Chapter 1: Prolog: Black Hole
I know, the time heal wounds but how much time need to pass, when someone abruptly tears out the root which has been growing into your heart for long years? Is that even possible to fill that hole? Is the lifetime enough? Is this hollow husk of heart even able bear the stress of flesh? Will it even have an occasion to be filled again or will it collapse inside like a rotten walnut? Will that become a black hole? Once great, ardently bright star, proudly giving light to the darkest corners of the world, warming cheerfully everything in its reach, enabling life to grow, then stripped of all its embers, exploding torturously as a supernova, leaving only tiny, dark grain, heavy in its greedy longing to take as much as it can but not able to give anything in exchange.
Can time heal the black hole?
It seems so. Yet the jets of energy can escape its abyss, traveling through the space chasm, taunting desperately like a lighthouse, promising a safe shore for these brave enough to get close. Seeking what once was lost and finding only few scraps.
However, even the jets aren't the true black hole's shine, are they? It is only able to offer an incandescent reflection of what it takes. It can no longer shine on its own and the heaviness grows with each try.
But the time heal the wounds, yeah?
So it naively awaits the day when the heaviness would be huge enough to tear the spacetime and find the way to the new world, where it could be born anew or find peace at last.
Chapter 2: 1. Dead End
Here comes the first chapter.
The deafening roar tore her ears leaving no place for any other sound to reach her. Pieces of the damaged aircraft were flying all around her, bumping into the unsteady metal walls adding to the overall clatter. The whole world was hazy, she couldn't even see properly and everything was moving so quickly she couldn't keep up. Everything but her. The muscles in her body were terribly slow and refused taking orders from her brain. Even them, the last thing she thought she could rely on, were against her.
Every heavy beat of heart was tearing her chest apart making it almost impossible to breathe. She tried to shout but couldn't hear any voice coming out her mouth. The roar of raw air breaking into the cockpit through the massive hole or maybe the roar of failing engine or whatever caused that unnatural noise, which was sending chills down her neck. Which was piercing the whole body, causing both physical and psychical pain, terrifying her to the core of her being. She wanted to move, to try to land the destroyed machine, to grab the parachute and leave it, to do anything, to at least save herself. However, most of all, she wanted to find the source of the roar. Her body was paralyzed by dread, lost in the sound she could bear no more.
The woman, with her pink hair ruffled by wind, was going down along with the aircraft, falling into pieces just as the damn machine, not able to do a thing about that. The shards of broken glass felt encouraged by her helplessness to dig deep into her body, leaving piercing pain, pinning her wrists to the wall, leaving her open for any other debris to feast on her body. And then everything went black and silent. Only the burning at her wrists felt real and the sound of her heavy breath.
She woke up, shuddering, barely able to catch a breath. A drop of cold sweat rolled down her jaw, hung on it just for a second to finally drip on the polished surface of the hard stone. She could feel the strands of pink hair clung all over the sweaty forehead and back of her neck. Only after a long while she acknowledged, she's no longer in the dream. The dream which had been haunting her for so long, always invariably appalling, always the same, always finishing with her waking up, covered in sweat, gasping for air. It was not different this time.
There was one meaningful difference, though. After acknowledging the nightmare, the pinkhead's senses started to respond to the surrounding, sucking it in, passing further to her unwilling mind to analyze. She didn't know the place. She tried to pull but, despite the strength of her arms, her wrists didn't budge a tiny bit. Unlike other things she could hear or feel in her dream, the burning on them was real. They were, no doubt, securely pinned to the stone wall. She made her knees straighten up to support the weight of her body on legs. It took some weight off the metal clasps, which were cutting violently into her pale wrists, keeping them reliably in place.
The cerulean eyes swept the area cursorily looking out for anything she could qualify as possibly dangerous… First and foremost. There was no need to seek far, there it was. The threat, sitting on the solid looking wooden chair, which was merely enough to support his massive body. She did the math in her mind and figured the man must have been at least 2 meters high and twice as heavy as her, with a fine pack of toned muscles sticking to his bones and little amount of fat here and there. The baldness of his head was shining slightly in the bright light of the torch fixed to the stone wall just behind him. Despite the whole place was rather dim, the torch was clearly illuminating the scars and tattoos his body was covered with. Savage dressed into leathers and furs as befits a native of Gran Pulse. His bearded face looked rather bored, absorbed with the new toy he was playing with.
