The Puppet Assassin - Ch 35 [who is saved?]

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Chapter Thirty-Five

Who is saved?

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“The next one, Dizelde.”

I looked up at Luke, hearing him despite the ringing sound in my ears. I squeezed my eyes shut and moved onto the next door. Once I got it unlocked, I shifted to the next one. I didn’t open it. I didn’t want to be faced with a body. Luke checked each room when I was far enough away. I still smelt them though. The smell lingered in the air, with every breath. Several times I had to stop for a moment to close my eyes and clear their blurriness.

I finished one side and started on the next. Behind me, Luke slammed a door shut. I think it sank in then, that he knew all these people, that he was seeing bodies of people he’d had contact with. When I finished the entire hallway and he’d checked every door, he was pale and furious. I held my ground shakily as he turned those fierce eyes onto me.

“Next room.”

I trotted after him, keeping up with his long stride. Were there words I was supposed to say?

“Don’t go into a fight angry,” I said quickly. It wasn’t the right words but it was important. Worse than the danger of being blind with rage was the regret that came from harming someone unnecessarily whilst in that rage.

He stopped in front of the next door and splayed his hand over the centre. He took a deep breath and nodded. I didn’t know if he was acknowledging my comment or just affirming something with himself but he looked calmer.

“There are three men in here,” he said suddenly. “Leave them to me.”

I firmed my jaw but didn’t say anything. There was no point in arguing. But he wouldn’t be able to stop me once we were in the room. He moved his hand slowly down the doorknob and shoved it open. A hand holding a long knife was blocked and Luke entered the room, gripping the knifeman’s wrist. It seems that this group was ready for us.

I slid into the room, pressing my back against the wall so that no one could get to me from behind. One of the three circling Luke saw me. And I saw him. Morse. He broke away from the group and stepped towards me, his hands raised and open like the martial arts master had trained us. I wanted this. I hooked my foot around the door and pulled it shut. I didn’t want anyone sneaking in.

“Why’d you run off, kid?” He shook his head disappointedly. “You were Scythe’s pet. You were going to make us millions.”

I ignored him, simply watching his body’s motions. Nothing else would distract me.

“I trained you. How do you think this is going to go down?”

I’d heard that before, from all the others who’d trained with me. I never gave my all in trainings. I never wanted to. Not that I believed I even had a chance against this man, an experienced brute.

He came at me from the side, fast like the man in the other room, but I got my arm up in time, not surprised when the blow instantly numbed my fingers. The pain throbbed and before I could even wince, his next blow came on my already cracked ribs. The breath flew out of me and I flew back. I put a steadying hand on the wall and grunted.  Both arms were screaming with pain now but that didn’t stop me from taking out my knives. I could hardly grip them but I brought them up so he was less likely to take a swing at me. He tried for an uppercut combo and I managed to get my knife to slash across the knuckles of one hand.  The pressure of making the strike with my hands made it feel like I’d inflicted the wound on myself.

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