Chapter 2 - Lurking
Ilias Dalca’s POV:
I watched from the tree line. It’d been years since I’d seen her in person this close. I always found a way to keep an eye on her, but I refused to let her know that I knew she was still alive. I was angry still and I had every right to be. She let me think she was dead. She’d broken my heart and I hadn’t let anybody do that to me.
Her shoulders tensed, her eyes were narrowed, and her voice had hardened. I’d seen her angry before, but she was hitting a high that she was having a hard time controlling. I didn’t particularly like this man pointing a gun on her. She was outnumbered but I knew she knew what she was doing. She always had. If she needed me to intervene then I would, but not until I knew I was wanted. Or in this case needed.
I pulled my collar up a little closer to my neck, tucking my hands into my trench coat pockets. The coat just covered my ass; it was long enough to keep me warm and short enough to give me complete mobility.
Raising her sword, I watched her slice through the air, knocking the gun out of Brody’s hand. He’d been a fool to let her get that close. Either he underestimated her or had a plan. Either way that split second was all he needed before drawing his own sword. I recognized the Katana in each of their hands; both were the choice weapons of the Compound.
I’d been there when Kira blew up part of it. Micah and I had been her support. It was also where I was sure she had died. We’d scoured hours for her body until it was unsafe to look anymore. We’d found bodies, but we’d had no idea if any of them were hers. We just assumed. We’d been foolish to assume.
Her screech had me refocusing on the fight commencing, pulling my thoughts back into reality. Blood gushed from a cut on her forearm where she’d stopped a sword. My senses were heightened; I could taste her blood on my tongue all ready. My fangs were itching to be released, my eyes fighting to flash the blood red that looked like the scent that drove me crazy. I wasn’t sure how the Katana hadn’t severed her arm, but it had me standing straighter. I was ready to jump in. Ready to be faster than the sword to save her.
They exchanged blow after blow, strike after strike. Kira landed more strikes than she took. Max had jumped in, but I could tell he was holding back. I wasn’t sure why, but he was letting her attack without truly trying to injure her. For his sake I hoped Brody didn’t notice. That would be a death sentence for him. I understood why Kira had tried to stop the Compound and that had me sympathizing with the trainees that really didn’t deserve the lies they were fed to become the beings they were.
Looking away from the fight, I watched the trainees facing death standing there gaping. I couldn’t blame them for being unsure of what to do. They had just been sentenced to death; the Compound was all they knew after being reborn. They couldn’t go back to their families; they were dead to them after all. They had nobody and they had nowhere to go.
Brody’s grunting drew me back to the fight. He had blood oozing from multiple wounds. Max had a few wounds of his own, but he did well at avoiding the swords clashing toward him. He danced around the blade, welcoming it with a focused smirk twisting up his features. My eyes narrowed as I watched him with more caution than before. Something seemed off with him. He was enjoying this a little too much. Perhaps he was just trying to prove something, but it seemed all wrong.
“Is that the best you got, Brody?” Kira questioned her mentor. She was barely breaking a sweat, but her voice was ever so slightly labored. I watched her chest rise and fall. I could make it do the same thing in a far more pleasurable way.
“Your breathing’s unsteady, Odelinda. I thought you’d learned how to pace yourself.” Brody shot back, blocking her sword with his own. She pushed him back, tossing her sword up to block Max’s attack. Shoving the young man back, she re-discovered her footing, waiting for the next one to come at her.
“My breathing is fine. How are you holding up?” She eyed him slowly. “This can’t be good for your age.”
Brody glared at her, taking the moment to catch his breath. He swiped at blood dripping down his lip from a well-placed punch Kira had induced. “You know where you went wrong, Odelinda?”
“I have a feeling that you’re going to tell me, Brody-boy.” She glanced between both men before scanning the wood line. The way she looked in my direction made me wonder if she sensed me, but just as quickly she refocused on the enemies in front of her.
“Getting help from the Dalca brothers.” His comment had me honing in the conversation even more. “We fight the monsters of the night, not invite them into our beds.”
