The instant I jumped out of the manhole in the mansion’s floor, I kicked off the edge of it, launching myself forward. I ducked into the nearest room and saw them. The Plainkind that had been following me, and a brutish woman. Who was that?
I pointed my sword at her, “Did you kill Mhanuel or was it Dezallldwinn?”
She laughed. I realized that this large hall was lined with members of the gang. I did not care in the slightest. It’s funny how it worked like that. I had become an expert at not caring.
“Another one trying to convince me that I am some sort of criminal?” She laughed again, standing from what appeared to be a throne. “Mariça here has already all but failed that task!”
She was on the the other end of the long hall, I guessed about twenty cubits. I scanned the faces before replying and then noticed that the leader was in the wings. He didn’t want to be found out. This woman would take the fall if anything went wrong.
I grabbed Mariça’s arm, something I instantly questioned doing. Too late now. I moved it so that it was lined up with her eyes and the true leader.
“Alright, miss Plainkind, that’s your man. He’s the real leader.”
Mariça growled, like a cat. Not a large one, just a regular town cat.
“Everyone, you see these two fine ladies?” The real leader said, “You will be paid generously if you can hand me their heads.”
Without thinking, I threw the pickaxe across the room. I wasn’t aware that I was strong enough to do something like that. Probably I wasn’t, but my adrenaline had spiked a long time ago. The axehead hit the burly woman, but not the pick. Just the blunt part where the handle attached. She was instantly knocked unconscious.
At this, to my elation, the room fell upon us. I readied my sword, and Mariça lifted two large black swords.
Mariça moved before me, and immediately cleaved an older woman in half, diagonally from the hip to the opposite shoulder. What in the seven true timelines was that? How could she be so strong? And then she did it again, cutting across someones waist, her weapon continuing as if it hadn’t hit anything and then dismembering the victim’s arm.
I watched the two people, now in four parts, knowing that they would live for another seven or eight seconds. Enough time for their brains to realize how dead the rest of their bodies were.
But Mariça didn’t stop. I counted forty people. twenty on each side, and more poured in from the three windows and from the door.
I sneered, and spat coagulated blood from my mouth. It had coated my teeth, which inhibited the pain a bit.
I ran, treating my sword like a javaline [javaline is not a spelling error] and lanced an oncoming man in the abdomen. Then I turned and stabbed out an eye, removed the weapon, and then cut out someone’s cheek. I hacked an arm, getting more and more excited.
An idea popped into my head, but I knew it wasn’t mine. This was someone else’s thought.
“Why not take control of all that adrenaline energy?” Is what it called.
I nodded to the voice in my head. I focused and pumped more adrenaline into my bloodstream, manually. I could feel a change as I siphoned, allowing just enough into my veins to keep me going. It was a wonderfully numb feeling. The feeling of a true, controlled adrenaline rush.
A few of the men looked at me, surprised. The leader of the gang said, “don’t be scared, she’s just controlling her adrenaline rush like a Metch! It doesn’t matter, all the N’Tariel do it! Just kill her!”
But he was wrong, it did matter. I felt like I was glowing.
I ran forward and lunged. My arm shot forward in half the time it normally took, and after I punctured a ribcage, I pulled it back and hit again. I want to make it clear that I had in no way exceeded my natural capabilities. I was simply at a higher level of control. I wanted to stab, and my muscles completed the action as fast as possible.
I could feel them ache already. This was causing physical damage. I vowed to train with controlled adrenaline, to get my body used to it. I was in love with the numbness. I cut through the room just as fast, although not nearly as destructively, as Mariça.
When I glanced at the windows, I realized that people were now leaving, running away. They also weren’t coming in from the door, but I could tell that there was a different reason for that. It seemed that once Natasha had come upstairs, she had neatly subdued and bound anyone who crossed her path. There was a line of perfectly concious and obedient men kneeling before her, arms bound behind their backs. Huh.
I turned back, cutting into an arm. The fighting had died down now. Mariça had also seen her boss, and was suddenly no longer using lethal techniques. She dropped her swords with a thundering clash (were those things a hundred pounds or something?) and began punching. The act sent people flying into and through walls. I just let go of my sword, leaving it inside some woman’s thigh.
The adrenaline wore off. I wasn’t left tired, not in the slightest, but I knew I would have to rest before I did it again.
I noticed my mother had been one of the people in the crowd. She was holding an arm and laughing. I could tell that I was the reason it was bleeding.
I ran to her, “Are you okay?”
“Dear Jutt, how wild you’ve become!”
Her voice was deep, like she had been possessed by a man. I was instantly worried about something else. My mother had never been what people call “stable.” I suspected that’s where my condition came from. I inherited it, like a beautiful and unique curse.
I had not calmed down though. That’s not how this worked. I would stay at this heightened level for weeks, maybe months. You could never tell. I would just have to wait and find out.
I realized for the first time that her arm was around a neck, a head was jutting from under her arm. It was the leader, slumped unconscious.
“Jutt, look! I’m the leader now!”
She giggled. It was a lovely, beautifully insane sound.