A Curse of Tooth and Claw: Chapter Two
In which there is a breach and Kiki must defend the Wall.
Last we read Chapter One, in which we met Kiki Xochicale and her best friend Yarixa.
Kiki raised twin tlazons above her head and sent the lances flying. As the darts shot through the air, time seemed to slow. Kiki’s heart thumped at a steady rhythm as she pulled another set of tlazons from her sheath. The first set landed squarely into their target. The demon shrieked as its body burst into a cloud of dust.
Kiki didn’t have time to relish in her victory before another figure burst from the tree line. Kiki pulled her bow from her back and notched a jade-tipped arrow. As the new demon sprinted across the divide, another figure crashed through the dense trees into the no-zone.
Where is Yarixa? Kiki thought to herself as she loosened her first arrow. The jade tip sang a sinister melody as it arched through the air and hit its target in the neck. Kiki cursed and notched another arrow.
From behind her on the safe side of the Wall, a horn blared. Kiki spared a glance back to see the nearest warning signal had been ignited and was now a beacon of orange flame. Kiki blew a breath of relief knowing that Yarixa had made it back and sounded the alarm.
Now, all she had to do was hold off whatever crawled from the Cicatrix until back up arrived. The demon with the arrow in its neck roared. The trees shook in response, the last leaves on their branches shivering to the ground. Kiki stared down her sight and released the arrow towards the demon. The jade tip sank into its chest and the demon exploded into a gale of black dust.
Kiki swung her bow back over her shoulder as she turned to face the third demon that had made it to the Wall and was now scaling up its length. Kiki grabbed a stone brick from a pile nearby and tossed it down. The demon hissed as the brick hit it, but not being made of jade or obsidian, the demon was more annoyed than actually harmed. Kiki pulled a tlazon from its sheath and threw it at the demon. It hit the beast in the shoulder and served to slow it down but did nothing to kill it.
Kiki threw a handful more tlazons at the demon, anything to slow it down and make it easier to kill when it breached the Wall. When the demon drew too close, Kiki pushed off from the Wall and pulled her machete from its sheath.
The demon lumbered over the stone railing with a low growl. It reeked of rotten meat and feces making Kiki gag as the smell wafted over her. The demon growled in response as it flashed a mouth full of decaying teeth. Rotting flesh was stuck between its front teeth and Kiki wrinkled her nose.
“Didn’t your mother ever tell you to wash your mouth,” Kiki said as she took on the offensive and slashed at the demon’s neck. A headless demon was still a dead demon.
The demon snarled as the obsidian blade slashed through its skin, revealing a crimson rip from its shoulder to the hip. Inhumanly fast, the demon launched into the air and landed behind Kiki. It swiped a clawed hand toward her, cutting through her leather doublet. A cry of pain escaped Kiki’s lips before she could stop herself. A gash ran the length of Kiki’s side, from the bottom of her ribs to the top of her hip. Warmth spread across her skin as she bled freely.
The demon slashed at her again, but this time Kiki ducked and returned the favor with her own strike to the demon’s ankles.
The demon crashed to the hard stone and Kiki followed through with her machete raised over her head. Kiki sliced through the demon’s neck with a cry of triumph, cleaving the head from its shoulders. The demon’s body misted in a swirl of darkness and vanished before Kiki’s eyes.
Kiki flicked the ichor from her blade before returning it to its sheath.
The sound of pounding footsteps reached Kiki’s ears and she turned on her heel in time to face her Commanding Officer, Solana Ramirez. The Captain’s cheeks were red from the heat of exertion yet her dark red hair was pulled into a severe bun. Not even an errant curl was permitted to escape the confines of her perfectly coifed head.
Solana glanced around, her eyes sharp to take in the details of fresh claw marks etched into the stone. Kiki noticed how Solana was quick to take note of the demon ichor oozing at her feet and the fresh wound cut into her side.
“Report,” Solana ordered, her tone clipped.
Kiki stood at attention and delivered her account of the events and the deaths of the three demons that had escaped the Cicatrix.
Solana’s eyes were hard as she listened to Kiki, her features like a statue, cold and unmoving. Behind Solana, stood Yarixa and a contingent of Slayers prepared to fight.
Solana barked orders to the Slayers and they burst into action. A team of Slayers posted up along the balustrade while another team set up their gear to scale down the side of the Wall in search of any further disturbances.
“You,” Solana pointed at Kiki. “The infirmary. Now.”
Kiki motioned to Yarixa to follow along, but Solana was quick to stop them. “Where do you think you’re going?” The Captain asked Yarixa, her eyes narrowed in a cruel smirk.
Yarixa swallowed hard before answering. “I was going to escort Kiki to the infirmary.”
Solana glanced the length of Yarixa’s body with medical precision, unfeeling and detached. “Unless you’ve taken a wound that I can’t see, then you will remain at your post until your designated time of leave.”
Yarixa gave Kiki a pleading look, but even Kiki couldn’t worm her way out of everything. Yarixa bowed her head and made her way back to her position along the Wall.
Kiki bit her tongue at the look of satisfaction on Solana’s face. The Captain deserved to be brought down a peg or two. But Kiki doubted Solana would even be able to hear a word Kiki said, what with her head so far up her own behind. With a barely contained grunt of frustration, Kiki left Yarixa and the rest of the Slayers to tend to the Wall and made her way toward the infirmary.
Next in Chapter Three, we will meet Luna.