Growling, Kira ran at him once again. Their swords clashed, sending sparks flying. “Those brothers are more in every way than you ever will be! And trust me, I’ve known you in every way possible, Brody.”
Her comment had my brow raising. Apparently there was more history between them than I’d been aware of. More of a history than I cared to hear. The way Max looked between the two; I knew I wasn’t the only one questioning that.
The scowl on Brody’s face was short lived as he raised his sword against her once again. Pausing, he looked from her to the still living trainees. “Max, finish your job.”
Max stared at him for a second before twisting around and stalking toward the group standing there awaiting their fate. For being as smart as they were, they stood there like a bunch of lambs to the slaughter.
“No!” Kira shouted. One hand dropped from the sword, snatching something from her waistline and swinging it at Max. He howled in pain as a small dagger protruded from his shoulder. Her attack had Brody twisting around to check on his trainee. His eyes widened, before narrowing.
Brody twisted back around to send an attack toward Kira. Instead, he was met with her Katana twisting into his chest. A strangled noise whispered through his lips as he dropped to his knees. He stared at the Katana, then up to her. Hints of pride radiated through his darkened orbs, but fuming rage passed through as well.
She stepped closer to him, her body mere inches from his as her face came up to his ear. My eyes narrowed as I listened to her whisper. “I know this won’t kill you, but it’ll slow you down. Better luck next time, Brody.”
She glanced up at the trainee as she pulled her Katana out of Brody as he toppled over. “I like your new trainee. He’s fun.”
Marching up to the young man, she eyed him up. A smirk teased the corner of her lips as she tapped his chest. “I look forward to rematch, handsome.”
He eyed up her hand as she pulled it away. Twisting her dagger out of his shoulder with a wince, he stared her down. She studied him for a moment, wondering same as me what his intentions were going to be.
The silence between the two was deafening. I could feel the static in the air as I waited to see if he’d attack my bunny. He didn’t know how fast she could jump or run; definitely not like I knew.
“I have no problem hurting you more, Max. Go home. Nurse your wounds.” She looked over his shoulder back at Brody. “Take your mentor with you. He’s going to be sore for a little while.”
“Why should I let you go?” He questioned, still holding the dagger dripping with blood.
She looked up to the heavens, tapping her chin in thought before looking back at him. “Because we both know that you don’t want to kill those kids over there. Go back to the Compound and tell the other recruits how you survived taking me on. Let your legend grow. Be a good soldier.”
She didn’t wait for him to respond; instead she marched toward the trainees getting a second chance. I could feel her pride as she realized she’d won.
A scream had my eyes darting up as Kira froze in place. Her shoulders tightened as a trainee fell to the ground, crying out. She didn’t have time to do anything as another trainee fell. Twisting around, she looked around for the culprit. Her sword was up, ready to defend and fight. Her eyes met Max’s as he threw another hidden dagger.
“No!” Kira screamed out, holding her sword out in an attempt to deflect the dagger. She wasn’t fast enough as the third recruit screamed out as the dagger lodged into his chest. Growling out in her own pain and anger, Kira ran at Max. He’d all ready taken control over his own Katana and braced for her attack.
“I am a good soldier.” He growled out, his sword sparking against hers. “I follow my orders.”
“Then you’re a fool!” Kira screamed at him, throwing another slice at him. They dueled around, both slicing and avoiding each other.
“You’re the fool. You could be trying to see if you could save any of them.” He pushed her back with a grunt. “Instead you’re fighting me.”
Kira stopped, her sword mid-air. She swallowed hard as she stared him down. I could see her uncertainty. Taking a step back, she glanced back at the trio then back at Max.
Ignoring them for a moment, I listened in on the trainees. One was dead, of that I was sure. The other two still had a heartbeat; their blood was sending my body through crazy hunger fits. My stomach growled in irritation as I denied it of the source that made it satisfied. I thought about intervening, offering my blood, but something held me back. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if it was worth saving them. More than not the ones she managed to save ran back to the Compound to have the same fate befall them. Yet here she was, still trying to save the ones that didn’t seem to care if they were actually saved. They weren’t like her. The main point being, they weren’t her.