firemen died. Now, do you need anything else, Ms. Lance? Other than reminding me of all the friends I've lost and buried?” Raynes asked harshly, before walking away from the two. With nothing left to say, Laurel exited the firehouse, followed closely by Nyssa.

“Laurel,” Nyssa called out, causing the lawyer to stop. “What was that about?”

“I can’t say Nyssa,” Laurel replied. “Please excuse me.” Nyssa watched as she walked away from her, reaching into her bag to pull out a phone.

#Arrow#

“Well, it seems like someone changed their mind,” Diggle noted as he walked into the Foundry and saw Oliver sitting at a computer, looking up information about the Nodell Tower fire.

“The first man from Company 15 to die was a man named Garfield Lynns,” Oliver said, not turning to look at Diggle.

“Well that kind of rules him out as a suspect,” Diggle pointed out as he grabbed a stool and sat down next to his principal. “Oliver, I am sorry for coming at you so hard earlier. But I've been there, and I know what it's like to stare at death and be the one to blink.”

“It's not that Dig,” Oliver denied calmly, swinging around to face John. “I've been close to death. With the league and especially on the island. More times than I can count, and I was never this worried. And it was because I had nothing to lose.”

“What about Nyssa?” Diggle queried. 

“By the time we married, we were working together exclusively,” Oliver explained. “If something had killed me, Nyssa would have died right beside me.”

“But now it's different,” Diggle observed.

“It is,” Oliver confirmed. “I have my family and friends back; and I've made new friends. And when I was injured and dying, I was worried about what would happen to everyone if I died. If I wasn't there to protect them. Afraid about what would happen to them if they lost me again. And for the first time in too long, I had something I was afraid to lose.”

“Oliver, man, you have it backwards,” Diggle said. “You're thinking that having all those people is going to slow you down. But it's just the opposite. Having all those people in your life, I think, it just makes you want to fight more; to come back to them.”

“A reason to live,” Oliver said, considering John's words for a moment before turning back to the screen. “All the men in this unit had an alibi for Danny's murder. But the guy I fought had a badly burnt hand and a firefly tattoo.”

“So, we start scanning medical records for firemen?” Diggle suggested.

“I have been,” Oliver said. “The Nodell Tower fire. Some of the bodies were so badly burned that no ID could be made, even from dental records,” he explained, turning back to Dig. “What if, Garfield Lynns didn’t die in that fire and was only presumed dead?”

“Oh man!” John exclaimed.

#Arrow#

Later that night, the firemen’s benefit was in full swing and Laurel was speaking with Tommy when Oliver and Nyssa walked up to them.

“Good evening you two,” Oliver greeted. “Tommy, you have done something great here.”

“Thank you, Oliver. I was just telling Laurel that if we got any more people in here that we would be violating the fire code,” Tommy quipped. “And I couldn’t have done it without your lovely wife’s help.”

“Why thank you Tommy,” Nyssa accepted with a smile. “Would you mind if I borrowed Laurel for a minute?”

“Of course,” Tommy replied. Laurel pecked him on the cheek before following Nyssa towards the bar, and Chief Reyes. “So, how is married life treating you?”

“I wouldn’t change a thing, Tommy,” Oliver replied as he watched Nyssa and Laurel speak with the Chief. “Not a thing.”

“I guess without the island you never would have met Nyssa,” Tommy observed.

“What’s that saying about what to do when life gives you lemons?” Oliver wondered, looking around.

“You make lemonade,” Tommy said with a chuckle. “I’m glad you found happiness my friend. I really am.”

“Your turn will come Tommy, I know it,” Oliver said as something caught his eye. A frown appeared on his face momentarily before vanishing. “Would you excuse me a moment Tommy.”

“Sure,” Tommy said and before he could blink, Oliver was gone.

#Arrow#

“You’re insane,” Raynes said to Nyssa and Laurel. “Gar did not make it out of that building.”

“Just like you won’t make it out of this one,” a voice said from behind them. Nyssa and Laurel turned to find a severely burned fireman in full gear standing there. Before they could move, Lynns threw several devices in different directions. Each of them exploded into flames, setting the club alight. People screamed in terror and began rushing towards the exit. Nyssa stepped slightly in front of Laurel, subtlety shielding her as Lynns unhooked a spray nozzle and pointed it at them.

“Run,” he told them. Nyssa didn’t need to be told twice as she ushered Laurel ahead of her. Halfway to the exit, Laurel, Diggle and Maseo met the two women.

“Laurel. Thank god. Are you ok?” Tommy spoke all at once. “Where’s Oliver?”

“Mr Queen was caught up in the crowd and carried outside,” Maseo said, looking at Nyssa pointedly.

“Then I think we should join him,” Nyssa announced. Her words were punctuated by a ceiling beam crashing to the floor behind them.

“Look, it’s him!” Laurel held, pointing back into the building as The Hood, ran through the flames.

#Arrow#

“Looks like the media is loving your return,” Diggle observed as he walked into the lair, seeing Oliver on the salmon ladder. “And I guess it is a good thing the fire didn’t spread down here.”

“One of the benefits of concrete and steel construction,” Oliver pointed out as he dropped down from the bar. “Thank you.”

“For what?” Diggle asked innocently.

“You know what for,” Oliver replied, grinning.

“So, what do we do now?” Diggle wondered. “Search for Talia?”

“Talia and her assassins won’t be found unless they wish us to find them,” Oliver responded, moving to a nearby table and picked up his father’s notebook. “No. It’s time we go hunting.”

Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #30
Chapter 31 – The Verification of Trust

“So how is she doing?" Oliver asked as he opened the paper bag and pulled out containers of Chinese food. They had been discussing Sin's training in his office at Queen Consolidated when lunch had been delivered.

"She has taken to the Sai pretty well," Nyssa answered as she opened her meal and savoured the smell. "She is still using her right hand too much to the detriment of her left, but I have faith that she will adapt very quickly."

"I don’t doubt that she will,” Oliver assured his wife, smiling broadly at her. “After all, she has a most excellent trainer.”

"You always say the nicest things," Nyssa said, returning Oliver's smile.

"Oh, we both know that is not true," Oliver noted as he leaned in to kiss his wife. Footsteps heralded someone's arrival but neither Nyssa nor Oliver paid them any attention.

"Oh, I'm sorry," Felicity said, embarrassed when she saw her boss and her friend. "Ah, I can come back."

"Felicity," Nyssa called once she broke the kiss with Oliver. "Come back. You have nothing to be embarrassed about."

"You sure?" Felicity asked, stepping forward. "It looked like I was interrupting something."

"Oh?" Nyssa wondered, shooting a look at Oliver. "What did it look like you were interrupting?"

"Ah," Felicity squeaked out, suddenly at a loss for words. "Nothing, nothing at all."

"Are you two trying to embarrass poor Felicity again?" Diggle asked as he and Sin walked into the room.

"Hey everyone," Sin greeted as she looked at each of them. "Where's Maseo?"

"He is out taking care of something while I am here with Oliver," Nyssa answered Sin. "And John, we do not need to embarrass Felicity."

"That's right," Oliver said as he swallowed a mouthful. "She does that well enough without any help from us."

"I would actually have to agree with them," Felicity noted calmly. "The things that come out of my mouth probably should have been swallowed instead." At Felicity's words, the entire room went silent as everyone looked at each other, wondering who was going to comment first. "I did it again, didn't I?"

"You did," Sin confirmed, fighting not to smile. "Please, never change."

"I don't think I can," Felicity responded before turning to Oliver. "Will that be all Oliver? I haven't had any odd requests from you in a while."

"That will be all, Felicity," Oliver said, fighting to keep himself from laughing. "Go and get some lunch."

"I already ate, but thank you," Felicity said before exiting the room, leaving the four of them alone.

"Sin, would you shut the door please," Oliver asked and as Sin moved to do so, Oliver turned to Diggle. "How is the club progressing?"

"Tommy has things under control," Diggle answered. "You know, with all those guys working there, you are probably going to need a side entrance or something for you Arrowcave."

"Put one in last night. South alleyway," Oliver replied as he leant over and picked up a computer tablet before passing it to Diggle. "Something I want you to look at."

"Honeymoon destinations aren't really my forte," Diggle quipped as he accepted the tablet before sitting down at the side of Oliver's desk; Sin taking the seat next to Nyssa.

"Not exactly, John," Nyssa replied as she passed Sin her meal. "But there are a few people that we'd like to meet." No one said much as they ate while Diggle viewed the footage of the armoured car robbery the night before.

"I read about this," Diggle said, setting the tablet down and reaching for his own meal. "That was the third truck they have hit this month. Small unit, in and out quick."

"I couldn't figure out why the footage looked familiar when I saw it with Tommy this morning. And then I remembered this," Oliver said as he picked up the tablet and loaded a second video before passing it back to Dig. As he watched the file, Oliver explained. "Kandahar, '09. Marines took out a Taliban transport vehicle."

"Yeah," Diggle said as he finished watching. "Well, there is a reason why it looks so similar. Both teams are running the same swarming technique," he explained as he looked at Oliver. "Where did you find this?"

"We were researching our next target," Nyssa said as Oliver took up the tablet again and loaded a personnel file. "They are a bodyguard working for Blackhawk Squad Protection Group, a private security firm. His name is Ted Gaynor."

"Oliver, Nyssa," Diggle said after glancing at the file. "Gaynor was my commanding officer on my first tour in Afghanistan."

"Dig, I'm sorry," Oliver apologised, genuinely sympathetic. "But Gaynor's on the List."

"Ted's a few hundred thousand short of making your list, Oliver,” Dig argued.

“Well, I never said that it was just the one percenters, did I?” Oliver pointed out.

“Ted saved my life,” Diggle pressed. “He received a commendation for it. I don’t care what your book says, he is not a stick-up man.”

“John, is it possible that he could have changed?” Nyssa asked calmly, trying to cool the heated conversation. “It has been a long time.”

“We both kept in contact when we got stateside. Six months ago he even offered me a job at Blackhawk,” Diggle answered with a shake of his head. “Now trust me, you don’t know this man like I do.”

“I know that in Afghanistan, his training speciality was M32 grenade launchers; the exact same weapon used in these heists. And it is not exactly something that you can find at your local sporting goods store,” Oliver replied.

“Or the local gun ring either,” Sin added, drawing looks from the three. “What, I know things too.”

“Oliver, have you ever considered that the list could be wrong?” Diggle asked. 

“I could be wrong,” Oliver allowed. “But the list isn’t. Now, I am going to have a pointed conversation with Mr Gaynor tonight. We’ll see what he has to say about these robberies. I will understand if you want to take the week off.”

“Oliver, I can’t let you do this,” Diggle said, standing. This caused Oliver to stand as well.

“Settle down, the both of you,” Nyssa commanded, her voice challenging both men to argue with her. “Perhaps there is a better way to determine what kind of man Mr Gaynor really is.”

“What are you suggesting?” Oliver wondered.

#Arrow#

“Thea, remember to keep your weight on your back foot,” Nyssa advised critically. "And keep your katana high. It is the threat while your wakizashi is the guard."

"Yes Nyssa," Thea replied, adjusting her position. "The katana is starting to get a little heavy though."

"You'll get used to it," Nyssa responded dismissively. "Imagine how heavy it would have been 3 months ago."

"True," Thea agreed, her eyes never having left Sin he entire time. Judging Sin, Thea slid forward slowly, watchful in case Sin tried anything. Sin, for her part, just stepped back from Thea so as to maintain the same distance.

"Very good Sin. Patience is everything," Nyssa remarked. "But always be careful lest during your patience, you get back into a corner and are forced on the offensive."

"Yes, Nyssa," Sin acknowledged as she twirled her Sai. At first it had been difficult to achieve because of their odd shape but hard work and patience had paid off and Sin was now getting pretty good at it. And it had other uses as well, like distracting Thea. Sin moved.

Stepping forward, she kicked Thea's left hand to the side before stabbing forward with one of the Sai. Thea countered attacked with her Katana, but Sin caught it with her Sai and flicked it away. She had once tried to stop the sword but found that to do that, she had to be under it; not a good place to be.

Thea pivoted around, bringing first her wakizashi back up to slash at Sin. Sin lent back out of the blade's arc but was forced to duck under Thea's katana as it followed suit. Lashing out with her foot again, Sin kicked Thea's ankle out from under her, sending the heiress to the ground; hard.

"Nicely done, Sin," Nyssa said, stepping forward to join her pupils. "You are definitely improving."

"I'll say," Thea groaned from the floor. "Where did you learn to do that one?"

"Ah, I had an extra training session with Nyssa last week," Sin replied carefully. "She showed it to me then. And I ended up where you are now."

"Does that mean that I get to do it to Nyssa next week then?" Thea joked from the floor. "Fair play and all."

"You are more than welcome to try," Nyssa said with a smile.

"Maybe not," Thea said as she accepted Sin's help up from the floor. "I think I'm going to hit the shower. I should probably start heading home."

"I will have Maseo get ready," Nyssa said as Thea walked away.

"Does it ever get any easier?" Sin asked quietly once Thea was gone.

"Lying?" Nyssa surmised. Sin only nodded in confirmation. "Depends on who you are lying to. With strangers, yes, I have found that it gets easier. With family and friends though, no, I don't think it gets easier. But you do get better at it."

"I hope so," Sin said before walking away, absently twirling her Sai.

#Arrow#

"How did it go?" Nyssa asked from the couch where she and Sin were sitting as Oliver and Dig entered the penthouse.

"Just like how you planned it," Oliver responded with a smile. "Where's Thea?"

"Maseo has taken her home," Nyssa answered. "He should be back soon. John?"

"Gaynor got me into Blackhawk," John stated as he sat down. "Saving him from the vigilante worked a treat to sell me."

"I assumed as much," Nyssa said. "Gratitude can open many doors."

"Well, I guess we'll see what we can turn up," Diggle mused.

"Are you alright with this plan, John?" Nyssa queried. 

"I just can't see how he could be the man you all believe him to be," John said. "The man I knew could not do what you are convinced he has done."

"Sometimes it is those closest to us that hurt us the most," Oliver advised. "Nyssa and I have both experienced similar quandaries."

"There is a Russian proverb that would be appropriate for this situation. Translated, it goes; Trust, but Verify," Nyssa said calmly. "John trusts that Mr Gaynor is not this man, while Oliver and myself trust the list that we have, which so far has not been wrong. Therefore, it leaves us to verify if Mr Gaynor is in fact who we believe him to be; in either direction."

"If he is innocent, then we will know for sure," Oliver said. "And if he isn't."

"If he isn't the man who I think he is," Diggle said resolutely. "Then I will be the one to take him down. You both owe me at least that much."

"We owe you more than that John," Nyssa replied candidly. "But as you wish."

"Thank you," John said, standing to leave. "I think I'm going to call it a night. Sin, you will be assisting Maseo tomorrow. He has a different way of approaching situations so it will be good for you to learn them."

"No worries Dig," Sin said. "Thanks for looking out for me."

"I'll be in touch," Dig said before making his exit.

"Were you able to procure any evidence to Mr Gaynor's guilt?" Nyssa asked her husband.

"I intercepted him as he was downloading data to a USB drive," Oliver said, pulling out the drive in question. "I tried reading it back at the Foundry but was unable to get past the encryption."

"Sounds like you have another odd request for Felicity then," Nyssa remarked.

"It does, doesn't it," Oliver agreed.

"You know, as smart as Felicity is, aren't you two worried that she is going to catch on," Sin wondered. "I mean; your requests are pretty specific."

"That is a concern," Oliver said. "But it is also by design."

"We need someone who is much better with computers than any of us," Nyssa admitted. "We also need someone trustworthy."

"So you guys are testing her?" Sin asked.

"We are," Nyssa and Oliver said together.

"But what if she fails?" Sin questioned. "What if she figures out who you are but runs to the police instead."

"Then, unfortunately, Felicity will suffer a painless death in her sleep," Nyssa said softly, almost sadly.

"She would never make it to court to testify," Oliver concluded in the same tone as Nyssa.

"Damn," Sin mused.

#Arrow#

"Ollie," Thea called from her brother's office doorway. "Can I talk to you for a second?"

"Sure Speedy, though I figured you would be at home getting everything ready for your party tonight," Oliver said, not for the first time considering that his sister was turning 18 in a few days. "What's up?"

"Remember last week when I asked if you thought mum was acting weird?"

"Yeah, you thought it was strange she went from shut-in to CEO overnight," Oliver remembered. "What about it?"

"Well, I think I might have found out why," Thea hedged softly.

"Thea," Oliver said, noticing his sister's uncertainty. "Whatever you want to say, you can say it. Don't worry."

"Well, uh, you see," Thea stammered, looking at everything in the office before focusing on her brother. "I think she is hooking up with Tommy's dad." Oliver couldn't stop the incredulous laugh that escaped him.

"I'm sorry Thea," Oliver apologised. "But that, sounds insane."

"I just saw them together," Thea stated adamantly. "It's happening all over again," she said softly.

"I don't understand Thea," Oliver said, confused by what Thea had whispered. "What are you talking about?"

"It was a couple of months before you and dad left on The Gambit," Thea began, sitting down on the edge of one of Oliver's chairs. "Mom and dad were arguing a lot. I don't know about what."

"Go on," Oliver prompted.

"Mom was having a lot of these lunch meetings with Mr Merlyn. And now Walter is gone too, and Mom and Mr Merlyn are back at it," Thea continued, shivering slightly. "It's gross."

"Mom would never have cheated on dad," Oliver assured his sister, his mind processing what his sister had told him. "And she is not cheating on Walter."

"You don't believe me," Thea said, staring at her brother. "You don't want to believe it because you have this perfect image of mom in your head," she said softly. "That's not who she is, Ollie. She is a liar and a cheater. And you really don't know her at all," Thea declared before standing and walking out of Oliver's office, leaving him alone with his, now muddled, thoughts.

#Arrow#

"It must be that time again," Felicity remarked as Oliver walked into her office.

"Pardon me?" Oliver asked, not having heard what Felicity had said as he entered.

"Nothing. Just talking to myself," Felicity said, sliding her lunch to the side. "What can I do you for Oliver?"

"I have a little project for you," Oliver began.

"Sounds interesting," Felicity interjected smoothly.

"And you don't even know what it is yet," Oliver shot back with a smile.

"I will when you tell me what it is," Felicity replied.

"True," Oliver concluded. "Anyway, I have a friend who works for a security company and he wants us to test his network security."

"Data theft is like the next big thing," Felicity said. "If you get the right information, you can make more money than robbing a dozen banks."

"Well, he gave me this," Oliver said as he pulled Gaynor's USB drive from his pocket and handed it to Felicity. "He said to try and get through this."

"Hmm, security fob," Felicity said after examining it for a moment before inserting it into her computer. "And it is obviously pin protected," she noted casually. "The challenge response goes back to a company called Blackhawk Squad Protect Group."

"That is my friend's company," Oliver confirmed. "Do you think you can get in?"

"Well, this is military-grade cryptographic security,” Felicity pointed out before she saw Oliver’s dumbfounded look. “I’d have to have a closer look to be sure but I’m confident.”

“I hope so,” Oliver said. “You’re the only person I know with skills in breaching computer security.”

“Is that a polite way of saying I’m the only computer hacker you know?” Felicity asked slyly.

“If that works for you,” Oliver responded. “Felicity, if you can get into that drive, I have a bottle of Lafite Rothschild 1982 waiting for you.”

“Ohhh…I love red wine,” Felicity said longingly.

“As I said, you get into that drive and it’s yours,” Oliver said before turning away and exiting the office. 

#Flashback – 3 Years Ago#

"You did very well today Al Sah-him," Namir complemented at the end of their training session. 

"I thank you for the complement, Namir," Al Sah-him said in gratitude. "You are most generous."

"Generous is not a word that is normally used to describe Namir," Nyssa said from the corner where she had been quietly watching the two men spar. "If he says that you have done well, then you have managed to impress him. Which is a feat in and of itself."

"Nyssa, we did not know you were there," Namir responded as both he and Al Sah-him bowed their heads as Nyssa approached them.

"First generosity and now flattery, what would my father think?" Nyssa wondered.

"I would never consider to know the thoughts of Ra's al Ghul," Namir replied fluidly. 

"Hmm," Nyssa intoned. "Would you leave us for a moment Namir?"

"I was about to depart," Namir revealed, walking over to a side table and picking up a bundle. "I just have one thing that I wish to give to Al Sah-him."

"He has earned it?" Nyssa asked in surprise as Namir returned.

"He has," Namir replied before passing the bundle to Al Sah-him. "Bring honour to it," Namir stated before turning away and leaving the training area.

"What is it?" Al Sah-him asked in confusion.

"Open it and find out," Nyssa told him in an obvious tone. She watched as Al Sah-him unwrapped the bundle, revealing the midnight black kukri. "You should be very honoured. Of all the assassins that Namir has trained, only three have been gifted a kukri."

"It is beautiful," Al Sah-him declared as he pulled the blade out slightly and looked it over, admiring the keen edge of the black steel. "I will cherish it."

"Indeed you should, Mr Queen," Nyssa said after a moment.

"You have called me that once before Nyssa," Al Sah-him responded as he sheathed the blade. "My name is Al Sah-him."

"Perhaps in part. But Oliver Queen still exists within you," Nyssa declared. "My father's methods did not remove him from you fully."

"You will tell your father?" Al Sah-him asked in a concerned tone.

"If I had wished to do that, we would not be speaking thusly," Nyssa stated. "No, I have other plans for you."

"What other plans?" Al Sah-him wondered.

"Someone approaches," Nyssa warned in a hushed voice. "For now, be Al Sah-him. Let no one catch on that Oliver Queen still exists." And with that, Nyssa walked away.


#Present#

“AHHH!!! Oh My God!” Oliver and Nyssa could both hear Thea screaming at them as they walked into the mansion and Thea’s 18th birthday party. Before they had even made it three steps, the girl in question came charging into the foyer, waving a car key. “Check it out! Check it out! Convertible!”

“I’m sure you are very surprised Thea," Oliver jested as he hugged his sister. "Happy Birthday."

"Everything is perfect," Thea exclaimed, before her face fell. "Except that dad isn't here."

"If dad were here, he'd say that you look beautiful and he couldn’t be prouder," Oliver promised.

"I agree with your brother," Nyssa declared. Thea said nothing as she stepped out of Oliver's arms and into Nyssa's.

"Thank you, both of you," Thea said sincerely. After a moment she stepped back and a smile appeared on her face again. "Oh, excuse me," she said before dashing off to greet new guests as they entered. Oliver looked around and saw Diggle standing in the corner. Placing a guiding hand on Nyssa's back, he moved over to his bodyguard.

"I heard the Hood foiled an armoured car heist this evening," Diggle said by way of greeting.

"Felicity got into the fob. It contained routes for various armoured cars," Oliver explained. "Gaynor wasn't running the rocket launcher."

"I know," Diggle replied. "I was with him the whole time."

"I'd still like to know why he had the routes though," Oliver said. "Though it does look like you might be right."

"If someone at Blackhawk was involved, my money is on a guy named Knox," Diggle said, accepting Oliver's unspoken apology and carrying on. "Same military training and he started right before the heists did."

"Oliver was able to injure one before he was forced to seek cover," Nyssa revealed.

"You weren't there?" Diggle asked.

"I was elsewhere organising a gift for Thea," Nyssa admitted.

"He was bleeding pretty badly when they left in their van," Oliver added to what his wife had said.

"Right, so I'll go and check the motor pool. See if any of the vans have Knox's blood in them," Dig said, moving to leave but being stopped by Oliver's hand on his shoulder.

"I'll go with you," Oliver said.

"No Oliver," Diggle declined. "You have this party for your sister. And I told you that I would handle this," he reminded his principal. "Besides, if I get into trouble, you're only a phone call away."

"Alright then," Oliver said, lifting his hand away. "Head on a swivel though."

"That's the way I was born, man," Dig smirked before departing.

#Arrow#

"I'm sorry to interrupt," Oliver apologised as he walked up to where Nyssa was speaking to two other women. "But could I borrow my wife for a moment?"

"Of course, Oliver," one of the women said graciously. 

"Thank you," Oliver said before leading Nyssa away.

"Thank you for saving me from them," Nyssa said thankfully. 

"You seemed to be doing alright," Oliver noted casually. "But we have other problems."

"John?" Nyssa asked knowingly.

"Gaynor was exactly who we thought he was," Oliver revealed. "He is using Carly to force Diggle to help him to rob another truck."

Then I think it is time for us to make an abrupt exit," Nyssa said. As she turned to leave, she almost ran directly into Sin. "Zayda, what's wrong?" Nyssa asked when she noticed the look on Sin's face.

"It's Thea," Sin said. "She is gone and so is her car."

"What!" Oliver growled. "This is her party, where is she going?"

"I would be more concerned about why, Beloved," Nyssa suggested.

"Dammit, we do not have time for this," Oliver said. "Diggle needs backup."

"Then go to John, Beloved," Nyssa told him. "Sin, Maseo and I will track down Thea."

"You sure?" Oliver asked.

"Quite," Nyssa said, stepping up to Oliver and kissing him. "Go."

"Love you," Oliver said before disappearing into the crowd.

#Arrow#

Oliver ran across the rooftops, rushing towards where he knew Diggle was taken. It was the only other armoured car scheduled for tonight. Ahead of him, he heard the sound of a grenade exploding and knew that he was late. He pushed himself harder and soon came upon the bank robbers. He saw no sign of Carly or Gaynor, Diggle was running down the street and another of the men was drawing down on Diggle with a rifle while a last one lay unconscious on the ground. Drawing an arrow swiftly, he fired it from and jumped of the roof without watching the arrow, confident in his aim. 

As he straightened up, he was confronted by a glaring Knox looking disdainfully at him with an arrow sticking out of the receiver of his rifle. Tossing it to the side, Knox drew an ASP and a knife and attacked the Oliver. Oliver effortlessly parried each blow with his bow before tripping up Knox and crushing his Larynx with his fist. Grabbing Knox’s knife, he threw it into his companion’s throat before taking after Diggle. He caught up with Diggle as he was pointing a gun at Gaynor.

“Drop it, Ted, or I swear…” Diggle threatened his former commanding officer.

“Don’t…posture,” Gaynor replied disparagingly. “You’re not gonna do it,” he continued, advancing on Diggle. “You can’t, I can see it in your eyes.” Oliver couldn’t see Diggle’s eyes but when Gaynor began to raise his own weapon, he took matters into his own hands and fired an arrow into Gaynor’s heart. As Ted Gaynor fell lifelessly to the ground, Oliver stepped up beside Diggle.

“You’re late,” Diggle said tiredly as he stared down at his former friend.

“You knew I was coming?” Oliver asked, though he had his suspicions.

“Next time,” Diggle started as he pulled the bug that Oliver had planted on him earlier out from under his lapel. “Be more subtle when you bug someone,” he advised as he passed the bug back to Oliver. “I wish you trusted me though.”

“I do trust you Dig,” Oliver said quietly, looking down at the man he had just killed. “But them, never.”

“You should get out of here,” Diggle told Oliver as they both heard approaching sirens. Taking his advice, Oliver ran.

#Arrow#

“Do you think she was taken?” Sin asked from the backseat of the Camaro as Nyssa drove down the road.

“We don’t know anything so we should not panic,” Nyssa advised as she took a turn at faster than the recommended speed. As she approached another corner, she slammed on the breaks, bringing the car to a screeching halt.

“What the…” Sin exclaimed before she caught sight of what had caused Nyssa to stop; Thea’s new car crashed. “Thea!”

“Sin, call an ambulance,” Nyssa commanded even as she and Maseo climbed out of the Camaro and moved towards Thea.

#Arrow#

“Cops give you a hard time?” Oliver asked as Diggle walked into the Foundry.

“Nah, I explained to them that me and Gaynor were old war buddies and that he was trying to rope me in,” Diggle said with a sigh. “When I refused, he kidnapped Carly and everything else that happened was under duress.” Oliver turned to watch Diggle sit down heavily. “I screwed up, Oliver. Obviously Gaynor was not the man who I thought he was. I was wrong,” he admitted.

“Yeah, but you were right too,” Oliver countered. “I never considered that the list could possibly be wrong. I always assumed that it was accurate 100%. And I trusted that, more than I trusted you,” Oliver explained. “But that is why we chose you as a partner, because you can still trust others beyond those around you. And you still have faith. And that, is because you see the best in people. Whereas Nyssa and I, we see the worst in people,” Oliver finished as he held out the opened notebook and a pen. Diggle took the notebook wordlessly and crossed Ted Gaynor’s name off the list himself.

“I learned something, too,” Diggle said as he handed the notebook back to Oliver. “Until you tell me, I never want to know what other names are in that book.”

“Got it,” Oliver responded as his phone rang. As Diggle walked away, Oliver answered it. “Hello?”

#Arrow#

“She promised me that she is not cheating on Walter,” Oliver said as Thea was getting ready to leave. After a night in hospital for observation, Thea was being discharged.

“And as I told you,” Thea replied. “I do not trust a thing that woman says anymore.”

“Thea, she is your mother,” Nyssa pointed out. “It will be difficult to avoid her forever.”

“Difficult but not impossible,” Thea said. “I’m sorry.”

“We will discuss your actions at a later date,” Nyssa assured Thea. “For now, let us leave.”

They had just finished signing the paperwork when a pair of SCPD patrol officers came around the end of the hall.

“Thea Queen?” the first officer asked.

“Is there a problem officers?” Oliver asked, stepping in front of his sister.

“We received a call from her doctor, Mr Queen,” he replied before looking at Thea. “In the event of a vehicular accident, they’re required to report the results of the driver’s tox screen.”

“And what were Thea’s results?” Nyssa enquired noticing Thea’s sudden discomfort.

“Miss Queen tested positive for a narcotic called Vertigo.”

“The drug they’re using in the Glades?” Oliver asked incredulously, staring at his sister. “Thea, what were you thinking?”

“I wasn’t,” Thea said as the second cop stepped up behind her and pulled out his handcuffs.

“Thea Queen, you’re under arrest for driving under the influence of narcotics…”
 

Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #31
Chapter 32 – Why do we fall?

"He's moving south down the alley. If you cut across the car yard you can head him off at the end," Sin advised as she observed Nyssa's pursuit of the man from a nearby rooftop.

"Thank you," Nyssa said as she changed her course and increased her speed. Weaving around cars or, in some cases, leaping over them, Nyssa came to the other end of the car yard. Being met by a fence, Nyssa effortlessly climbed a car and flipped over the fence, drawing an arrow as she sailed through the night air. Landing in a crouch, Nyssa raised her bow and was greeted with the startled look on her prey's face at her sudden appearance. As he backed up and prepared to run, Nyssa released her arrow and pinned the man to the wall behind him with an arrow through his shoulder.

