The Huntress: Ninth Life, Prologue: Back on the Hunt

by Immortalwildcat

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The sun was setting over Gotham City as Helena Wayne came home to her penthouse. She tossed her purse and keys on a table by the door, switched on the television, and went into her bedroom to change. As she came out, the local news report was just wrapping up.

“Repeating our top news story of the evening — Gotham City Police and National Guard troops have just finished settling a riot at Blackgate Prison on Gull’s Island. Unrest among the prisoners erupted into violence just after lunch, and a group led by the criminal known as Lionmane took several guards as hostages. Police Commissioner O’Hara has reported that all of the prisoners have been subdued and returned to their cells, with one notable exception; their leader, Lionmane, somehow managed to escape the island prison during the confusion and remains at large.”

“Good God, no! What with those meetings all afternoon, I had no idea that anything had happened. I’m surprised Dick didn’t get involved.” Helena picked up the phone and punched the top number on the speed dial. “Good evening, Alfred. It’s Helena.”

“Of course, Miss Helena! As if I could possibly forget your voice.” She could readily picture the smile on the face of the Wayne family’s longtime retainer, Alfred Beagle.

Strange, she mused, that he now appears not too much older than I do.

“What can I do for you tonight?” the butler asked cheerfully.

“Is Dick there? I was wondering if he’d heard anything about the riot at Blackgate this afternoon.”

“I’m sorry, but he and Miss Kara are spending a couple of days with her cousin Clark. I saw that the police were handling the situation, but if you think I should notify him…”

“No, no, I don’t think that’s necessary. There’s one loose end that I’ll need to take care of, is all.”

“I see. Very well, but please, Miss Helena, do be careful.”

“I always am, Alfred. I always am.”

Helena’s next call was to the police commissioner. It netted her very little in the way of useful information, other than to confirm that Lionmane was still at large.

“Guess I’d better warm up before I head out after him. It’s been a couple of nights since I’ve prowled the city.” As she jumped up to grab one of the decorative struts over her couch, Helena reflected on her current lifestyle. With Dick Grayson back in the hero business full-time, and having a new partner to boot, she had been devoting more of her time to the law practice. Several high-profile cases had kept her cooped up in the office far more than she was accustomed to in the last few months.

“Time for that to change!” she declared as she swung her body up and flung herself toward a light fixture hanging in the middle of the room. Grasping the bar that made up the bottom of the light, she swung again, this time launching herself through the air, turning a double somersault in midair before landing on a hassock in front of the couch. She rebounded from that, doing a backflip and landing on both feet on the floor.

“That’s more like it,” she said with a satisfied smile as she ducked back into her bedroom to change into her working clothes.

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