The familiar smells and sounds of the Mad King’s festival was in the air, enough pumpkin scents to choke someone to death. The number of masked party goers made slipping into Divinity’s Reach all too simple, and finding the right party was even simpler. Argus slipped into the mansion practically undetected, slipping passed security and dancing his way across the ballroom strategically. Perhaps some day he would attend such a party for the usual reasons most did, drinking, food, something a little spicer while under the anonymity of the masks, but alas it was not this night.

His ear pressed to the door in a dark corner of the house, the muttering voices spoke brazenly in their assumed privacy.

“Now now my fine furry friend, I would be happy to pass along these fine pistols to my markets, at a premium, and pass the surplus profits onto you.” The rather portly man chuckled, so tightly squeezed into his suit his buttons were practically screaming.

The Charr, in a full suit of armor, with some random pumpkins adorning where skulls normally sat on his shoulders scoffed, waving a hand “I had better see those profits, took a lot of work getting those out from the outposts, it’ll be weeks before they notice they are missing, and by then your men will have swooped in and grabbed the rest.” He grins wickedly. Glancing to the moon outside he grumbles “I’m due in Lionsarch to catch my retirement party, I don’t want to have to come back here Arturo…” He stomps out the door, opening it to find…no one, before slamming it behind him.

The heavy man, known as Atruro Fallstead fixes his collar, dabbing the sweat from his brow and mutter something about a fleabag under his breath.

“You know, that’s awful rude to call your business partners…” A voice calls from behind him, at his own desk. He spins around, only to see Argus, wearing his devilish mask, slightly obscured by his necromantic shroud. “Hello Arty…”

“Ah! Phantom…..its been so long…” He nervously stammers, stepping back toward the door, only to find a shade blocking his way. “Oh.. aah… I had heard you were dead…so happy to see it was untrue old friend.”

“Yes…I had heard that little rumor, then again, I am dead to many, but that’s the fun of a phantom…” He kicks his feet up on the desk “We always make dramatic resurgences around this time of year…” He chuckles under the mask, the technology warping his voice.

“What…um… what brings you to my little.. Get together.. I hope you aren’t here on business.” He nervously moves over to one of his cabinets, with a rifle tucked inside for protection. He makes it there, only to find a pair of skeletal hands clasping the cabinet closed.

“That is precisely what I am here for, but not against you, old boy..” He stands up from his chair, calmly walking around, hands behind his back. “Consider this meeting, my coming back announcement, I’ve been busy in Cantha and cleaning up some rodents back home but now…I’m calling in my debts…” He stands and tilts his head, hiding a cheeky smile.

Arty stammers before hearing he was calling in a debt, which oddly calmed him. “Ah I see, I suppose I will be happier without that weight around my neck from you…” He moves around the room to the desk, sitting down and taking out his pocket book, ready to sign away his gold for his life, and noticing his pistol was missing, and the sweat returns.

“I’m tracking some product on the market, and when I find who has been distributing that product, you…are going to call for a blacklist on them, and their partners..” He says plainly, before taking out the lavish gold lined pistol, flairs of winged design, with a dark metal barrel and undertones. He looks it over, admiring it, not quite pointing it at him but the threat was obvious. “When that happens, and you give them your reasoning, this is what you will tell them.”

“The Phantom walks, And the Phantom Repays.”

Arty writes that down, knowing the true, terrifying meaning behind it. To walk, in the Criminal world means to be active, to be in no hurry, and to be dangerous. To Repay, means they will be examining their debts, those they owe, and those owed to them. And since so many of the market owed him a favor, no one would move against him, if they didn’t want him to come collect. Arty was frozen in fear, unsure if the man across from him was truly the Phantom, or an agent, either could mean death if he didn’t follow through.

“Good boy.” Argus speaks, the bones and shade disappear before he tucks the finely crafted gun away. “You should enjoy your party, you’re going to be very busy.”

Arturo pauses, looking over to the masked man “Why..?”

“Because that Char, who stole weapons from his own soldiers for a quick buck, is a moron, and investigators into the theft, are waiting at his retirement party..” Argus laughs, the sinister tones echoing around the office “So id move those pistols fast, before they think to question you…”

Arturo’s face turns red with anger, grabbing one of the incriminating pistols and fireing at Argus! The bullet thwips through the shadowy smoke where Argus once stood, and the eerie laughter fills the mansion, leaving him there to contemplate.

As the sun rises on a new day, Argus arrives back to the guild hall, removing his mask and gear, he moves to the table, where several test weapons have been set out. He smirks and sets the new addition to the end of the selection.

“Oh, Gallant will love you…” As he sets an associated model’s manual beside it.

Author Scond
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