"Not that I mind but was it absolutely necessary to pin him to the wall using his shoulder?" Sin queried casually. Ignoring her student for the moment, Nyssa stalked forward menacingly.

"You sell the drug known as Vertigo. Tell me where you get it from," Nyssa demanded as the man whimpered in pain. When he didn’t answer, Nyssa tapped the end of the arrow with her bow, eliciting a groan of pain from him. "I will not ask again."

“I can’t tell you,” the man replied as he grasped the arrow to steady it. “They’ll kill me if I say anything.”

“And I will kill you if you do not tell me,” Nyssa assured him. "And believe me, it will take quite a long time."

"I really can't tell you," the man whimpered out. "I don’t even know his name. I swear." 

"Is that so?" Nyssa asked after staring at the drug dealer coldly, judging how truthful he was being. "Then of what use are you to me?" Nyssa wondered rhetorically before knocking out the man with a swing of her bow. The man fell to the ground, dragging the arrow out of the wall.

"Ow," Sin cringed.

"Really Zayda, is a commentary necessary?" Nyssa asked as she turned and started to walk away.

"No but it passes the time," Sin replied cheerfully. "I'll meet you in the alley."

"I will see you soon," Nyssa confirmed, as she ducked off the main street and into said alley. Ahead of her, Sin was nimbly descending a fire escape. "You did well," Nyssa complimented once Sin was on the ground. "Following him was much simpler with your guidance."

"Happy I could help," Sin responded. "What now?"

"Now we..." Nyssa stopped, listening carefully before turning, her arm snapping up and an arrow appearing in her bow faster than Sin would believe possible. Sin leaned slightly to look past her teacher and friend to see a pair of figures dressed similarly to those that she had seen on the roof that night; except that one of these had a red stripe running along the middle of their hood while the other, larger figure, had a wholly red hood.

"You can relax Nyssa al Ghul. We are not here to harm you," the red hooded figure, a man by the sounds of it, said.

"I do not know you and your garb suggests that your intentions are less than peaceful," Nyssa retorted, her arm remaining steady.

"Be that as it may, as I said, we are not here to harm you," the man stated again, taking a single step forward. "And I am somewhat hurt that you do not recognise me."

"Should I?" Nyssa questioned evenly, wondering who this man was. His voice sounded familiar but she couldn’t place it. 

"You should," the man said as he switched his bow to his right hand before reaching up and pulling his hood back to reveal short cropped black hair. Grasping a knot at the back of his head, he pulled it up and away, taking his mask with it and revealing his face; causing Nyssa's eyes to widen at its appearance. "Do you recognise me now, Nyssa al Ghul?"

"Shinkōshoku no hebi," Nyssa announced clearly, surprise evident in her voice. "Or so you would have me believe. You are younger than the last time I saw you."

"That was almost 15 years ago Nyssa. I was old then and grew even older over the intervening years," the man, Shinkōshoku no hebi, revealed. "Until your sister arrived at my house. She made me an offer I couldn't refuse, as the saying goes."

"The use of a pit," Nyssa said knowingly, her how still raised.

"Quite so. My revitalisation and continued youth in exchange for my service to her," Shinkōshoku no hebi explained. "It was a fair trade and that is why I am here tonight."

"What does my sister want now?" Nyssa asked. 

"She is willing to give you a final opportunity to see things her way," Shinkōshoku no hebi answered. "Leave all this behind, take your place by your sister's side and take up arms against your father. Do that, and Talia promises that no one else has to die."

"And I would believe you, but I know my sister," Nyssa replied. "The moment I lay down my sword here and join her, my Beloved and everyone else I know here will be executed."

"Talia has sworn to me that that will not happen," Shinkōshoku no hebi stated.

"And Talia once swore to me that she loved me and would do nothing to hurt me," Nyssa countered harshly. "Why don't you ask her how that turned out."

"Nyssa, this will not end well for you," Shinkōshoku no hebi tried. "Talia has commanded that if you will not come willingly, then I am to take you by force and kill any who resist. I do not wish to harm your friends and especially your Beloved."

"Then you should leave now and enjoy the time you have left," Nyssa prompted.

"We both know that I cannot do that," Shinkōshoku no hebi said, stepping back. "I will give you a few days to consider my words. If I have not heard from you, I will take that as a declination," he said before dropping a capsule to the ground. Thick smoke burst from where it landed, blocking Nyssa and Sin's view and when the smoke cleared, the two assassins were gone.

"What was that?" Sin asked, coming up beside Nyssa as she relaxed her arms.

"A complication," Nyssa replied. "Come, we must go."

#Arrow#

"The last one finally gave me a name. The Count," Nyssa heard Oliver say as she and Sin descended the steps into the Foundry.

"The Count? That's worse than The Hood," Diggle quipped as he and Oliver noticed that the girls had joined them. "You two have any luck."

"No, we did not. But we have another problem," Nyssa answered as she set her bow down. "Sin and I were confronted tonight by a pair of assassins."

"So those other guys I've seen were assassins too?" Sin interjected. "Aziz from the docks and the two from the night one of them saved me. All of them were assassins too?"

"You haven't given her a history lesson yet?" Dig wondered.

"We have been a little busy," Oliver supplied. "Saqr is going to be a little upset that he was spotted."

"I don't think it is just Saqr that will be upset," Nyssa said knowingly, looking at Oliver.

"Anyway," Oliver said, redirecting the conversation. "Did you recognise the assassins?"

"I did, and it is concerning," Diggle asked, coming to his feet.

"It was some Shinkoku no hebi, dude," SIn answered. "Nyssa seemed to know him."

"Shinkōshoku no hebi," Nyssa corrected, causing Oliver to go rigid. "It is Japanese. Translated it means, The Crimson Snake."

"That explains the hoods then," Sin observed.

"They both had red hoods?" Diggle asked casually. 

"Uhuh," Sin answered. "One full red, the other just had a red stripe."

"It's not possible," Oliver stated. "He would be in his late 60's, early 70's by now."

"He didn't look a day over 35 to me," Sin said.

"Beloved, Talia has her own Pit. She could restore his youth," Nyssa supplied. "Which she has apparently done."

"I'm still not following," John said. "Who is this Crimson Snake?"

"Shinkōshoku no hebi is the name of what once was one of the deadliest assassins in the world. Even my father was averse to crossing blades with him. That alone should tell you how dangerous he is," Nyssa revealed.

"So what happened?" Sin asked.

"He got old," Oliver said simply.

"When I last saw him, he was in his late 50's and retired," Nyssa said calmly. "It seems my dear sister has changed both of those statuses."

"What did he want?" Oliver asked. 

"He came to give me one last chance to willingly join my sister, or I would be taken by force and any who resisted would be killed," Nyssa explained. "I have a few days to consider it."

"I assume that you will be telling him where to shove his offer," Sin wondered.

"I do not take kindly to being commanded by those I do not trust," Nyssa stated coldly. "But we have a few days before he will become an issue. For now, let us concentrate on Thea.

"Right," Diggle agreed. "Her hearing is in a few hours, isn't it?"

"It is," Oliver confirmed. "And we should probably get some sleep before then. Thea is going to need us."

"I'll meet you guys at the Court House," Sin said. "Dig could I trouble you to drop me home?"

"No problem," Dig said, grabbing his coat. "I'll see you two at the mansion later."

#Arrow#

"Thea, may I come in?" Nyssa asked as she stood in the open doorway of Thea's room.

"Sure," Thea responded quietly from where she was sitting on her bed, back to the door, looking out the window. Nyssa quietly made her way across the floor and sat down on the bed beside her, saying nothing. “You want to know why I did it? Why I took the Vertigo?”

“I do,” Nyssa confirmed. 

"You probably think I'm some kind of loser," Thea decided. "And I went back on our deal. I drank alcohol and used drugs."

"Thea, I believe my words were the abuse of alcohol and drugs. Obviously, I do not condone the use of drugs and I will be amending our deal to forbid their use altogether but alcohol, as long as it is not abused, is allowed," Nyssa explained. "And I do not think you are a loser. But I would like to try and understand why you did what you did, so that I can help you from making the same choice in the future."

"You're still willing to teach me?" Thea asked in surprise. "Why?"

"We all have a path to travel. Sometimes there are bumps on that path and we stumble. We can either stay on the ground and go nowhere, or we can regain our feet and continue on, having learned from our fall so that we do not fall again," Nyssa proclaimed. "I would have you stand back up. Even if I have to drag you kicking and screaming."

"You won't have to do that, Nyssa. I learnt my lesson," Thea affirmed. "It's just, it's been so hard. So much has happened in the last few months. Oliver being found alive, him being so different to what I remember, me being kidnapped and rescued, the wedding and then Walter being kidnapped. Seeing my mom and Malcolm Merlyn together was just the last straw and I flipped out. I wasn't even planning on taking the Vertigo. Originally I was going to flush it."

"I am glad to hear that Thea," Nyssa commended before wanting to clarify something. "You saw your mother and Malcolm together?"

"Yeah, they were talking. I've seen them meeting a few times since Walter was kidnapped," Thea revealed. "Mom even blew me off to go see him."

"That is unlike your mother to do that," Nyssa observed.

"Well she did," Thea declared adamantly. Further conversation was stalled by a knock at the door. Both turned to see Oliver standing there.

"Hey, we should probably get going," Oliver advised. "Judges do not appreciate the value of being fashionably late." Oliver's quip worked as Thea chuckled slightly.

#Arrow#

"I can't believe the Judge did that!" Thea riled as she walked back and forth in the gym. "Can he do that?"

"Apparently he can, Thea," Nyssa said from the floor where she sat cross-legged and with her eyes shut. "But like your mother said, we will handle this. You will not be going to prison."

"I feel better already," Thea responded sarcastically. "Please don't speak to me about her."

"Like it or not, Thea. She is your mother," Nyssa said calmly. "And you only get one of them. You should try and meditate."

"I'm not exactly good at sitting still and I don't want to talk about her right now," Thea reiterated. "Where's Sin? I need to work off some energy."

"She is out working," Nyssa replied calmly, opening her eyes. "But if you wish to work off some energy."

"You have an exercise I can do?" Thea asked as Nyssa stood and walked into the storage room, emerging moments later with a pair of training katana. "Ah, I going to learn to use two katana? Cool."

"Oh no, you misunderstand Thea," Nyssa replied as she stopped a few metres short of her sister-in-law. "One of them is for me."

"Why do I get the idea that I should have chosen the meditation?" Thea wondered as she caught the sword that Nyssa tossed at her.

"It would have only delayed the inevitable, Thea," Nyssa assured her, an evil glint in her eye. "Consider this, my punishment to you for taking Vertigo."

"Oh man," Thea moaned as she raised her sword to the ready position she had been taught. "Any words of advice?"

"Don't get hit?" Nyssa pointed out before raising her own blade. "En garde."

#Arrow#

"I feel like a tenderised steak," Thea commented as she led Nyssa into the Mansion.

"Are you still hungry?" Nyssa quipped cheerfully.

"You know what I mean," Thea retorted before Oliver stepped out of the sitting room, bringing the two up short. "Hey Ollie, what's up?"

"You have a visitor," Oliver revealed, stepping aside. Thea led the way into the sitting room to see Laurel sitting there. "Laurel has something to tell you."

"The police are dropping the charges?" Thea asked hopefully.

"Not quite," Laurel replied somewhat sedately. "But my father was able to get Judge Brackett to back off his hardline stance."

"Why would he do that?" Thea wondered curiously. "Your father hates me."

"No," Oliver and Laurel replied together before Laurel continued, nodding at Oliver. "My father hates him."

"Why are you involved anyway?" Thea started.

"Because I asked her to speak with her father and see if he could help," Oliver replied, answering for Laurel. This earned him a surprised look from Thea.

"The judge has agreed to a sentence of 500 hours of community service and two years of probation," Laurel explained. "Provisional on the appointment of someone to act in loco parentis."

"In loco what?" Thea asked, confused.

"In loco parentis," Nyssa repeated. "In place of the parent."

"It means that the court will appoint someone to assume responsibility for you," Laurel explained. "In this case, me."

"Um, thanks but no thanks," Thea replied candidly. "Why not my brother? Or Nyssa?"

"Oliver doesn’t exactly have a stellar reputation with Starling City's court system and Nyssa is an unknown but marrying your brother has put her in a bad light nonetheless," Laurel revealed. "Despite everything that the two of you have done since your return."

"Understandable," Nyssa accepted. "Disappointing but understandable."

"Thea, it’s a good deal," Oliver tried.

"How?" Thea questioned. "You're asking me to be the office monkey of your ex-girlfriend? No offence Laurel."

"None taken. It is what you would be," Laurel admitted. "But I think it is better than the alternative. That being a prison sentence."

"Thea, think about it. Working for Laurel for 4 months versus at least that much time, probably more though, spent in a prison cell," Nyssa compared calmly. She knew she had got through to Thea when she didn’t immediately respond.

"How about I let you think about it a little?" Laurel said as she rose from where she had been sitting. “Let me know what you decide.”

“Thank you Laurel,” Oliver said in gratitude; Laurel smiling in response before departing. Oliver turned to his sister. “Thea, that is a good deal the Laurel was offering you. Why aren’t you jumping at it?”

“Because I want time to consider,” Thea replied. “Making a rash and rushed decision is what got me into this mess. Excuse me if I want to take my time in deciding how I want to get out of it.”

“Thea, you are in real trouble here,” Oliver tried again. “This is worse than anything I ever did. Take the deal. Mom would agree with me.”

“Do not talk to be about her,” Thea shot back, coming to her feet.

“Thea,” Nyssa said in a cautionary tone. “Remember what I said earlier.”

“This could ruin your life, Thea,” Oliver stated.

“No, it could ruin mom’s life,” Thea retorted. “You don’t know her Ollie; she is a liar and a cheater. She betrayed dad and I hate her for that.”

“So you will go to jail, ruin your life just to spite her?” Nyssa asked, trying to make Thea see what she was doing.

“Thea, Mom didn’t cheat on dad,” Oliver revealed, causing Thea to lock her ears on him. “He cheated on her.”

“And I suppose SHE told you that?” Thea proposed angrily.

“No, she didn’t. Dad did,” Oliver replied. “On the Gambit, right before he died. Dad admitted that he had failed us. That he wasn’t the man that we thought he was. You. Me. And mom. That he had made mistakes and that he wished that he had more time to try and right his wrongs.”

“I don’t believe you,” Thea said shakily, confusion and heartbreak clearly seen on her face.

“Yes, you do,” Oliver said, knowing her had gotten through to her.

“Leave, Oliver,” Thea demanded as she collapsed to the couch. “Just leave.”

"Alright, we'll go," Oliver conceded, standing. "I'll call you later," Oliver suggested before heading out of the room. In the foyer, he was confronted by his mother.

"How dare you?" Moira growled quietly, her meaning obvious.

"Mom, she was old enough to know the truth," Oliver said simply before walking out the front door. Moira glared at his back as he left before turning to look at Nyssa. 

"If you are expecting me to speak with him on your behalf, Moira. You are sadly mistaken," Nyssa stated clearly. "My only concern, as it should be yours, is Thea's wellbeing," Nyssa chastised before walking out after Oliver. She found him standing in the driveway, speaking with Diggle and Sin.

"Sin has something," Oliver announced to Nyssa before looking back to Sin. "Tell her."

"I was able to organise a meet with a high-level Vertigo dealer for tonight. He believes a club owner is coming to buy a large amount of the drug to sell at his club," Sin revealed. "Meet is set for 11 by the docks."

"I am impressed Zayda," Nyssa complimented her young friend. "Though it doesn’t leave us much time."

"You're right," Oliver agreed, his mind working. "You did good Sin."

"Thanks," Sin accepted, beaming. "So what's the plan? You and Nyssa take him down?"

"If the Hood shows up, it will be traced back to you and Nyssa would kill me if I risked that," Oliver stated.

"I wouldn't kill you Beloved," Nyssa declined lovingly. "But I would make you regret the decision."

"Like I was saying," Oliver continued. "I'll go to this meet as myself while Nyssa is on a nearby roof."

"And what am I doing?" Diggle wondered idly.

"Well, Oliver said, a grin appearing on his face. "I'm still going to need my trusty bodyguard."

"Fantastic," John deadpanned. "I'm so looking forward to my new career as a drug dealer."

#Arrow#

"What happened?" Sin asked in shock as Diggle carried Oliver down into the Foundry. "I thought it was just going to be a drug deal with lojacked bills."

"Yeah, we never got to that part," Diggle said as he hauled Oliver across the floor and up onto a metal table. "The police showed up before anything happened."

"Then what is this?" Sin questioned, indicating the sprawled-out Oliver. Footsteps behind her, signalled the arrival of Nyssa.

"My question exactly," Nyssa said as she set down her bow. "The last I saw was Oliver pursuing The Count into the parking garage.

"The Count was there?" Sin exclaimed, feeling overwhelmed. "Did you get him?"

"We did not. The SCPD arrived before I had a clear shot," Nyssa stated angrily. "He retreated into the staircase nearby and Oliver pursued."

"I don't know what happened exactly," Diggle said as he began examining Oliver. "But I found him sprawled on the steps, 3 of the Count's men unconscious around him and this in his back," Diggle explained as he pulled a dual syringe from his coat, half empty. "Looks like he has received half a dose of Vertigo."

"Damn," Sin said as Nyssa rushed over to Oliver's crate and, after flinging it open, pulled out the pouch of herbs he had brought with him from Lian Yu. Pouring some into a cup, she added water and grabbing a pestle, proceeded to crush the herbs. 

"Sit him up," Nyssa commanded as she came over to Oliver with the cup. Diggle grasped Oliver and began to lift him but at that moment, Oliver's eyes flashed open, and his hand came up instinctively and wrapped around Diggle's throat. Diggle began to pry at it as Nyssa laid a hand on Oliver's arm. "Beloved, it is alright." At her words, Oliver's grip relaxed, and Diggle managed to get his hand off.

"Damn, his grip is strong," Diggle observed as he supported Oliver.

"It is," Nyssa agreed simply as she held the cup up for Oliver. "Drink." Oliver did as he was told and downed the contents of the glass before Diggle laid him back down. Oliver was unconscious moments later.

"Now what?" Sin wondered, coming over.

"Now we wait," Nyssa said before looking at John. "Handcuff him to the table."

#Arrow#

"Good morning," Diggle said when he noticed Oliver awake. "How you feeling?"

"Like I have the worst hangover of my life," Oliver replied as he sat up slowly, groaning at the effort it took. 

"That coming from you is really saying something," Dig joked.

"Could you uncuff me?" Oliver requested as he held up his arm. "I promise I'm not going to kill you," Oliver joked back. As Diggle did so, Oliver looked around. "Where's Nyssa and Sin?"

"At the mansion," Diggle replied. "Maseo came by about an hour ago to collect them. Nyssa wanted to check on Thea."

"Good idea," Oliver agreed as he stood up and stretched.

"You're standing. That's impressive," John noted. "The Count only got you with about half a dose, but you still sweated out a small swimming pool as you came down."

"I can tell," Oliver summed up as he pulled off his soaked T-shirt, glad they had left him with that in front of Sin. No need to scare her completely just yet. "I don't suppose our friends at the SCPD managed to arrest him?"

"No such luck," Diggle replied. "But we did get this," John added, holding up The Count's syringe. "Nyssa is going to take it to Felicity later today to get it analysed."

"Good idea," Oliver said. "The Vertigo is in a liquid form which means it contains water. Find the source of the water and we find The Count."

"You sure you're up to moving man?" Diggle wondered. "Maybe you should rest for a few hours. You don't just walk away from a near drug overdose."

"And I don’t walk away from Thea."

#Arrow#

"Oliver, we have guests," Moira called out as Oliver walked into the sitting room. As he continued forward he saw Detective's Lance and Hilton sitting there.

"Good morning detectives," Oliver greeted the two men. "Is everything ok? Is this about Thea?"

"No, this is about you," Lance said as he stood up. "Last night, we got a call from a C.I. and busted up a drug deal between a big-time dealer and a high-profile club owner."

"And because I am about to open a nightclub you believe it is me?" Oliver wondered.

"We didn't get a name but the description we got from the C.I. does match a number of descriptions, including yours," Hilton explained. "We are just doing due diligence."

"Where were you last night?" Lance demanded.

"As I was explaining to you detective, before my husband walked in," Nyssa inserted. "My husband and I were at home together."

"Convenient," Lance said, looking between Nyssa and Oliver; his eyes examining both of them. "Almost too convenient."

"Are you implying that we are lying to you, Detective Lance?" Oliver asked.

"No," Lance shot back. "But I do have some advice. If you get involved in this investigation in any way, you will see the inside of a jail cell. And, unlike last time, you will not find a way out," Lance promised, preparing to walk away.

"Detective," Oliver called out, stopping Lance in his tracks. "Thank you very much for what you did for Thea."

"My daughter asked me for a favour, and I did it," Lance declared, distancing himself from the situation. "And that's the end of it." And with that, he walked out.

"Mrs Queen. Mrs Queen," Hilton said as he stood to follow his partner. "Mr Queen."

"Detective," Oliver replied and watched Hilton walk out of the room.

"Please tell me that you weren't up to anything stupid," Moira requested once the two detectives had left.

"If it helps Thea, it isn't stupid," Oliver sidestepped.

"It is if it lands you in jail right beside her," Moira shot back.

"Then I will be in good company," Oliver quipped before taking a breath to calm himself. "Look, the real reason you are upset is because I told Thea the truth about dad."

"She never needed to know that," Moira defended.

"Yes, I did," Thea pointed out from the doorway where she had been listening. "I'm old enough to know the truth, mom," she stated as she walked into the room.

"Thea, it was never about your age," Moira responded, sighing. "It was about preserving the memory of your father. He loved you, no matter his faults."

"The things I said. Wishing you had died instead of him. You never said anything back," Thea asked, tears appearing in her eyes. "Why not?"

"One day, I hope you are lucky enough to have a daughter," Moira replied, her own tears brimming in her eyes. "And then you will know why."

"I'm so, so sorry for what I said," Thea said, throwing herself into her mother's arms and crying into her shoulder.

"I know, sweetheart. I know," Moira comforted her daughter, holding her close. Oliver and Nysa watched this for a moment before quietly making an exit and joining Diggle and Maseo in the foyer.

"Now what?" Diggle asked.

"Now, you take Oliver home to rest while I go and see Felicity about an analysis," Nyssa said. Seeing Oliver about to argue, Nyssa continued. "No arguments, Beloved. You need to rest. Go, before you collapse."

#Arrow#

"Nyssa, hi, how are you?" Felicity greeted cheerfully as said woman walked into her office.

"I am well, thank you," Nyssa responded as she walked over to stand before Felicity.

"Uh oh, you have that look on your face," Felicity said as she looked at Nyssa.

"What look?" Nyssa asked innocently.

"The same look that both you and Oliver get when you need me to do something that would arguably be way outside my job description," Felicity described.

"Would you like me to go?" Nyssa challenged, curious which way Felicity would choose. Felicity, for her part, considered what Nyssa had asked, wondering. But her curiosity got the better of her.

"What do you need?" Felicity asked.

"Oliver took this off of one of the workers at the club," Nyssa said, producing the syringe from her bag, now stored in a plastic container. "The worker told us that it was Vertigo."

"The same drug that Thea took," Felicity interrupted.

"And the one that is gaining a stranglehold on this city, correct," Nyssa confirmed. "We had the idea that if we could get a full analysis of this done, we might be able to figure out a treatment for anyone hooked on the drug and help them get clean."

"Could also probably find out where it was made," Felicity added, looking at Nyssa. "Possibly."

"If that were possible, Felicity, it would be of great benefit to the police," Nyssa pointed out. "It might allow them to catch whoever is making it."

"I'm sure it would be of benefit," Felicity agreed, eyeing Nyssa. "And not just to the Police."

"Oliver asked that you email him the results when you have them," Nyssa continued, ignoring Felicity's comment. 

"I'll get right on it," Felicity assured, accepting the container from Nyssa.

"Thank you Nura," Nyssa said before leaving.

#Arrow#

"We have a possible location," Diggle announced as he read the email Oliver had just received.

“Where?” Oliver asked, coming out dressed and ready to go.

“The Vertigo in the syringe was made using water that originated within a ten-block radius of where the bay meets East Glades. The only thing there is an old juvenile detention centre that was closed due to cutbacks three years ago,” Diggle explained before he turned to look at Oliver. “Whoa, you can’t go out there Oliver. You are still suffering the aftereffects of the Vertigo.”

“You remember what The Count said at the met?” Oliver asked Diggle. “If we don’t stop him now, he is taking this drug citywide and if he does that, it becomes an epidemic.”

“Oliver,” Diggle called, coming to his feet. “I will stop you from leaving if I have too.”

“Try it,” Oliver challenged, his voice going cold. Diggle looked at him for a moment before picking up a tennis ball and holding it near his head.

“If you can hit this, I’ll let you walk out that door,” Diggle declared.

“Fine,” Oliver agreed, walking over and picking up his bow and an arrow and drawing it on Diggle. John watch Oliver sight down the arrow, keenly away of how much Oliver’s arm was wavering as he constantly adjusted his aim. After almost a minute, Oliver lowered his bow.

“Finally,” Diggle commented as Oliver put his bow back down on the table. “I’m glad you came to your senses.”

“You should always remember something, John,” Oliver said, drawing his bodyguard’s attention. “I don’t need the bow.”

“Perhaps not,” Nyssa stated as she, Maseo and Sin walked into the Foundry. “But the bow is your weapon, and you are disadvantaged without it.”

“I’m fine,” Oliver declared.

“Now you are lying to me, Beloved,” Nyssa said, walking up to and stopping directly in front of her husband before placing her hands on his cheeks. “You are still feeling the effects of the Vertigo.”

“I can still fight,” Oliver tried. “You know I can.”

“I know you can, Beloved. That is not in question,” Nyssa assured Oliver. “But let John and myself take care of The Count. If something somehow happened to you, what would it do to Thea?”

“She’s right man,” Diggle agreed. “We got this.”

“Alright,” Oliver said softly. 

“John, get ready,” Nyssa ordered, turning to gather her own gear.

#Arrow#

“Well, there it is,” Diggle said as he and Nyssa looked at the building that they suspected housed The Count’s hideout. “And only 4 guards on the roof.”

“Plus two more walking around outside,” Nyssa added as she examined the building. A bottle breaking behind them, drew their attention. “And we have company.”

“3. 2. 1,” Diggle counted down quietly before he turned around, gun raised. He was a nanosecond from pulling the trigger when his mind registered who was before him. “Shit.”

“Zayda, what are you doing here?” Nyssa demanded as she lowered her bow. Sin came forward and crouched down.

“Thea is my friend too. And I have other friends who are hooked on this stuff,” Sin revealed. “Besides, the Foundry is too quiet.”

“I know my husband is quiet but surely Oliver was speaking,” Nyssa said. Sin shrugged.

“He might have been, but he wasn’t in the Foundry,” Sin replied. “He left 5 minutes after you and Dig did.”

“That man,” Nyssa said in a frustrated tone even as Dig chuckled in disbelief. “What is that?” Nyssa asked, changing subjects and pointing at the sword Sin was carrying.

“I found it in the Foundry,” Sin said as she pulled the blade a little. “It has no point or edge, but it weighs about the same as one that does. Figured I was safer bringing this than a real one.”

“It is another form of training katana. Designed to get you used to the actual weight and feel of a blade,” Nyssa explained. “It will still break the bone of your opponent if used properly.”

“I could do that with a baseball bat,” Sin retorted before holding up the sword a little. “But this, I’m trained to use.”

“We will find that out later,” Nyssa replied. “For now, you are going back to the Foundry.”

“Guys, we are going to need to discuss this later,” Diggle said right before bullets started to impact the ground around them. “The guard on the roof spotted us.”

“I will deal with him,” Nyssa decided. More gunfire erupted from the other side of the building. “Oliver.”

“Guess it’s decided for us,” Diggle commented before turning to Sin. “You got something to cover your face?”

“Borrowed a balaclava,” Sin said as she pulled one out of her coat and put it on. “What’s the plan?”

“Stay with John. Let him lead,” Nyssa commanded, swapping her arrows. “I will start on the roof and work down. Ready?”

“Ready,” Sin replied.

“Go in 3, 2, 1,” Diggle counted down. The moment he said one, all three of them jumped up and ran for the building. Diggle shot the two guards outside while Nyssa fired her arrow and killed the guard on the roof. Without pausing, Nyssa pulled a grappling arrow from her quiver and fired it at the roof. Feeling the arrow embed itself in the roof overhang and the cable being pulled taut, Nyssa leaped at the wall and proceeded to run up it.

#Arrow#

“Back,” Diggle called, pressing himself into the wall as bullets erupted down the hallway. Behind him, Sin tried to shrink herself down as much as possible, already reconsidering the intelligence of her decision. Diggle waited for the bullets to stop before leaning out and shooting the man. “Let’s go.”

“Got it,” Sin said as she stepped out behind Dig, sword held steady. They advanced slowly down the hallway, almost reaching the door at the end when it slammed open and 5 men came streaming out. Diggle was able to kill one of them and wound another before he was forced to turn to his fists. Sin wondered what she could do when Dig, without thinking, threw one of the men away from himself; towards her. “Shit.”

“The Hood bringing kids along now?” the thug asked as he climbed to his feet. Sin gripped her sword tighter, watching her opponent carefully. “Come here,” the thug demanded as he lunged at her. Sin sidestepped, allowing him to sail past and struck out with her sword, connecting with his calves, the back of his knees and his left wrist. The thug fell to the ground, cradling his wrist. “You broke my wrist, BITCH!” he screamed. Sin walked towards him carefully, slashing his shin to distract him and then smacked him across the head, knocking him out.

“I’m not bitch,” Sin stated before turning to re-join the combat. Noticing the wounded man making for one of the dropped guns, Sin pounced on him and broke his forearm and shin. As she stood up, she saw Diggle looking at her. “What?”

“I think you have been around Nyssa too long,” Diggle commented.

“Oh I haven’t even begun to teach her the advanced techniques yet,” Nyssa said, appearing from a side room and surveying the carnage. “Though I have to say, you have progressed very well.”

“Thanks,” Sin responded in gratitude. Gunfire from where the men had come from sounded out.