The pink-haired woman's eyes widened and froze on the object in his hand. Her jaw slackened just for a little while but with the wave of anger and adrenaline which flooded her, it came back up forcefully. The initial haziness disappeared from her mind as far as her heart quickened enough to make her body ready to face the potential menace. Her eyes narrowed with barely contained fury but her teeth gritted, remembering her that she's in no position to take back what's hers.
The man stirred as if he felt her intense gaze on him and turned his bearded face towards his prisoner. Despite the anger she had felt a moment ago, her face was already impassive her eyes wary and focused on the man. You wanna survive, you put your emotions aside. The man lost interest in the ornamented, survival knife, he was playing with a moment ago and stuck it unrespectfully in a sturdy wooden table.
Though the cerulean eyes felt an urge to follow the knife, she decided against it, not wanting any emotions to affect her judgment. Even if this was the one she had got from her younger sister as a birthday present. The same one which happened to be so precious because of its sentimental value. The memento of her sister. The one and only thing which enabled her to feel her sister's presence, to reject everything that happened.
Sentimental value… She scoffed at herself in mind. You are bigger than shit like this.
The thoughts got quickly dismissed, though. She didn't let her mind wander, she kept it focused on the man who stood and closed the distance between them in a few lazy strides and examined her carefully, showing more impatience than excitement.
"Finally." He said rather plainly with only a hint of appreciation. The only answer he got, was a cold glare of her. Not that he expected any but the woman seemed for him strangely unconcerned by a situation she found herself in. Corner of his lips curved up a little bit as he recognized this kind of behavior as typical for a well-trained soldier. There was no need to bother with any other words. He turned and left, leaving her alone, pinned to the stone wall in this strange place.
Only then, when she was left alone, she let herself to occupy her mind by examining the surrounding thoroughly.
The place was dim, lightened only with a lantern here and there. There was not even a trace of sunlight so it was impossible to tell what time of day it was. That wasn't any kind of building made by a human, that was unmistakably a cavern. The cavern's walls were irregular with small and large cavities. She could even spot a few pillars, their shape only seemingly chaotic and disordered. They had numerous bulges and breaches, most of them were thinner in the bottom than in the upper part.
The water must have flowed here. She noted to herself.
The shapes in stone had been clearly made by water and it hadn't been just dripping leisurely. The current must have been quite strong here and the water level changing. She wondered if it still happened flow in this place. If it did, the estimated chances of survival would be rather poor. With her hands chained to the rock, she had no chances to free herself. Even if she didn't drown, staying in cold water would lead to hypothermia quickly. What bothered her even more, was the fact that the rainy season in Gran Pulse was about to begin in a few, maybe a dozen days.
If I don't get out of here until then, I'll learn the hard way how high the water level reaches.
The place was different from regular cave, though. The air was moist but it wasn't cold. It was rather warm… or that wasn't due to air. The stone. It wasn't as cold as it supposed to be. It wasn't really warm neither but its temperature was… pleasant?
It was probably that, what kept the overall temperature in cave pleasant. She clung to the rock some more. It was rather large-grained and harsh for her skin. The feeling of touching it, brought to mind sharpening of her gunblade. The sandstone sharpener exactly.
She wondered if some Pulsian savage took the Blazefire Saber – her beloved gunblade. Without training and the knowledge how to fight with this exceptional weapon, it was only going to squander in the hands of someone unfitted to even hold it. The weapon - exclusive. Only for elitary, high-ranked soldiers, which had past special training so as to fully bring out the potential of this truly unique weapon. Its lightness fitted perfectly with her agility and the 'army of one' style of fighting. She was the one who gave birth to the style and she liked the name, despite she hadn't been the one who called it like that the first time. The name reflected the nature and the point of it – using unusual quickness and nimbleness to just appear and disappear from enemy's site of view, jumping from foe to foe, leaving deadly cuts and wounds. Just 'The Army of One'. The sharpness of the blade was its another quality. It could easily split the hair in half. Its accuracy, enabling her to shot down a tiny bird in flight. Its reliability and the finest craftsmanship, which allowed her to transform the sword form into the gun and the other way round in a fraction of a second without the fear that something might jam.
