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In the past year, three racing champions had been murdered by, of all things, an archer. The shots were, in a word, impossible. The female sailor racer had been killed at sea, with nothing around for miles. The male dogsled racer was found when his dogs dragged him and his sled back into town. There’d been a killing blizzard that had shut down travel to the miles wide region for over a week, and the locals swore up and down nobody else had set out on the trail. The third had been a female marathoner, struck down in the American Southwest while training. In the desert. With several witnesses who swore nobody else was around for miles. September 28, 2018. Freedom City. Just outside Ashton and Grenville. Horizon Festival Main Stage. 9 AM. There would be over a hundred different races held, in varying skill rankings. Anyone with a driver’s license and an automobile that could pass an inspection could enter at the lowest level. The highest, however, was reserved for those who had proven their superiority over the competition. At stake? Honor, pride, and a trainload of cash. The Horizon Festival had come to Freedom City, and it was a madhouse. It was a street rally racing event primarily, but you wouldn’t know it from the stages set up what seemed like all over town. There was going to be three dozen bands playing at one time or another the entire weekend. Vendors had set up in sight of what seemed like every stage. Mechanics Alley was also open to onlookers, even if only the pro cars had slots booked in it. Because oh, yes indeed. The world’s finest street rally racers had followed the Festival to Freedom. Dominic Cortez was the grudgingly acknowledged best street rally racer in the world. He wasn’t worried about anything today. He’d drive in the kickoff race, but only for a lap. Any real racing, for him, wouldn’t be until tomorrow afternoon. As the world’s #1, he was automatically entered into the S class, highest at the Festival. The people who were worried were his agent and mechanic, Darius Greer and sister Sofia. He only trusted blood to work on his wheels. After the last murder, racing champions had gone into seclusion across almost all of racing. They only poked their heads out for events, and even then under astonishingly heavy security. Dominic Cortez was the sole exception. Leaning against the door of his car, he watched the MC blather on. The man was charismatic and effective, Dom would give him that, but honestly? Dom just wanted to get on the track already.