“I believe my Beloved has arrived,” Nyssa commented. “Shall we join him?” Nyssa asked before leading the way through the door cautiously, Diggle and Sin behind her. They found themselves on a gantry, overlooking the main level below. Oliver stood on the floor while a man pointed a gun at him from atop a table.

“You should have stuck to your depraved elite,” the man raged, waving his gun at Oliver. “I am merely providing people with what they want! I am providing a public service!”

“So am I,” Oliver shot back before he threw a flechette, disarming the crazed drug dealer, before leaping up onto the table next to The Count. They traded punches before Oliver grabbed the Count's double syringe and jammed it into his arm. “Enjoy the fruits of your labour,” he hissed as he squeezed the plunger, injecting the drug into the Count. 

“Freeze!” someone screamed out and Oliver moved directly behind The Count, keeping the man between him and the half dozen cops who had just arrived; Detective’s Lance and Hilton in the lead.

“Put down the needle, or I will shoot you!” Lance shouted. “Put down the syringe!”

“He deserves this!” Oliver argued. 

“Not according to the law!” Lance shot back. “The people that think you're a hero, people like my daughter, if they could see you now… you're no hero,” he sneered. “You're what I always said you were, a killer.” Oliver snarled in annoyance, then, cutting his loses, tossed the Count directly on top of Lance before sprinting away. 

“Get him!” Lance ordered, but Oliver had disappeared. Looking down at the doped drug dealer, he pulled out his radio. “Get me an ambulance,” he ordered. “Now!”

“I believe that is our cue,” Diggle whispered, lest the police spot him.

“I agree. I have a husband to chastise,” Nyssa said before quietly backing out through the door they had entered by.

#Arrow#

“Juvenile delinquent reporting for duty,” Thea said nervously to Laurel as the older woman approached with a smile. 

“Since you lost your driver's license, I'll pick you up at five,” Oliver told her. 

“Six,” Laurel interrupted, grinning. “We have a lot of work for her to do.” 

“Well, then, let's say seven,” Oliver said with his own grin. 

“Is it too late to choose jail?” Thea wondered aloud. 

“YES!” both Oliver and Laurel said in unison.

“I need you to go through these files and pull out all the documents dated March 2007,” Laurel said, handing a stack of folders to Thea. “Do you think you could do that?”

“I think I can,” Thea assured her. She moved towards an empty desk but stopped and turned back to Laurel. “I know I messed up,” she said. “I really appreciate this, Laurel.”

“We are going to make an upstanding citizen out of you yet, Speedy,” Laurel promised, smiling at the younger girl. 

“Thank you,” Oliver said as he smiled at Laurel. “And this will be good for her, having a role model, somebody better than me.”

“Oh, you're not so bad,” Laurel argued. “You have changed a lot since before the boat. And she has Nyssa as a role model too.”

“Oh, Thea taking after Nyssa,” Oliver chuckled. “That would make this city a very…interesting place to live.”

“Besides, it'll be nice to have her around,” Laurel added, smiling wistfully at Thea and thinking of her own younger sister. 

#Arrow#

“I mean it Oliver,” Nyssa stated forcefully. “If you do something like that again, I will start tying you up.”

“I thought you said you weren’t into bondage,” Oliver joked as he sipped his drink; almost choking when Nyssa jabbed him in his ribs. “Hey, I almost spilt this.”

“It would serve you right,” Nyssa replied as she sipped her own drink. “Do you have any idea why Felicity would ask to meet with us here?”

“Not a clue,” Oliver replied, setting his drink down. “But I think we are about to find out,” he said as he indicated Felicity entering the Big Belly Burger. He waved at Felicity to draw her attention and as she walked over, he stood to greet her. “Hi.”

“Hi,” Felicity responded. “Thanks for meeting me here. I was nervous to come to your house, either of them; and we probably shouldn’t discuss this at work,” she chuckled nervously. “Okay… the thing is, I've been debating whether or not to share this with you both for weeks.” Her words caused both Oliver and Nyssa to devote their entire attention to her. “Can I trust you?” Felicity asked. Seeing the blank look on Oliver’s face and the contemplative one on Nyssa’s, she scoffed. “I'm not an idiot,” she snapped. “You've both dropped some fairly ridiculous lies and tasks on me, and yet I still feel like I can trust you,” she chuckled. “Why is that?” she wondered aloud. 

“I have one of those faces,” Oliver quipped, earning another elbow to the ribs from Nyssa.

“Please excuse him, Felicity,” Nyssa apologised. “He is feeling full of himself today.”

“Sorry. Yes,” Oliver said, smiling apologetically. “You can trust us,” he said firmly, staring Felicity in the eye. 

“Then I have something to show you,” Felicity said after a moment. She reached down into her handbag and withdrew a small, tan notebook. Oliver looked at it as she handed the book to him. Oliver took the book with a frown, which only deepened as he opened the book to see a very familiar list of names. He glanced at Nyssa and saw that she had gone stone-faced. “Have you ever seen this before?” Felicity asked. 

“No,” Oliver said completely truthfully. He really hadn’t seen THIS notebook before. He forced himself to calm down as he asked a question. “Where'd you get it?” 

“From your stepfather,” Felicity replied to Oliver and Nyssa’s surprise. 

“From Walter?” Nyssa asked, wanting to confirm. Felicity nodded back. “Did he say where he obtained it?”

“He said he found it in your house,” Felicity explained. “I think he meant the mansion because he also said that it belongs to your mother. Walter thought she was hiding something. Something more, and he wanted me to look into it, but then he vanished.” Felicity paused to take a breath. “I think this list might have cost Walter his life,” She admitted as Oliver stared into space, his jaw clenched in anger while Nyssa took the book from Oliver and examined it more closely.

“If you believe that Felicity,” Nyssa began. “Why haven’t you gone to the police?”

“Someone that can organise the kidnapping of the CEO of a multibillion-dollar conglomerate without a trace is not going to be worried about the police,” Felicity stated matter-of-factly. “But they might be afraid of the two of you.”

“And why is that Felicity?” Nyssa wondered curiously. “We are just a pair of private citizens trying to adjust back into the world after being out of it for several years.”

“That may be true,” Felicity said; her choice of words drawing Oliver’s eyes to her. “But there is more as well.”

“Such as?” Oliver queried.

“I really hope I was right about trusting you two,” Felicity said aloud to no one before focusing on Oliver and Nyssa again. “Because you two are the vigilantes.”


Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #32
Chapter 33 – Acts Of Betrayal

“What?” Oliver exclaimed with an incredulous chuckle while surreptitiously looking around to see if anyone had heard what Felicity had said. Thankfully the restaurant was mostly empty at this time and no one was sitting near them. “You think Nyssa and I are the Vigilantes?” Oliver asked quietly, focusing back on Felicity.

“I’m almost certain you are,” Felicity replied. “Maybe not 100% but definitely over 90% sure.”

“And how have you come to this conclusion?” Nyssa wondered curiously. “If you don’t mind telling us.”

“Well, it wasn’t any one thing. More the amalgamation of coincidences,” Felicity said, pulling a notepad from her bag and setting it on the table. “First there was Floyd Lawton’s computer and the blueprints for the exchange building. Then I searched for Thea and less than an hour after I find her, the vigilantes rescue her. After that was searching for the Restons and then they get arrested for bank robbery.”

“I’m not seeing how we could be vigilantes from that,” Oliver pointed out.

“I’m not done,” Felicity continued. “Before Christmas, you had me trace an arrow’s delivery address. That address was later found burnt out from an explosive and the city was terrorised by a second archer. I know it was a second because he only killed two men that you had already crossed off, so to speak.”

“Interesting word choice but go on,” Nyssa remarked.

“Then I found Sin for Nyssa. And you remarked about breaking me out of jail; that was weird btw,” Felicity said. “And in finding Sin and a pattern of missing persons reports, a human trafficking ring run by the Chinese Triad is broken up,” Felicity explained, taking a moment to breath. “And then just recently, we have the security fob from Blackhawk Security, who apparently had some employees robbing armoured cars and tried to rope Mr Diggle into helping them, and lastly, testing a sample for Vertigo days after Thea is arrested for using it.”

“None of that proves I’m a vigilante,” Oliver said calmly, leaning back in his chair. “I don’t even know how to use a bow. I’d probably shoot myself in the foot if I tried.”

“That’s not what your file says,” Felicity responded, equally calm.

“What file?” Nyssa asked curiously.

“You’re A.R.G.U.S. files. Both of them,” Felicity replied, causing both Nyssa and Oliver to lean forward.

“Felicity, please tell me you didn’t hack into that system?” Nyssa practically begged.

“Ah, maybe a little bit. I only looked at 4 files,” Felicity answered, a little spooked by their reactions. “And I was careful. They won’t find me.”

“What four files?” Oliver asked, knowing that he couldn’t do anything about trying to conceal Felicity’s computer trail.

“Um, Yours, Nyssa’s, Nyssa’s father and Floyd Lawton’s,” Felicity replied. “Also, he was never your friend.”

“So now you know,” Nyssa whispered softly. 

“I know words on a page,” Felicity said. “I also know actions. And the two don’t match.”

“Excuse me?” Oliver wondered. 

“The files say that you both, are international assassins with multiple kills to your names,” Felicity said, shuddering slightly. “I can’t believe how I just said that.”

“Felicity, concentrate please,” Nyssa requested.

“Right,” Felicity said. “Well, the files tell me one thing but your actions since returning to Starling city tell me another. That you are trying to help.”

“And how did you come to that conclusion?” Oliver wondered.

“You started out specific. Targeting a group of people whose names are all in this book. Given what I have researched about everyone in this book, none of them are particularly nice people and most of them are outright criminals,” Felicity said. “After a while, you broadened your scope to include a mercenary that was killing people, bank robbers, several criminal organisations, armoured car thieves, a revenge filled fireman and a drug dealer. Not the typical actions of an assassin.”

“You know many assassins do you, Felicity?” Oliver quipped.

“Only you two,” Felicity replied. “But that seems to be enough. From what I can tell, you’re not here to kill people. You’re here to try and save them.”

“How very astute of you, Felicity,” Nyssa stated. “But tell me, what are you going to do with all of this information? Go to the police perhaps?”

“I don’t think it would make any difference if I went to them,” Felicity said. “You would probably be out of the country before the arrest warrants could be issued.”

“Probably,” Nyssa responded.

“As I said earlier, the person who kidnapped Walter Steele won’t be worried about the police but I’m betting that they will be worried about the two of you,” Felicity reiterated. “I want you to find and rescue him.”

“And what if he is already dead?” Oliver queried. “I don’t want to believe that he is but the realist in me is making me regard it as a possibility.”

“If he is dead, I want his killers brought to justice,” Felicity stated firmly. “Not killed.”

“I can’t promise that Felicity,” Oliver said, holding up a hand to forestall Felicity’s comment. “It will depend on the situation, but I give you my word that if Walter is dead, his killers will be brought to justice unless there is no other way.”

“Ok,” Felicity accepted after a moment. “You can keep that if you need it. I already have a copy of the names.”

“How can we trust you not to tell anyone?” Nyssa asked her friend, accepting that they couldn’t hide what they were from Felicity.

“Because I am trusting you both with my job, my future, my life,” Felicity replied. “And you told me I could trust you.”

“You can,” Oliver assured his Technical Advisor. 

“Good. Now, I’m willing to help you find Walter but after that I want to go back to my boring life,” Felicity requested.

“Felicity, you know the two of us,” Nyssa pointed out. “Your life will never be boring.”

“Be that as it may, I would like to stick with my normal 9 to 5 job,” Felicity said.

“Very well,” Oliver accepted. “Was there anything else?”

“Only one thing,” Felicity said hesitantly. “I know you are supposed to be an assassin and all, but I think you would be able to help this city more if you didn’t kill as many people.”

“I’ll take it under advisement,” Oliver noted with a smile. Behind his smile though, his mind accelerated.

#Arrow#

“So this book contains a list of names of guys that you have been hunting,” Diggle said, holding up Oliver’s notebook, before holding up the second one that Felicity had given Oliver and Nyssa. “And this book, apparently your mother’s, has the same list of names.”

“It’s identical,” Oliver confirmed. “Or rather it is complete.”

“Complete?” Sin wondered.

“It was very early on when I had just arrived on Lian Yu,” Oliver explained. “Yao Fei had left me in a cave to heal from some wounds and I wanted to keep the fire going. I only realised after burning a few pages that there was writing on the pages that the heat made visible.”

“Invisible ink?” Diggle wondered.

“We believe so,” Nyssa said. “There are several varieties in existence. The League even uses one of them.”

“Right, so where’d your mother get her copy?” John asked. “And where did you get it?”

“From Felicity,” Oliver answered. “She said that Walter found it in the Mansion.”

“And now he is missing,” Diggle said, his implication obvious.

“Dig, she is my mother,” Oliver began to argue. “She’s not the kind of person who would- “

“Have her husband kidnapped?” Dig finished. “Because that is really the question, isn’t it?”

“It is,” Nyssa confirmed. “And we know from experience Beloved that being family is not a prevention to being a target, or a victim.”

“Be that as it may,” Oliver tried.

“Oliver, I understand why you would believe your mother over your stepfather,” Diggle said. “But I tend to believe the innocent party is whoever’s missing and presumed dead.”

“Beloved, please,” Nyssa said. “We are not saying that she is guilty. But we are saying that because of her being in possession of this book, we need to investigate her a little. For all we know the book was left over from you father and just not discovered. But we need to be sure and I for one would like to know why the list was assembled in the first place.”

#Flashback – 3 Years Ago#

“Very good but shift your weight more when you slash. Put your shoulder behind your arm,” Nyssa advised as she parried Oliver’s Dao before blocking Oliver’s left hand, which held his kukri in a reverse grip, from slicing her stomach. “Good, you are adapting. But you are still slow,” Nyssa advised before lashing out with her foot and taking out Oliver’s ankle. Oliver cringed in pain but stayed standing as Nyssa targeted his knee next. Allowing her the hit, Oliver brought his full weight forward, crashing into Nyssa and sending both crumpling to the floor, Oliver on top of Nyssa. Oliver quickly looked to take advantage of the situation and brought his kukri up to Nyssa’s neck. Before it got there however, he felt something hard pressing into his ribs. “As I said, you are still slow,” Nyssa said as Oliver looked down to see Nyssa pressing her knife into his side. Grinning to himself under his mask, he rolled to the side and climbed to his feet before offering an arm to Nyssa, helping her up. He was about to say something when someone clapped from off to the side.

“My, that was impressive,” Talia observed as she stalked into the room. “Few enough men are able to best my sister. Fewer still are able to survive laying astride her.”

“He did not best me sister,” Nyssa pointed out. “My knife would have ended his life before his blade touched my skin.”

“She speaks the truth,” Al Sah-him conceded, schooling his voice into neutrality.

“Perhaps, perhaps not,” Talia said. “My point is, he is still alive.”

“Do I have cause to kill him?” Nyssa asked idly, wondering why her sister was present. “We were sparring. Al Sah-him needs experience in adapting to changing situations. Better here where he is less likely to die, than out there.”

“Too true,” Talia agreed.

“Why are you here sister?” Nyssa wondered. “Have you come for a rematch?”

“If only we had the time,” Talia answered condescendingly. “Unfortunately, father wishes to speak with you. He has a task of the highest importance.”

“I’m surprised he hasn’t given it to you,” Nyssa responded.

“Oh he tried,” Talia replied. “But I convinced him that you were better suited for it. Come, he is waiting.”

“Remember what I said, Al Sah-him,” Nyssa cautioned Oliver. “Practice makes perfect.”

“As you command,” Al Sah-him replied as he watched Nyssa leave with Talia, a bad feeling appearing in his stomach.


#Present#

 “Hey,” Oliver greeted his mother as he walked into her office at the Mansion. “Heading out?”

“Oh, yes,” Moira confirmed, smiling up at her sun as she put on her shoe. “It’s a meeting with the financial planners,” she explained before noting her son’s distracted, far-off look. “Are you alright Oliver?”

“I’m not sure,” Oliver admitted, stepping forward. “There was something that I wanted to ask you about. It concerns Walter,” he said hesitantly as he pulled the notebook he had received from Felicity from his pocket and held it up. “Before Christmas, right before he disappeared, he gave me this,” Oliver said, handing his mother the notebook. “Do you know what it is?”

“This is your father’s notebook,” Moira said as she looked it over, flipping through the pages and seeing the pencilled in names. “He kept a list of all the people in Starling City who owed him favours. I just never knew there were so many.”

“I’ve, ah, I’ve done some research on some of the names in this book and they are not good people,” he said softly as Moira locked her eyes on him. “This Hood has also visited several of them.

“Oliver,” Moira started. “I have no idea what your father was involved in or with whom,” she said. “And both you and your sister now know that he was less than honest with me.”

“Then we need to find out-” Oliver began.

“No,” Moira interrupted, cutting her son off. “If what you say is true, and this list is filled with bad people that Walter was looking into. And now that he is…” Moira stuttered out before suddenly throwing the notebook into the fire. “The only way to keep this family safe is for everyone to stop asking questions. And that includes you, Oliver,” Moira said, placing her hand on her son’s chest. “Please, promise me,” she pleaded. Oliver looked into her eyes and nodded before staring at the fire, watching the book burn.

#Arrow#

“No, no,” Nyssa chastised. “You must work as a team. Together you are greater than the sum of your parts. Now, again.”

“You ready Thea?” Sin asked as she dropped into a guard stance.

“As I’ll ever be,” Thea replied, lifting her sword high. Nyssa calmly stood opposite them, sword held at her side casually as she eyed the two girls off. Sin made the first move, lunging forward in a sloppy move that Nyssa could see was only to provoke movement. Choosing instead to weather the storm, Nyssa batted the thrust and recovered her guard to block an overhead strike from Thea. Once the strike was blocked, Nyssa pushed Thea away so that she was on the opposite side of Sin before resuming her casual, nonchalant stance.

“That was better, but it was still Sin searching for an opening while Thea reacted,” Nyssa elucidated. “You should instead try to drive your opponent, using your numerical advantage to move them to where you want them.”

“What if they outnumber us?” Sin asked.

“Then relocate if possible, to where the terrain favours you,” Nyssa replied. “If you cannot, cover each other’s weak spots while focusing on eliminating one enemy at a time. Simultaneous attacks are more difficult for a single person to block and leave the smallest gaps in your defence for the exertion necessary.”

“Like this?” Thea queried as she lunged forward, her sword whipping around. Nyssa glanced behind her and saw Sin doing the same. Right before they would have connected, Nyssa suddenly crouched, allowing the two swords to pass over her and impact each other instead; surprising their wielders. And that was when Nyssa struck. Spinning around, she extended her right leg and took Sin’s legs out from under her before rising to her feet, inside Thea’s guard, and held her sword to Thea’s throat.

“Not quite,” Nyssa said a moment later, her point made. She stepped back and lowered her sword before helping Sin to her feet. “Simultaneous does not mean the same. By using the wrong attacks, I used your own attacks against you.”

“Please tell me why exactly why we need to learn this?” Thea wondered. “I’m trying to see a point and I can’t.”

“It is about teamwork and adapting to changing situations,” Nyssa answered. “Say you and Sin are out one night and someone the size of Mr Diggle comes up and blocks you in. What do you do?”

“Ah, I don’t know, scream?” Thea proposed. 

“A better idea would be if one of you distracts him while the other shatters his kneecap,” Nyssa countered. “The knee is oddly fragile if hit correctly. But to successfully distract him, you would need to work together.”

“Isn’t that a bit violent?” Thea wondered.

“Thea, some of them deserve anything you do to them because they would do worse to you without a second thought,” Sin reasoned. “Trust me.”

“Sin speaks truly,” Nyssa said before looking up as Oliver and Diggle entered the gym. “Good evening Beloved, Mr Diggle. How are you both this evening?”

“Fine, thank you Nyssa,” John replied. “Girls.”

“Hi Dig,” Sin greeted the bodyguard. “Oliver.”

“Hey Sin, Nyssa,” Oliver responded, before turning to his sister. “So how was your first day?”

“Not bad,” Thea said. “Met a top-notch lawyer on a pro-bono sabbatical, some guy Vanch got released from prison and I sorted files. Fun times.

“Vanch?” Sin asked. “Cyrus Vanch?”

“Sounds right,” Thea said. “Laurel ranted about human trafficking, drug running, racketeering and like 50 something homicides.”

“That’s Cyrus Vanch alright,” Diggle confirmed. “Bad news no matter what the day.”

“Well, that is why we have a police force,” Oliver pointed out. “Could I borrow Nyssa for a moment, girls? I promise to return her to you shortly.”

“It will be fine,” Nyssa said, turning to her students. “Practice against each other. I will be back soon.”

“No worries,” Thea said as Sin stepped back into her preferred ready stance. Nyssa watched for a moment before following the departing men. They kept going until they stood in the dining room. 

“How did the conversation with Moira go?” Nyssa asked, already knowing the topic of conversation.

“Not well,” Oliver replied, staring at Nyssa. “She shut me down, warned me off and then burnt the book.”

“That is unfortunate,” Nyssa said. “At least we copied down any missing names from our list.”

“Yeah,” Oliver said weakly.

“I’m sorry, but I have to play Devil’s advocate,” Diggle said. “Don’t you find it a little convenient your mother just happening to burn that book.”

“She did it out of concern for mine and Thea’s safety, Dig,” Oliver said, defending his mother.

“Or her own,” Diggle countered. “Oliver, your father had this list for a reason, and I doubt it was to remind him of who owed him favours. We need to find out why. And if you mother is lying to you...”

“She said she didn’t know anything about who was on the list,” Oliver argued.

“Beloved, being family doesn’t prevent you from lying to each other,” Nyssa pointed out. “We are examples of that very fact.”

“I know,” Oliver accepted. “I just do not want to believe that my mother is up to something. I thought I knew her.”

“Oliver, she might not be up to anything,” Diggle said calmly. “But my gut tells me that we need to look into this further.”

“Alright,” Oliver agreed after a moment. “But discreetly. We don’t want…” Oliver was interrupted by a phone ringing in his pocket.

“Is that?” Diggle wondered.

“Yeah, the phone I sent to Detective Lance, which Laurel now has,” Oliver confirmed, extracting the phone from his pocket and answering it. “Hello.”

“I need your help,” Laurel said from the other end.

“That is what you said last time and why you have the phone,” Oliver pointed out. “Go on.”

“Cyrus Vanch was released from prison,” Laurel revealed.

“So I heard. A lack of evidence I understand,” Oliver said.

“A technicality,” Laurel replied. “Now he is living large in his lawyer’s house who is now conveniently missing. There is no evidence of foul play, but I know he is just Vanch’s first victim.”

“So call the police?” Oliver said with a sigh.

“Without evidence of new criminal activity they can’t touch him,” Laurel responded. “And Vanch is too good to make it easy to find.”

“Laurel, I’m sure I have made it abundantly clear that obtaining evidence is not what I do,” Oliver stated.

“Vanch is dangerous and unless he is stopped, more people are going to die,” Laurel pleaded. 

“Hold onto the phone,” Oliver said after considering the situation. “I’ll call,” he said before hanging up.

“Cyrus Vanch is on your father’s list,” Nyssa pointed out. 

“He is,” Oliver confirmed. “And I need the distraction. I can’t be the one looking into my mother.”

“I’ll take care of it,” Diggle assured his friend. “And I’ll be discreet. If nothing turns up, she’ll never know we were looking.”

“Thank you,” Oliver said in gratitude, pocketing the phone. “Now, I have work to do.”

“You need backup?” Diggle asked.

“I’m just doing recon,” Oliver replied. “I’ll be fine.”

“Take care Beloved,” Nyssa beseeched. “Shinkōshoku no hebi is out there. And I do not trust the snake.”

“I will,” Oliver promised. “Love you.”

#Arrow#

“Hello Laurel,” Oliver greeted as he came around the air-conditioning equipment and into the Lawyer’s field of view. “Thank you for coming on such short notice.”

“Thank you for helping,” she replied. “What have you been able to find out?”

“Not much,” Oliver replied. “Vanch’s position is too heavily fortified to infiltrate. But I was able to get this,” Oliver said, holding out a small flash drive. “A recording. Evidence that he is trying to take over the positions that were vacated by Frank Bertinelli and…” Oliver paused, his head coming up to look around, listening. “The Triad.”

“What’s wrong?” Laurel asked, noticing his shift in posture and his sudden wariness.

“We’re not along,” Oliver stated just as the stairwell door was flung open and armed police began pouring out onto the rooftop, Detectives Lance and Hilton in the lead. Oliver grabbed Laurel and placed her between himself and the armed police, using her as a human shield. 

“SCPD! Get down!” Lance shouted, pointing his gun at the vigilante, and consequently, his own daughter. “Hands where we can see ‘em!”

“Dad!” Laurel shouted in shock and fear.

“You would shoot your own daughter Detective?” Oliver asked from behind Laurel as he backed her up closer to the edge of the building.

“Freeze!” Lance shouted. “Do it now! You so much as leave a bruise on her and I swear I will drag you down to hell myself,” he snarled, taking a step forward.

“Laurel, I apologise for this,” Oliver whispered to the lawyer before pushing her right at Lance and diving back off the rooftop. Lance caught his daughter, immediately pushing her into his partner’s arms as he ran to the edge.

“Quentin, don’t!” Hilton shouted even as Lance threw himself over the side, falling the two stories to the park below. Hilton and Laurel ran forward to see Lance stagger to his feet and chase after the vigilante as he disappeared into a nearby office building.

Lance followed The Hood through the building and out into the stairwell of the parking garage beyond. Seeing the 5th floor door close, he stopped beside it before cautiously opening it and passing through. He carefully cleared the area beyond the door and began to move forward when Oliver dropped down from the pipes above him and knocked him to the floor. Lance’s gun skittered away as he fell, and he rolled over onto his back to see the masked vigilante standing over him.

“I warned you against trying to trap me Detective Lance,” Oliver reprimanded the police officer before punching him in the head hard, knocking him out.

#Arrow#

“What was he thinking?” Oliver wondered angrily as he walked into the Foundry. “Laurel could have been hurt, or worse.”

“I’ll agree, it wasn’t one of his best decisions,” Diggle commented from where he sat. “But sometimes we have trouble seeing straight when it comes to those we care about.”

“Like me and my mother?” Oliver wondered.

“Or Talia,” Diggle added. “You ever going to tell me the full story about that by the way?”

“Perhaps one day,” Oliver replied dismissively. “But I see your point. When we care about someone, it gets harder to see the bigger picture; and that they could be a part of it in a way we don’t want them to be.”

“Right,” Diggle agreed. “By the way, I’ll be driving your mother around for a few days.”

“Double-0 Diggle?” Oliver joked lamely, trying to lighten the mood.

“Something like that,” Dig chuckled. “Just doing due diligence. See if she meets anyone we might be interested in checking out closer.”

“Anything yet?” Oliver asked, not wanting to but knowing he had too.

“Just a birthday party for a friend,” Dig answered. “It reminded me why I chose special forces over intelligence gathering.”

“That bad, huh?” Oliver queried.

“Disastrous,” John lamented. “But I managed to wing it. Only a few more days to go,” he said, picking up his coat.

“Before you go,” Oliver said, stopping Diggle in his tracks. “I want to ask your opinion of something.”

“Go ahead,” Dig said, laying his coat over his arm.

“Do you think I would be of more help to this city if I killed less?” Oliver proposed.

“Where’s this coming from?” Diggle wondered before the answer came to him. “Felicity.”

“She mentioned it the other night and it has been bouncing around in the back of my head ever since,” Oliver admitted. “I’m an assassin; killing is what I do. But is it helping this city?”

“I can’t answer that question, Oliver,” Diggle replied. “But in my opinion, police officers manage to do their jobs without killing unless they have to. And in my experience; less killing is a good thing.”

#Arrow#

“How was your day Beloved?” Nyssa asked from where she stood watching Sin and Thea sparring.

“It was alright,” Oliver replied as she stepped up beside her. “How they doing?”

“Their teamwork has improved,” Nyssa responded positively. “Especially when I allowed Sin to use Sai while Thea paired her katana with a wakizashi.”

“Differentiation of weapons leads to a difference of roles,” Oliver summed up. “They would have a clearer picture of what they were supposed to do.”

“That was my thought exactly,” Nyssa stated. “How was Felicity? Are you both able to function with her knowing about us?”

“She does her job well,” Oliver said. “Promoting her was a good idea.”

“You didn’t answer my question, Beloved,” Nyssa pointed out with a smile. “You didn’t speak with her today at all, did you?”

“No,” Oliver admitted. “I spoke to Tommy though. He is worried about his relationship with Laurel. She has been lying to him.”

“About meeting with the vigilantes?” Nyssa asked and Oliver nodded in reply. “What did you tell him?”

“I advised him to have an honest talk with her,” Oliver replied. “To fix them before they become unfixable.”

“Wise words,” Nyssa acknowledged as she saw Diggle get off the elevator and walk towards them. “Good evening John. How are you?”

“Yeah, I’m alright,” Diggle answered a little anxiously. “Not sure how long that will last.”

“Is something wrong Dig?” Oliver asked in concern.

“I’d have to say, yes,” Dig responded hesitantly, pulling a recording device from his pocket. “I got something you need to hear. And they,” Diggle said, looking at the sparring girls. “Shouldn’t.”

“Girls, I will be back in a moment,” Nyssa called out immediately. “Keep sparring.”

“No worries,” Sin called back as she lunged at Thea. “Take your time.”

“Thea, lower your stance,” Nyssa advised before turning to the two men. “Come,” she said as she led the two men to a room away from the gym; shutting the door once the three of them were inside. “Play it.”

“It's taken care of,” though distorted, Oliver and Nyssa both immediately recognized the unmistakable voice of Moira Queen. “I've taken care of it. Carl Ballard will not be a problem anymore.”

“Given your propensity for squeamishness, I'm assuming that Mr. Ballard remains in good health,” A second, distorted and unrecognisable, male voice said.

“I made it clear to him persuasively that his plans endangered the undertaking. I didn't have to make the usual threats,” Moira replied.

“Excellent,” the man said approvingly. “Now, one more matter to attend to. I need you to have to contents of this address removed and disposed of thoroughly. The warehouse where you're storing the remains of 'The Queen's Gambit'.”

“I already told you, I knew Robert's yacht was sabotaged,” Moira replied cautiously.

“And I don't think it serves for anyone to find evidence of that. Do you?” the man countered. “Dispose of the remains.”

“What?” Oliver exclaimed in shock, shutting off the recording device.

“I’m sorry, man,” Dig said apologetically.