At least I know where this one is. Her eyes came back to the survival knife she had got from her sister months earlier for her birthday. So practical… she had thought so then. Who could have known that was the exact day when her struggle for survival had begun. That was kind of paradox, she felt as if it all happened yesterday, though she also felt dozen years older.
She examined the cuffs on her wrists once again. They were solid and weren't going to budge no matter how many times she tried to free herself. Her wrists were held at the height of her head. High enough to keep her standing as long as her legs could support her. Whenever they couldn't, all her weight had to rest on her wrists, which were already achy because of doing so for goddess knew how long when she was out.
The sound of footsteps reached her ears. It was growing louder and louder and she could tell that at least three people were coming. The heavy clatter indicated that they were probably armed. Her assumptions were confirmed the moment the silhouettes emerged from one of the passages. There were four of them, all well-trained warriors. One of them stood out of the rest though. He was wearing black, well-fitted armor which seemed to not contract his movements at all and was probably giving him an additional advantage in dexterity. It clung to his body bringing out his muscles even more. The purple finishing and ornaments on it matched his eyes and long hair of the same color. A grape and black striped, folded bandana was tied around his head and a few feathers and beads were hanging from it, giving the man a pinch of mysticism. His jaw was square and strong, lips tight, overall expression rather serious. There was no doubt he was the one in charge.
The man stopped right in front of his prisoner, with the rest of the guards standing obediently just behind his back. He eyed her up and down with an uncommon scrutiny. He got no reaction to that, though. She only stared back into his eyes without blinking, her face showing no fear, no nervousness, not even anger or hater. It also didn't change when he spoke.
"She's the one. Free her hands and shall we begin." His voice was low and deep and there was definitely something mystical in the way he was taking.
Anyway, just after the words left his mouth, the two men from behind his back approached the woman and started working on her chains. She acknowledged that both of them had their own keys. This valuable information had been stored for later in the back of her mind, just before they twisted her arms behind her back and started to lead her behind, already receding in the dim passage, posture.
The pink-haired woman was being dragged back to the chamber she was kept in for some time earlier. She could feel the familiar, metallic taste of blood in her mouth and warm trickle was sipping from the cut on her lip, dripping to the stone here and there, staining it to intense, dark reddish color, marking the path. She wasn't a novice, she finished the commando training which prepared her for situations like the one she found herself into. She was aware of what it meant to be held captive. Countless interrogations, ceaseless tries to break her so as to obtain even the tiniest bit of information.
She sucked in her lip to prevent blood from trickling down her chin. They could beat her as much as they wanted, she wasn't going to sell her skin cheap. The physical pain didn't bother her as much as most people. To tell the truth, she had found herself in some dark moments of her life when the physical pain had felt like a liberation. Some people had even started to call her bloody knuckles, what had caused them bloody noses. Pushing boundaries of her combat training to the extent of physical pain had seemed to be the only way to deal with her untamable anger. Her grief such overwhelming that she would have done everything to just stop thinking. The constant struggle to not let the desperation to consume her all, day after day, bit by bit. For the exact moment, it had been great to stifle all these things, in the long run, it hadn't worked.
Her back hit the rock with such an impact that the air involuntarily left her lungs and refused to come back for a few seconds. By that time her left hand was already securely clasped and immobilized. She was no fool, she knew that with every day her chances of getting out of that place were shrinking significantly. Naivety was also foreign for her. That was nothing but logic to expect them to not be easy on her. Keeping her weak was in their business.
