The Continuation Chapter 2

Atlantic Blue

By Arsenal

Guardia Forest had remained dangerous despite the years of vigilant patrols and soldiers. The Hetakes constantly harried anybody who lacked the presence of mind to avoid their nests. Thus Jaime and Laura Lee had their weapons out, although they were pretty sure that they could avoid the troublesome plants. Jaime had a torch lit, the moonlight couldn’t pierce the thick overlay of leaves. The falls would take twenty minutes to reach walking, and that meant leaving caution behind. If they wanted to reach the fight before Marcel was gutted, then running through the unsecured woods was what they needed to do. Although Laura had little experience with the forest, growing up pampered, Jaime was as much a tomboy as her feline counterpart and tromped the woods thoroughly, making forts with the boys. So she held the torch and guided the pair through the woods at a breakneck pace. Her heavy breathing suddenly stopped, and she stopped dead cold. Laura managed to prevent herself from slamming into Jaime. She realized why her partner had stopped. The hetake rumbled out of the bushes. Jaime and Laura jumped out of the way. Laura spun and crouched in defense, blade before her. The hetake had torn out a good part of the tree behind them, and was in the process of spitting it out. Jaime jumped on the creatures back and embedded the dirk into his spine. The thing thrashed violently, throwing off the girl. It’s dripping maw, now wet with it’s own blood turned towards the dangerous target: Laura. It’s front legs flailed at Laura. Her blade caught both limbs, but the sheer weight of the creature knocked her over. Laura tried to get up, but the hetake crashed into her persistently, pushing her against a tree. Laura tried to bring her katana to bear, but the hetake was on top of her now, pinning her weapon to the ground. Laura thrashed hard, her life was at stake here, but the hetake thrashed harder and held her down. The red eyes closed in on her face, like consuming flames. Then the flames became a reality. Laura vaguely remembered Jaime ripping the husk of the burnt hetake off of her, holding the embers of their torch. Grabbing her blade and running again towards the falls, she tripped more than once and collected a number of scrapes, but in her mind she thanked the powers that be that the red fires hadn’t consumed her. With that thought reaching the falls hadn’t taken long. Of course the scene laid out before her hadn’t let her consider the time frame. On a log above the falls Marcel and the boy exchanged blows. The log was a popular place to play chicken for Guardia’s children, but the game Marcel played had stakes. For some reason the entire place was bathed in a soft, blue glow. Laura saw that Marcel was keeping up with the stranger, but the boy was on the offense. And judging by the amount of skin Marcel had shaved avoiding the hits, the boy had been on offense for some time. With those few observations, Laura gripped her katana until her knuckles were white and ran up the path.

When Laura reached the log she grabbed Marcel, who by then was bleeding from several orifices. So Laura did the simplest thing. The falls were safe enough, she grabbed him by his pants and threw him off the cliff screaming. He embedded his blade in the log on the way down, but lost the grip due to his bleeding shoulder. Laura sized up her opponent. He had only a few gashes from his prior skirmish. His eyes held hers hypnotically again. This time he opened his mouth, “I’ve been waiting for you”.

Laura took three steps back and raised her blade in a dramatic defensive pose. “Hurting my friends? You’re gonna be waiting for me in hell. Bye”. With that she thrust the blade forward. The boy’s blade was quicker than it looked, he shifted the blade from it’s easy position across his shoulder and spun the blade in a deflective circle. Laura pulled the blade and slashed from the top instead. His blade stopped in mid-circle and raised a couple of inches, picking the blade off centimeters before it hit his face. He rolled the blade over to slash at Laura’s face. Her body bent over and shouldered the boy back, just avoiding the bite of his metal. He didn’t fall off the log, no such luck. He stepped back a pace and whirled his sword into three slash feints and then thrust forward in six pulled hits. Laura turned the katana into a defensive circle and deflected them all. His style was familiar. The next thrust was right for her heart, full forced. Laura anticipated it, caught his hand and pulled. He overbalanced this time and fell. But he grabbed Laura’s pant leg and pulled her down with him. She fell, but grabbed Marcel’s embedded blade on the way down. But the log was old, it couldn’t hold their weight in that manner. The pair fell into the water screaming, just like Marcel. But they didn’t surface.