“The yacht was sabotaged,” Oliver gasped. “Somebody tried to kill my father.”

“And you mother is possibly involved,” Diggle stated.

“You do not know that,” Oliver growled, turning to face his bodyguard.

“Perhaps not, Beloved,” Nyssa said, seeking to soothe Oliver’s ragged emotional state. “But what we all now know, is that she kept it a secret. You do not do that unless you have something to hide. We should discover what that is.”

“I need a moment to process this,” Oliver said as he stepped up to the window, trying to think. Unfortunately, a ring phone prevented that. Oliver snatched the phone from his pocket and answered the call. “You have three seconds before I have this line permanently disconnected,” Oliver snarled, his emotional state showing. 

“It’s Laurel. She’s been kidnapped,” Detective lance said desperately through the phone for all to hear. “Listen, whoever this is, he’s going to kill my daughter. Please believe me.” Oliver glanced at Nyssa and Diggle, both nodding once to his unspoken question.

“Winick Building. 1 hour,” Oliver said before hanging up. “Damn.”

“I will have Maseo come and take Thea home,” Nyssa said.

“No. It would raise too many questions,” Oliver claimed. “Diggle and I will deal with this.”

“Are you sure Beloved?” Nyssa asked.

“We’ll be good,” Oliver assured her. “Have Maseo come anyway in case the situation changes though.”

“As you wish,” Nyssa replied.

#Arrow#

“Detective Lance,” Oliver called out, drawing the Lance’s attention to where he stood on the roof. I would hope you learned from our last meeting that attempting to trick me carries with it consequences.”

“I’m not particularly happy with you right now,” Lance stated with a sigh, rubbing his jaw that still ached from the night before. “I hate you and everything you stand for. But this lunatic has my little girl and he left this behind as some kind of ransom note,” he explained, holding up one of Oliver’s recording arrows.

“His name is Cyrus Vanch,” Oliver told Lance, recognising the arrow from one he had used yesterday to spy on the criminal.

“Jesus,” Lance exclaimed. “He’ll kill her if he doesn’t get to you.”

“He’ll kill her anyway just to prove a point,” Oliver responded bluntly. “Why come to me?”

“Because,” Lance sighed. “It’s a pretty small circle that knows about you and my daughter working together. “If Vanch knows, then it is because someone in my precinct told him. I got no one else I can trust.”

“You don’t trust me, Detective,” Oliver pointed out.

“You’re right, I don’t,” Lance admitted. “But you did the right thing before Christmas, saving those hostages from the other archer. I’m hoping you will do the right thing again.”

“Vanch is holed up in his lawyer’s mansion. It is heavily fortified,” Oliver said. “I was there, and I cannot take it by myself.”

“What about your girlfriend? And that other guy?” Lance questioned. “Can’t they help you?”

“They have other matters to attend to tonight,” Oliver said dismissively.

“Please. I need your help,” Lance pleaded.

“Then I will need yours,” Oliver replied.

#Arrow#

“Outside is clear Dig,” Oliver whispered as he stalked towards the house. “Heading inside.”

“Roger that,” Dig’s voice said in his ear. “I got you covered.” Oliver carefully approached the house and slipped in through the unlocked door. He drew and nocked his last arrow before beginning his search, which quickly resulted in him find Vanch and a woman in the dining room, along with Laurel who was tied to a chair. He was about to speak when he heard the unmistakable sound of a shotgun being pumped behind him. The sound also drew the attention of the room’s occupants.

“I must say, I am impressed. You managed to make it inside with an arrow to spare,” Vanch congratulated. “Not that it matters. Lose the bow, Merida.” Oliver did as he was told, slowly removing the arrow from the string and then placing it and his bow onto the ground. “Ventilate him,” Vanch ordered before gunshots rang out from behind them. The thug with the shotgun fell to the ground, having been shot in the back, as Detective Lance appeared in the house. The woman tried to run past Oliver, looking to escape, but Oliver quickly grabbed her and spun her into a wall, rendering her unconscious.

“My daughter! Lance screamed as he advanced on Vanch, his gun aimed at his head. “My little girl!” he said, his finger tensing on the trigger. Right before he was about to fire, Oliver stepped up beside him and forced his gun into the air.

“Detective, I’m the vigilante,” Oliver reminded him. “You’re the cop.”

“Doesn’t mean I have to read the bastard his rights, though,” he snarled as he walked over to the stunned Vanch and pistol whipped him. Vanch collapsed to the ground and Quentin set about securing him.

“No, it doesn’t,” Oliver agreed. “By the way, you’re going to need several ambulances.”

“Yeah, I couldn’t help but notice a lot of live bodies outside,” Lance professed. “Your aim off today or something.”

“I’m trying something different,” Oliver replied. “Someone suggested I could do more for this city if I didn’t kill as much.”

“Huh,” Lance responded. “And why don’t I just arrest you now? You’re alone and I’m the one with the gun.”

“Am I alone, Detective?” Oliver wondered as a red targeting laser appeared on the wall between them, briefly moving to centre on Lance’s chest before returning to the wall.

“I guess not,” Lance smirked, holstering his weapon. “But if he was out there the whole time, why did you need me?”

“To prove a point, Detective Lance. To prove a point,” Oliver said as he backed up to and picked up his bow.

“What point is that?” Lance wondered as he moved to free Laurel.

“That I am not the man you think I am,” Oliver replied before turning and running out of the house.

#Arrow#

“How’s Laurel?”  Dig asked as he climbed out of his car.

“She said she didn’t know,” Oliver said from where he was standing beside his bike. “I told her that we wouldn’t be working together anymore. That I didn’t see how much it would endanger her and now that I do, I wasn’t willing to risk her.”

“Good idea,” Diggle responded as he lent back on his car. “But that is not what has you standing in the basement parking garage instead of upstairs with your wife and sister.”

“I must have listened to that recording a dozen times,” Oliver said in a tight voice, holding up the recording device John had used. “It is definitely her voice, Diggle. And I just…”

“You can’t believe it’s her,” Diggle finished, understanding. “It’s ok. We all have blind spots when it comes to family.”

“Yeah. Laurel’s almost got her killed tonight,” Oliver pointed out, wanting to stop thinking about his mother but knowing he couldn’t.”

“I guess the lesson here is that blind trust can be dangerous,” Dig noted as Oliver played the recording again.

“I made it clear to him persuasively that his plans endangered The Undertaking. I didn't have to make the usual threats,” Moira’s voice echoed through the parking garage before Oliver stopped the recording again.

“What’s ‘The Undertaking’?” Diggle wondered.

“I do not know,” Oliver responded. “But if my mother is threatening someone, it can’t be good,” Oliver sighed. “You warned me that she might be up to something. I need to know what The Undertaking is.”

“What are you going to do?” Dig asked, standing up as Oliver moved to mount his bike. Oliver stared back at John coldly.

“I need to have another chat with my mom,” he said, picking up his helmet. As he swung it up to put it on, a beeping began to emit from his coat.

“What’s that?” John asked as Oliver pulled a small electronic device from his pocket.

“It’s a League alarm. We use them to send out warnings,” Oliver replied as he punched in a pin code to decrypt the message. “It’s from Aziz. Nyssa is being attacked!” Oliver shouted as he ran towards the elevator. He mashed the button, but the elevator wouldn’t activate.

“Damn, they jammed the lift. Stairs!” Diggle indicated but Oliver was already running.

#15 Minutes Earlier#

“Good. Now again,” Nyssa commanded as she watched Thea and Nyssa sparring against each other. “Don’t watch your sword Sin, watch Thea’s. Your body already knows where your blade is.”

“Yes Nyssa,” Sin said, adjusting her view. She watched as Thea stepped forward and thrust at her, but she sidestepped it and retaliated with a swing at Thea’s head. Thea ducked and twisted away, her guard barely coming up in time to block a second attack from Sin. They traded several blows back and forth before mutually stepping back to breath and study each other.

“Excellent,” Nyssa complemented as Maseo stepped up beside her. “Continue.”

“Nyssa,” Maseo greeted quietly so that the girls wouldn’t hear.

“You have news Maseo?” Nyssa wondered.

“I do. Basima has sent a message,” Maseo replied. “Unfortunately, they have still not caught up with the masked mercenary.”

“This man is beginning to vex me,” Nyssa said. “Where are they now?”

“France,” Maseo answered. “They last had contact with him around a deserted chateau. The one that your husband vacated as part of his first mission.”

“Curious,” Nyssa observed. “And we still do not know who this man is?” 

“No, he has only been observed with his mask on and even then, only from a distance,” Maseo said. “Would you like me to enquire with your father?”

“No, not at this time,” Nyssa said after a moment. “If my father had wanted Oliver or I to know of this, he would have told us. The fact that he is not actively trying to conceal it means that he was hoping to slip it past our notice. Which makes it even more peculiar.”

“Hey, what’s that?” Thea called out. Nyssa and Maseo looked up and saw her pointing at the glass wall that showed the city beyond it; specifically, at an arrowhead sticking out of it. “Is that an arrow?” Now that they were all quiet and looking, they heard and saw the impacts of a second and third arrow into the glass; spaced apart.

“Thea! Zayda!” Nyssa screamed as she began to move towards them. The two girls turned to her in alarm before realisation dawned on Sin and she grabbed Thea to pull her further away from the glass.

“Get DOWN!” Maseo called out as he pushed Nyssa floor. His words were drowned out as the three arrows exploded, throwing broken glass through the air and bringing down the whole wall. Dust and smoke filled the air as everyone’s ears rung from the explosion. Maseo was the first to recover as he lifted himself off Nyssa and sat up to look around. Nyssa was not so still, immediately jumping to her feet as soon as she was able. 

“THEA! SIN!” she called through the smoke.

“We’re here!” Thea called from ahead of her. “We’re ok.”

“Stay there,” Nyssa commanded. “I’m coming.”

“Nyssa, behind you!” Maseo called out. Nyssa turned just in time to see the club coming at her head; the viper assassin behind it emerging from the smoke. Nyssa twisted nimbly aside and tripped up the assassin. As he fell to the floor, Nyssa produced a knife from her sleeve and threw it into his throat, ending his life. Turning back to where he had come from, Nyssa saw through the clearing smoke more assassins standing on the balcony as others descended a pair of zip lines from the neighbouring building.

“Maseo,” Nyssa said in a warning tone.

“I see them,” Maseo confirmed.

“Sin, get Thea out of here,” Nyssa ordered as the assassins began to enter. They spread out into the room, weapons at the ready.

“Nyssa, come with us now and no one gets hurt,” one of the assassins said.

“You will never learn,” Nyssa pointed out before producing another knife from her clothes and throwing it into his face. The sound of his body hitting the floor heralded the attack. Lacking an obvious weapon and deciding attack was better, Nyssa stalked forward. She was met by a pair of assassins swinging swords at her and sidestepped one as she caught the others hand. Punching him in the face and throat, he dropped the sword into Nyssa’s waiting hand. “Thank you,” Nyssa said before running him through and turning back to the other assassin.

“You are not Al Sah-him,” one of the assassins said to Maseo as he squared off. Seeing Nyssa advancing, Maseo chose to do the same.

“No, I’m not,” Maseo replied menacingly. “But I know he will be here soon.”

“You will not live to see it,” the assassin shot back before lunging forward. Maseo charged forward to meet him and at the last second, fell to his knees and slide past him; the knife he had produced flashing out twice to sever the femoral and brachial arteries. Maseo stood back up and turned to his attacker, now on their knees, and easily broke his neck. Gathering up the sword the assassin had carried, Maseo returned to the fight.

“What the hell is happening?” Thea screamed as she watched black clad men and women fighting with Nyssa and Maseo. “They have swords and stuff.”

“It is a long story, Thea. One we do not have time for now,” Sin said, grasping her training sword. While she had already been in a fight, drug dealers were a whole order apart from trained assassins. And yet she found herself standing between Thea and 3 of them as they advanced on her. “Stay behind me.”

“What?” Thea questioned but any response was cut off by one of the assassins swinging his staff around at Sin. She raised her sword to deflect the strike and instinctively retaliated but the assassin used the other end of his staff to block it and shove her back.

“Your sword lacks an edge child. That will be your undoing,” he proclaimed before attacking again. He struck forward again, Sin struggling to even keep pace with his movements receiving several glancing hits before the assassin connected with a solid kick that sent her back into the wall, her sword flying away. “This is your end,” the assassin said as he raised his staff. His deathblow was intercepted, however, by the arrival of a black fletched arrow to his heart. Turning to find the source, he was confronted by the enormous form of Aziz striding towards him; his bow falling to the ground as he dropped it to draw his twin falchions. As the assassin fell to the ground, Aziz charged his compatriots.

“Oh My God. Sin, are you ok?” Thea said, appearing at Sin’s side, her eyes wide and wild.

“Thea. Get outta here,” Sin told her friend.

“Not without…” Thea began before a scream erupted from her as she fell away. Behind her stood a short assassin; female was Sin’s guess, holding a pair of knives. Looking at Thea, Sin saw that she had a cut on her upper thigh.

“First the sister, then you,” the assassin said before turning back to Thea. Fear gripped Sin at what she was about to see but the assassin’s knives reminded Sin of her own. Despite the pain, Sin climbed to her feet and drew her own knives from under her clothes.

“Hey!” Sin called out to the assassin, drawing her attention away from Thea. “How about you try me first?”

“A challenger,” the assassin noted. “I accepted,” she said before attacking. Knives flashed left and right as the two struck, thrust, stabbed and kicked at each other. Sin quickly received a cut to her right arm but forced herself to ignore it as Nyssa had been teaching her while continue to fight; scoring a pair of cuts on the assassin herself which caused the women to back up. “You have skill. But I will be your death.”

“Ah, stow it,” Sin said, noticing movement in the hallway beyond the gym, recognising who was coming. “Cavalry’s here,” she pointed out as Oliver exploded into the room, Diggle in his wake.

Oliver wasted no time in his attack as he quickly surveyed the battle before him. Maseo was handling himself and Aziz was working his way back towards Sin and Thea. Seeing Nyssa being herded towards the destroyed window and the balcony beyond, Oliver knew where he was needed most.

“Dig, get Maseo and get to the girls,” Oliver commanded, not waiting for an answer before charging into the fray. Spear tackling an assassin, he drove them into the ground hard, stunning them and allowing him to snap their neck as if it were a twig. Gathering up the assassin’s fallen sword, Oliver headed for the next assassin; quickly dismembering them before beheading them. His charge across the gym was barely slowed as he received several cuts to his arms, but he paid them no mind, so focused was he on getting to Nyssa. 

“Where have you been Beloved?” Nyssa wondered as Oliver broke through the ring of assassins surrounding her.

“Hey, it’s a lot of stairs between here and the garage. The lift was busted,” Oliver reasoned as he deflected a pair of attacks and struck back. “How has your night been?”

“I was rather enjoying it until someone opened the window,” Nyssa quipped, thrusting forward with her sword and impaling an assassin before withdrawing. “Where are Thea and Sin?”

“Aziz is with them,” Oliver assured his wife, needing her to focus and silently praying that Aziz was, in fact, with them. “Shall we finish up here?”

“Indeed,” Nyssa concurred and the two sprang forward.

#Arrow#

“My, my, aren’t you just a little bundle of determination,” the assassin mocked as Sin stood before her, bleeding from several cuts. What had been an even-ish fight was now leaning decidedly in the assassin’s favour. “If you surrender now, I promise you a clean death.”

“You think you’re going to win?” Sin challenged, taking the moment to glance around quickly and seeing the fight was coming to a close. “All I have to do is stay alive and you lose.”

“And yet you won’t be alive,” the assassin said, charging forward once again. The two knife wielders traded blows again, Sin quickly receiving another cut to her leg as she parried attacks and sliced back. The assassin paused to assess her opponent but was flung forward when Aziz threw his last assassin into her back. Having no control as she fell; and Sin not expecting it either, the two knife wielders ended up in a pile of tangled limbs on the ground. Aziz rushed forward and rolled the limp assassin off Nyssa’s protégé; one of Sin’s dagger’s embedded in the assassin’s heart. Looking down at Sin, Aziz saw that she had a cut across her eye that was bleeding freely though the eye itself was intact judging from its shell-shocked appearance.

“Zayda!” Nyssa called out, momentarily distracted when she saw the assassin and Sin go down. For her punishment, she received a deep cut up her lower back before Oliver killed the assassin. Looking around, Oliver saw Maseo cutting the throat of a wounded assassin as Diggle looked around at all the bodies. Turning back, he saw Nyssa, heedless of her injury, rushing towards Sin and so moved to follow.

“Ollie! What the hell?” Thea managed to express through her shock and disbelief at what she had just witnessed. She had seen people fighting and dying; with swords and knives and arrows. It was just too much. “What just happened?”

“Something I had wished you would never have to see,” Oliver admitted. Now was the time for truth if anything was to be salvaged from this. “A glimpse into who I really am.”

“Who you really are?” Thea questioned, not knowing what else to say or do. “Who is that?”

“Show her, Beloved,” Nyssa prodded from where she knelt beside Sin, examining her face and other wounds. “Seeing is believing.”

“Right,” Oliver accepted, knowing the truth those words held. He saw Aziz, who had reclaimed his bow, standing protectively next to Thea while Diggle and Maseo moved over to join them; Maseo holding out a recurve bow he had recovered from somewhere. Oliver accepted it as he moved out into the centre of the gym, testing the draw on the bow. “Thea, you remember when you offered to teach me how to use a bow?”

“Yeah. You said you would probably shoot yourself in the foot or break a window,” Thea commented before chuckling slightly at her own words. “The window is already broken,” Thea pointed out.

“So it is,” Oliver confirmed, planting his feet and taking a deep breath. “Aziz, an arrow please,” Oliver requested as he looked at Thea before nodding at Aziz. The tall assassin nodded once before taking a step to the side and drawing and firing an arrow at Oliver. Thea didn’t have time to scream before her brother snatched the arrow out of mid-air, spun on his heels as he nocked the arrow and fired it across the gym at the archery targets that were set up at the end of what had been the bowling alley. The arrow flew truly and impacted the dead centre of the target. 

Thea couldn’t speak as she looked from her brother, to the arrow embedded in the target and back to her brother as she tried to process what she had just seen; what she witnessed her brother do.

“How?” Thea finally squeaked out. Oliver smiled softly, still holding the bow.

“That is a long…” Oliver began before spinning around to face the destroyed window, his right hand coming up across his body.

“Ollie?” Thea called out.

“Oliver?” Diggle tried a moment later when his principal didn’t reply. Maseo took a step forward but movement from Oliver stilled his steps. Oliver turned back around, holding one red-fletched arrow directly in front of his heart and staring down at a second one that was lodged in his chest above it. A moment later, he fell.

“OLIVER!!!”

Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #33
Chapter 34 – Memories Unfold

“OLIVER!!!” several voices all called out at once as they saw him fall to the ground. A moment passed as everyone tried to process what happened before everyone began to move. Nyssa leapt up from where she had been tending to Sin and dived across the floor to her husband. Maseo and Diggle both drew firearms, aiming up and out of the window as they searched for the source of the arrows. Aziz, for his part, grabbed up Thea and physically carried her back further into the room before almost throwing her into the storeroom and turning back to gather Sin.

“Do you see anything?” Diggle enquired as he scanned the building across from them, going up floor by floor. 

“On the roof, near where the lines come from,” Maseo said as he trained his weapon across the street. “Two hooded figures.”

“Damn, more assassins,” Diggle commented as he adjusted his own aim to them. “I can’t make out any details on them. They are sticking to the shadows.”

“They are too far away for accurate shooting anyway. All we would be doing is making the situation worse,” Maseo stated, though he kept his weapon up as he watched the two assassins disappear into the shadows. “They are gone.”

“They accomplished their mission,” Diggle said as he holstered his sidearm and moved to kneel opposite Nyssa. “How is he?” he asked even as he started his own examination of the man between them.

“He caught the arrow aimed at his heart,” Nyssa began, pointing at the arrow that Oliver still grasped. “As you can tell from the cut on the back of his hand, the second arrow was deflected by it and impacted him higher in the chest than was intended. That prevented his immediate death. But I believe it has still punctured his lung.”

“Damn,” Diggle uttered, concluding. “He needs a hospital.”

“Which we cannot take him too. You know that,” Nyssa shot back, frustrated and angry. “We must try and take care of this ourselves.”

“Nyssa, I had some medical training while in the army but this,” Diggle said, laying a hand on Oliver. “This is serious.”

“Let us hope then that between us, our knowledge is enough,” Nyssa announced as she looked up at Maseo. “When the others arrive, go and get Felicity. We will need her.”

“What for?” Sin asked as Aziz helped her over; Aziz depositing a first aid kit down next to Diggle. 

“To do something about the building security in the lifts and stairwells,” Diggle said as he opened the case and set about trying to stabilise Oliver. “The cameras aren’t watched live, but we still need the recording of Oliver and I running up removed; as well as all of us leaving.”

“Leaving?” Sin wondered. “Isn’t it safer to stay here?”

“Not at this time. And the Foundry has everything we need to treat Oliver already there,” Nyssa replied.

“What do you mean, treat Oliver,” Thea exclaimed as she stumbled over to join the group around her brother. “He needs an ambulance and a hospital. Not a steel factory.”

“Thea, we cannot take Oliver to a hospital. The doctors will call the police because of the arrow and they, in turn, will ask too many questions,” Nyssa said to her sister-in-law. “The bodies can be dealt with easily enough and the room restored to its original condition. But Oliver’s care must be handled discreetly.”

“The bodies dealt with easily?” Thea practically yelled. “This place is covered in blood. How the hell do you plan on covering this up?”

“Leave that to him,” Nyssa indicated as she nodded at something behind Thea. She turned around to see a short assassin standing behind her, holding a pair of wicked curved blades. A noise from the broken window revealed two more assassins entering the apartment. “Namir.”

“Nyssa,” Namir replied. “How is he?” 

“Alive for the moment, but we must get him to the Foundry,” Nyssa said, turning to look for Maseo just in time to see him leaving the room. “Sarab is going to get someone to deal with the electronic evidence of all of this but we will still need the room cleaned.”

“I will take care of it with Saqr and Faridah,” Namir assured her. “You will have enough to worry about yourself,” he said as he took in the injuries around him.

“Including giving me some answers,” Thea demanded. “I want to know what is going on.”

“I promise that you will get all the answers you want and more, Thea,” Nyssa declared. “But right now, we have more important things to worry about. Like making sure that your brother, my husband, remains alive. Wouldn’t you agree?”

“Thea, let it go for now,” Sin prodded. “Nyssa has made a promise. She doesn’t break them.”

“Fine,” Thea accepted. “How is he? I notice that you’re not all panicking so it can’t be that bad.”

“Oliver is hurt quite badly but we have everything we need to treat him at the Foundry. We just need to get him there,” Nyssa explained. “And your brother has survived a similar injury in the past. I have faith he can survive it again.”

“He has been shot in the chest with an arrow before?” Thea questioned. “When? Why?”

“Questions for another time, young one,” Namir chided gently. “For now, let us…”

“No! She can’t have been caught,” Oliver suddenly uttered to everyone’s shock.

“Oliver, man, take it easy,” Diggle advised, laying a hand on his friend’s shoulder to try and calm him.

“It’s not possible,” Oliver continued. “She is too skilled for this to happen.”

“Oliver? Oliver!” Diggle tried but Oliver continued to pay him no attention. “He can’t hear me. I don’t know what is going on.”

“Is he going to be ok?” Thea asked.

“I don’t know, Thea,” Nyssa admitted in concern. A thought dawned on her and she reached for the arrow that Oliver had caught. Lifting it up into the light, she saw the thin film of liquid that coated the arrowhead. “He has been poisoned.”

“Poisoned? With what?” Diggle exclaimed in worry. 

“I’m not sure. Each assassin uses their own kind of poison,” Nyssa explained. “It could be anything.”

“Shinkōshoku no hebi,” Namir said after a moment, causing Nyssa to visibly pale.

“What makes you think it’s him,” Diggle asked in curiousity.

“The symptoms fit,” Namir declared. “Shinkōshoku no hebi uses a toxin of his own design that poisons both the body and the mind. As the body dies, the mind is forced to relive painful memories. For all intents and purposes, the target is tortured to death from as little as a single cut.”

“That doesn’t sound good,” Sin said from where she now sat as she held a bandage to her eye. “Is there like an antidote?”

“None that I know of,” Namir answered Sin before turning to Nyssa. “Your father has had research done on samples of the poison we have acquired in the past. While no cure was found, we did learn a little on how it works.”

“Go on,” Nyssa said softly.

“The poison itself is fast acting, beginning to effect the body within minutes. But it also metabolises quickly,” Namir said. “If Al Sah-him can survive the next 8 hours, his chances at recovering go up.”

“And the whole time he is essentially reliving a nightmare over and over,” Thea noted depressingly. “What is he remembering?”

“It is different for each person,” Namir stated. “We may determine what it is from his ramblings or we may need to wait for him to wake up and tell us.”

“Is Nyssa ok?” Oliver suddenly spoke again. “Do we know how she was captured? Or where?”

“Oh no,” Nyssa whispered as her shoulders slumped in realisation of what her Beloved would be reliving.

#Flashback – 3 Years Ago#

“Draw with both arms,” Al Sah-him instructed as he stood with one of the newest assassins, an Asian man now known as Sarab. “It’s easier than trying to draw the bow with just one arm and the action will be smoother too. You’ll be more accurate.”

“Understood,” Sarab replied in a flat, empty voice before drawing another arrow and nocking it. Taking a deep breath, he grasped his compound bow and drew it. Holding it for a moment to reflect on his movements, he then slowly let off the tension on the bowstring.

“Much better,” Al Sah-him commented. “Now, see your target, feel the air move around you and listen to the bowstring tighten. Then let go.” Sarab relaxed and thought about what he had been told before drawing back on the bow again. A moment later, his arrow flew through the air and pierced the shoulder of the target manikin. “Good. Now do that a hundred times.”

“As you command,” Sarab acknowledged before bowing. Oliver stepped back to observe his student better when he felt someone approaching.

“Good evening Namir,” Oliver greeted his own teacher without turning. “How are you?”

“Al Sah-him,” Namir said, his voice calm and yet Oliver could tell something was wrong.

“Namir,” Al Sah-him said, turning around; his movements and the sound of his voice stopping Sarab. “What has happened?”

“It is Nyssa,” Namir revealed gently. “She has been captured.”

“No. She can’t have been caught,” Al Sah-him stated. “There has been some mistake.

“It is no mistake,” Namir responded. 

“It’s not possible,” Oliver replied, his persona cracking. “She is too skilled for this to happen.”

“I have seen the footage myself,” Namir countered. “I understand your feelings on this matter. But bury them,” he advised.

“Is Nyssa ok?” Oliver asked, trying to calm himself. “Do we know how she was captured? Or where?”

“Nyssa appears ok at the moment. But I do not know how long that will remain the status quo,” Namir said. “As to your other questions, I don’t know.”

“What are we going to do about setting her free?” Oliver asked, his mind racing.

“I do not know that either but Ra’s al Ghul has summoned us to appear before him,” Namir relayed. “We may get answers to your questions then.” 

“If he decides to tell us,” Oliver lamented.

“If he chooses not to, that is his prerogative,” Namir pointed out. “I suggest you get your emotions under control. Lest the situation worsen.”


#Present#

“I think I have already said this, but I really don’t like being practically dragged from my home in the middle of the night,” Felicity said tempestuously as she sat in the passenger seat of Nyssa’s Camaro, clutching her laptop to her chest as Maseo drove just less than erratically. “Even when the car is this nice.”

“I apologise for the rapidity of our transit and for its timing, but I have my orders,” Maseo said as he upshifted and accelerated.

“Orders from who, exactly?” Felicity asked as she cringed as Maseo swerved past a car. “And where are you taking me?”

“Nyssa,” Maseo replied calmly. “And their penthouse.”

“Right,” Felicity responded before dropping into silence until they drove into the parking garage beneath the building. Felicity noted Diggle’s car, a black van and Oliver’s bike; its helmet laying discarded on the ground next to it. “Ok. What’s going on? Oliver is always careful with that helmet. He even cleared a space on the bench behind his desk for it, despite appearances. He would never just drop it on the ground like that.”

“You will see soon enough,” Maseo replied as he parked the Camaro and climbed out, Felicity following behind. He led the way as he headed past the lifts towards the stairs.

“What’s wrong with the lifts?” Felicity asked, causing Maseo to stop and look back at her.

“They are not working at the moment,” Maseo stated calmly, resisting the urge to just grab the blonde and carry her the entire way.

“Are you sure? Have you tried?” Felicity wondered even as she pressed the call button. A moment later, the lift arrived with a chime and the doors opened. “Seems they are working,” she commented before entering them. Maseo sighed quietly before joining her, riding in silence. Once they reached the penthouse, Maseo led the way off the lift. “It’s pretty cold in here,” Felicity noted.

“That would be the reason,” Maseo said as he led her into the gym, revealing the broken window and the already lessened carnage from earlier in the evening.

“Oh my god,” Felicity exclaimed at first the window before her eyes were drawn lower to the mats. She saw several bodies lying in small pools of drying blood and several pools where bodies had lain but had been moved. Finally, her eyes came to rest on a huddle of people in the centre of the room; Nyssa and Diggle amongst them. “Nyssa! What’s going on?”

“Felicity,” Nyssa responded tiredly, having stood to come and meet her. “Thank you for coming.”

“I didn’t exactly have much choice,” Felicity pointed out. “I barely had time to grab my computer before I was practically dragged out of my home. Luckily I was still dressed.”

“I apologise for that. But we need your help,” Nyssa admitted, taking Felicity’s hand and leading her over to the group. “Oliver needs your help.”

“Oh god,” Felicity stuttered as he eyes locked onto her boss; an arrow sticking out of his chest. “What happened?”

“A story for another time,” Nyssa said dismissively. “Right now, we need to get Oliver help and we need your help to do it.”

“You need my help to call an ambulance?” Felicity remarked.

“That’s what I suggested,” Thea argued from where she sat next to her brother, a bandage wrapped around her leg. “It was pointed out that it was a bad idea.”

“A bad idea to call an ambulance?” Felicity questioned before her mind kicked into gear. “Right. Arrow, why, bodies, etc.”

“Indeed,” Nyssa said. “We need to get Oliver to his father’s old factory in The Glades. And we need to do it without leaving a trail.”

“Which is why you need me,” Felicity caught on. “You need me to hack into the security company and replace the security footage from tonight; wiping you from the system.”