There was only one man standing in front of her trying to chain her right hand to the unyielding rock. Before he could finish, she drove a foot into his crotch with all her might. The man's eyes widened so much that his eyeballs threatened to fall out of its sockets and his jaw dropped in an inaudible cry. The grip on women's right wrist loosened and she freed her hand easily. Split second later, the key was wrestled out of the man's palm.
This is in my business to get out of here as fast as I can.
The man in front of her fell to his knees, clutching his genitals in both hands but another one was already running her way. The woman was aware that he would get to her before she would be able to free her second hand so she resigned from trying. Instead, she stiffened the muscles of her imprisoned arm, hopped with her left leg on the crouching man's shoulder and pushed firmly, jumping high and pulling up with her left arm in the same time. She half-rotated in the air just enough to drive her right feet into the approaching man's jaw. The kick would have been strong enough to stun even a gorgonopsid, so the human was out of her mind for some time.
While falling down, she smashed into the stone wall quite harshly but she was ready for that and to embrace the slight pain without slowing down her movements. She quickly started working the clasp on her right hand. Some fresh blood appeared on her wrist but there was no time to lick her wounds. With the corner of her eye she saw that the man, she kicked in the crotch, started to get up from his knees. He was still bent in half and was leaning with one hand on the wall while the second one was still between his legs. There was also the third man quickly approaching with his ax prepared, ready to swing with all his might.
Even with the key, the lock was working heavily but this time she managed to open it just before the man reached her. She saw him take a swing and her adrenaline spiked up immediately. The woman rolled over the back of ball-kicked Pulsian who was still bend in half and leaning on the wall. The clung of the weapon hitting the hard rock filled the air and it bounced off the empty halls, coming back a few times as an echo and followed by an angry growl of the one who missed his pray.
The moment her legs connected with the ground she shot forward with her best sprinter speed, running towards one of the passages and aiming to grab her knife which was still stuck into the wooden table. That was indisputable that her chances in bare-handed combat with three armed, well-trained barbarians were poor. Well… she managed quite well so far but still, it would be insane to push her luck even further. However, with a knife, she was ready to show them, or anyone she would meet at her escape route, what she's capable of while using the short blade, relying mostly on her quickness, agility and combat instincts.
When she was just a few steps before her goal, another guard suddenly emerged from one of the passages, standing in her way. She almost bumped into him, still she managed to recoil and reroute, cursing in mind that she had to give up on the knife. She rushed into one of the passages, hoping that this one would lead her out to the surface. The passage was winding but it wasn't that what was bothering her. It started to become tighter and tighter. If it continues like that, it will quickly become… She froze with her eyes widened in disbelieve and mouth agape. You're fucking kidding me…
She turned back helplessly, knowing that was the end of her escape but before she could even face the opponents properly, she was struck in the head with some blunt weapon. The world around her started to lose its sharp curves and colors immediately. The knees refused to hold her up, she fell on all fours and, not long later, all the surrounding went blank.
Chapter 3: 2. The Huntress
I have another chapter for you. I wish the happy new year for everyone and special thanks for LadyWolvie82 for beta reading after such a long time of my absence.
She was falling, hard. She could feel that. She was falling with her back to the ground… except that there was no ground. Grand Pulse disappeared from under her feet and there was only black, dark emptiness engulfing her from each side. Was she even falling or was she just hanged in the emptiness? Some doubt nested in her mind. But just a while ago she was getting further and further away, throwing her hand up, trying to reach… What was she trying to reach? There was nothing above her no matter how far she stretched her arm. She was already far away, gone, abandoned in the void thick of sorrow.
Her eyes shut ever so tightly, and her arm reached up once again, as a last resort. Full of desperation, stripped of hope yet still, she kept searching for what was already lost. No… wait. Don't go… She heard herself whisper into the very emptiness, but sound waves seemed to not propagate in there. She wanted to try once again, to call but the last breath of air had already left her lungs. With no air to make her vocal chords vibrate, all she could do now was to mouth the name she knew so well, the one she wasn't ready to let go yet… the one she wasn't ready to forget ever. The name's owner… that's who her hand was trying desperately to reach but the warmth of another hand never came.
