MoboReader > Adventure > Damsel[ed] No Rescue Required

   Chapter 32

Damsel[ed] No Rescue Required By m i c h e l l e p a k Characters: 17015

Updated: 2017-12-12 12:04

Poison and Angel. (Bolded for Poison and unbolded for Angel)

Flow is an interesting concept. It“s supposed to come when you“re so comfortable with the task at hand you become one with it. You forget everything else around you, the room, the time, your own body. All you feel is a sort of flow of work leaving you. Nothing else exists. And at first, that“s how the fight with Luce goes for me.

Sure, I don“t like him. Sure, I disowned him and he“s violent and I never expected his backlash, but the movements come fluidly from me. My breathing is regular like I“m sleeping instead of fighting. I feel nothing and take in nothing. Not a flit of emotion or pain for each blow he deals. I don“t even recognize the room“s stench, though under other circumstances it would be enough to send me to my knees in a puddle of my own sick.

When Luce catches me by the neck, I hit the ground under him, the breath knocked out of me. I“m about to flip him, give myself the advantage, but he springs to his feet, waiting for me to stand. Of course. He won“t fight on the ground. I bring myself to a full stance and we dance.

And by dance, I mean fight. The wolf project slinks a few feet away, wraps its tail around its paws and tucks its snout under its big claws. It even whimpers.

Angel kicks. I duck and swing. He blocks. We fight in circles. It feels like a dance, at least. He tips his head to the side, sweat-tangled strands of hair stuck to his eyepatch. I lean forward to fake him out and he flinches. I have the advantage. I usually do.

It“s almost laughable. He“s the strong one. The Frankenstein of a super stitched together of all the most powerful pieces. And yet he can“t use his powers; he won“t.

Brother. The word is a whisper in the back of my mind as I size him up. I feel a slight tug in a place I haven“t felt in a while. He isn“t my brother. It was funny to prod him with our “brotherhood“ at first, but the thought of us being connected like that now is something I can“t take. Don“t want to. Parrying my opponent“s blows, I search for flow. I empty my mind, trying to be one with my defense, with my offense. But it“s harder now.

Angel—Luce, I mean—scowls, his brow furrowed, mouth drawn in a tight line. He“s younger than me, I think almost out of nowhere, by a year or two. He banks his knee and throws a kick that connects squarely with my side and almost splits my ribcage. I gasp, the pain snapping through my bones in waves that wash through my entire body.

A ghost of a grin appears on his face.

First hit.

It“ll be his last.

My thoughts splinter off and race in hundreds of different directions through my maze of a brain, snarls and spirals that lead from one place to another to another. White. My brother. Violet. My aura. Blue. My friends. Red.

My fight.

Poison punches. I swipe back. I“m a clumsy person, but I“m finding my grace. Few words flit to the front of my mind. Hands up. Don“t stop moving. Two feet on the floor, except for kicks. I can“t wrestle well, so I keep the fight standing, even if that means sacrificing the immediate advantage. That“s why when I knock Poison over, I let him up. I don“t run when he“s down. I don“t run when he rises. Those times have passed. He stands, and I attack. He defends, eyeing me up and down with a suspicious gleam in his eye. Eyes. He has two that work. It isn“t fair, I think, him having two eyes, but then again, what is? He“s supposed to win. He“s trained and ruthless and a villain.

My heart slams against the inside of my chest, over and over, like a prisoner throwing himself against the door of his cell. I land a kick. Just one. My blood sings with adrenaline. The heat is crawling. I force my breath to ease up because I can“t let out that aura. I don“t want to accidentally kill all of these poor creatures trapped here. I need to keep up some self-control.

Poison spits blood. Barely misses my shoe. We fight in heavy silence, but then he smiles, and the smile is cool and coy and a shiver races up my back. I“m sick of being scared, but Poison is unpredictable and I“m half-blind. Though I want to stay cautious, to shrink back and stay on my guard, I mostly want to beat the crap out of him. Violence isn“t supposed to be the answer, but I don“t care, I just want to give this jerkwad his comeuppance.