“Yes,” Nyssa confirmed. “Everything from about 2 hours ago to after we all leave.”

“Sounds easy enough,” Felicity asserted before her eyes were drawn to the largest man she had ever seen stalking into the gym through the destroyed window, bow in hand. “LOOK OUT!”

“It’s alright Felicity,” Nyssa said calmingly after turning to see what she had seen. “It is just Aziz. He is a friend.”

“Oh, right,” Felicity accepted. “Ah, I should probably get to work on the security. Umm, I’ll be in the lounge,” she said before turning and walking away.

“Can we trust her?” Maseo asked as he stepped up beside Nyssa, watching Felicity exit the room.

“I trust her,” Nyssa confirmed. “But just in case, keep an eye on her for now; discreetly.”

“As you command,” Maseo said, moving to leave. Nyssa’s hand on his arm stopped him.

“There is something else,” Nyssa began. “Oliver has been poisoned. By the Crimson Snake.”

“The poison remains unchanged?” Maseo asked after a moment.

“We believe so,” Nyssa said softly.

“What is he remembering?” Maseo asked calmly.

“My capture,” Nyssa answered calmly.

“Do you wish everyone to leave?” Maseo wondered, knowing that this was not a pleasant experience for Nyssa. 

“They would find out soon or later,” Nyssa admitted. “Now is as good a time as any.”

#Flashback – 3 Years Ago#

“And you know nothing about my daughter’s capture?” Ra’s asked as he stood in front of Al Sah-him, staring him in the eye.

“I know nothing of this, my liege,” Al Sah-him responded honestly and calmly. “The last time I saw or spoke with your daughter was before her mission. She and I were sparring when Talia came to us and informed her that you had an assignment for her.”

“He speaks the truth father,” Talia commented from off to the side. “After we left his presence, Nyssa spoke to only the two of us before her departure. He could not know anything as I said nothing of the mission until we were alone here.”

“Then please explain to me how it is that my daughter has been captured?” Ra’s requested malevolently. “It would be beneficial if I could understand that.”

“The entire mission could have been a ruse from the beginning,” Talia supplied calmly. “A trap designed to capture one of the daughters of Ra’s al Ghul. To what end, I do not know.”

“What are we going to do about it?” Al Sah-him asked from where he still knelt on the stone floor. “How are we to retrieve your daughter?”

“We do not even know where she is being held,” Talia said. “We do not even know if she still lives.”

“She still lives,” Al Sah-him declared, drawing looks from both Ra’s and Talia.

“How can you be so sure, Al Sah-him?” Ra’s al Ghul wondered curiously.

“It would make no sense to kill her yet,” Al Sah-him explained. “She is worth more to them alive than dead. She has become a bargaining chip.”

“They seek to exploit my daughter’s life to barter for something,” Ra’s stated. “They will be sorely disappointed then.”

“My liege?” Al Sah-him ventured. “She is your daughter.”

“She is,” Ra’s confirmed. “But to bend to the will of others in the face of adversity would undermine all that I would seek to accomplish. That cannot happen.”

“My liege,” a voice called from the entrance to the hall.

“What is it?” Ra’s demanded, turning to face the assassin that had just entered the hall.

“We are receiving a communication,” the assassin responded. “They say they have news of your daughter.”

“I will be right there,” Ra’s replied. As the assassin bowed and left, Ra’s turned to his daughter. “Talia, have Al-Owal and Namir join us.”

“As you command father,” Talia acknowledged with a quick bow of her head. “And Al Sah-him?”

“He can join us as well,” Ra’s said after a moment of consideration. “It will give him a better understanding of how the league deals with threats and demands.”


#Present#

“I still can’t believe that you guys set up here,” Thea commented as she was helped down the stairs into the basement of what would be Oliver’s nightclub by Felicity. Ahead of them, Nyssa turned on the lights.

“It serves our purpose,” she replied, facing them as the lights illuminated the area behind her.

“Wow,” Felicity articulated as she got her first look at the vigilante’s lair. “Nice cave.”

“We don’t call it that,” Diggle said from behind her. “And if you don’t mind, can we continue this discussion in a moment. Oliver isn’t exactly light.”

“Right, sorry,” Felicity responded before resuming her assistance of Thea into the Foundry proper. She located the nearest chair and helped Thea into it as Diggle and Maseo carried a stretcher bound Oliver past them and set him onto the main workbench that Nyssa had just cleared. 

“Thanks,” Diggle said to Nyssa before moving off and wheeling back a medical cart, already starting to pull out various surgical tools.

“Nyssa. Upstairs is clear,” Sin whimpered out as she was carried down into the Foundry by Aziz. “Least I assume it is because Aziz has carried me down here.”

“It is,” Nyssa confirmed after a glance at Aziz. “Put her on the other table. We need to treat her cuts and wrap her ribs.”

“Is that?” Felicity and Thea both said at once as Diggle pulled a bag of blood out of the bottom of the cart. He checked the label before kicking the door shut and turning back to Oliver.

“It is,” Sin confirmed from where she lay as Diggle focused on Oliver. “Oliver, Nyssa and Diggle each have stored blood bags down here in case of injury. I even extracted my first unit last week. Didn’t think I’d be using it so soon.”

“You’ll be grateful that we did take it,” Nyssa pointed out as she moved over to the cart and began pulling out equipment for herself. “Once we get you bandaged up, we’ll see if you need it.”

“Yay,” Sin deadpanned. Nyssa finished collecting what she needed and began to move over to Sin. As she passed where Thea was sitting, she stumbled and collapsed to the floor.

“Nyssa!” Thea exclaimed as Felicity knelt down to check on the assassin.

“I’m fine,” Nyssa declared as she took a deep breath. “I’m just tired.”

“Tired my ass,” Thea quipped. “You’re hurt. The bottom of your shirt is soaked in blood.”

“It’s just a small cut,” Nyssa reasoned.

“Let me see,” Felicity said without thinking. Nyssa was about to fight her but gave up when Maseo stepped forward.

“You said now was as good a time as any,” Maseo proclaimed.

“So I did,” Nyssa replied.

“Good time for what?” Thea asked as Felicity lifted the back of Nyssa’s shirt.

“Oh my god,” Felicity shrieked. “This is so not a small cut,” she said as she forced Nyssa to turn around.

“Nyssa, you should have told me,” Diggle chastised her from where he was working on Oliver. 

“You needed to focus on Oliver,” Nyssa offered.

“And when you passed out from blood loss, what would I have to do then?” Diggle shot back. “Now, you can sit down and I can talk Felicity through cleaning the cut or I can come over there and do it myself. Your choice.”

“I need to see to Sin,” Nyssa asserted.

“And I can wait 15 minutes,” Sin pointed out. “I’m not in danger of dying.”

“That you know of,” Nyssa corrected. “But alright. I will let Felicity bandage my injury.”

“Good. Now, sit,” Diggle ordered. Nyssa shook her head before turning a chair around backwards, gingerly removing her shirt and then sitting down so that Felicity could tend to her back.

“What are these other scars?” Felicity asked as she put on a pair of surgical gloves that Diggle passed to her.

“A constant reminder of an event I would rather forget,” Nyssa divulged after a moment.

“They look like whip marks,” Diggle offered.

“As I said, a reminder of an event I’d rather forget,” Nyssa said.

“Does it have anything to do with what Ollie is reliving now?” Thea asked softly, almost not wanting to know the answer.

“It does,” Nyssa whispered. “It’s what he is remembering.”

“Can you tell us about it?” Felicity whispered, beating Thea to the punch. “So that we can understand what he is saying.”

“I don’t like to remember it,” Nyssa admitted quietly. “Yet seeing the scars everyday forces me too.”

“It was 3 years ago,” Maseo started, surprising everyone. “I had just joined the League of Assassins and Oliver, or Al Sah-him as is his League name, was teaching me the art of the bow.” 

#Flashback – 3 Years Ago#

“I’ve never seen this room,” Al Sah-him stated as he followed Ra’s and Talia into a windowless room in the bowels of Nanda Parbat. “What is this place?”

“Just because we practice the ancient arts of assassination, does not meant that we do not adapt to the times,” Ra’s informed his subject. “And you still have not seen this room. Am I clear, Al Sah-him?”

“Perfectly,” Al Sah-him responded obediently. Ra’s eyed him for a moment before turning to face a large wall-mounted screen.

“Connect them,” Ra’s commanded and a moment later, a man’s face appeared on the screen. He had short cropped white/blonde hair and was clean shaven while the business suit he wore was crisp and clean.

“My, my, I didn’t expect you to respond so soon,” the man said haughtily. “I honestly thought I’d be waiting at least an hour before you deigned to speak with me. If you spoke to me at all.”

“You managed to catch me during one of my rare moments of rest,” Ra’s replied calmly. “What can I do for you, my old friend?”

“Oh, we haven’t been friends for over a century,” the man retorted, surprising Al Sah-him. He didn’t look that old, but then again, neither did Ra’s al Ghul. “Would you like to continue this polite discourse or get down to the reason I have gone to the considerable effort to contact you.”

“You have my daughter,” Ra’s stated calmly.

“I have your daughter,” the man repeated triumphantly.

“And you are calling me to gloat about it?” Ra’s offered.

“Oh no, you mistake the purpose of this call,” the man countered. “I contacted you to offer you a trade.”

“My life for my daughter’s?” Ra’s said. 

“I see the years haven’t dulled your intelligence,” the man observed.

“And yet it appears to have dulled yours if you think that I would accept that offer,” Ra’s quipped. “You would kill us both the moment I appeared.”

“And if I gave my word that that would not happen?” the man tried.

“Then I would be a fool for trusting you,” Ra’s continued. 

“Perhaps I can change your mind,” the man conceded.

“Damien, I thought you knew me better than that,” Ra’s began before ‘Damien’ interrupted.

“Oh I do,” Damien said. “I know what you did to save your last family. Mr Domingus.” The screen split to show another room, in some sort of office tower it looked like, that had an x-frame rack in the centre of the room upon which Nyssa was tied in a spreadeagled position. “You may begin.” Al Sah-him watched silently as a man walked up behind Nyssa and, using a knife, cut her shirt off, exposing her bare back. Next, he accepted a large whip from someone off-screen and then paced out a measured distance behind Nyssa before turning and unfurling his whip. Pausing for effect, he flung the whip out behind him before bringing his arm forward towards Nyssa. The whip sliced through the air and Nyssa visibly jerked as it bit into her back, though she didn’t utter a sound. He repeated this action 4 more times, Nyssa remaining silent the whole time before stopping. As he stopped, Al Sah-him could see the blood dripping from the end of the whip.

“Was that meant to encourage me to surrender myself?” Ra’s asked casually. Al Sah-him found himself hard-pressed not to turn to look at Ra’s. “Because all it has done is harden my resolve.”

“Well, we’ll see how long that lasts as you watch your daughter being tortured in front of you,” Damien said. “Because I will be calling you each day at the same time and for each day that you do not surrender yourself, your daughter will feel the bite of the lash 5 times. And this will continue until you surrender yourself or your daughter dies. But I believe your daughter is strong so she should last quite a long time.”

“Damien, you should just kill her now in whatever way you see fit because I will never surrender myself to you,” Ra’s announced calmly, his tone resolute.

“We’ll see,” Damien replied as an address appeared at the bottom of the screen. “That is the address where she is being held, in case you change your mind. But if I see another member of the League of Assassins approaching the building, I will return Nyssa to you in more pieces then our combined age.” And with that the call was ended.

“The gall of him to assume that you would surrender to him because he had your daughter,” Talia said.

“Perhaps,” Ra’s noted before turning to face everyone. “There will be no action taken to rescue my daughter. Is that clear?”

“I will make it known and see it enforced,” Talia assured her father. Al Sah-him, for his part, was already making plans. He had an address, now he needed a plan.

“That will be all,” Ra’s said dismissively. Al Sah-him said nothing as he exited the room and immediately returned to his quarters. Once there, he began packing a bag of weapons and other equipment that he would need. Lastly, he put in the hood that had been Shado’s. Nyssa had kept it for him from when he had first arrived and returned it to him recently. Now, he would wear it to rescue her. With a last look around, Al Sah-him, or Oliver as he was now thinking, shouldered the bag and prepared to exit his room. When he opened the door however, he was met by Sarab.

“Sarab,” Oliver greeted, dropping the bag to the side. “What are you doing?”

“I came to see you,” Sarab said. “I see I arrived just in time.”

“Perhaps,” Oliver retorted before sucker punching Sarab hard. As Sarab struggled to breathe, Oliver wrapped his arms around his friend’s neck and squeezed. “I’m sorry my friend,” Oliver apologised before he carefully laid his now unconscious friend on the ground. “But this is something I must do.” 

Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #34
Chapter 35 – Memories Unfold (Part II)

“How have you been able to work with these?” Felicity asked as she stood before the computers that Oliver, Nyssa and Diggle used when in the Foundry. “This all looks like it hitched a ride on the DeLorean straight from the eighties. And not the good part of them either.”

“The DeLorean, really?” Thea remarked from where she was sitting off to the side, her leg propped up on a second chair. 

“What?” Felicity wondered. “I liked those movies.”

“Of course you did,” Thea retorted.

“Felicity, those computers have been adequate up to now,” Nyssa commented from where she sat at Oliver’s right side, holding his hand in hers. “But if you wish, you may look into upgrading them for us. We can supply you with the funds.”

“I’ll start working on a shopping list,” Felicity declared, turning to search for a pen and paper. 

“Thank you,” Nyssa said. Further words were halted as Aziz lurched forward from where he had been standing against a wall, his arm going up and over his shoulder to draw an arrow. “It is Namir, Aziz,” Nyssa reassured her bodyguard. A moment later, two hooded assassins descended into the Foundry.

“How did you know it was them?” Thea wondered as Aziz relaxed his posture and returned to his previous position.

“Because I announced our presence Miss Queen,” the shorter of the two assassins explained as he stepped up next to Nyssa. “We were not introduced earlier. I am called Namir.”

“I remember Nyssa calling you that,” Thea said, her mind flashing back to the first time she had seen him. “How did you announce your presence? I didn’t hear anything?”

“Then excuse my bluntness, but you are deaf,” Namir commented before turning to look down at Oliver. “How is Oliver?”

“He is strong,” Nyssa said, her eyes never leaving her husband’s. “He will make it.”

“I have little doubt of that,” Namir agreed. “I do not wish to ask but I am curious. How are his memories progressing?”

“Judging by his last utterance of an apology to me,” Maseo said from where he was standing out of the way. “I would say he is now on his way to retrieving Nyssa.”

“Then we would have just received our orders,” Saqr commented.

“You were there?” Thea asked out of curiosity. “And who are you?”

“I am Saqr, Miss Queen,” Saqr introduced himself. "And yes, I was witness to the aftermath of Nyssa’s rescue by Al-…Oliver.”

“They know his league name,” Nyssa said.

“Though not what it means,” Thea remarked.

“Al Sah-him, Thea,” Diggle said as he checked Oliver’s blood pressure. “It means ‘The Arrow’.”

“I guess that is appropriate given everything I know now,” Thea decided as she looked at Diggle before turning back to Saqr. “You were saying you had received orders.”

“Yes. Nyssa’s father summoned myself, Namir, Sarab and Aziz to him and commanded us to retrieve Al Sah-him by any means necessary and return him to Nanda Parbat,” Saqr explained. 

“Nyssa’s father? Bruce Raatko is Ra’s al Ghul,” said in realisation. “This keeps getting better and better. I was a total bitch to the head of the League of Assassins.”

“You were not a ‘total bitch’, as you put it Thea,” Nyssa reassured her sister-in-law. “Just a little disrespectful.”

“As I was saying,” Saqr said, attempting to redirect the conversation. “The four of us were ordered to return Al Sah-him to Nanda Parbat; without attempting to rescue Nyssa.”

“And why not?” Thea asked. “I’ve seen 3 of you fight. Surely the five of you could rescue Nyssa together.”

“We were commanded not to,” Namir stated calmly. “And we were bound by oaths of allegiance and fealty.”

“That just sounds like an excuse,” Thea said. 

“Perhaps it was. But that is hindsight speaking,” Namir replied before reaching for a wrapped bundle from the bag he was carrying. “I found your knives,” Namir said as he passed the bundle to Nyssa.

“My knives? There should only be one as I kept the other with me,” Nyssa wondered as she unwrapped the bundle. Inside, she found three blades; one was hers and two were Sin’s. “This one is mine but these two I gave to Sin,” Nyssa pointed out to Namir.

“Truly?” Namir said. At Nyssa’s confirming nod, he continued. “I retrieved that blade,” he said, indicating one of Sin’s knives, “From Tabani’s heart.”

“Tabani was present?” Nyssa asked in surprise.

“Who’s Tabani?” Diggle asked.

“She was a member of the League of Assassins before she went rogue,” Nyssa explained. “She was a skilled knife fighter but suffered from overconfidence in her own abilities.”

“And your protégé killed her,” Namir declared.

“Sin killed someone?” Thea asked in complete disbelief.

“Oh no,” Nyssa said, mentally adding speaking with Sin to her list of things to do. Right then, a loud, constant shrill sounded out in the basement. Everyone turned to look at Oliver as Diggle leapt into action.

“His heart stopped,” he declared as he turned to the cart. 

“No!” Nyssa called out louder and more distraught than Thea, or pretty much anyone else, had heard her before.

“Ollie!” Thea called out, stumbling to her feet and hobbling over to her brother. Laying a hand on his shin, she shook it gently. “Ollie?”

“Stand back,” Diggle ordered as he grabbed up a pair of defibrillator paddles and rested them on the shock pads that he had applied moments before. When neither Nyssa nor Thea moved, Diggle looked at Namir and Saqr. “Pull them back.” The two assassins quickly moved into action, recognising the danger they were in. Saqr gently lifted Thea and pulled her back out of reach of her brother while Namir whispered to Nyssa. Diggle didn’t know what he said but a moment later, Nyssa relinquished her hold on her husband. Once checking that everyone was clear and that there was a charge, he turned back to the dying man before him. “Clear!” he called out before shocking Oliver. Checking the monitor and seeing no response, Diggle waited for the charge to build up again. “Clear!” he called out again before shocking Oliver a second time. His efforts were rewarded this time by a steady beep from the heart monitor.

“Is he going to be ok?” Thea asked meekly as Saqr released her.

“As long as his heart keeps beating,” Diggle reassured the younger Queen. “He should be alright.”

“What do we do now?” Thea asked.

“We wait,” Diggle said dejectedly. “And pray that I don’t have a heart attack myself.”

#Flashback – 3 Years Ago#

“We are approaching the city,” the pilot called back to where Oliver was sitting. He had arrived in the city the night before and after scouting the building from a distance, Oliver had gone in search of a few last items he thought he might need before locating a pilot. Convincing him had been a simple matter of hold his kukri to the man’s throat and telling him to fly him over a certain part of the city. All they had had to do was wait for nightfall. “5 minutes.”

“Thanks,” Oliver yelled back before reaching for the parachute. As he held it, his mind drifted back to the first time he had held a parachute. It had been his 2nd year on Lian Yu, after Slade had been injected with the Mirakuru but before they had attacked the freighter. A small plane had been flying over the island before Ivo had shot it down. The pilot had been injured in the crash and Oliver and Slade had run to get supplies while Sara had stayed with the man. By the time they got back, he was gone. Oliver had found the parachute in the plane wreckage and come up with the start of a really crazy plan. Though it was nowhere as crazy as the one he was about to embark upon. Strapping on the parachute over his stolen clothes, Oliver checked that the weapons he would be wearing during the jump were secured before attaching the extra pack he was taking to hold the remainder of his equipment.

“1 minute,” the pilot called out and Oliver climbed to his feet and walked over to the rear door of the plane. Pulling it open, he was hit with a gust of cold air that immediately chilled him to his bones. Ignoring it and looking down, Oliver located the building he needed to land on. Positioning himself in the doorway, Oliver watched as the plane flew over the building and before he could remember that he had never actually done this before, Oliver threw himself out into the frigid air.


#Present#

“Why are you doing this?” Thea asked from her seat next to her brother. They had finally convinced Nyssa to get up and move around a little and Thea had immediately moved to take her place.

"Because your brother is my friend," Diggle replied before glancing up at Thea. "But that is not what you mean. You want to know why we are going out each night. Why we lie to those closest to us. Why we are vigilantes."

"Yeah," Thea whispered, glad that Diggle had understood what she had meant.

"I don't know if you can see it Thea," John began slowly. "But this city, our home, is sick. And it is slowly dying from that sickness. The police and others are doing what they can to fight this disease, but it isn't enough. Which is where your brother, Nyssa and I come in. We can fight this disease, in a way no one else can."

"By breaking the law and killing people?" Thea asked, not in anger but in confusion.

"I thought like you, when I first joined your brother. That he didn't need to break the law to help this city. But then he showed me what the law can become," Diggle said, pausing to check on Oliver.

"What's that?" Thea wondered.

"Chains. Chains that prevent the good guys from doing what they need to do to stop the bad guys. And when that happens, Oliver, Nyssa and me; we're there to make sure that justice is served," Diggle explained. "As to the killing, that is how your brother was trained. To kill his targets."

"Was?" Thea noted, causing Diggle to grin.

"Apparently he is going to try and curtail the number of people that he kills from now on," Diggle revealed. "That's a step in the right direction."

"And what about all the people that died in the penthouse?" Thea asked.

"Like it or not, Thea. You are part of another world now. And as I have discovered, that world is either kill or be killed. There is no middle ground for those that attacked us," Diggle explained. Thea was silent as she looked over her brother, once again noting the scars and wondering if she would now have one on her leg.

"How did my brother change so much in just 5 years?" Thea wondered out loud. 

"I can't answer that Thea," Diggle replied. "That is something you are going to ask him yourself when he wakes up."

#Arrow#

"How are your ribs?" Nyssa asked as she came over to where Sin was sitting.

"They ache but the pain killer Dig gave me is helping," Sin said evenly, not looking up. Nyssa decided to continue.

"And how are you?" Nyssa asked, setting Sin's knives down onto the table in front of her, causing the girl to look up at them.

"You know?" Sin asked, already knowing the answer.

"I know," Nyssa confirmed, sitting down in the chair next to her protégé. "So I will ask you again. How are you?"

"I don't know," Sin admitted. "I guess I'm trying not to think about it."

"That won't work Zayda," Nyssa said calmly. "You need to confront this, or it will just eat you up inside."

"Nyssa, I killed someone," Sin exclaimed. "I've never done that before."

"Neither had I the first time I killed someone. Neither had Oliver. Nor Aziz, Saqr, Namir or Sarab," Nyssa added easily. "Not even Diggle had killed someone before the first time."

"I'm not seeing the point," Sin said.

"That is because you are not thinking about what has happened," Namir said as he stepped up next to Nyssa. "She is trying to get you to understand why you had to kill not just that you did kill."

"She was going to kill me and then Thea," Sin said simply. "But I wasn't trying to kill her. I was trying to immobilise her like you were teaching me. Cuts to the median arteries for a start. But then she same flying at me and we fell to the floor. Then Aziz rolled her off me and I saw where my knife had ended up. I knew she was dead." 

"She lunged at you and you had to defend yourself," Nyssa analysed. "You did the right thing."

"It wasn't a lunge; something hit her in the back, and she fell towards me," Sin replied. Movement to her side drew her attention and when she looked, she saw Aziz standing there, head bowed. "Aziz?" she asked, not understanding as the giant assassin's hands began to make motions.

"He says that it is his fault," Namir translated. "He threw one of the snake's minions at your opponent, looking to entangle her but instead pushed her at you," Namir said as Aziz dropped to his knees. "He apologises to the student of Warith Al Ghul for causing her pain."

"He hasn't hurt me," Sin responded, looking to Nyssa. "How could he cause me pain?"

"Because you killed someone and are now hurting because of it. Aziz feels as though he is the cause of it due to his throwing of the assassin into Tabani's back," Nyssa translated.

"Tabani," Sin repeated quietly. "What does that mean?"

"Tabani means light," Namir answered as Sin turned to Aziz. 

"I'll be alright Aziz. I will get through this and I will be the stronger for it. It wasn't your fault," Sin said, trying to reassure the assassin.

"Indeed you will. I will make sure of it," Namir stated.

"Namir?" Nyssa queried as Sin turned to look at the short assassin. "What do you mean?"

"I will be taking part in your continued training," Namir revealed.

"Namir, by my father's mandate, that is not permitted," Nyssa reminded the assassin.

"Your father's mandate says nothing about training the apprentice of Warith al Ghul," Namir countered. "As your apprentice, she is a target for your enemies. I am loathe to see her injured or killed because of that."

"And I do not wish to see you punished for breaking my father's commands," Nyssa said.

"Your father has already broken his own commands by supplying John Diggle with armour of our make," Namir stated. "And make no mistake, he knew of its fabrication and allowed it."

"Namir, I don't want to see you hurt because of me," Sin tried, not wanting others to be hurt. 

"Do not fear young one," Namir reassured Sin. "If I am hurt it is because I allow it to happen or because I am dead." Seeing that Namir had made up his mind, Nyssa said nothing.

#Flashback – 3 Years Ago#

Oliver fell, not for the first time wondering if this was such a good idea. He was far from an expert parachutist and here he was trying to land on the roof of a building. And the same as every other time the thought occurred, he focused on the reason why he was doing it. To save Nyssa. Focusing on that, Oliver watched the city slowly pass below him as he drifted through the sky towards his target.

As he neared, he spotted the two guards that he had noted earlier and drew a pair of crossbow pistols from his sides and calmly waited as he drifted silently closer. Once he was close enough, Oliver killed the two guards before dropping the crossbows into the night air and grasping the steering lines to guide his final approach. As his feet hit the gravel on the roof, Oliver reefed down on his chute, spilling the air from the canopy and causing it to collapse around him. Quickly bundling it up and hiding it, Oliver went to check on the guards. Satisfied that they were indeed dead, he began searching their corpses for anything of use.

Disregarding the guns as he was more comfortable with his own weapons, Oliver did procure several grenades from the two men as well as a radio. Unpacking his gear from the extra pack he was wearing, Oliver armed himself in preparation for the task ahead.

With a final check of himself, he put his mask on and pulled up the hood that had been worn by Yao Fei's and Shado's before him. A last glance out at the city surrounding the building and Oliver turned to the stairs leading into the building and where his true work began.


#Present#

"Can I talk to you Nyssa?" Thea asked softly as she found Nyssa sitting with Oliver again.

"Of course you may Thea," Nyssa assured her sister-in-law as Thea sat down in a seat next to the assassin.

"Where's John?" Thea asked, looking around for the bodyguard that had not left Oliver's side since he had been shot in front of them.

"He went to take a moment for himself. Food, drink, personal things," Nyssa replied, eyeing Thea. "What is it you wish to discuss that you do not want him to hear?"

"It's not that," Thea said, taking a moment to gather her thoughts before looking up at Nyssa again. "I want to know how my brother changed so much in just 5 years. I want to know how he has become the man that he is now. I want to know how and where he got all these scars."

"Thea, that is not a short story," Nyssa advised. "Nor a painless one."

"I want to know the truth Nyssa," Thea demanded. "No more lies. You owe me that."

"I owe you knowing," Nyssa responded coldly, sending a chill down Thea's spine and causing her to look away. Neither said anything for a moment before Nyssa continued. "And yet you, of everyone present, deserves to know."

"So you'll tell me everything?" Thea asked hopefully.

"I'll tell you what I can, but some parts of this story are not mine to tell," Nyssa corrected. "Where would you like to begin?"

“Ah, I don’t know,” Thea said, caught off-guard by the sudden shift. “I was kinda hoping that you would just tell me the story.”

“Why don’t you ask questions and if I am able, I will answer them,” Nyssa suggested. “Perhaps that would be easiest.”

“Maybe,” Thea considered. “Ah, was my brother really marooned on that island?”

“Yes, he was. He was there for two years before I first met him,” Nyssa answered, holding her hand up as she predicted Thea’s next question. “While I know most of what happened during that time, I will not share that with you. That will be Oliver’s decision.”

“Right,” Thea said, deflated. “Um, how did you two really meet?”

“I was with several assassins and we discovered him almost dead on a beach. He saved the life of one of my companions and in return, we saved his,” Nyssa replied, summarising as Thea did not need to know the details. “That was when he joined the League of Assassins.”

“Why did he do that?” Thea asked. “Why join a bunch of killers instead of coming home to us?”

“Oliver never had that option Thea,” Nyssa explained. “Once Oliver had entered Nanda Parbat, he had but two choices: Death or service to the League. And my father can be quite persuasive. Even then, Oliver knew that this city was dying, drowning under the weight of the crime and corruption that is rife. So my father made Oliver an offer; join the League, learn it’s ways and when he was ready, my father would send him here to cleanse it.”

“Cleanse it?” Thea repeated. “What does that mean?”

“To remove all those that poison and do harm to this city, one way or another,” Nyssa clarified. “Fortunately, my father has allowed Oliver to use any means of his choosing.”

“And Oliver, and you, have chosen to kill people,” Thea stated harshly. “Couldn’t you find another way?”

“That is the other way, Thea,” Nyssa declared. “You would rather that we collected evidence and then handed it over to the police?”

“That’s the law,” Thea said weakly.

“And the law doesn’t work. Not for those that are able to avoid it. If the law worked, then Oliver and myself would not have need to kill,” Nyssa countered.

“You said this was the other way,” Thea pondered. “What was the first way?”

“A virus,” Nyssa said calmly, trying not to panic Thea. “My father possesses a biological weapon that he would use to kill every single man, woman and child in this city. Guilty or innocent.”

“Oh my god,” Thea whispered in shock and fear. “Everyone?”

“Everyone,” Nyssa confirmed. “They would all die so that no one could survive to continue to corrupt this city.”

“But there wouldn’t be a city,” Thea stressed. 

“True,” Nyssa said. “And now you understand why we have come home and why we kill.”

“You kill so that others do not have to die,” Thea simplified.

“More or less,” Nyssa agreed, happy that she had managed to get her point across without revealing too much. “But we do not have forever.”

“How long do you have?” Thea asked.

“We do not know,” Nyssa replied. “My father is a patient man, Thea. But even he has his limits. One day, he will declare this city lost and try to release the virus.”

“Try?” Thea asked, latching onto Nyssa’s words.

“Oliver and I have agreed that this city lives on,” Nyssa said. “No matter the cost.”

“You would fight your own father?” Thea wondered. 

“I would not be the first daughter of Ra’s al Ghul to do so,” Nyssa said.