The void and the stupor started to slowly give place to slight pain. Barely noticeable at first, easy overlook, then harder and harder to ignore when it started to escalate with every single beat of her heart. For a while she thought her organs must have been misplaced as the pumping of blood was the most intense in her head instead of her chest. Hell, it was getting strong enough to slowly drag her out of the nothingness she found herself in. By the time she started to distinguish sounds, she was sure that the crimson liquid, which was responsible for distributing oxygen in her system, would rip her skull apart.
She opened one of her eyes ever so slightly, with a painful grimace on her face. Stone. Lit torch. Stone passages. Pulsian warrior. Stone columns. Wooden table. Even more stone. Well… she seemed to be in the exact the same place as before. At least this time the pounding in her head distracted her from the pain in her wrists.
Her knees straightened up to put out the pressure from her hands. As she moved her leg, she heard quiet clinging this time. Her eyes dropped down to the space between her ankles and her gaze focused on the chain hanging from one ankle to another.
Tch…looks like my vain attempt to run away made them dust off their brains and maybe they'll start to use them… unfortunately.
The guard acknowledged that the woman woke up, but this time he didn't go to inform his boss. He just looked at her and went back to whatever he was doing… which was sitting in the chair and doing nothing.
The light of the torch was dim, but it still was too bright for her and was only deepening her headache. Despite the pain, she whipped the grimace out of her face, equipping it in its typically dissatisfied expression.
" Indifference. That's the only way. The moment they see the slightest piece of your weakness, you lose it. They will feast on that like a predator, feeling that they're close to breaking you. Do not show them anything. Any emotions, any pain, any needs. Do not make it easier for them. Be an impenetrable stone." The man in sumptuous, military uniform stopped in front of the modest group of recruits to sweep them all. "You'll train the captive situation in pairs for five days then you change places. Everything that doesn't make permanent damage for health or physical condition, allowed. Interrogators, I count on your creativity. Captives, good person at your right is your pair." The pink haired woman looked to her right but there was no one there. She was on the verge. She looked left to check if there is anyone without pair but then she spotted the man stopping just before her eyes. The exact man who was speaking a moment ago.
" Yes, sir?" She asked, her voice full of confidence and unwavering, back perfectly straight. He had his hands crossed behind his back and was watching her carefully as if measuring an opponent.
" You train with me." His eyes narrowed when the thinnest smirk appeared on his face. "And since I no longer need to train the captive side, it's whole 10 days for you."
Impenetrable stone, huh? She looked around seeing the passages and different shapes hollowed in stone by water. So much for impenetrable…
The pink fringe was falling on her eyes but… well, she couldn't use her hands to brush it off and she wouldn't risk any sharp movement of her head. Trying to blow it from her eyes was an option but she decided to not bother. The picture of the surrounding was safely stored in her mind anyway and there didn't seem to be anything different.
She had time. There was nothing more she could do to improve her situation now, so she started to rummage through this storage of memories. Analyzing the recent ones was harder than she thought. The whole attempt of escape was blurry, probably because of the head injury. With enough amount of effort, she was able to recall most of it though. The number of crossings, the turns she took, and the location of the dead end. The last one was the most crucial. Stumbling across it again would be just… well, it would be just stupid of her to not learn on her mistakes and it would probably cost her 's not some mindless moth bumping the light bulb once after another. Every piece of information was useful for the next try. Supposing that there would be the next try. She would have to do something about the chain between her ankles first, though. Then find a way out of that labyrinth, avoiding being knocked cold again in the meantime.
Right.She thought, taking a cleansing breath. A piece of cake.
Suddenly there was some rumble down one of the passages and female voice could be heard. It was still too far away to distinguish exact words but gradually it was getting more and more audible. She stopped listening. Her attention snapped back to the guardian who stood up from his chair and started his lazy walk towards the same passage the voice was coming from.This one must lead me to the exit.
