The Dark Knight Rises: Weapon of the Shadows

Chapter Seventeen

Batman swooped around the rooftop battle with the memory cloth cape. Selina faced her larger opponent with her left side leading. Her right shoulder sloped oddly and the arm hung at her side. They both turned to him when he landed on the asphalt-covered roof.

Selina's jaw dropped along with her guard. Cain lashed out with a kick to her left torso. Her right side hit the roof and she screamed.

Batman moved toward her, but Cain intercepted him. "I knew shooting at your precious comrades would draw you out." Cain's grin gouged into his face. "I was hired to show the mighty Batman wasn't dead, and here you are."

"Who hired you?" Batman stepped closer to Cain. Behind the assassin, Selina rolled to her left side. That last blow hurt her; she wasn't recovering as fast as she normally did.

"You're not dealing with an amateur this time, Batman." Cain slid into stance. "I don't break client confidentiality on a glower. Now let's see what the man who broke the League of Shadows is capable of." He launched himself fists first.

Batman parried the blows. They were more refined than Bane's brute force, more imaginative than Ra's drills, and stronger than Cassandra's attacks. Cain dodged Batman's kick. That didn't matter as long as Selina had time to get away. He punched Cain's jaw.

Selina tucked her left foot under her body.

Cain threw himself back and kicked Batman in the chin. Batman staggered, but didn't fall down. Cain's flip landed him behind Selina. She kicked her right leg up but he caught it and wrenched the foot to the side. Selina screamed through gritted teeth.

Batman's surge was stopped by Cain's arm wrapping around her throat and his other hand on her head to break her neck. "Let her go," Batman growled.

"Pardon the interruption, but this thief needs to tell me where my stolen daughter is before we finish." Cain's arm flexed against her neck.

"Go to hell, you abusive asshole." Selina struck his elbow with her working hand.

"Abusive?" Cain gaped. "Cassandra is my legacy. I taught her everything I know. I gave her a set of skills to keep her from being at the mercy of anyone. She will never be raped; will never need to sell her body. Why? Because I love my daughter." He shook Selina. "But what would a fucked-up orphan like you know about a parent's love?"

"This fucked-up orphan knows you teach a child to talk!" Selina pulled Cain's wrist.

Cain's arm never budged. "The only language she needs is how to use violence. A lesson she had mastered before you ruined her."

"You treated your own child as an experiment." Batman curled his gloved hands into tight fists.

"You don't have any children either, Wayne. And Ra's had such high hopes. Wanted you for his Talia." Cain shook his head. "I avoided his mistakes, and crafted the perfect weapon you never would have expected."

Selina slammed Cain's elbow again. "Cassandra's a child, not a killer!"

"She's both."

There was no mistaking the pride in Cain's voice. The blow to Batman's stomach almost shoved him backwards. "You already had her kill for you."

Selina's jaw dropped, but her lips drew together as Cain confirmed it. "The best way to approach you was through your daytime persona, so I sent her after Faizul, a criminal businessman. She tore his throat out before he could blink."

Cassandra, the same girl who curled up in his lap, killed a man. He sparred with her. He knew what she could do, but for her to have actually done it? Batman snapped his body out of the instinctual slackness his horror brought on.

Selina's frown cleared and she laughed. Her inhale was laced with pain, but she followed it with another, higher peal of laughter.

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