062 The Fractured Maid · 2
he bullet rode a tongue of flame out of the barrel of the gun and made a bee line for Chain. The ruffian leader did not desire to kill her as he still believed that she was quite valuable and aimed for her torso. It was an ideal target and to Chain’s advantage. The bullet never reached her as it was ingulfed by a torrent of flames of pure darkness that erupted from her shoulder blades.
“What in the name of Icarus is that?”
“What your mistake looks like.”
Spinning about as she answered the ruffian leader, Chain snatched her sword out of the air as the scabbard that held it disappeared into the flames that trailed from her back.
“Can we really deal with people though.”
Though Chain threatened the ruffians, her minute mermaid double was less sure of their ability to fight people. Chain remained confident however and took her simple, cruciform sword in both hands as the flames became a sheer black cape and draped around her.
“They’re just monsters that talk as far as I’m concerned.”
“Don’t just stand there gawking, she’s coming!”
Spurred on by their leader’s battle cry while Chain appeared distracted, the ruffians prepared to receive her imminent attack. As they were still intending to take her alive, they did not reach for their gun, believing their physical prowess would be more than enough. Under normal circumstances they may have even been right. Most of them were large and muscular, with several being of the races of mankind known as the chimeric races due to the mixture of animal features with those of the more traditional humans, the icarans. For all of their perceived physical advantages however, everyone realized with Chain’s first step that she was the one with the physical advantage despite her waifish build.
The child who stood on the opposite end of the faux cave stared in amazement at Chain’s feat of speed. This was in direct contrast to the looks of shock and horror on the faces of the ruffians as Chain covered the distance between them and the Lucifalz in a blink.
“When did she–⁈”
A massively bright smile on her face, Chain looked at the ruffians from amongst their midst. Turning her body as it followed her sword strike, she not only brought herself to a stop but split one of the ruffians in two from his shoulder to his opposite hip. Landing with the completion of the strike Chain froze like the shocked ruffians around her. No one seemed to even breathe as they waited for what would come next. What that turned out to be was Chain’s mermaid double swimming into the crowd through the air and up to Chain rather concerned.
“Is something wrong? Does it appear that people are not as easy to simply kill as a talking monster?”
Chain’s mermaid double became taken aback as she saw the frustrated pout on Chain’s face. She was obviously annoyed by something and the complaint that she verbalized clarified what it was.
“I was hoping maybe killing a person would upset me and open a path in my head to another part of me, but all I can see is that darn dragon. –⁈ Dragon? When did I learn that word? Hrm~! It’s so frustrating not having everything in my head like it should be!”
Sighing heavily, Chain’s double slumped her shoulders and admonished her.
“I understand how frustrated we are, but this does not seem the best time to dwell on it.”
Looking up at her mermaid double Chain was unable to ignore the enraged bandits any longer.
“Oh right, I am in a fight.”
“No, You’re in a slaughter. Killing one my men and then acting like his death is your problem. I don’t care how much money you’re worth anymore. You. Are. Dead!”
The ruffian leader lowered his gun onto Chain and attempted to pull the trigger. Before he could her foot made its way fully into his stomach and he was launched into the faux cave. The others watched their leader crash into the ground several meters away and nearly forgot about Chain. Spinning to her feet she reminded them that that was not a good idea and her sword drew a spiral of blood around her as she rose. The screams that erupted from those in reach of Chain’s sword assured she was no longer forgotten and the group she stood in the middle of all drew and turned their own revolvers onto her. Their hurried attempts to draw their weapons compromised their aims and perhaps prevented some of them from shooting their fellows as Chain leapt straight up, her cape vanishing into thin air like the last traces of a fire. Even as bad as their aims were, compromised in their haste, a number of the ruffians still managed to shoot their fellows with some being less fortunate then receiving simple injury.
From where he lay on the ground the ruffian leader had rolled onto his back and propped himself up on an elbow. As Chain emerged fully above the heads of the crowd of ruffians, he leveled his gun on her and took the shot. His shot proved a waste of ammunition as Chain either by instinct, foresight, or simply inhuman reaction ability summoned her cape again and let it absorb the bullet harmlessly.