"Heeey, Shammu. Anythin' new?" Now she could hear the voice more clearly. It was low pitched and had a thick, strong Pulsian accent but also definitely feminine. Its tone was clearly indicating that the woman she was about to see was the confident one and doesn't give a shit about what people think about her. "How is the sleepin' princess?"
The sleeping princess? The woman made an actual effort to try to remove the pink fringe from her eyes with a move of her head, that only gave her more pain.
"Awake." She heard an answer from the man who was guarding her just a while ago. I guess it does refer to me. Tch...
"Too bad, there is no need for a wake-up kiss."
The prisoner's brows shot to the roots of her pink hair when she tried to imagine this absurd situation. For a moment here, her mind was more blank than her face, but she quickly composed herself again, hearing the steps of the owner to this intriguingly perky - but also a little bit intimidating voice.
The woman was approaching in a quite quick but brisk pace. Her steps were steady and graceful at the same time. She was tall, and her shoulders were muscled from years of weapon wielding. That's at least what the pinkette assumed seeing red spear at woman's back. She was wearing a blue, Pulsian sari. It was spreading from her left shoulder to the right hip and then went behind her back, tied in some wicked way, which made it cover woman's backside and hang leisurely covering completely woman's right leg but leaving convenient split for the left one. On her legs were almost knee high, leather, strapped sandals. Airy but, thanks to the sturdy leather, able to protect shins from minor injuries and scratches. Made for Gran Pulse climate and wildlife.
The huntress. The prisoner noted to herself. She did her homework before getting to Gran Pulse, and she knew that the attire the woman was wearing was traditional sari of Gran Pulse huntresses. She read a lot about how it is precisely sewed and tied, to give full comfort in a fight. How it completely does not restrict any movement human body is capable of, how the fabric is of best quality and carefully selected, enabling noiseless sneaking and silky enough to just perfectly cling to the body where needed or just falling freely and dancing in unison with a wind where loosely released. However, she couldn't help huge doubts from forming in her mind. Does not constrict any movement? I do not know how she is even able to walk in it without tripping or walking on the front part. No one is going to convince me this bullshit is the actual truth. Well… unless I try it myself and am proved wrong… which is, considering my current situation, highly unlikely.
"My, my, what a prey we've caught 'ere." Mused clearly entertained woman, stopping just in front of her prisoner, who decided to ignore the derogatory comment. She was aware that being humiliated and beaten was going to happen daily - so the sooner she got used to it, the better.
Her muscles tensed in alert when she saw the huntress leaning closer with the hand reaching toward her face. How surprised she was when the slender fingers brushed the rest of the pink hair off her face and tugged them behind her ear.
"Ahh… That's way better, isn't it?"
Cerulean blue eyes rose to measure the Pulsian, who stood there with her hands on her hips and with clearly satisfied with herself expression. Then, when nothing was obscuring her vision and the light was better, she could see some more details. Her complexion was slightly darker than most people she knew back on Cocoon, but it wasn't brown yet. Sun over Gran Pulse can be scorching as hell, she doubted that it's sun's fault, though. The pieces of Pulsian's body, which weren't covered by the sari, undeniably showed a rich amount of solid muscle everywhere from the base of her leg, through half-uncovered abs, slender fingers, sculpted forearms to finish with strong shoulders. She could tell just after a few glances that the woman had to be strong but, in contrast to the guard she saw earlier, her muscles weren't overgrown. They probably let her maintain a good proportion of strength and agility. This one will probably give me a little bit more trouble… The biggest problem was getting a weapon. Once she had that she could deal with most of these apes. The truth is, the bigger they are the slower are their movements and she knew just fine where to cut to slow them even more and finish the job if there was time for this one though, it was hard to tell… and her confidence was unsettling. Unless it's only boldness out of stupidity. When she finished estimating the level of hazard her eyes went further up. The woman was half of the head higher with a thick mane of dark hair wildly blown by the wind. They were mostly let looseand falling on her back over the shoulders. Some tiny braids were visible on each side of her head and tugged behind her ears. Probably an attempt