The Dark Knight Rises: Weapon of the Shadows

Chapter Sixteen

Selina eased open the World Financial Center's rooftop access door. The wind caught her hair but the mask kept it pulled back. The large man's silhouette was outlined by the lights from the taller neighboring building. She pressed the remote's button on her belt as she shut the door. "Punctual. David Cain, I presume?"

He stepped into the orange light from the fixture above the door. "You should have brought my daughter."

Cassandra must have gotten her looks from her mother. She favored the Caucasian boxer's smashed face with her best smirk. "Really? You expected that after what you did to my friends?"

His thick lips broke apart in a feral smile. "I let the blonde go when you showed up at Cobblepott's." He stepped closer.

"And the Commissioner?" She circled to the left as her smirk faded.

"You're friends with the Commissioner of Gotham City's Police Department?" The mountain goats masquerading as his eyebrows climbed up his craggy forehead.

"The Occupation made strange bedfellows. But you targeting all my friends in Gotham isn't sporting, even if you missed Gordon by a mile."

"I hit who I aimed for. Are the masked vigilantes your bosom companions too?"

"After the original, I'm not interested in the carbon copies."

"Then you'll be happy to know that had nothing to do with you."

She settled into a stance. "Just a paying gig?"

Cain moved closer. "Opening volley of a paying gig. Now where is Cassandra?"

"With a better man than you." Her hands curled into fists.

He lunged forward as fast as Bruce, but she spun out of reach. His arm slammed into her back. She tucked her fall into a roll. "Tell me where she is."

Selina launched herself with a roundhouse kick. Her stiletto heel caught his bicep. Cain grunted with the slice, latched onto her leg, and pulled her off balance. She kicked free as she fell. He loomed over her. Her foot caught his knee. His stumble sideways gave her the opening to roll away.

Her heart thundered as she crouched for an opening. She knew she wouldn't win this fight when she left Italy. But damn, Cain would suffer for what he did to Cassandra. She leaped to pull him to the ground.

His fist hit her right cheekbone. The blow sent all her momentum to the roof. She caught herself against the asphalt surface, but didn't move fast enough to avoid his boot kicking her stomach.

Oswald Cobblepott the Third frowned at the spreadsheet printout. He lost more money than he anticipated on last month's floor show. Good thing he cancelled it this month. The ventilation shaft above his head rattled. He scowled up at the white tiles. That was all he needed: the expense of the heating and cooling specialist who maintained the delicate balance for his penguins and his patrons.

He reached for his datebook to schedule an inspection tomorrow when the metal grill in the ceiling tiles sprang open. A tiny, black figure landed on his desk. The cape attached to her shoulders covered the desk and draped over the edge. The pointy-eared cowl lifted up and brown eyes glared at him.

Black foam pads exaggerated the muscles on her small arms. Her gloved hands latched onto his tuxedo's lapels, and she hauled him out of his office chair without leaving her crouch. Black material was sewn over the cowl's mouth and hid all her features. Her covered nose hovered at the end of his. "You hire Cain." The little girl's eyes narrowed.

"Who are you?" The stylized bat stretched across her padded chest. "Ah Batgirl, I presume. The news reports led me to believe you would be taller." He tried to straightened, but the grip she had on his clothes strained the seams.

"You hire Cain," she repeated.

"I don't know what you're talking about, you ebony enthusiast of equity."

Vulture threw open the office door and charged. About time the muscle-bound oaf got here.

The leg Batgirl knelt on shot straight back. The cape fluttered up and a black sneaker slammed into Vulture's throat. His eyes rolled back before he dropped to the floor.

Batgirl shoved Oswald into his leather office chair. She spun with her leg extended. The cape blocked his view of the porcelain bald eagle and his laptop falling, but he heard the smashes on the floor. She pulled her leg under her when she faced him again. "You hire Cain."

"I'm just the middle man! I don't care if Gordon ends up dead or not." His umbrella with the hidden rapier point leaned against the left end of the desk. He could skewer this deluded rodent before she kicked his throat.

"Cain's money." She held out her hand.

"He is not compensated for shooting the wrong person." He narrowed his eyes. "Oh, I understand this gambit, gamecock. You wish for Cain to discharge his displeasure over a disputed deposit by disemboweling me. I think not!" He lunged for the umbrella.

The Batarang embedded in the corner of his desk, centimeters away from his nose. Light gleamed off its sharp edges. Her cape brushed over his outstretched arm. His weaponized umbrella spun through the air, collided with his glass whatnot shelves, and the bird statuettes and shelves cascaded to the floor.

Batgirl pulled him back to his seat. Her other hand twirled another bat-shaped throwing star between her fingers. "Money now."

Oswald knew when he was outmatched. "It's in the lowest drawer left side." He pointed to it.

Batgirl jumped down and pulled open the drawer. She hefted the wrapped stack of bills. Her cowled head tilted at Oswald.

"Yes, that's all of it. Mind you, when Cain comes for it, I'm telling him you took it."

She tucked the money into her shirt and vaulted onto his desk. "Cain fight Selina Kyle. Where?"

"Do I look like a boxing promoter to you?"

He saw a black blur before pain exploded in his face. He bent over and put his hands to his face. Blood stained the fingers of his white gloves. He looked up at Batgirl.

Her right fist was held even with her head. "Where?"

"She asked about the World Financial Center." He tugged a handkerchief from his pocket and held it under his nose.

She stood up. "No hire Cain again." She pulled a long-barreled handgun out from under the cape. She fired a small grapple hook into the ventilation shaft. The gun pulled her back through the hole.

His office door flew open again with Hawk and Falcon storming in as her black cape vanished inside the ceiling. "You want us to go after her, sir?"

"No," the bloody nose added a thickness to his voice. "She is Cain's problem now."

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