“What?” Thea exclaimed.

“You remember how I told you about my sister Talia?” Nyssa asked.

“Yeah, not that you told me much,” Thea replied.

“That is because she tried to kill my father, and me,” Nyssa revealed. “And now she has tried to kill my Beloved.”

“Those were her assassins tonight?” Thea asked.

“Yes,” Nyssa said. “It is not the first time that she has had them attack us. But this is the first time that she has hurt us.”

“That’s why you were training me,” Thea suddenly realised. “They want something from you, and you were worried that she would take me to try and get it.”

“That was the main reason, yes,” Nyssa responded. “But it would also serve you in other ways.”

“What does she want?” Thea asked, ignoring the second part that Nyssa said.

“I am Warith al Ghul, Thea. The Heir to the Demon,” Nyssa revealed. “When my father’s time comes to an end, I will succeed him as Ra’s al Ghul, The Demon’s Head.”

“And the leader of the League of Assassins,” Thea added, thinking. “Wait, I thought Talia was your older sister. Wouldn’t that make her the heir?”

“And for a time, she was,” Nyssa confirmed. “But she lost my father’s favour and so I was declared the heir. She wants that title, and everything it means, back.”

“And I thought my family was messed up,” Thea mumbled, shivering slightly. Seeing this, Nyssa reached over and picked up Oliver’s jacket from where Diggle had discarded it when he taken it off Oliver before laying him down. 

“Here,” Nyssa said as she wrapped the jacket around Thea’s shoulders.

“Thanks,” Thea accepted gratefully. “So, what do we do now?”

“Now, we wait for Oliver to wake up,” Nyssa said. “And once he has healed, I am going to find my sister and encourage her to leave us alone.”

“And if she doesn’t?” Thea asked, putting her hands into the jacket’s pockets.

“One way or another, Thea,” Nyssa said, her voice turning icy. “She will.”

“Where is she?” Oliver growled from the table.

“He is talking about you,” Thea remarked. “Isn’t he?”

“He is,” Nyssa confirmed. “He is in the building where I was being held and is searching for me.”

“He sounds pissed,” Thea observed.

“That would be an understatement sister-in-law,” Nyssa asserted with a smile. “A vast understatement.”

#Flashback – 3 Years Ago#

“Where is she?” Oliver demanded from the H.I.V.E. soldier. When there was no response, Oliver punched him again. “I asked you a question. Where is Nyssa al Ghul?”

“You will never reach her,” the soldier replied. Before Oliver could respond, the soldier jammed his teeth together, crushing one of them. Moments later, he was dead.

“We’ll see about that,” Oliver stated. Searching the soldier, Oliver collected several more grenades as well as a taking the soldier’s radio; something he should have done from the rooftop guards. Putting it on, Oliver listened in.

“Single intruder is on the twenty-second floor,” a male voice said. “Target is armed with a bow and sword. Upper floor guards converge.” Oliver smiled at that. With them coming to him, it made them easier to kill. Oliver made his way to the floor’s electrical distribution board and killed the lights. After smashing the panel, Oliver retreated into the shadows and waited. It wasn’t a long wait.

Three soldiers emerged from the emergency stairwell and Oliver watched as they turned on their weaponlights and began to sweep the floor of the building. Oliver stealthily moved away from them before pulling out one of the grenades. He had no idea how long the fuse was set for, so he just assumed it was 5 seconds. He would find out soon enough. As the soldiers passed by a window, Oliver pulled the pin on the grenade, let the lever fly off before rolling the grenade across the floor, counting as he did so. As he reached six, the grenade exploded amongst the three guards, showering them in shrapnel and blowing out the window.

Stalking forward, he found one guard dead and the other two wounded. Pulling his sword, Oliver ended their lives, already knowing that interrogation would reveal nothing. Now all he had to do was find Nyssa. Sheathing his sword and nocking an arrow, Oliver headed for the stairs. As he reached the door, it opened to reveal a soldier with his weapon coming up with several more soldiers behind him.

Oliver reacted first, releasing his arrow into the first soldier’s throat even as he shouted a warning to his companions. As he collapsed to his knees, Oliver brought his foot up and kicked him back through the door, surprising the soldiers behind him with his attack. What followed was carnage.

Oliver was on the landing with one corpse and 2 soldiers while a further 3 were on the stairs above and below him. Thinking quickly, Oliver lashed out with his bow even as he drew his kukri with his right hand in a reverse grip. The soldier closest to him never saw it as Oliver hit him again in the face with his bow before dropping to his knee and cleaving his thigh open with his kukri. Twisting around, Oliver launched himself up as he proceeded to shoulder barge the other soldier on the landing into the wall, burying his kukri into the man’s stomach. With a strong wrench to the side, Oliver opened the man’s stomach to the air. His bow was not idle as he wrenched, snapping out to hook the guard on the upper stair’s ankle. Yanking, Oliver brought him tumbling down to the landing where he stomped on his throat, crushing his larynx and leaving him to suffocate.

Pain exploded in his side as turned and a bullet exited his side. Oliver ignored the wound, so focused was he on killing. Dropping his bow, Oliver reached out and grasped the gun that had shot him and pulled it forward, unbalancing the soldier attached to it. Smashing it back into his face, Oliver knocked the guard down, his feet tripping up the last soldier as he advanced on Oliver. Letting the gun go, Oliver jumped onto the soldier and smoothly drew his knife across the man’s throat; feeling contentment as he watched the blood well up out of the wound. Cleaning his blade on the corpse’s sleeve, Oliver sheathed it before kneeling next to the only soldier still living, unconscious though he was. He would never wake up as Oliver grabbed his head in his hands and twisted it violently, breaking his neck. Taking a moment to check his side, Oliver picked up his discarded bow and continued his descent.

He didn’t know how long he fought or how many he killed. He barely noticed when he received another injury his focus was so pure. There was only Nyssa and his need to find her. He finally hit pay dirt when he found the building’s security monitoring room on the 5th floor. The technician inside never even realised he was in the room until Oliver had his kukri pressing upon the man’s carotid.

“You are not dressed like those I have already killed so I am only going to ask this once,” Oliver growled menacingly. “Where is Nyssa al Ghul?” When the man didn’t respond instantly, Oliver pressed harder, opening the man’s skin and releasing a trickle of warm blood down his neck. “Where?”

“I don’t know…” the man’s response was cut off by his scream as Oliver noticed the technician reaching for a button and calmly removed his hand with a downward chop of his kukri. So fast was his movement that the technician never felt the blade leaving his throat, or returning.

“If you want to keep your other hand, you will tell me where she is,” Oliver commanded.

“One floor down, one floor down,” the man stuttered through his pain as he pointed up at one of the monitors. Oliver looked at it and indeed saw Nyssa being strapped to the rack in preparation for the day’s lashes.

“Thank you,” Oliver said gratefully as he pulled out a grenade. Extracting the pin, Oliver wedged the grenade under the man’s chin uncomfortably. If he lifted his head, the grenade would fall away, and he would die. “I wouldn’t move if I were you,” Oliver advised before exiting the room. Entering the stairwell once again, Oliver descended one more floor as he drew nearer to his goal. Inching open the door, Oliver slipped through it before padding carefully down the hallway. Coming to the end, he peered around the corner, hoping to see Nyssa. 

There she was, strapped to the X-frame just as when he had first seen her on the screen back at Nanda Parbat. He was in front of her and so couldn't see what condition her back was in, but he knew it could be bad as today was the 5th day of her lashes. She had already received 20 of them and it looked like Mr Domingus was preparing to deal out 5 more as a large screen on the wall nearby came on. On it were the faces of Damien and Ra's.

"Have you changed your mind yet my old friend?" Damien asked haughtily.

"As I have advised you each day," Ra's said calmly. "I will not surrender myself to you. All you are accomplishing by this is revealing how desperate you are."

"Perhaps. And then, perhaps not," Damien retorted. "Either way. Mr Domingus, please begin." Oliver could not have timed it better if he had tried because at that moment, the technician he had left upstairs, moved his head. 

The explosion of the grenade was felt through the floor and caused several of the lights to start flickering.

"It seems you have company, old friend," Ra's taunted.

"Mr Domingus, what was that?" Damien asked in a sharp tone.

"We have an uninvited guest in the facility," Mr Domingus replied immediately. "He is being dealt with."

"Ra's, I warned you what would happen if you attempted to rescue your daughter," Damien threatened.

"Damien, I have ordered no such attempts," Ra's replied honestly.

"The intruder is not garbed in the manner of the League," Domingus interjected. "He is dressed in green and wields a bow and sword." Oliver couldn't stop the slight smile from appearing on his face as they spoke about him. But it quickly fell away when the wound in his side sent a fresh stab of pain through him. He didn't have long. Taking a deep breath to centre himself, Oliver drew and nocked an arrow before stepping around the corner.

Sighting in on the first guard he spotted, Oliver loosed his arrow and was already drawing and aiming at the next guard before the first even realised there was an arrow in his eye. Two more arrows followed, removing the remaining guards as Oliver came around to look at Mr Domingus, a fifth arrow pointed at his chest.

"Release Nyssa al Ghul," Oliver commanded in a bestial voice. At the sound of her name or perhaps she recognised his voice, Nyssa opened her previously closed eyes and looked at him.

"I refuse," Mr Domingus replied immediately, drawing back Oliver's attention. "My employer has given specific instructions regarding Miss al Ghul."

"They are changing," Oliver growled out, his aim unwavering.

"In fact, they are not," Damien said from the screen. "Nyssa will be staying right where she is. Her father can watch her receive 10 lashes tomorrow. At which time you will be very dead. Mr Domingus, please eliminate the intruder," Damien commanded before ending the video conference.

"With pleasure," Mr Domingus said for Oliver's benefit. Oliver reacted without hesitation, launching his arrow at Domingus. Domingus merely stood there before catching the arrow right before it touched him. "Did you really think that was going to work?"

"No," Oliver said before the arrowhead exploded brightly. It didn't harm him; he was standing too close to Nyssa to risk that, but it did by Oliver the time he needed to charge the man, dropping his bow and drawing his sword and kukri. Oliver leapt through the cloud of smoke and swung down at Domingus, but he deftly sidestepped Oliver before backing away and unfurling his whip. 

"If you surrender now, I will allow you a minute with Miss al Ghul before I end your life," Domingus offered. Oliver didn’t even bother to consider the offer as he charged in again. He swung with both his sword and his kukri but only ever hit air. He avoided the whip as much as he could, but he was unfamiliar with how to fight against it and so felt it's bite several times. 

Domingus never stopped moving. Every time that Oliver came close enough to attack him, he ducked and weaved before dancing away and striking with his whip. Oliver was forced to continually chase after him, trying to wound him in some fashion so that he could deliver a killing blow. But he was always denied.

By this point, Oliver was tiring; the wound in his side was taking its toll and he was finding it harder and harder to avoid Domingus’ whip. It came to a head, that during one advance, Oliver stumbled slightly and Domingus was upon him before he could regain his footing. He dropped his whip in favour of pounding into Oliver’s side with his fist. Oliver lurched with each blow before finally collapsing to his knees.

“Allow me to return your arrow,” Domingus said before he drove Oliver’s arrow, which he still held, into Oliver’s chest just above his heart. Oliver slumped from the intrusion of the arrow into his chest, his weapons clattering to the ground as they fell from his limp hands. “Much better,” Domingus observed as he picked up Oliver’s sword and examined it. “You are a member of the League of Assassins. Ra’s al Ghul lied to Mr Darhk. That will cost him his daughter.”

“No,” Oliver managed to utter as he raised his head to look at Nyssa. He was surprised when he saw her looking back at him, her eyes clear and focused.

“I’m afraid you have little to say in the matter,” Domingus explained as he swung the sword through the air. “You will be quite dead by then.”

“You’re wrong,” Oliver countered. “It is you who will be quite dead.”

“Allow me to dissuade you of that idea,” Domingus said, raising the sword over his head in preparation to execute Oliver. As his arm came swinging around, Oliver suddenly came rushing up. His right hand intercepted the sword strike at the wrist while his left, holding his kukri, stabbed forward, burying the blade in Domingus’ abdomen. 

“Please, allow me,” Oliver responded as he jerked his weapon up a little, causing Domingus to drop the sword.

“Who are you?” Domingus asked as blood began to leak from his mouth.

“My name,” Oliver said as he wrenched the kukri up as far as he could then twisting it left and right. “Is Oliver Queen.”


#Present#

“He is coming around,” Oliver heard Diggle announce as he climbed back towards consciousness. He managed to open his eyes, immediately shutting them due to the brightness of the overhead lights. Turning his head to the side, he opened them again to see Nyssa right in front of him; concern all over her face. “Hey.”

“Hello to you as well Beloved,” Nyssa replied, a smile breaking out on her face.

“I guess I didn’t die again,” Oliver said weakly, his lips cracking into a small smile of his own. “Cool.”

#Arrow#

“So Namir took care of the bodies and the cleaning,” Nyssa briefed Oliver. Almost an hour had passed, and Oliver was now sitting up and drinking a tea made from the herbs he brought from Lian Yu. “All we have to do is replace the glass and we can return home.”

“I know a company that makes bulletproof glass,” Diggle said as he joined in the conversation. “I already sent them an email asking for a quote.”

“We’ll pay it,” Oliver responded immediately. “We should probably also look into replacing all the glass in the Penthouse.”

“Probably a good idea,” Diggle agreed. “I’ll take care of it.”

“Thank you, John,” Nyssa said in gratitude as the bodyguard moved off. Turning back to Oliver, she saw him rolling his shoulders. “Are you alright Beloved?”

“Shoulders are stiff,” Oliver replied. “What about Sin and Thea?” Oliver asked as he looked around the Foundry.

“Sin fell asleep, so I had Sarab and Saqr take her home. Aziz would have gone as well but his duty is to my safety,” Nyssa answered. “Thea, I haven’t seen for some time. She might have fallen asleep in a corner.”

“Thea!” Oliver called out as Aziz moved from the shadow he was occupying to search for her. “Is Sin going to be ok?”

“I spoke with her,” Nyssa explained. “But only time will tell.”

“Indeed. The first is always the hardest,” Oliver said as he heard Thea approaching. Turning to greet her cheerfully, he was instead met with her cold gaze. “Thea?”

“Were you going to tell me?” Thea asked angrily, catching both Oliver and Nyssa off guard and drawing Diggle’s attention.

“I’m sorry to say this Thea,” Oliver apologised remorsefully. “But you are going to have to be a bit more specific.”

“Were you going to tell me about this?” Thea repeated, producing the recording device that had been in Oliver’s jacket from before the attack. “Were you going to tell me that mom knew about dad’s murder?”

“Thea, where did you get that?” Nyssa asked.

“From my jacket,” Oliver answered for his sister. “It was in there before the attack.”

“I found it in there when Nyssa gave it to me to wear,” Thea added. “Now tell me. Were you going to tell me about mom?”

“I don’t know Thea,” Oliver said truthfully. “We only found out about this yesterday. Diggle and I were discussing what to do about it when you were attacked.”

“So what are you going to do about it?” Thea asked uncertainly. “What are we going to do about it?”

“We?” Oliver questioned, latching onto Thea’s word use.

“Nyssa told me about Ra’s. She told me what he is going to do to this city if you don’t succeed,” Thea explained, earning Nyssa a sharp look from Oliver; one she shrugged off with a smile. “And then there is this Undertaking thing. That doesn’t sound like a good thing if they are threatening people over it.”

“That is exactly what your brother asked,” Diggle noted ruefully, earning him the look from Oliver.

“We,” Oliver specified, indicating Nyssa, Diggle and himself. “Will figure that out. You, have school to finish and a life to live.”

“I won’t have a life to live you Ra’s releases a bioweapon on Starling City,” Thea pointed out. “It sounds like you can use my help.”

“Thea, you saw how last night went,” Oliver said, trying a different tact. “They were trying to kill us. You were hurt.”

“That is because I was surprised, and I had no idea what was going on. It won’t happen again,” Thea countered. “Nyssa has been teaching me to fight and my archery is better than ever. I can help you,” Thea reiterated. As her brother thought about how to respond, Thea continued. “Or I can try to do it on my own.”

“What?” Oliver growled out.

“I can go out on my own at night and try to help this city,” Thea asserted.

“No, you won’t” Oliver dictated. “I won’t allow it.”

“And how are you going to stop me short of babysitting me?” Thea wondered. “And if you do that, then you are not helping this city.”

“She is right, Beloved,” Nyssa insisted. “It would be better if she was out with us than out on her own. She is still a target.”

“And I doubt she would have difficulty slipping any kind of bodyguard I put on her,” Diggle added. “She is your sister after all.”

“You both are ok with this?” Oliver questioned grumpily. 

“Not overly but it is the lesser of two evils,” Diggle said.

“She could be paired with Sin,” Nyssa proposed. “The two of them are better as a team than individually.”

“Hmm,” Oliver considered. Turning to Thea, Oliver’s gaze sent a shiver across his sister’s skin. “You wouldn’t go out until I say you are ready?”

“As long as you give me a fair shot,” Thea replied immediately.

“I promise you I will,” Oliver stated. “But it will be me who decides when you are ready. And you will have to prove it.”

“How?” Thea asked.

“By fighting me,” Oliver answered.

“Really?” Thea wondered, turning to Nyssa and hoping her brother was joking.

“Really Thea,” Nyssa confirmed. “You have to be prepared to hurt your brother before we let you out. Otherwise, we can’t be sure you won’t freeze up out there. Because if you do, you die.”

“Right,” Thea accepted hesitantly. She was about to continue when her phone started ringing. Pulling it from her pocket, she saw the caller ID and paled. “It’s mom.”

“She can’t know what happened,” Oliver said instantly. “Any of it.”

“Ok, uh. I should answer it,” Thea pointed out. Oliver nodded and Thea accepted the call. “Hello?”

“Thea, I see you are awake,” Moira said on the other end.

“Yeah, I just got out of the shower,” Thea responded. “I was dead tired last night so I just crashed at Ollie’s.”

“Wonderful,” Moira accepted without question. “I was just about to call them and ask them around for brunch. Would you be a dear and ask them for me?”

“Sure, I can ask them around for brunch,” Thea replied, trying to be cheery. “Nyssa just walked in, so I’ll ask her. Just a sec.” Thea pressed the phone into her shoulder for a moment before handing the phone off to Nyssa.

“Moira, good morning,” Nyssa greeted her mother-in-law. “Oliver and I would be happy to join you for brunch.”

“I look forward to seeing you both,” Moira said. “Shall we say 10?”

“That would be fine, Moira,” Nyssa agreed. “Did you wish to speak to Thea again?”

“Nothing that can’t wait,” Moira replied. 

“Then have a wonderful morning Moira and we will all see you at 10,” Nyssa responded.

“You as well Nyssa,” Moira said before ending the call.

#Flashback – 3 Years Ago#

“What do we do?” Sarab asked from their vantage point. “We know he is in there.”

“Our orders were specific,” Namir said. “Return Al Sah-him to Nanda Parbat but do not attempt to rescue Nyssa.”

“It would seem that Al Sah-him as already done the rescuing,” Saqr noted as he pointed down to the entrance of the building. Below them, they all saw Al Sah-him carrying Nyssa out of the building, his bow slung across his body. Aziz wasted no time and dropped off the roof; the others following suit soon after.

Oliver didn’t notice the four of them as they appeared around him. He wasn’t really seeing anything at this point except the hazy path before him as he carried Nyssa. Soon though he couldn’t walk any further and fell to the ground, doing his best not to drop or crush Nyssa. 

The last conscious thought he had was staring into Nyssa’s eyes as his own shut.


#Present#

“You going to be ok?” Thea asked as Oliver climbed out of the car.

“I’ll be fine,” Oliver reassured his sister. “I’ve had worse injuries.”

“That’s saying something,” Diggle muttered.

“What about you?” Oliver asked his sister, purposefully ignoring Diggle’s comment. “Are you going to be ok?”

“It’s not the first time I have lied to mom,” Thea pointed out, trying to sound positive. “I’ll be fine.”

“We will be with you Thea,” Nyssa vowed.

“Thank you, Nyssa,” Thea said.

“Alright,” Oliver said as Maseo opened the front door to the mansion. “Here we go.”


Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #35
Chapter 36 – Dodging and Healing

"What's wrong Thea?" Nyssa asked from where she stood off to the side of the training area.

"I'm trying to decide if I should be insulted that Namir is using a single eskrima stick to beat us," Thea explained as she watched Sin dodge another strike from said assassin. "Or dejected about it."

"You should be neither of those," Nyssa replied calmly. "Namir has been doing this a long time. He has taught Maseo, Saqr, your brother and even me. Now he teaches you and Sin."

"Don't get me wrong, I am grateful," Thea responded. "It's just... my world has changed so much that my head is still bouncing around from it. And I can't even talk to anyone about it."

"You can talk to me, Thea. Or your brother," Nyssa said, looking over to where Oliver was pounding away on what Thea now knew was a Wing Chun dummy. "You can talk to any of us here."

"Thank you for that," Thea acknowledged. "I think it's my turn against Sin."

"Remember to keep your guard up," Nyssa advised as Thea stepped onto the mats; taking Namir's place even as he took hers next to Nyssa.

"She isn't coping, is she?" Nyssa asked in a whisper, looking at the two girls as they began to spar.

"No," Namir answered succinctly. "She barely attacks and when she does it is without thought or effort. Her defence is impressive, but you cannot win by that alone."

"I will speak to her again," Nyssa responded. 

"I will take my leave then," Namir said at the same time as Oliver audibly broke the eskrima stick he had been using over the dummy, causing everyone in the Foundry to pause in their efforts.

"It's only been a week, man," Diggle pointed. "Shouldn't you be taking it easy?"

"That is me taking it easy," Oliver retorted as he threw the broken stick away and grabbed his towel. 

"So who are you visiting tonight?" Diggle enquired.

"Ken Williams," Oliver announced as he moved over to and opened his crate. "His pyramid scheme stole millions. People didn't just lose their homes. Their entire lives and those of their families have been ruined."

"I'll get my gear," Diggle said as he headed to where he kept his own equipment.

"You don’t have to do that Dig," Oliver called out. "I can take care of it alone. I'm not expecting any trouble."

"Then it should be a quick evening for the both of us," Diggle countered with a grin. Oliver had no response to Diggle's comment, instead deciding to just accept it and get ready.

"Ready?" Oliver asked once he was ready to go.

"Yeah," Dig replied as he loaded his UMP9. "Let's do it."

"Ah, can I talk to you both for a second?" Felicity called out, interrupting the two men's departure.

"What is it?" Oliver asked, slightly annoyed at being interrupted at the last second.

"I pulled up some information," Felicity explained as she turned back to her computers. "Did you know he is the widowed father of a 10-year-old boy?" 

"Yes. His name is Timothy," Oliver revealed, surprising Felicity slightly. Though upon thinking about it, she shouldn’t have been. Oliver and Nyssa would have done their research on all their targets. "What's your point?"

"I told you that I'm only here to help find Walter," Felicity stated forcefully. "I'm not going to be an accessory to orphaning children."

"Felicity," Nyssa said cautiously, trying to calm her.

"It is just a warning," Oliver clarified, turning to walk away.

"And what happens when he doesn't do what you want?" Felicity asked loudly, coming to her feet and drawing everyone's attention. "Have you ever considered how much you could help this city if you killed less and tried to stop more crime that what you can find in that book?"

"We'll figure it out then," Oliver hedged, truly unsure of what he would do if Ken didn't return the money. He was about to respond to the second part of what Felicity said when she spoke again.

"This was a mistake," Felicity announced heatedly. "I should never have agreed to sign on. Even provisionally," she said before storming out of the basement.

"Let her go, Beloved," Nyssa advised as Oliver turned to go after her. "Let her calm down."

"Fine," Oliver said before turning to a smiling Diggle. "Let's go.

#Flashback – 3 Years Ago#

"You're awake," a familiar voice said as Oliver woke. Looking around from where he lay on the bed, he saw Hakim sitting off to the side, watching him. "Good."

"What happened?" Oliver managed to mumble out through a dry throat. Hakim climbed to his feet and gabbed a damp cloth from the bedside table and brought it over Oliver's lips, where he squeezed it and let the water drip into his patient's mouth. Oliver eagerly swallowed before speaking again. "What happened after?"

"After you disobeyed the commands of Ra's al Ghul?" Hakim completed Oliver's sentence. "Namir, Aziz, Saqr and Sarab returned both Nyssa and yourself to Nanda Parbat."

"How is Nyssa?" Oliver asked, mentally adopting the empty tone of Al Sah-him. 

"Weakened from the lashing and insufficient nourishment during her detainment. She will recover though," Hakim conveyed. "As will you."

"My condition is irrelevant," Oliver said, considering what his next words should be. "My life is now in the hands of Ra's al Ghul. I disobeyed his command and so await judgement."

"I have heard nothing of what that may be, Al Sah-him," Hakim revealed, leaning forward. "But know this. Your devotion to Nyssa has been noticed and is even now spoken of within these halls."


#Present#

"Good afternoon Felicity," Oliver greeted as he and Diggle entered his office after lunch to find Felicity laying out several folders. His morning had been hectic as he bounced between meetings and presentations and he hadn't, as yet, had a chance to speak with Felicity about the previous night. "And how are you today?"

"Probably better than Ken Williams is," Felicity sniped back. "How is he today?" Oliver took a calming breath before responding.

"Ken Williams is in the same health that he was when Diggle and I left him last night. Though he is poorer," Oliver replied. "He returned the money he stole in time to put Timothy to bed."

"Oh," Felicity uttered, slightly taken aback.

"As I told you Felicity," Oliver said. "Just a warning. That's all it is seeming to..." Oliver drawled out as his attention was taken by a news clip playing on the nearby TV.

"At this time, we'd like to remind the public that we are coordinating our efforts with Interpol as the Dodger operates primarily in Europe, and they have advised us to warn the public that he is to be considered armed and extremely dangerous," a SCPD Detective said to the assembled news media.

"Oliver?" Diggle asked once the broadcast was over. "You ok?"

"Yeah," Oliver replied, shaking his head. "I just recognise the Detective. McKenna, uh, Hall."

"Someone from before the island?" Felicity wondered out loud.

"Just a friend," Oliver pointed out.

"You know," Diggle said, changing the subject. "I heard about this guy. They call him the Dodger because he doesn't get his hands dirty. He uses hostages to do all the stealing for him."

"How does he do that?" Oliver enquired.

"Puts a bomb collar around their necks," Diggle answered. "A guy in Madrid last year didn't do as he was told and it took his head off, literally."

"Great," Felicity deadpanned. "And now this psycho is in Starling City. Too bad he isn't in your book."

"Felicity, you yourself have pointed out that I have made exceptions to the List from time to time," Oliver reminded his Technical Advisor. "A hostage-taking jewel thief sounds like another exception. Would you be interested in helping us take him down?"

"If only to prove my point," Felicity said. "So how do we go about catching him?"

"Well, we need to find out either where he is or where he is going to be," Oliver explained.

"That's it?" Felicity quipped in disbelief. “I thought it would be a lot harder than that.”

“It probably will be,” Diggle said. "But if you start with a simple plan and work from there. It makes it easier to understand for everyone."

"Right, so what's the plan?" Felicity asked. At the incredulous looks from the two men, Felicity continued. "Hey, I'm new at this. You two are the experienced vigilantes."

"She has a point," Diggle quipped to Oliver's chagrin.

"Well, we know he is targeting a specific type of jewel," Oliver summarised. "We figure out why and that might give us an idea on how to catch him."

"I have an idea," Felicity suddenly said.

"That was fast," Oliver joked.

"I'm a fast learner," Felicity retorted. "Anyway. You said you knew this Detective Hall; the one on the Dodger case, from before the island."

"Yeah, so," Oliver said, no sure where Felicity was going with this.

"Well, why don't I work up a little tech. You and Nyssa take a stroll down memory lane and while one of you distracts her, the other slips the aforementioned tech onto her phone. We will be able to hear everything."

"Hmm," Oliver consider. "It's not how I typically get my information."

"No, it really isn't," Diggle added unnecessarily, earning a glare from Oliver.

"Well," Felicity began. "How do you usually get your information?"

"I find the person. And then I put the fear of God into them until they tell me what I want to know," Oliver answered in complete seriousness. "But we can try your way."

#Arrow#

"It is a rather unique location, Beloved," Nyssa said as she and Oliver walked towards the station. "And we never planned for the Foundry to house us for more than a year. Nor to house as many of us that it now does."

"All true," Oliver acceded calmly. "I'm just not sure if that location is the best spot that we could use. I would prefer we stayed in or around the Glades. It is more central."

"I see your point," Nyssa said. "We shall discuss this more later."

"We shall," Oliver agreed with a smile. "Now, let's go meet an old friend," her said as he led the way into the precinct. They found their way up to the squad room and Oliver grabbed the first officer that was free. "Hi, I'm looking for Detective Hall. I was told she was up here."

"Oliver?" A familiar voice called out from behind him, and Oliver turned to see McKenna standing behind Nyssa, a folder in her hands. 

"Hello McKenna," Oliver greeted his old friend with a smile as he stepped forward.

"Hi," McKenna replied, moving forward to hug Oliver briefly before stepping back.

"I never thought you would become a cop," Oliver said.

"Well, I live to surprise," McKenna responded.

"I remember," Oliver noted thoughtfully. "What was that club you got us kicked out of?"

"The Club Deville," McKenna answered. "And in my defence, there was no sign that specifically said I had to keep my clothes on."

"Uhuh," Oliver grumbled as he stepped to the side. "I'm being rude. McKenna, allow me to introduce my wife Nyssa. Nyssa, this is McKenna. A friend from before."

"It's nice to meet," Nyssa said.

"And I you," McKenna replied with a smile. "So what brings you two down here today?"

"I saw your news broadcast and thought I'd like to catch up with an old friend," Oliver supplied easily. "It's been too long."

"It has," McKenna agreed.

#Arrow#

"Hey Speedy, whatcha doing?" Oliver asked as he stood in the doorway of Thea's room.

"Nothing. Just some stuff for CNRI," Thea replied as she turned to face her brother. "What about you? What are you doing?"

"Just passing time," Oliver answered, entering Thea's room.

"Did you talk to Felicity yet?" Thea wondered.

"I did," Oliver confirmed. "We worked things out. At least for now."

"Should I ask how you did that?" Thea queried snidely.

"We are going to take down a jewel thief called the Dodger," Oliver said.

"I saw that on the news. Any leads yet?" Thea asked.