* * *

Jaime saw Marcel reach the shore, but didn’t see Laura Lee’s battle. Suddenly from behind she was assaulted by a dark figure wearing a black cloak. He brandished a long sword that glowed a faint forest green. Jaime dropped the torch, the moonlight was shining and she drew her second dirk. The figure stepped forward, spun the sword vertically and slashed down. Jaime blocked the blow and slashed across with her other hand. The man sucked in and jumped back. Jaime pressed her advantage of two hands by attacking rapidly. The man kept his equilibrium and blocked the blows. Jaime knew she was running out of steam. She forced the dirks forward into the figure’s defenses. The dirks forced past the figure’s blade and pushed into something soft. Jaime jumped to the rear and let go of the blades, she was sure of the strike to his heart. The figure leapt back and swept his cloak aside. There was a dirk embedded in it at the center of the back. Jaime could see him now. The figure was six feet tall, almost half a foot taller than herself. His face and his body were thin, but muscled and his ears were pointy and lack lobes. But most of all she noticed his blade, the green tainted by a mundane red. She looked at her thigh, the fabric clung to her skin, wet with blood. The figure rushed in, blade leading. His movements suddenly became slow, he slashed across, forcing her back. He then spun in circle and brought his blade down aligned perfectly with her skull, the blade descended, his eyes glinted with victory . . . to be replaced with a widening of surprise as Marcel’s one hundred eighty pound frame slapped his thin body aside. Marcel motioned for the dirk. Jaime pushed him aside and finished the task her way: she knocked the man out with the hilt of her weapon.

She then turned to Marcel, “What happened to Laura Lee?” He looked towards the lake and shrugged. They began collecting wood and patching themselves up. They would wait until sunrise, then nobody could help her.

* * *

Laura woke up in a cave. The boy was standing before her with a fire lit. There was no firewood or kindle. Laura’s head hurt too much and her ankle sent shooting pains to her cranium when she walked, she decided not to think about it. She approached the boy cautiously. She noticed her blade laid next to him. She was trapped. The boy didn’t look up as he spoke, “We washed up inside here. We’ll have to swim back out. But there’s a problem. I wanted you to wake up before I acted. You ankle is broken, you can’t swim. There’s something I can do about it, but you’ll have to trust me, and close your eyes”

The Guardian princess eyed her captor, “Well, I have to say you haven’t given yourself much credibility. You tried to kill my friend, almost killed me, even after that wonderful dance. You’d probably try to cop a feel or something”

The boy stared right back through her with the coldness only blue eyes can muster, “If you don’t you’ll starve to death waiting for it to heal enough to swim. I won’t sacrifice myself for you, but I offer you help one last time: Will you trust me? On your life.”

Laura Lee realized that he was right. She had no other alternative. He might poison her or something, but that wasn’t worse than slowly starving to death. Even if she healed in time, her strength might be too sapped to swim to shore. As it was she might not make it now with her various cuts and bruises! “I don’t like this . . .” she began again.

He cut her off, “You don’t have to. Yes or no?”

“Yes.” She closed her eyes. She felt his hands probing her leg, and a slightly warm tingle crawl up her leg and into her brain, then spread to this whole body. He then put his hand on her head. He ran his fingers through her hair. They were slightly chill and thin. The touch felt good. His hands ran down her head to her face. He touched her lips slightly, then laid his fingers on the back of her neck. His lips met hers for a moment. She jolted awake at this unexpected, pleasant touch. She looked around: he was gone, just like that. She shook the cloudiness from her head. She found that she could walk again, in fact her body was free of scratches and the ugly yellow bruises. She looked around, but couldn’t find her blade. Thus she left the cave and swam to shore without incident, where Marcel and Jaime greeted her in a bizarre fashion.

They ran up, “Laura, you’re alright! Holy, my goodness . . .” The pair proceeded to fall to the ground laughing and holding their sides, afraid they would rupture.

Laura glowed a bright red. “What? What’s so funny?”

Jaime breathed a little and burst out between giggles, “Laura . . . y-your h-hair, it’s, it’s BLUE!” Then she laid down and burst out laughing again.

Laura walked away from the couple to let them contend with their burst guts, and looked at her reflection in the lake. Her hair was a deep, oceanic blue. The surprising thing was she liked it. Plus when she tried to get it out it wouldn’t cleanse from her hair. She was stuck with it.


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