to keep the hair in check to some purple earrings in the shape of fangs were hanging from her ears. There were also two necklaces. One of them was short, finished with a colorless crystal on the height of her collarbone. The second one, longer, made from a variety of colorful beads and ornaments, hanging down her cleavage to the black top, which kept her breasts firmly in cerulean eyes decided to not linger too much on this specific part of the huntress' body and went back to the face only to see her lips, a little bit fuller then her own and curved in a lopsided grin. She noted also shapely nose, high cheekbones and a beauty spot just under her right eye. The lopsided grin grew bigger when their eyes met finally. Green…that's a rare color. However, that wasn't about color. The eyes were narrowed and piercing, clearly intended to be intimidating. Even she could feel the slight spike of adrenaline when these eyes were trying to drill through her and reach the core of her being. You know how it is when you look into predator's eyes – you cannot avert the gaze. That would be the sign of weakness and signal for a predator to attack. You want to survive, you need to hold the gaze and fight back. That's what she did. She stared back into the jade eyes with unwavering confidence. Her cold cerulean eyes shooting icicles and sustaining the impenetrable wall of ice just behind them. Oh, she was aware her own gaze could be… or not only could but most of the times was intimidating and seeping with scorn. Once she heard rumors among young recruitsthat she could freeze the water with a stare. Complete absurd… Though, she never really proved them wrong.
So that was what she did, she fought back the scrutinous gaze what seemed to excite the Pulsian even more, as her smirk grew bigger. Any other expression was unnecessary, so she just kept it how she liked it – plain and impassive.
"Well… I like what I'mseein'." Commented the dark-haired woman letting out a small laughter.
Go fuck yourself.
The Cocoonian was always proud of her ability to control her emotions. It was harder with her tongue. She had tended to snap back at officers with a higher rank, what had caused her decent amount of trouble but after years she finally mastered the ability to bite her tongue too. She was taught in a hard way that talking back when you're in no position to do so wasn't the best idea. Saying some thoughts aloud, when it wasn't necessary, could bring her only more inconvenience. Especially when she was still Guardian Corp sergeant and had orders to follow. Her employers didn't like her talking her mind, so she found it unnecessary to inform them that she was going to take care of the problem her way. Just if she was effective, they didn't ask the questions. It didn't mean that the retorts to didn't come to her mind, though.
"Oerba Yun Fang. I'm 'ere to watch over ya and make sure ya won't do anythin' stupid. Ya can call me Fang."
Tch… I doubt I'll need that.
"It's your turn to give me your name I guess."Fang added; and when she got no answer, it didn't help at all. She let out a resigned breath. "Yeah, they've told me ya are not the talkative one but ya are stuck with me for the rest of the day and probably more in the nearest future. It's just more fun talkin' with someone than talkin' to someone." The Pulsian shook her head huffing under her nose with a mild amusement. "Still not a word, huh?" There was a small pause and the pinkette started to wonder when the Pulsian would stop waiting for her answers. "I heard that even Caius wasn't able to make ya sing."
Caius. He must be the one who should interrogate me.
"Unfortunately, he's not the one to give up easily. He'll be back." Fang's expression grew more serious and for just a tiny moment she could swear that she saw the trail of concern in the jade eyes."With less and less patience every next time. That's your choice." She shrugged and started to walk back in the direction of the table and chair. She unclasped her red spear from a harness on her lower back and leaned it on the wall then she grabbed the backrest of the chair and started dragging it closer to the prisoner. The chair made the screeching noise, its legs scraping on the raw stone, before it was spun around with its back towards the prisoner and the huntress sat, straddling it with her legs and leaning with her forearm on the backrest.
"I have to admit, I've been excited to meet ya. Ya're already a legend 'ere. Ya gave us a lot of trouble to catch ya. Many fine warriors have died because of ya. I heard about your quickness and how ya're able to exploit the terrain against us. Ya, the foreigner, exploitin' our home against us. Intriguin' as hell. I wish I was there, so I could try ya myself or at least watch ya in action. To check if ya really are as good as they say - or they only exaggerate your prowess, because it took them so damn long to take ya alive."