"Not yet, but she is working on it," Oliver asked as he sat down on the edge of Thea's bed, facing his sister. "How are you doing?"

"I'm fine," Thea answered. Her brother said nothing as he gazed at her with a meaningful look. "You're not asking about my general wellbeing, are you?"

"No," Oliver said softly. "I'm asking how you are holding up now that you know."

“You know, at first. I figured it would be easy. All the things I haven’t told mom about. What’s one more thing to add to the list,” Thea expressed, leaning back in her chair. “But it’s not just the lying about it. I have to hide a part of myself. I can’t do things I know I can do because doing them would show the world that I am more than what I appear to be. And that would lead to questions. This is so much harder to do than anything I have ever done.”

“Now you know how I felt when mom was shot at, among other times,” Oliver pointed out. “I couldn’t tell you at the time that I am fast enough to chase down the shooter and almost catch them.”

“Oh my god,” Thea uttered as she thought back. “I was such a bitch to you then.”

“You were right though,” Oliver said. “I was lying to you. You and mom both. And I hated it.”

“How did you do it?” Thea asked softly.

“I told myself that not knowing would put you in less danger than knowing would,” Oliver reasoned. “That if you didn’t know than you could never be considered a threat in the world that I now live in and that that made life safer for you.”

“That didn’t exactly work out for you did it?” Thea quipped.

“No,” Oliver said, his face breaking into a smile. “No it didn’t.”

“Does it ever get easier?” Thea asked.

“Lying?” Oliver wondered. Thea nodded. “To strangers, yes. To our friends and family, no. Practice can make you better at it but even I have to work at it to be able to lie to mom, Walter and Laurel. I don’t think it will ever get easier.”

“Great,” Thea droned absently. “What a life I now lead.”

“Oh come on Thea,” Oliver drawled. “It’s not all bad. You got me back.”

“Yeah, I got you back,” Thea repeated with a happy smile. And then it dropped.

“What?” Oliver asked.

“Tell me about your scars,” Thea requested. “I want to know about them.”

“There’s not much to say about them,” Oliver said casually. “Most of them are training or sparring scars. Boring things.”

“And the ones that aren’t?” Thea wondered. “Tell me about those.”

“Thea, I,” Oliver began before stopping when his sister shot him a look that screamed ‘I’m not letting this go.’ With a sigh, he unbuttoned his shirt and took it off. “Where did you want to start?”

“Which one did you get first?” Thea asked.

“This one,” Oliver said, pointing at one near his right shoulder. “Arrow from a man named Yao Fei.”

“What happened to him?” Thea asked.

“He died,” Oliver answered succinctly. 

“Ok,” Thea said, deciding not to press the issue. “What about this one?” Thea wondered, pointing at a large, diagonal scar on his upper left abdomen. “That doesn’t look like a training accident.”

“It’s not,” Oliver said. “I got that from a man named Billy Wintergreen. He was torturing me about what I knew about Yao Fei.”

“Did you tell him? What happened to him?” Thea shot off without thinking.

“No, surprisingly I did not,” Oliver said with a slight smile for a moment. “He was killed by a man named Slade Wilson.”

“Interesting name,” Thea mused. “What about your dragon tattoo? I can’t see the League of Assassin’s letting you get that. And you didn’t have it before the island.”

“I got that on the island,” Oliver said softly, pausing. “From Slade Wilson.”

“Why did you choose to get it?” Thea wondered.

“I didn’t,” Oliver replied slowly. “I was branded with it to remind me of what I had done.”

“Which was?” Thea asked. Oliver was saved from answering by his phone ringing.

“Hello?” Oliver said into the phone.

"Oliver, hi," Felicity said cheerfully through the phone. "Is this a bad time?"

"No," Oliver said as he shot Thea a smile. "What have you got?"

"Well after the Dodger killed Cass Derenick, we figured that he would need a new fence so that he could offload the Sherwood Ruby," Felicity explained. 

"Did you find out which one it is?" Oliver asked.

"No, but I have a list if you guys want to check them out tonight," Felicity replied.

"Call Diggle and Nyssa," Oliver ordered. "I'll head down."

"Got it," Felicity said before ending the call. Oliver turned to Thea.

"Be careful out there," Thea requested of her older brother. "We can finish this talk another time."

"I will," Oliver agreed as he grabbed his shirt and left.

#Arrow#

"You look like you almost got blown up," Sin commented as Oliver, Nyssa and Diggle entered the Foundry. Felicity spun around in her chair just as Oliver set his bow down on the bench.

"I have to agree with what Sin said," Felicity remarked. "You really do look like you almost got blown up."

"I very nearly did," Oliver responded as he leaned back against the bench and exhaled. "And the Dodger got away."

"How'd that happen?" Sin asked.

"Nyssa hadn't reached the location and I was on the other side of the building covering those exits," Diggle began.

"And I was caught off-guard when he threw one of his collars at me," Oliver said angrily, obviously at himself for being fooled. "It exploded on a timer, knocking me off my feet. When I recovered, he was gone."

"It wasn't a complete waste," Diggle said, trying to lighten the mood. "Cops recovered the Sherwood Ruby and busted a fence. That's got to count for something."

"Perhaps," Nyssa said evenly. "But they were not our prey."

"You sound like some sort of huntress," Felicity quips. At a look from Nyssa, she grinned before continuing. "So what do we do now?"

"Well, the SCPD raided the warehouse before the Dodger could get paid so my guess is that he will be looking for another score," Oliver surmised. "Can you hack into the police records and find out everything that he has stolen so far."

"Easy," Felicity said as she spun back around to her computers. 

"Why?" Sin asked curiously as Felicity typed.

"Because the Dodger has been very selective of what he has stolen," Felicity answered before Oliver could. "It looks like he has a thing for the ominous decade. Last ten years of King Ferdinand's rule."

"Right," Diggle drawled.

"Anyway," Oliver said. "Are there any other places in Starling City that either sell of display these items from this ominous thing."

"Decade," Felicity corrected absently as she read. "And no. It seems everyone in this city prefers the Elizabethan era." 

"What is that?" Nyssa suddenly called out.

"What?" Felicity said, stopping in her searches.

"That," Nyssa said as she pointed at something on one of Felicity's screens. "The Starling City Cancer Society. It says that they are holding a fundraising auction tomorrow night. We could lure him out into the open."

"With what?" Felicity wondered. "A fake?"

"No," Oliver answered as he shook his head. "The Dodger clearly knows his antiquities. He won’t fall for anything less than the genuine article."

"Right," Sin uttered. "So..."

"Where are we going to get out hands on a rare Spanish antiquity?" Felicity finished Sin's sentence.

"Your family or mine?" Nyssa asked with a somewhat cheeky look at Oliver.

"Mine is closer," Oliver replied with a broad smile.

"You really have no idea how rich their families are, do you?" Diggle commented. When Felicity looked at Oliver, he merely shrugged in response.

#Arrow#

"So how did your talk with Sin go?" Oliver asked as he straighten his tie in the mirror.

"Not well I fear," Nyssa replied from around the corner in the bathroom. "Despite appearances, she is still struggling to come to terms with taking a life, no matter the circumstances behind it."

"Maybe I should try speaking with her," Oliver proposed. "I might be able to better relate to the situation given the circumstances surrounding the first life I took."

“I had not considered that,” Nyssa said as she walked out of the bathroom. Oliver couldn’t help himself as he turned and stared at his wife. “You’re staring Beloved,” Nyssa pointed out as she walked across the room to the bed where her dress and shoes waited.

“Do you blame me?” Oliver retorts as he continued to gaze at his wife. Nyssa made a show of sitting on the bed and putting her shoes on before standing. With a teasing look over her shoulder, she bent at the waist picked her dress up off the bed; hearing Oliver’s breath hitch as she did so. Smiling to herself, she stepped into the dress and pulled it up onto her body.

“Would you mind zipping me up?” Nyssa asked sweetly, gazing at her husband.

“That is not the first thing that comes to mind that I would like to do,” Oliver said huskily as he stepped across the expanse of their room to assist his wife. Once zipped, he kissed her.

“Do not get any ideas, Beloved,” Nyssa warned. “We do not have the time.”

“We can make time,” Oliver proposed as he leaned back in. A knock at the door interrupted any further actions. “I’m tempted to ignore it, but duty calls.”

“It does,” Nyssa said as she turned and picked up her clutch. “Shall we?” 

“After you,” Oliver replied before following Nyssa out of the room and downstairs. Entering the lounge, they found Diggle, Maseo and Sin waiting for them. “Evening everyone.”

“Oliver, Nyssa,” Diggle responded with a nod. Maseo also nodded but stayed silent.

“Hi everyone,” Sin said with a small wave.

“We ready to go?” Oliver asked.

“Just waiting on the two of you,” Diggle replied calmly. “Thought you might get distracted or something.”

“I do not know what you mean,” Oliver countered.

“Right,” Diggle said with a small grin. “And I’m a blind man.”

“I would hope not, John,” Nyssa said as she walked up to Sin. “How are you?” she asked quietly.

“I’m good,” Sin replied, perhaps a little too easily. Nyssa said nothing as she looked at her shrewdly. “Really, I am.”

“Very well,” Nyssa accepted. “Shall we go then?”

“We should, or we will be late,” Diggle reasoned.

“Oliver Queen late,” Oliver joked. “I’m sure that they would understand.

#Arrow#

“Someone else seems to have had the same idea you did.  The SCPD is here too,” Diggle said as he stopped next to Oliver. “Your bait has attracted them, at least.”

“That is not the target that we are seeking," Nyssa said as she joined the two men, Thea and Sin with her. "And it matters not if either the SCPD or one of us apprehends the Dodger, as long as he is apprehended," Nyssa said, looking around at all the attendees of the charity auction before her eyes were drawn to another person entering.

"Wow, Felicity," Thea exclaimed. "You look, wow."

"What?" Felicity exclaimed in surprise as she tore her eyes away from her phone to examine her dress. "I was worried this dress wouldn't look good on me."

"That's not it," Thea quickly responded, trying to calm the blonde. "I've just never seen you look this hot before."

"I believe what my sister is trying to say is that your dress looks great on you," Oliver offered as a translation.

"And I would agree with the both of them," Nyssa added with an appraising eye. "Though I think you would look much better in a red, black or green dress."

"Oh," Felicity stammered, trying to make sense of the last 2 minutes. "Thanks."

"You're most welcome," Nyssa said with a smile.

"Anyway, I'm getting a good signal from the GPS tracker I put on your family's broach, which I can track from my phone." Felicity explained as they all began to walk down the hall together. "On a side note, have you considered to what might happen if this doesn’t work and the Dodger absconds with your family jewels?" Felicity's worlds brought everyone to an abrupt halt and all eyes were on her as she suddenly realised what she had said. "I'm sorry. That, that came out wrong."

"Let's just keep our eyes open, shall we?" Oliver suggested. Felicity merely nodded in reply, not trusting her own words. "Dig and I will head this way," Oliver said before he and his bodyguard joined the crowd.

"I will take Sin and Maseo this way," Nyssa said before they too, joined the crowd. 

"Guess that just leaves you and me, Felicity," Thea pointed out. "Do you mind if I call you Lis? Felicity is a bit wordy sometimes."

"I don't mind," Felicity responded with a smile. "Do you think your brother hates me now?"

"Lis, I don't think anyone in the world could hate you," Thea said as the two joined the crowd themselves.

#Arrow#

"So what are you going to do about Sin?" Diggle asked as he and Oliver mingled.

"You've noticed?" Oliver enquired as he looked around.

"Only because I know what I'm looking for," Dig replied, his own head on a swivel. "And you didn't answer my question."

"I'm going to have a talk with her. Relate some of my own experiences to her to try and help her understand," Oliver stated.

"Does that include relating them to the rest of us as well?" Dig asked.

"In time, perhaps," Oliver said.

"Maybe I should check out front, see if the security guards have had any problems," Dig suggested.

"That's a good idea," Oliver agreed. "I'm going to swing back around and check on the bait." As they both turned to leave, the saw Thea approaching them hurriedly.

"I think we have a problem," Thea said before turning around and walking away. Unable to even get a word in, the two men were unable to do anything but follow in silence. She led them to a small empty room off the main gallery where they found Felicity pacing back and forth, an explosive collar locked around her neck.

"Get away from me!" She exclaimed, backing away from the two men. "If this thing blows…" 

"Not going to happen," Oliver told her with a confidence he suddenly didn't feel. 

"The Dodger said if I called the police, he'd… I'm going to get decapitated, aren't I?" Felicity asked fearfully. Diggle looked around for some kind of tool to use, but all he saw was a glass full of pens. He knocked it over and grabbed one of the pens, then pulled the small metal clip off of it. Using that, he opened a small access panel on the front of the bomb, exposing the circuitry within.

"The trackers on the move." Oliver said, noticing Felicity's phone. "If I find him, I can get him to disarm it. Talk me in," He told her in a calm voice. "Stay calm." 

"Too late for that," Felicity said with a watery smile. 

"Go!" Diggle told the vigilante when Oliver turned to him. "Just go. Go, go, go." Oliver nodded before exiting the room. 

"I have to say though, Lis," Thea began. "This is the wrong style of choker for you."

"You think?" Felicity deadpanned.

"I do," Thea confirmed, continuing her efforts. "You need something lighter and thinner. Maybe in black."

#Arrow#

"Alright, I'm outside. Talk to me, Felicity!" he called to her over his Bluetooth earpiece. 

"Ahem," Felicity tried to compose herself. She pulled out her phone and brought up the tracking app while Diggle examined the collar. "He is heading towards Adams and O'Neil. At the clip he's going, he's got to be in a vehicle." 

"Hey!" Oliver called to a nearby man that was readying his bike, walking briskly towards him at the same time. "I need your bike." 

"Are you kidding me?" The large biker wondered as he stood up tall and glared at Oliver.  

"No," Oliver said as he dropped the biker in two shots. He quickly donned the acquired helmet before slipping on a pair of gloves and climbing onto the bike. He hit the ignition and sped off. "I'm mobile. Where is he?" he asked. 

Back in the room, Felicity got out her tablet and brought up the tracking program, then tied that into the traffic cameras to get a real-time image of where the tracker was. "Talk to me, Felicity," Oliver encouraged her over the phone. 

"Come on." Felicity growled as the search ran. Thea re-entered the room, having left earlier, with Nyssa and Sin in tow. "Don't ask. Busy."

"John, how does it look?" Nyssa asked as she stepped up beside him, heedless of the danger. Diggle said nothing but the look he gave her said everything; bad.

"First time anyone's ever been grateful for traffic cameras," Felicity joked as she finally found what she was looking for- the Dodger's car. "He's one block from your position. If you cut through Harris Plaza, you'll end up right behind him." 

On the street, Oliver did just that; startling several pedestrians as he rocketed past them down the stairs. He darted onto the main road and dodged between vehicles, looking for the thief. 

"Where is he now?" he asked, looking at all the cars ahead of him. 

"Got it. I got him, I got him," Felicity said frantically. "Grey sedan driving north. At the light ahead of you." Oliver bobbed and weaved, cutting off several cars as Felicity continued to guide him. "Ok, hard right." He did so and found himself directly behind Dodger's car. 

He tried to get in front of him, but the Dodger blocked him each time. Finally, he managed to slip up the passenger side, but the Dodger, seeing this, bumped him off the road and onto the sidewalk. He quickly regained control and slipped back onto the road, sliding to a stop against a car that had spun out avoiding the thief. Heedless, Oliver revved the engine of his requisitioned bike and resumed his pursuit. 

The Dodger then tried to make him crash by running into barrels and wooden barricades, sending debris flying out behind him, but he managed to avoid it. Oliver manoeuvred into position, then withdrew one of his flechettes from his coat and threw it. It hit the rear tire, causing an immediate blow-out, and the Dodger lost control. The car swerved, slammed into a parked car on the side of the road and flipped, sliding several feet on its side before settling onto its roof. 

Oliver skidded to a stop, dropped the kickstand and climbed off the bike. He approached the wreck cautiously, his identity concealed by his helmet as the Dodger crawled out. 

"Hey! Don't do anything stupid," The Dodger warned as he pulled out the remote control for the bomb. "I had the foresight to collar up a particularly inquisitive blonde. I assume she's a friend of yours." He smiled cruelly at Oliver, who stared back through the heavily tinted visor on the helmet. "Touch one hair on my head and she loses hers. You've got quite the choice to make, don't you?" 

"Not this time," Oliver growled. Suddenly, he withdrew another flechette and flicked it hard at the thief where it buried into his arm just below the elbow. The Dodger stared down in shock, and not a little bit of pain, at his now useless arm. 

"Your median artery's been severed," Oliver explained as he calmly walked up and pulled the remote from the Dodger's frozen hand. "You couldn't push that button if you tried." 

Back in the room, everyone waited in silence as the conversation over the phone died off. A moment later, the collar beeped, before the lights turned green as it deactivated and unlocked. 

"Oh, thank God," Felicity gasped as she quickly pulled it from around her neck. "Now what do we do?" 

On the street, the Dodger stared at the vigilante in disbelief. "Why are you doing this?" he asked. "I'm exactly like you. I only steal from the rich." Before he could say anymore, Oliver lashed out into a series of punches to the Dodger’s torso; pummelling him until he stumbled back and fell to the ground with a cough. As he moaned in pain, Oliver stalked up beside him. As the thief produced his stun wand from his good hand, Oliver stomped on the offending limb, crushing both forearm bones under his boot. With a last kick to the head, Oliver rendered the jewel thief unconscious.

"I'm not Robin Hood," Oliver declared as he looked down at his prey. Hearing sirens approaching, Oliver returned to his bike and made good his escape.

#Arrow#

“Well, here goes nothing,” Oliver said to himself as he climbed off his bike in front of Sin’s place. Grasping his helmet, he walked up to Sin's door and knocked.

"I don't want anything!" Oliver heard Sin call out from inside.

"Sin, it's Oliver," Oliver called back. "Can we talk?" He didn't hear a response but a minute later he heard locks being undone and then the door swung open to reveal Sin standing before him. "Hi."

"Uh, hi Oliver," Sin replied uncertainly as she looked past him to see if anyone was with him.

"I came alone. Nyssa is visiting Felicity with Diggle and Thea said she had to see a man about a purse," Oliver said, answering Sin's unasked but obvious question.

"Oh," Sin responded.

"Can I come in so we can have that talk?" Oliver asked politely. Sin said nothing but stepped back and to the side, allowing Oliver entry. "Thanks. Sorry for interrupting your game," he apologised having noticed the paused game on the TV.

"It's fine and I know why you're here," Sin stated once she had shut and locked the door. "You're worried about me. About what I have done."

"We're worried how you are dealing with it. Not about what you did," Oliver clarified.

"I killed someone," Sin said. "I may not have meant too but I did. And I can't ever come back from that."

"No, you can't," Oliver agreed softly, looking down at the floor and considering what he should say. "But you can understand why you killed someone, the reason for their death. And in knowing and accepting that, you can move forward."

"How?" Sin pleaded. "All I can see when I sleep is her blood on my hands. I can barely put on my knives in the morning, knowing what they have done. And I can't force myself to attack in case I hurt someone."

"By not letting those feelings win," Oliver offered. "If you remain as you are, you let them win and that is a waste of the sacrifice you have made."

"What have I sacrificed?" Sin asked, not understanding.

"Your innocence," Oliver whispered, remembering. "You have taken another human being’s life, no matter how undeserving of that life they may have been. It is something you can never come back from." 

"I keep telling myself that I did it to save Thea's life. That even if Aziz had not done anything that if it came down to it, I would have killed Tabani to save Thea or myself," Sin revealed softly. "But the only thing that seems to take hold is the fact that I killed someone."

"5 years ago. Before I knew of Nyssa and the League, I killed a man," Oliver said, perking Sin's interest. “Several actually. But as they say, you always remember your first. My was a man named Edward Fryers."

"Who was he?" Sin wondered.

"He was a mercenary that came to Lian Yu to do something terrible," Oliver replied. "But at the time I killed him, he was threatening the life of someone I cared about. And despite his offer of getting me home, back to my family; I put an arrow through his throat."

"How did you know he would have killed this person?" Sin asked.

"I didn't know for sure, not at the time. At that moment, all I could see was a man holding a gun to my friend's head and so I killed him to save them," Oliver answered. "Does that make me a bad person?"

"No. You were saving their life," Sin reasoned, her speech dying off as she understood what she was saying. "It's the same for me, isn’t it?"

"I think so," Oliver said. "Maybe the circumstances are different but at the end of the day, you killed an enemy to save a friend's life. That is not a bad thing?"

"But even knowing and understanding that," Sin began. "How do I live with being a killer?"

"Someone once told me something," Oliver said, recalling the words. "Everyone has a demon inside them. That the Dao De Jing recognises the yin and the yang. Opposing forces inside all of us. The darkness and the light. The killer and the hero."

"The reminds me of something that I read once, with my dad," Sin said wistfully.

"What was that?" Oliver prompted.

"A story, or I guess, a proverb," Sin said. "One evening, an elderly Cherokee brave told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside every person. And he explained that the battle is between two wolves inside of us. The first is evil. It represents anger, envy, greed, jealousy. Basically all of the negative in us."

"Sounds bad," Oliver noted.

"The second wolf, that is the good one," Sin continued. "It represents joy, peace, love, empathy. All the good things. And the grandson thought about it for a moment and asked his grandfather a question. 'Which wolf wins?'"

"And which one does?" Oliver asked, already having figured out the answer.

"The one that you feed," Sin stated.

"He sounds like a wise old man," Oliver pointed out. "Anyway, I have said what I came to say. I'll leave you to think about it while you play your videogame. That the new Assassin's Creed?"

"Yeah, the newest one. Assassin's Creed 3," Sin confirmed. "And I don’t think I need to think too much about it. I'm pretty sure I get what everyone has been trying to say to me but I have been too self-absorbed to hear."

"Good," Oliver said with a smile. "I'll leave you to it then," he said, turning back towards the door. A photo on a side table captured his eye though and he paused. "Who’s that?" Oliver asked, pointing at the photo of a man holding a much younger version of Sin on his knee.

"My dad," Sin responded. "My mum died of cancer when I was young, so it was just me and him growing up. He was a pilot and disappeared while flying in early 2009. They never found the wreckage."

"Sin," Oliver said, his voice suddenly very solemn. "There is something I need to tell you."

"What?" Sin asked, not sure what to make of Oliver's sudden mood change.

"I know where your father is," Oliver revealed.

"You do? Is he alive?" Sin asked hopefully, even though a part of her already knew from the way Oliver was acting that that was not the case. "He's dead, isn't he?"

"His plane was shot down over Lian Yu during my second year. He crashed into the jungle and we weren't able to help him before he died from his injuries. We buried him not far from his plane," Oliver explained sadly.

"Did he say anything?" Sin asked, tears welling up in her eyes.

"I don't know. I was running back to our camp to get our medical supplies," Oliver replied. "By the time I got back, he was gone. I'm sorry."

"Thank you for telling me," Sin acknowledged, tears now falling down her cheeks. "At least I know now."

"Come here," Oliver said and wrapped Sin into a bear hug like he used to give Thea when she cried. "I'll make you a promise. When we get a chance, if you want to, I'll take you to Lian Yu so you can see where he is buried. How's that sound?"

"I'd like that," Sin said with a sniffle.

Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #36
Chapter 37 – Dead To Rights

"His helicopter is approaching the pad," Dig announced as he shifted in his overwatch position. Checking his watch, he looked back down at the pad. “He’s early.”

“Probably wanted to throw off the SCPD who are undoubtedly on their way right now,” Oliver replied over coms. 

“Yeah, they are probably going ballistic right now because they aren’t here right now,” Dig commented. “Head’s up. The chopper is landing.”

“Moving,” Oliver replied, and Diggle shifted his gaze to see Oliver moving towards the pad. “I’ll leave the mike open.”

“Roger that,” Diggle acknowledged before refocusing on the platform. “Chopper’s down. Barrera is out and appears to be making a call.”

“We’ll need that phone,” Oliver said as Diggle heard him running. “It might give us a clue as to who he is here to kill.”

“I’ll leave that to you,” Diggle replied. He watched as Oliver climbed up onto the helipad without being seen and before drawing an arrow and shooting Barrera's phone from his hand. They exchanged words for a moment before Barrera drew a pair of knives. Oliver looked to disable him to allow further questioning, but Barrera refused to cooperate.

Sirens to Diggle's left drew his attention and he turned to see SCPD patrol cars approaching. Refocusing on the helipad, he saw Oliver and Barrera still trading blows.

"You're running out of time," Diggle advised. "SCPD will be on you in less than a minute." Oliver didn't respond verbally but his hearing of Diggle's words was confirmed mere moments later when Barrera fell back with a flechette embedded in his heart. 

"I didn't get a name, Dig," Oliver said to his bodyguard. 

"One less assassin is going to have to count then, otherwise the cops are going to have your name," Diggle replied. "Get out of there. I'll cover you."

"Copy," Oliver acknowledged. Diggle watched him pick up Barrera's discarded phone before making his exit even as the patrol cars pulled up. Diggle adjusted his arm and fired off a single, suppressed shot. His aim was impeccable as the bullet ricocheted loudly off the deck of the helipad, causing all the police to instinctively duck for cover while the bullet careened wildly into the water beyond to disappear. 

By the time the police regained their feet, bother Oliver and Diggle were gone.

#Arrow#

"You must centre yourself," Nyssa cautioned Felicity as she helped her up from the mat that she had just sent her down to. "In combat, you must keep your weight evenly distributed."

"I thought it would be better to avoid getting into fights," Felicity commented as she rubbed the shoulder she had landed on.

"You keep coming into The Glades every night to come here, you're eventually going to get into a fight," Sin said from where she was throwing shuriken at practice targets. "One way or another." 

“That’s comforting,” Felicity deadpanned uncomfortably.

“Comforting would be me knowing that you are carrying at least 3 knives on you at all times,” Nyssa responded evenly.

“Well, I have this little thing about needles, knives and other pointy things,” Felicity offered. 

“Probably ironic given what you are now doing,” Thea added from the Wing Chun dummy.

“Yeah, now that I think of it, it really is,” Felicity agreed before turning her gaze back to Nyssa with startling speed and fixing her with a look. “Wait, why three knives.”

“Redundancy,” Nyssa, Sin and Thea all said simultaneously.

“Soo, you all have 3 knives on you right now?” Felicity queried. 

“I do,” Sin confirmed first.

“Only 2 for me,” Thea said, earning a glance from Nyssa which caused her to add. “I’m in training gear. When I leave here, I’ll have three.”

“I would hope so,” Nyssa said to Thea before turning to Felicity. “I always have at least 3 blades on my body Felicity. Quite often, I have several more than that.”

“Where do you hide them all,” Felicity asked, looking Nyssa up and down.

“I asked her that once, Lis,” Thea said. “Trust me when I say that you will ask her to stop out of embarrassment before she shows you them all."

"Really?" Felicity asked Nyssa.

"Would you like me to begin?" Nyssa asked, reaching for the bottom of her shirt.

"No!" Felicity blurted out, bringing grins to Thea and Sin. "No, that’s, ah, fine. I believe you."

"Believe what?" Oliver asked as he descended the stairs into the Foundry; Diggle right behind him.

"That Nyssa has more than three blades on her body," Sin answered. "Nyssa was about to begin showing her but Felicity recanted."

"It's true," Oliver announced, setting his bow down and walking over to his wife. "I even missed one once," he said as he lent down to kiss his wife.

"You did?" Felicity asked, turning her head away to offer a semblance of privacy. "Where was that knife hidden?"

"Would you like me to show you?" Nyssa offered with a smile and glint in her eye.

"Ah, no. I'm good thanks," Felicity said, backing down again. "So how did it go tonight?"

"Badly for him," Oliver answered curtly, his tone a little harder.

"Him being?" Felicity prodded. She hadn't been present when Oliver and Diggle had left.

"An assassin for hire who had an affinity for knives," Oliver replied. "His name was Guillermo Barrera."

"Was?" Felicity asked, a little sadly. She had really been hoping to curtail his killing.

"It was not my first option Felicity," Oliver reasoned, picking up on the IT expert's tone. "My plan was to immobilise him, maybe cripple him, and then find out who he had been hired to kill. Then I would have left him for the police."

"Unfortunately, the SCPD arrived before that could happen and Oliver had to make a call. Assassin healthy and free in a few hours or dead and buried," Diggle continued. "The latter was the better option."

"I guess," Felicity accepted, still saddened. "At least he can't kill anyone else now."

"He may not but the person who hired him will certainly hire someone else to do his job instead," Oliver said, walking up to Felicity and producing a phone. "Which is why I need for you to hack his phone and find out who hired him and who his target was."

"Because they are probably still in danger," Felicity finished, accepting the phone. "Right."

"And we should get going," Oliver said, turning Nyssa. "We are due at Laurel's in 30."

"I will shower first," Nyssa stated before walking off. "It will be quicker than if you joined me."

"Probably right," Oliver muttered as he paused in mid-step.

#Arrow#

"Do you think Felicity will be able access the phone?" Nyssa asked as she and Oliver silently walked down the hallway towards Laurel's apartment.

"She'll get in," Oliver confirmed. "I only hope that it will be in time. An assassin of Barrera's calibre is not normally hired to take out an underworld figure."

"So it is a public figure then," Nyssa deduced as the two stopped at Laurel's door. "Shall we?"

"We shall," Oliver replied with a smile as he knocked on the door. Voices could be heard on the other side of the door and a moment late it was opened to reveal Tommy standing there with a smile on his face.

"Welcome," Tommy said happily. "Please come in."

"Happy Birthday Tommy," Nyssa said as she entered before her husband, her eyes automatically scanning the room and picking up the differences from when she was last here.

"Happy Birthday buddy," Oliver said as he hugged his friend.

"Thank you," Tommy replied as he accepted the gift bag that Oliver handed him. "This feels like a Chateauneuf de Pape." 

"It is going to taste like one as well," Oliver responded with a grin. As he closed the door behind him, Tommy guided Nyssa further into the apartment.

"You are a true friend," Tommy said cheerfully. "Thank you." Oliver followed them into the dining room where Laurel was lighting candles at the table.

"Ollie, Nyssa," Laurel greeted the two joyfully as she stood up. "Hi, how are you both?"

"We are well," Nyssa replied. "Thank you Laurel."

"That is great to hear," Laurel said. "Please, make yourselves at home."

"I'm going to go crack this open," Tommy said, showing Laurel the bottle of wine before disappearing into the kitchen. Oliver made his way to the couch while Nyssa decided to peruse the room a little closer. She noticed a picture sitting on a side table and picked it up to examine it.