Even if he“s my brother.

He whistles long and low, gasping, grinning. He circles, eyes me for an opening, slipping out of the way when I lunge. My lungs burn, the air so sour I half gag. "Look at you," he says, "so riled up. What did it?"

I swing for the side of his face. He holds out his forearm and stops the blow. He continues with a smirk, blowing a wisp of hair out of his face. "Is it what I said about you being an experiment?"

Keep him occupied. Keep his mind churning. Slow him down.

I“m seething. He knows I“m seething, doesn“t he? I can“t tell. He“s a confusing guy. Everyone I have to fight seems to be. I aim for his chest. He swings. His knuckles meet the side of my face and my head snaps to the side. I almost hit the floor. My cheek thro

like a cat. I glance back down. Luce looks broken, sprawled out like that, wings twitching. Blood knots his hair, stains his trembling fingers, colorless and cold. And it“s this moment that, for a fraction of a second, sends me spiraling out of control. It“s just a flash of insight, seeing him fighting and bleeding and suffering like a person and not a weapon or plaything. For just one second, the words come to me, so fast and so violently they feel like a slash of claws across my conscience ready to tear me in two. Little brother.

And my hand finds the cool glass of the bottle, the pain of my tender muscles threatening to swallow me up. It“s almost funny. I used to dream big and all, but now, I just dream of living and existence where I don“t get crushed by my own brother. I grab the bottle“s neck and raise it with a quick jerk of my shoulder. A shock of pain raises from my arm to my toes. The top flips off, spewing a spray of something too sweet-smelling to be pure Coke in my face. A wave of nausea hits my stomach. Spiked.

The moment passes. He snatches a glass bottle I hadn“t noticed before and I grab for it. Damn him. Of course, he“d hide some trick up his sleeve. That“s just how he fights. Dirty. I shake out my throbbing face and he swings.

It“s alI I can do. I close my eyes and pray it hits. My stomach jelly, my lungs heaving, my throat tight. I have to get this right.

The glass shatters into pieces on the floor, but I don“t process it, not at first. The substance has a sweet smell that muddies up my thoughts. But it doesn“t dizzy me up enough. A shock races through my neck, down my spine. A bruise wells up under my skin. I can“t help it, my body crumples underneath me and I fold up like something wilted, gasping, struggling to stand. The darkness comes quick, billows of smoke that twist through my mind and cling to my blurred thoughts. That same smoke weighs on my eyelids.

He drops off.

The bottle meets where his neck and jaw connect and he hits the ground. Helpless. It takes a second for the thought to materialize in my foggy brain. I won. The fight is over and I won.


No. No way. It“s a trick, a trap. I kneel down and poke him. He stays perfectly still. The relief that wells up inside, it“s, well, it“s more physical than a thought. My knees go weak, the adrenaline leaving me in a nervous thrum. I won. I won. My chest could burst from just the thought. Me, not dead. Me, winning a fight. Kepler woofs. The sweetness intensifies, coating my lungs in a flowery sickness. The substance drips down my face, runs down my skin. I draw in a long breath, but I can feel it, suffocating me. It“s all I can smell. My mind spins faster and faster until I can barely grasp anything. Me, the room, Poison. It all feels like a nightmare I can“t quite remember all the threads from. "Kepler," I say, and my voice is croaky. She approaches, sniffing the air uncertainly. The world is lopsided. I think of my teachers, talking about how alcohol doesn“t have to be digested to make you drunk. It seeps through your tongue and mouth. Like this stuff.

The sugary sweet rises behind my face and eyes. I see colors. Pastels. Pinks, blues, and violets. My wings wilt. The fear is tangible, like sludge in my gut. But I don“t feel it for long, because I“m falling, falling, falling...

Until I hit the ground in a wreath of flowers and smoke.

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