The pink haired woman stood there attentively, watching suspiciously the Pulsian. She couldn't get, what all that talking was for. Were they going to play a good and a bad cop? If you think I'm going to fall for that you're seriously mistaken.
The Pulsian seemed rather relaxed, sitting leisurely in the chair. "Yeah, I know ya won't tell me. There is some way to check how good ya are, though." She twirled the bunch of keys around her finger a few times and the provocative smirk appeared on her face.
The prisoner's heart quickened but she tried to look just as impassive as earlier. Is it even possible to be so foolish and cocky? Well, she always tended to underestimate people's stupidity but this one didn't seem to be a total idiot. Cocky, yes. Stupid, no. Anyway, she made sure to get ready in case the huntress decided to free her. Her eyes observed watchfully as her jailer got up from the chair and slowly closed the distance between them with lips curved, eyes a little bit shady.
"That's one heck of the way to check."The Pulsian stopped just in front of her as if weighing the options or just to taunt her. "That's temptin' as hell to see what ya're really made of…" She bit her lip seizing her opponent and considering options."Ahh… But I'm no fool." There was a decent amount of disappointment in brunettes voice before she winked and pinned the keys back to her belt. "They would skin me alive if ya escaped."
The playful attitude of Fang started to irritate her. Somehow, she wasn't in the mood to play.
A small frown appeared at Fang's face as if she was considering her earlier words. "Though I pretty much doubt that." The frown quickly gave place to a confident smile. "No person or beast I haven't been able to hunt down so far." She blew out a long, disappointed breath, having to turn down the challenge she was so eager to take. "If not for Vanille, I would gladly take the risk… but it's not only my fate I'm responsible for." The imprisoned woman stored another piece of information. Vanille. Whoever she is, Oerba Yun Fang seems to be deeply concerned about her well-being. You never know when some information may come in handy… And Fang doesn't seem to be secretive one. Good.
"Boss is oddly interested in all of ya. I wonder why."
The sentence caught her attention. It confirmed her assumptions. I'm not the only one here. All my squad is here… or dead by now.
People always underestimated the value of good reconnaissance. They prefer to run headfirst into a battle. Surveillance is a key when you need to take care of something quietly, minimize losses or to survive in a hopeless situation… Just like mine.
"Ah, anyway. We need a name for ya, don't we?" The Cocoonian didn't answer but Fang expected that this time. "Since ya won't tell me, I need to make it up on my own." She furrowed her brows thinking deeply and leaned her chin on her fist. "Hmm…" She murmured traveling slowly with her eyes up and down the prisoner. Finally, her eyes stopped at the height of the Cocoonian's breasts. A little smile appeared on her face was what surprised the pink haired woman at first, and then caused the anger inside of her to grow. It grew even more when a trace of embarrassment started to appear in her head.
"What do we have 'ere?" The Pulsian leaned down to take a better look. The pinkhead's anger peaked and her cerulean eyes were the killing ones. Her hand was itching, yearning to slap the insolent woman. Unfortunately, both of her hands were tied, and balling and straining them didn't do a damn thing. She saw huntresses hand reach toward her chest to take… The pendant…She was looking at the pendant. For a while, she felt like an idiot. She even blinked twice before her eyes went back to express nothingness. The situation already gone from her mind. She decided to just leave it behind, seeing no point in analyzing it, wanting to just forget, too embarrassed to dwell upon her mind's interpretation of the situation.
"Lightnin' bolt, huh?" The brunette took her back to reality with her low voice. She let the lightning bolt shaped pendant go. "Lightnin'. I like it." Her smile looked satisfied. "I hope ya like it too because ya didn't give me much of a choice."
Surprisingly, she did like it. To tell the truth, she liked it more than her real name. Surprisingly, it was familiar to her… Not that she showed it somehow. Her eyes were still staring back at the brunette coldly. The brunette who took a few steps back and was sweeping her eyes through the prisoner, stroking her chin and nodding to herself with deep satisfaction.
"Yeah. Lightnin'." The familiar smirk appeared on her face. "Quick, deadly and stunnin'."