"Who is this with your father?" Nyssa asked, not recognising the young brunette that was sitting next to a younger Quentin Lance. "She doesn't look like you."

"That is actually my sister, Sara," Laurel responded sadly.  Nyssa immediately but casually returned the photo to where it had been before turning to Laurel. Out of view of the two women, Oliver shifted slightly on the couch.

"I'm sorry Laurel," Nyssa apologised earnestly.

"No, it's ok," Laurel assured Nyssa as she looked down at the photo. "I do not know why my father even bought her that canary. That thing chirped night and day," Laurel remembered with a light laugh. "Drove us all nuts."

"I remember," Oliver noted casually, trying to break the tension. He wasn't so lucky.

"Wait," Laurel said, realising something. "You know about Sara?"

"I do," Nyssa confirmed, seeking to put the lawyer at ease. "Oliver told me everything about himself. He spent quite a long time lamenting all of his faults and past mistakes to me. He felt it was only right that I know what he was truly like before I met him. That way I could judge him fairly."

"How, sincere, of you Ollie," Laurel said, looking over at Oliver.

"It was the only way to show Nyssa that I had become a different person," Oliver pointed out.

"So I can see," Laurel stated evenly. Before anymore could be said, Tommy returned with a tray of glasses.

"A toast," He called out as he passed around the glasses. "To the first birthday that I have enjoyed in a long time." He looked at Oliver. "I got my best friend back." He turned to Laurel. "And I have finally figured out why poets have been in business for the last few thousand years." This elicited chuckles from everyone present.

"Happy Birthday, baby," Laurel said, giving him a kiss. 

"Thank you," Tommy replied with a smile 

"Cheers," Oliver called out happily. They all replied the same and clinked glasses. As they were sipping their wine, there was a knock on the door. 

"I believe that is the food," Laurel announced, passing her glass to Tommy and heading for the door.

"Oh, thank god," Oliver sighed in relief once Laurel had left the room. "She didn’t cook."

"Amen," Tommy heartily agreed.

"From your comments, I gather that Laurel's culinary skills are, somewhat underdeveloped," Nyssa remarked politely.

"More like, almost non-existent," Tommy uttered. "Not that I would ever tell her that."

"Your secret is safe with me," Nyssa said to Tommy's relief. "For the moment," Nyssa added with a smile. Further comments were forestalled by the appearance of Malcolm Merlyn leading Laurel into the dining room.

"Nyssa, Oliver," Malcolm greeted the two assassins with a slight smirk.

"Mr Merlyn," Oliver replied politely for the two of them. Malcolm looked at them a moment before turning to his son.

"I've been trying to get in touch with you," Malcolm said.

"What are you doing here, Dad?" Tommy asked without preamble. "I don't remember inviting you."

"Happy Birthday, Tommy," Malcolm replied, producing a small box out of nowhere. Tommy said nothing as he considered what to do.

"Just give us a second," Tommy said to Laurel as he set their glasses down on the table.

"Of course," Laurel obliged. Tommy motioned for his father to follow him out into the hall. Malcolm, looking at each of them in turn, tossed the present to Oliver and obediently followed.

"I see that things are still tense between them," Oliver observed.

"As far as I know, the last time the two of them spoke, Malcolm tried to have Tommy sign a document allowing him to close Tommy's Mother's clinic in The Glades," Laurel revealed. "So, tense might not be the best choice of word."

#Flashback – 3 Years Ago#

"How is he?" A voice asked as Oliver slowly awoke. The voice sounded familiar but through the haze of awakening, Oliver couldn't identify it.

"Healing," Came the reply from a voice that Oliver did recognise. It was Hakim's. "His wounds look better with each day that passes and his strength returns as they do. Soon, he will be fit to resume training."

"If that is permitted," The first voice said. Oliver was more aware now and recognised it as Nyssa's voice. What was she doing here?

"He is currently resting," Hakim pointed out. "Perhaps you should return to your chambers and do the same. You have yet to fully recover."

"I have stayed within them long enough," Nyssa declared, her voice hardening. "My strength will return the more I am away from my chambers."

"As you say," Hakim acceded. Oliver could tell from he tone of Nyssa's voice that this was one argument that hakim would not win.

"Now leave us," Nyssa commanded. "I will watch him for a time."

"Is that wise?" Hakim asked and Oliver fought to suppress the urge to wince, even as he imagined the look that Nyssa was probably shooting Hakim in that moment. And he was soon proved right. "As you wish, my lady." Oliver heard the door to his chambers open and close as Hakim exited followed shortly thereafter by the bolt being thrown as Nyssa locked it.

"You can open your eyes now," Nyssa called out, only slightly surprising Oliver. "We are alone."

"How did you know?" Oliver whispered as he opened his eyes to see Nyssa staring at him from the bottom of the bed. She looked much better than the last time he had seen her. She was able to stand on her own and the colour had returned to her skin. 

“Your breathing changed when you recognised my voice,” Nyssa answered. Oliver shuffled up the bed slightly so that he was more upright as he tried to consider the reasons why Nyssa was here, now. “You are wondering why I have come to see you.” It was a statement, not a question.”

“I am,” Oliver said simply, seeing no reason to deny it.

“I wanted to thank you for saving my life,” Nyssa said. 

“Someone had to,” Oliver declared. He winced as he wound pulled as he lent forward. “After your father, after Ra’s al Ghul ordered that no one was to rescue you, I knew that he was commanding your death. I couldn’t let that happen.”

“You are a member of the League of Assassins. Death is what we deal,” Nyssa said. “Why did you disobey my father and attempt to save my life?”

“I think I succeeded in saving your life,” Oliver pointed out, looking at Nyssa meaningfully.

“At the cost of your own,” Nyssa retorted, shifting her weight slightly but not moving from her position. “I would know why you would sacrifice your life for mine. You have a family waiting for you.”

“As do you,” Oliver countered.

“My father has made his position quite clear on how much he values my life. And my sister; my instincts tell me that she would end my life if it did not upset my father,” Nyssa explained. “The same could not be said of your family.”

“I will probably never see my family again,” Oliver said. “And if I did, I’d like to be able to tell them that I have saved at least one of the people that I have known and cared about.”

“I would be careful about being so open around my father, Oliver,” Nyssa advised coolly. “He, is not known for his considerations of emotion,” Nyssa revealed before turning on the spot and exiting the room. Oliver watched the door shut behind her, wondering if that had been the last time that he had ever seen her.


#Present#

“Where is my mother right now?” Oliver asked as he and Diggle took the lift to his office. 

“At Merlyn Global Group,” Diggle answered. “She is having a meeting with Malcolm Merlyn.”

“Scheduled or impromptu?” Oliver enquired as they exited the elevator.

“Scheduled. Looks like it had been in place for at least a month. Maybe more,” Diggle said. “Why? You think she is up to something?”

“We know she is up to something. We have a tape recording to prove it,” Oliver stated unhappily. “But we do not know who she was meeting with. He seemed to be the one in charge and that is the man that I want to talk to.”

“You think it is Malcolm Merlyn?” Diggle asked as they walked into Oliver’s office. “The guard that I talked my way past never mentioned any names.”

“I never thought my mother could be a party to something like murdering my own father. And Malcolm was his best friend,” Oliver said. “But until we have proof, we can’t rule anyone out. However unlikely they may be.”

“We’ll just have to work harder then,” Diggle agreed.

“Speaking of working hard,” Oliver said, looking around. “Where is everyone?”

“Probably in Felicity’s office/workshop,” Diggle pointed out. “Working on the phone.”

“Right,” Oliver noted, a little chagrined for not thinking of that, before walking back out of his office. Less than a minute later they walked into Felicity’s space and found her working on Barrera’s phone with Nyssa, Maseo and Sin all sitting nearby. “How’s it going?”

“Not well,” Nyssa replied as Felicity paused in her efforts and looked up.

“We have one very paranoid assassin here,” Felicity said. “Or had. Anyway, the phone has cobalt-level encryption. It will not be easy to break. But then, codebreaker is my middle name,” Felicity joked before pausing. “Actually is Megan…”

“Felicity,” Oliver interrupted. “Have you been able to get anything off the phone?”

“Just the last number he dialed. It’s a restaurant called Jade Dragon,” Felicity said. “I guess even assassins enjoy the city’s best chow mein.”

“I’ve always preferred sweet and sour pork,” Maseo revealed.

“Oh,” Felicity uttered, suddenly remembering who was present. “I…”

“It is alright Felicity,” Nyssa soothed. “We understand what you meant.”

“Jade Dragon is a front for the Triad,” Dig said, steering the conversation back to the matter at hand. “You think they called the hit?”

“Or they are just organising it for a third party,” Oliver said. “Call the restaurant; make a reservation for two for tonight. I think Tommy needs a night out,” Oliver proposed before looking to Felicity. “You need to decrypt that phone,” he said before exiting the room. As Diggle pulled out his phone, Sin walked up to him.

“Ah, since nothing is going to be happening for a bit, do you mind if I have the afternoon off?” Sin asked. “I have something I want to take care of.”

“I don’t see that being a problem,” Diggle responded after a surreptitious glance at Nyssa. She merely nodded slightly. “Sure, take the afternoon off and we’ll see you tonight.”

“Thanks,” Sin said in gratitude before calmly but purposefully leaving.

“What do you think that is about?” Diggle asked Nyssa as she stepped up beside him.

“I do not know,” Nyssa said as she looked after Sin. “But I trust that she will tell us when she is ready.”

#Arrow#

“I see they gave you the afternoon off,” Thea said as Sin met her as she came off the lift. “What did they say?”

“I didn’t tell them,” Sin said, not pausing and forcing Thea to fall into step beside her as she walked out of the foyer. “They’ll find out soon enough.”

“So you’re still going through with it?” Thea asked once they were outside.

“I am,” Sin confirmed. “I keep telling myself that I’m not a murderer, but I need something to remind myself that what I’m doing is a good thing.”

“And this is how you do it?” Thea asked.

“I don’t know,” Sin replied. “But at the moment it seems like a good idea.”

“I hope you know what you’re doing,” Thea said.

“So do I,” Sin commented as they walked off down the street.

#Arrow#

“So the Triad were the ones that hired Barrera. And we know that whatever they have planned is happening tomorrow,” Thea summarised. “But we still don’t know who they are planning to kill, where or when it is happening or if they are the ones that actually want this person dead in the first place.” At Oliver’s and Diggle’s looks at her, Thea shrugged. “What? Someone could have hired the Triad to kill someone, and the Triad calls in a professional. I’ve seen it on TV.”

“Be that as it may,” Oliver said, still surprised at his sister’s thought process. “We need to figure out who the target is. Felicity, any luck?”

“I’m getting there but it’s slow-going,” Felicity said from her computers. “I’ll get in, but it’s going to take time.”

“Keep at it,” Oliver said, pulling out his phone. “We need more help on this.”

“Who are you going to call?” Thea asked. “I thought we were on our own.”

“We are,” Oliver confirmed for his sister. “That’s why I’m calling Detective Lance.”

“Seriously?” Thea exclaimed. “Isn’t he trying to arrest you or something.”

“He is,” Oliver agreed. “But when he isn’t, he has actually been rather helpful.”

“Why do I find that hard to believe?” Thea commented as Oliver dialled. She was close enough to hear both sides of the conversation. 

"Lance," Detective Lance answered. 

"The Triad have hired a contract killer," Oliver said without preamble. 

"Yeah? You mean the one that you put in the Morgue?" Lance asked rhetorically. "Congratulations, you're the talk of the station again. And what is this I hear about your friend talking a shot at my officers?"

"They were getting uncomfortably close, so we encouraged them to keep their distance," Oliver explained. "But you already knew that they were not the target."

"Yeah, but that doesn't mean I like bullets coming near my men," Lance chastised Oliver. "Now what do you want?"

"If they hired one assassin, they're going to hire another, Detective," Oliver pointed out reasonably.

"Who's the target?" Lance asked with a sigh.

"I'm trying to find that out as we speak but I am hitting dead ends," Oliver explained. "I need you to put your people on it."

"My people don’t work for you," Lance snapped back. "And come to think of it, neither do I."

"This is not about you and me, Detective," Oliver said. "This is about saving someone's life."

"Call me when you get a name," lance said before hanging up.

"Well, he sounded as happy as ever to be speaking with you," Thea proclaimed. "And he doesn’t even know it is you Ollie. I wonder which version of you he hates more."

"You done?" Oliver asked, crossing his arms.

"Not even," Thea replied with a grin. "Why, you got something for me to do?"

"I do," Oliver confirmed. "Get Sin. Choose whatever weapons you want and meet me on the mats. I want to see how your training is going."

"You're going to spar against me and Sin?" Thea asked hesitantly. "Is this our test?"

"No, just a sparring session," Oliver responded. "Unless, of course, you win," Oliver challenged.

"I'll find Sin," Thea said before walking off.

"I know you are going to test them to see if they are ready," Diggle said as he moved closer to Oliver. "But do you really think they are ready now?"

"I know they are not ready," Oliver stated matter-of-factly as he watched Thea talk with Sin before the two of them moved towards the practice weapons rack. "But they have trained with Nyssa, Namir and you. You each have your own ways of fighting. But I am a different fighter again."

"So you are setting them up to fail?" Diggle said.

"Yes, because only by failing do we learn," Oliver stated. "When I am finished with them today, they are each going to appreciate just exactly what they are going to have to do to pass my test. And they next time I spar with someone, they are going to be watching my like hawks, analysing every move I make. I wouldn't even put it past them to challenge me once or twice to get a better understanding of how I fight."

"You're actually looking forward to this, aren’t you?" Diggle asked with a small smile.

"Maybe just a little bit," Oliver said before moving away to select his own weapon.

#Arrow#

"Rules a simple," Oliver said as he stood opposite Thea and Sin holding a simple tonfa in his left hand. “Win.”

“That’s it?” Thea asked somewhat incredulously. 

“That is the only rule that matters,” Oliver stated. “Are you both ready?”

“I am,” Sin confirmed as she dropped into a ready stance, her katana in hand.

“I guess,” Thea added, mimicking Sin’s stance with her own katana.

“Then begin,” Oliver said, not changing from his relaxed, standing posture. This immediately threw the two girls off guard as they were expecting some sort of stance. With a glance and a nod at each other, they advanced together.

Sin attacked first, moving from right to left in between Oliver and is sister and dropping down into a low swing with her sword. Thea, seeing Sin’s attack, bolstered it by moving in the opposite direction behind her and making a high attack over Sin’s head.

Oliver watched as the two of them fell into step with one another and admired their unspoken coordination which was impressive given the relatively short amount of time they had been training. But still, this was no time to be gawking.

Oliver brought his left arm up, tonfa running along his forearm and blocked his sister’s attack even as his boot came down on top of Sin’s sword and pinned it to the ground, crushing her fingers painfully but not breaking them. As Sin groaned in pain, Thea was distracted by her friend’s pain and never saw Oliver’s right fist come around and tap her on the throat. Nor did Sin see Oliver's tonfa coming before he tapped it against her temple

“Crushed larynx,” Oliver declared to Thea before stepping back. “Also Sin probably has broken fingers and is effectively handicapped. And unconscious.”

“Ow,” Was all Sin muttered as she flexed her fingers to get the circulation back into them. 

“Was that really necessary?” Thea asked. “I mean, a killing blow?”

“Your enemy will more than likely be trying to kill you,” Oliver proclaimed. “You need to expect any kind of attack. I will test you as if I am an enemy trying to kill you.”

“Good to know,” Sin commented.

“Again?” Oliver asked with a smile, stepping back and flourishing his tonfa.

#Arrow#

“How are they doing?” Nyssa asked as she stepped up beside Maseo.

“They are beginning to last more than a minute,” Maseo replied.

“That long?” Nyssa commented with a smile. “Have they managed to connect with him yet?”

“Not once, though Sin did get close once,” Maseo said. They watched as Oliver once again defeated the pair though they could tell that he had had to consider how to do it without allowing them to strike him. “They are adapting fast.”

“They are indeed,” Nyssa agreed, her voice carrying her pride in her students.

“I have news,” Maseo said, his tone telling him that it was League business.

“Yes?” Nyssa asked, not taking her eyes off the sparring in front of her.

“Rasha, Basima and the two assassins that were with them are all dead,” Maseo announced, causing Nyssa to stare at him. “They had followed their target to Hong Kong. Another assassin on a separate assignment arrived at the safe house and found all four of them pinned to the wall with arrows. Their target could now be anywhere."

"And we still have no idea who this man is?" Nyssa asked, concealing her regret at the deaths of her fellow assassins.

"None," Maseo stated.

"What is my father doing about this?" Nyssa enquired, turning back to the sparing where Oliver was holding each of the girl's swords to the other's throat.

"Nothing that I know of yet," Maseo replied. "But I will inform you of any developments." 

"Thank you Maseo," Nyssa said in gratitude before stepping forward onto the mats. "I think they have had enough Beloved," Nyssa said as she approached the trio.

"They do look a little tenderised don’t they," Oliver noted as he stepped back. "But they did well."

"Seriously!" Thea exclaimed. "We just got our asses handed to us, repeatedly."

"You did," Oliver confirmed. "But that can pretty much all be traced back to before the sparring even began. You made two errors."

"What were they?" Sin asked as she came over.

"Your first error was in choice of weapon," Oliver revealed.

"You said to choose whatever weapon we wanted," Thea said. "We did."

"No, I said weapons. Plural," Oliver countered. "Neither Nyssa, Diggle or myself ever leave here with just one weapon. We do not know what kind of situations might come up, so we bring enough to cover almost every single one," Oliver explained. "You both limited yourselves to a single katana each. Not necessarily a bad choice but it immediately gave me the advantage as I could counter you both in the same way."

"And the second?" Sin asked, realising that Oliver was right.

"You didn’t have the mindset to hurt me," Oliver said. "Everything single attack you made against me carried a little bit of hesitation in it. More than enough time for me to counter it. 

"And what if we had hurt you?" Thea questioned.

"Thea, I want you to try and hurt me. You need to want to hurt me," Oliver declared. "If you want to be out there with us, you need to be willing to hurt people. You don’t need to necessarily kill them, but you need to want to cause them pain."

"I know it is hard to understand right now. More so for you Thea than for Sin," Nyssa said. "But we will work on it."

"Yes we will. You have the skills but now you need the mindset. Once you have that, you will be ready." Oliver said as he suddenly noticed something. "When did you get that?" He asked as he brought his tonfa up to point at Sin's chest.

"I was about to ask the same thing, Beloved," Nyssa added.

"This afternoon," Sin said as she pulled down her tank top to reveal the full image of a Taijitu symbol, or more commonly, the Yin and the Yang. "I wanted to get something to remind me of what we talked about. Of what was most important. This seemed appropriate."

"I would agree," Oliver said.

#Flashback – 3 Years Ago#

"Tell me, Al Sah-him," Ra's said, instantly bringing Oliver to full wakefulness instead of the dozing he had been doing. There, at the foot of the bed, stood Ra's al Ghul in almost the exact same position that his daughter had stood the day before. "What am I to do with you?"

"Whatever you wish to do," Oliver replied, schooling his features and voice into neutrality. "I serve at your will."

"Do you?" Ra's questioned evenly. "And yet you disable a fellow assassin, sneak out of Nanda Parbat in the dead of night, travel halfway across a continent and assault a building alone all to rescue a person who I commanded should not be rescued. That does not seem like someone who serves at my will, now does it."

"She was still able to be saved my lord," Oliver stated carefully. "I felt that the sacrifice of my life was worth the price to attempt it. Had I failed, your daughter would still have died. That I have succeeded, she now lives on while only I will die."

"And yet if you had followed my command, only she would have died and you would live," Ra's countered easily.

"I am to die then my lord?" Oliver asked.

"I did not say that, Al Sah-him," Ra's replied. "Truthfully, I do not know what I am to do with you. You disobeyed my command, and for that you should die. And yet you returned my daughter to me and caused a great deal of frustration to an enemy of mine. For that you should be rewarded greatly. So how am I to balance the scales?"

"I exist at your will," Oliver replied, knowing and feeling the truth behind those words. "Whatever is to be my fate, I will go to it knowing that I rescued your daughter."

"How interesting," Ra's finally said after staring at Oliver for what seemed like an eternity. "For now, rest and recover. When your wounds are fully healed, I will decide your fate."

"As you see fit, my lord," Oliver replied with a bow of his head. Ra's looked at him again for a moment before turning and gliding silently from the room.


#Present#

"Have you heard from my son yet, Mr Diggle?" Moira asked Diggle as he stood near her at the Humanitarian Benefit being hosted by Merlyn Global. "He and Nyssa should have been here by now."

"I'm sure they are fine, Mrs Queen," Diggle replied as he automatically scanned the crowd. "I can go outside and call them again if you wish."

"We will give them a few more minutes," Moira said. "I'm still not sure why he had you travel ahead of them."

"He felt, and I agreed with him, that practical experience in securing an area would be good for Sin," John explained as he indicated Sin standing off to the side. She was scanning the crowd just as he was. "Maseo is with them," he said reassuringly.

"Yes, well," Moira said. "If they are not here soon..."

"You look beautiful," a familiar voice said, stopping Moira cold. Diggle noticed Malcolm Merlyn appear out of the crowd and moved off to give the two some privacy.

#Arrow#


"Shouldn't you two be heading to the Humanitarian Benefit by now?" Felicity asked even as she continued to try and hack into the phone. Nyssa sat behind her sharpening her sword while Oliver was in front of her going up and down the salmon ladder. Honestly, if someone's life wasn't hanging in the balance right now, Felicity would not be able to concentrate.

"We aren't going," Nyssa replied as she checked the edge of her sword. "But the car got a flat tire and we had trouble changing it. We won't make it in time."

"Flat tire huh?" Felicity asked.

"It is already in the car," was Nyssa's only response. Felicity was about to say something when her computer beeped. Turning back to it, she instantly got excited.

"YES! I'm in," she screeched even as she ran through the contents of the now open phone. "I don’t suppose you speak Spanish?"

"Arabic, Japanese and English," Nyssa replied as she stepped up behind Felicity. "Though Oliver does speak it."

"This is quicker," Felicity said as she ran everything through a translation program. "Oh my god."

"Who’s the target?" Oliver asked as he came around to see the screens.

"Malcolm Merlyn," Nyssa stated. 

"The awards ceremony!" Oliver realised. "Tommy and my mother are there!"

"Felicity, call John," Nyssa said even as she followed after her husband to get ready.

"On it!" Felicity called after them.

#Arrow#

Sin was bored. Correction, Sin was very bored. The speaker was introducing Malcolm Merlyn to the crowd before he accepted his Humanitarian Award. If they only knew who he really was. Could an assassin also be a humanitarian? Sin didn’t know. She went back to scanning the crowd as Diggle taught her when her eyes locked onto a person who should not be present. She should, in fact, be dead.

Striding through the crowd and dressed in a white dress was Chien Na Wei; though her hair was brown. But that was a face that Sin would never forget. Turning on her heels before the Triad assassin spotted her, she went in search of Diggle, quickly finding him standing near a wall.

"Dig, we have a problem," Sin said hurriedly but quietly.

"What is it?" Diggle asked, his senses coming up to max.

"China White is here," Sin revealed.

"Sin, China White is dead," Diggle countered. Sin turned around and scanned through the crowd again, quickly relocating her target.

"Then who is the brunette in the white dress?" She asked Diggle. Diggle looked at the woman in question and even he had to fight not to see the Triad woman standing there in the room, calm as a still pool.

"That can’t be her," Diggle said as his eyes scanned the room again, looking for anything strange. "Shit."

"What?" Sin wondered.

"The waiters. They're Chinese," Diggle said as he counted. "All of them." Sin was about to say something when John's phone rang. "Yeah Felicity."

"John, the target is Malcolm Merlyn," Felicity said hurriedly. "Oliver and Nyssa are on their way."

"Right," Diggle acknowledged. His next words were cut off by the fire alarm going off. "Felicity, tell them to hurry. And tell Oliver to look for a sniper. We're switching to coms."

#Arrow#

"John, where is Malcolm?" Nyssa asked as she ran along a rooftop next to Merlyn Global.

"Last I saw he was headed upstairs with his son," Diggle replied, sounding out of breath. "My guess, he has a panic room in his penthouse."

"The SCPD are arriving now. Beloved..." Nyssa paused as she spotted Malcolm and his son heading into an ambush. "I'm entering the building," she said even as she drew and fired a grappling arrow before launching herself off the rooftop. As the window approached, Nyssa braced herself.

Glass shattered around her as she broke through the window. She felt more than saw the bullets passing her and she wasted no time in putting an arrow into one of the two attackers before taking cover behind a column. Across from hall from her, Malcolm and Tommy were doing the same.

"Go!" She called to them, her voice disguised. "I'll hold them back." Malcolm looked at her a moment before nodding at her and gabbing his son.

"Come on!" He said as he urged his son to move. Nyssa watched them go before nocking another arrow.

#Arrow#

"I can' find the sniper," Oliver said as he overlooked Merlyn Global. He knew his wife was down there fighting and as much as he wanted to be beside her, he had his own priorities. "John, anything from your end?"

"Your mother is safely outside, and I have Sin with her," Diggle informed him. "SCPD are entering the building as we speak. They aren't sending men into the adjacent buildings though."

"They don’t know about the shooter," Oliver replied. "Dammit."

#Arrow#

Nyssa had just finished immobilising the last of the three Triad men that had attacked her when she felt another presence nearby. Looking up, she saw Chien Na Wei standing at the end of the hall; brunette wig in one hand, kerambit knife in the other.

"I see that I will have to choose a more efficient method," Nyssa commented to the Triad Assassin. "Why do you wish Malcolm Merlyn dead?"

"I'll settle for you," Chien Na Wei replied as she began to advance on Nyssa. Considering her options, Nyssa decided on the same. Nyssa blocked China's first attacked with her bow before lashing back with a kick to the knee. China avoided it and retaliated with a punch to Nyssa's midsection. 

Taking the blow on her armour, Nyssa accepted the pain for the opportunity to land a solid shot to the assassin's face, sending her to the floor. As she reached down to draw her knife, her legs were swept out from under her; gravity forcing her to join her opponent on the carpet.

The two continued to trade blows, ending up lying next to each other as the punched and blocked. Surprising her opponent, Nyssa demonstrated her flexibility by kicking Chien Na Wei in the head, stunning her. Seeing an opportunity, Nyssa rolled over herself and came to her feet, bow in hand and an arrow pointed at the Triad assassin's heart.

"FREEZE!" Someone called out behind her.

#Arrow#

"Nyssa, what is happening?" Oliver asked. He had heard nothing from her for too long. He was about to call again when an explosion blew a hole into the penthouse. As he looked to see what had caused it, three shots rang out in rapid succession. Oliver paused for a moment but no more came.

"Oliver!" John called out.

"I saw," Oliver replied, already moving. "I have to check the Penthouse," he said as he fired a grappling arrow and threw himself across the gap.

"No, no, no, Dad! DAD!" Oliver heard Tommy crying out as he landed. He saw him laying over his father's body. Oliver could see that Merlyn was wearing some sort of body armour and at least one bullet had impacted it. He also saw blood coming from a wound in his arm. Stepping forward, Oliver deliberately crushed some glass to alert his friend to his presence. His response was surprising, as he grasped a gun from his father's waistband and pointed it directly at him. "No! Stay back!"

"I'm not here to hurt you or your father," Oliver said through his voice changer. 

"I said stay back," Tommy repeated when stepped forward. He knelt and picked up a bullet that looked to have impacted Malcolm's armour and then fallen to the ground. Curious, he sniffed it, then drew back with a start. 

"Curare," he whispered to himself. 

"Don't come any closer," Tommy repeated when Oliver stood back up. 

"Your father's been poisoned," Oliver started to explain quickly. He needed to act quickly if he was to save Malcolm's life. "An assassin named Floyd Lawton laces his bullets with curare. I've dealt with this before. We need to dilute the poison in his bloodstream." 

"I said stay the hell back!" Tommy screamed, his gun never wavering. 

"In three minutes, he's paralysed. In four minutes, he suffocates. If you don't let me help you now, he's dead before anybody gets here!" Oliver declared, exasperated at his friend.

"Help? How?" Tommy asked. 

"Fresh blood buys him time to get to the hospital," Oliver explained.

"A blood transfusion?" Tommy said incredulously. "That's insane! Even from a guy like you."

"It's the only way," Oliver replied. "He needs your blood. You're out of time. You need to make a decision right now!"

"Why should I trust you?!" Tommy screamed, his arm shaking and the gun with it. Oliver knew he had to make a decision.

"Because," Oliver began as he reached for his hood. "You...

THUMP! Tommy fell to the ground revealing Nyssa behind him.

"You weren't about to do something foolish, were you Beloved?" Nyssa chided her husband. 

"I was out of options," Oliver replied as he came forward. "We don’t have much time."

"I heard," Nyssa said as she looked at a nearby cabinet where a first aid kit sat. "John is not going to take this well, is he?"

"No, he's not," Oliver stated.

#Arrow#

"Moira," Malcolm said in greeting as she entered his hospital room.

"Malcolm," Moira replied as she noticed Tommy was there as well. "If this is a bad time, I can come back."

"No, it's fine," Malcolm declared as he turned to his son. "Tommy, could I speak with Moira for a moment?" Tommy said nothing, merely nodding before walking out and shutting the door behind him.

"Thank god you're alright," Moira said as she approached the bed.

"Moira, we have a traitor in our midst," Malcolm seethed, his demeanour freezing. "I want you to find out who. They have just made their last mistake."

"I'll take care of it," Moira promised. Further conversation was forestalled by a knock at the door as one of Malcolm's guards entered.

"Apologies for interrupting Mr Merlyn," the guard apologised. "But there is a Mr Wilson here to see you."

"Ah, excellent timing," Malcolm said, his demeanour swapping again to a happier one. "Please ask him to wait a moment while I finish speaking with Moira."

#Arrow#

"Oh, I am so looking forward to some ice cream," Felicity said to herself as she locked her front door behind her. Ditching her bag onto the couch, she headed towards the kitchen. A sight in the corner of her eye brought her up short and she turned to see a masked blonde woman standing in the corner of her room. "Excuse me, but what are you..."

"Kidnapping you," a woman's voice interrupted her from behind quickly followed by a sharp pain to the back of her neck and then darkness. As she crumpled to the floor, Felicity never heard the woman speak again. "Mockingbird, this is Huntress. We have the package."

 
Simple Audio Video Embedder