‘Bleeding Ink’ By Christer Lende

A shipment of magical blood ink is delayed from the classified Crystal Palace factory, and Clive ‘The Greywolf’ Collins, the criminal British gang’s right-hand man, is sent to investigate. In the carriage with him is Edgar, a lavish tattoo artist who knows the secret incantations and has the skills to tattoo with blood ink. He’s there to tattoo Clive with intricate, enchanted patterns in case there’s trouble and Clive needs to become the infamous Greywolf.
Reaching the factory, the blanketed bodies on the ground tell Clive it’s not a simple delay. Two of the survivors, Tim and Julian, tell Clive that a mystical female assassin is responsible for the deaths.
Suspecting the assassin is from the struggling Japanese blood ink gang, Clive asks Tim to guide him through the factory as he looks for condemning evidence. The assassin somehow knew the locations of their hidden rooms and destroyed three full barrels of prepared blood ink—a devastating loss for their magical tattooing business. The inventory list is gone, so Clive can’t confirm the correct number of barrels and there’s no evidence pointing to the Japanese. It feels like the culprit has gotten away until Clive asks Julian about the inventory, and he clearly remembers four barrels of blood ink.
Only a person with Japanese tattoo patterns could transport a barrel out of the factory and through the woods. Clive’s got the evidence he needs, but can’t let the assassin escape with the valuable blood ink. He instructs Tim to join Edgar in the carriage back to London and report Clive’s findings, before he sets off into the woods to track down his prey.
Releasing the powers of his blood tattoos, he becomes the Greywolf; senses enhancing, nails growing and hardening—the beast is ready to hunt.
He tracks down the assassin, discovering she’s a British mercenary, her body riddled with Japanese incantations. Her tattoos let her infuse objects to free them from gravity, which is how she transported the heavy barrel. In the vicious fight that ensues, Clive expends most of the magic ink fuelling his powers, ending her life, but is mortally wounded. His fading tattoos keep him alive long enough to find evidence revealing Tim to be the mole who gave away their vital locations—and he’s in the carriage with Edgar, the gang’s most valuable asset.
In the carriage, Tim produces a knife from his sleeve and Edgar fights for his life. Clive breaks through the carriage side and kills Tim, but he’s on the brink of death himself. Edgar starts rapidly tattooing his unconscious body until he draws a single breath.

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