In the same motion that Chain summoned her cape again, and was screamed at by the ruffian leader, she pulled herself into a tight spin and threw herself back at the ground. Landing hard and low in an extreme three-point-stance she sprang to her feet and used her momentum to shove back the nearest ruffian. As he stumbled back Chain’s sword followed him in a flash and stole his life. Before the body even hit the ground, she pivoted and engaged the next ruffian. By this point they had for the most part straightened themselves out, but it meant little against Chain’s speed, deft footwork, unexpected acrobatics, and the confusion she caused with the constant appearing and disappearing of her cape. The ruffians never stood a chance and before they could panic enough to retreat, they all lay dead.
“You’re a monster…”
Scrambling backwards as Chain again turned her attention onto him, the ruffian leader waved his gun at her while accused her of being inhuman. Pouting, Chain summoned her cape long enough to retrieve her scabbard from whatever space the cape had taken it and sheathed her sword. Slinging her sword behind her right shoulder she corrected the ruffian leader.
“Not quite. I’m a Sa·B·er.”
In contrast to the ruffian leader’s confusion and shock, the child who now stood on the opposite side of the faux cavern from Chain shouted out a gleeful exclamation. Realizing they gave away their continued presence they drew their revolver and aimed it on the ruffian leader as they came under the ruffian leader’s aim.
“Don’t even think about it! I may be young but I’m a good shot and have the position advantage. I doubt you can shoot me from there as well as I can shoot you.”
“Damn brat! –⁈”
“No need to worry about that.”
Chain diffused the sudden tension as she casually kicked the gun out of the ruffian leader’s hand and clear out of the cave. Watching the flightpath of his gun in mouth hanging horror, he could barely believe that Chain completely disregarded him as she continued talking.
“When I woke up I heard horses, and based on your earlier conversation that was someone you know as well as more bad guys.”
“That’s right. Maye and I were spotted shortly before I found the Lucifalz. She attempted to draw them away while I confirmed its location.”
“Well, that means there’re more bad guys like him wherever we are, and I want him to go tell them all about me.”
“Why the hell would I do that⁈”
“Because it means you get to stay alive.”
The cheerful smile Chain turned onto the ruffian leader sent a chill down his spine. Scrambling away from Chain, he somehow managed to get back somewhat upright and fled practically on all fours. Chasing after his discarded revolver he yelled back threateningly.
“Don’t think I’ll forget this! You’ll regret sparing me when I get the gang together! Mark my words you welp!”
Chain watched him go with a blank look on her face while the child watched with greater anxiety. They were tempted to shoot him in the back but wondered if Chain would stop them. Glancing in the peculiar maid’s direction they saw her making her way towards the bodies of the fallen ruffians. Their mouth falling open as they realized what Chain was about to do, they suddenly chased after her.
“Wait! You can’t just desecrate the dead! You–!”
The child stopped short as Chain turned around suddenly and leveled them with a displeased pout, her left hand on her hip. Leaning in she pushed the child back with her intensity as she clarified what she was saying for them.
“If the Chainmail Maiden or Chainmaid is too much for you then Chain is fine. That’s who I am.”
“I’m also her, but you can call me Drop and not think about us being the same too much ~♪”
Surprising both Chain and the child, Chain’s mermaid double swam up beside her right elbow excitedly. Looking down at her double Chain questioned it having a name.
“You have a name? I don’t remember that and don’t even feel like if everything in my head was in there that I’d remember you having one.”
“Well, it makes things easier, doesn’t it?”
“Hm. I guess it does.”
Watching as Chain scratched the side of her nose and conversed with Drop, the child smiled and returned their revolver to its holster. Clasping their hands behind their back, they interrupted with their own introduction.
“Chain, Drop. It’s nice to meet you. I’m Finch, Finch Whitehead.”
Copyright © 2019 Joshua D Tarwater