Between Two Worlds

4.5 To dodge a bullet

If one happened to own a pair of binoculars and looked out their window, and by some incredulous magic saw underneath the railway bridge at the small corner of the quay, they would have found a group of youths strangely frozen in place with their mouths hanging open, each staring out at the open sea.

Then, chaos ensued.

First, Steve burst through the surface of the polluted murky water in a panicked and bewildered state screaming for help. Then the youngest of the thugs, Ricky, alerted everyone’s attention with a loud “IT’S THAT GIRL!” to the redhead who had sprung out of nowhere. Roge paid no attention to him but called out to Steve. Devon however, swore under his breath and advanced towards her. Heated words were promptly exchanged as Ricky and Devon ignored Roge’s call for a prop to fish Steve out and went for Athena instead.

Their moment of distraction was over a few seconds, but it was enough to turn the tide around.

“AAAAAAAAAAAARRRRGH!!!” A high pitched scream made Ricky look back distractedly. The sight before him and Athena was quite spectacular, or unspectacular depending on whose side it was seen from.

Kian had locked his arms around Devon’s stomach and launched him into the air. He pushed out his hips and arched his back to generate as much strength from his lower body, sending Devon sailing above him. Using his perpetrator’s own weight, Kian brought him down in a vertical slam onto the back of his head. Devon’s knocked out body crumpled into a pile of mess.

In his rush to help Steve, Roge didn’t realise how close he was to Curtis. Curtis locked his tied wrists against the handrail and kicked himself off the ground, slamming his shoulder into Roge’s back. The side tackle coupled with his leaned-over posture sent the man flying over the edge and into the water below. Curtis then flung himself over and onto the other side, where he landed on his back groaning as his ribs sent jarring blasts of lightning throughout his body.

Athena wasn’t going to let Ricky make up his mind whether he wanted to pursue her, subdue Kian or attack Curtis. She re-positioned herself and pushed him hard against the lamp post. A loud clang reverberated through the air. She knew her heightened emotional state meant her push was imbued with magic, but she couldn’t care less about him now.

“Thanks Ginger.” Kian was struggling to get up when Athena approached him. He steadied himself with her hand and hobbled over to Curtis, who hadn’t moved from his spot.

“Well, you look wrecked.”

Curtis’s attempt to laugh at Kian’s words turned into fits of cough as his friend smiled and untied him. “Can you stand?” He bobbed his head but fell over wincing, pain ripping through his body as he broke his fall. Kian’s smile faltered. Athena knelt beside him and tried to assess his injuries. His face was as badly messed up as Kian’s, but most of the blows were concentrated on his torso.

“Athena,” Curtis’s voice cracked as he called her. “I- … told you not to come here nor come close to me! They’re going to think you’re one of us now!” Amidst the pain, he actually sounded mad at her. Regardless, relief and joy washed over her, for their amicable conversation in the park was not one sided – they had enjoyed each other’s company.

“Ginger saved us.” Kian defended her. “But we gotta go. That lamp post could’ve woken the whole neighborhood and my dead ancestors. We’re lucky the festival’s nearby, but I wouldn’t risk it just in case.” Athena quickly glanced at Ricky. Thankfully, he’s alive, albeit heaving and retching. Kian pulled Curtis up and swung an arm around his friend’s body to support him. Curtis winced and put the arm on his shoulder instead.

“Think I’ve busted a rib or two.”

As they left the quay, Athena noticed the grim. She realised he must have been watching the entire time.

He unclenched his fists repeatedly by his chest as they walked over. Was he mad at her? She waited for the lecture.

“Mercy of Heavens! Why, I haven’t been so enraptured since Von Goethe’s masterful play! Oh, the suspense! The tragic moment when Valentine condemns Faust and fought to his death! Such courage you’ve displayed! Such heroism! A maiden of valor!”

And then his exuberance was gone. He suddenly slumped his shoulders. “Do you realise how much work you’ve bestowed upon me? An unclaimed soul?! I’ve had a spotless record for nearly 200 years! Child, I do not blame you. But we shall meet again to discuss your actions!” And he disappeared.

Athena smiled. It would be nice to meet him when someone isn’t dying.

They didn’t make it very far when Kian’s legs gave way and the guys took a tumble onto the pavement. Athena chided herself for not realising Kian was just as gravely injured and was only acting tough for his friend. Curtis looked like he was about to pass out any moment too. “No, not now. We’re not far enough!” Athena cried out in panic. If only she knew some form of magic, there must be an emergency spell for situations like this.

“Blaze, bring the boys to the car please.”

Athena wasn’t expecting company. She recoiled in shock as a smartly dressed young woman stood before them. A warm breeze lifted the coat around her shoulders, as though she were a runway model who had just stepped onto the stage.

“Ki- Kirino?” Curtis blacked out as soon as he uttered her name. Curtis knows who she is?

“Hello, Athena. My name is Kirino,” the lady introduced herself. “It’s lovely to finally meet you, but we need to ensure everyone’s safety. Come. Someone is waiting for us.”

30 thoughts on “4.5 To dodge a bullet

      1. I’m that type of reader, too! I’m busy, though, and I read a lot, so your pace and the amount you put out each time is perfect! It’s enough, but not too much! And I love how you answer some questions, but keep a lot more coming… gives me lots to think about while I wait for the next chapter! Super fun reading experience!

  1. The plot thickens… I wonder if this will cause some…um… cosmic problems. She messed with the fate so to speak. Looking forward her next meeting with Grim.
    Those were some sick poses there.

  2. Me and my friend always talk about how difficult it is to write fighting scenes and how we both hopelessly suck at it, but man, you nailed it!

    And I felt so badly for Curtis and Kian… and so scared too, until the lady showed up. I have no idea who she is, but I get a feeling that she’s trustworthy. Now, I really hope I’m actually right to think that, haha!

    1. I think she’s trustworthy โ€” conditionally. ๐Ÿ˜… The fights you’ve written are engaging so I don’t know what you’re talking about. I look forward to James’s moment in the spotlight! (That’s where I’m at, at the moment) I’m pretty sure he’s going to be involved in some nasty fights! ๐Ÿ˜„

      1. LOL… you’re right about that (with James). But man, I could never write fighting scenes as awesomely and elaborately as you!

  3. I was so eager to find out what happened next that I completely forgot to comment on the last few chapters. Woops.
    Your writing is amazing! The whole scene was so suspenseful, and your pictures really complimented what was happening. You have a talent for writing fight scenes, it seems ^^

    1. Aww thank you. It’s really heartening to hear this coming from you. I adore your writing! I don’t know if I have a talent for fight scenes. But yay! You were engaged and that’s good enough for me.

  4. Oooh. I wonder who she is!

    Your fight sequence images are so well done, must take so much work to get all the poses set up just right, can’t even imagine!

    Athena is obviously tied to the guys now, whether they (ehm, Curtis) like it or not.

  5. I was impressed by Kian’s ability to stand up and whip a guy over himself like that. Where did he get that burst of strength from? And who is Kirino? She looks very pretty, but also way too professional to be in some kind of gang. I’m curious what ‘group’ Kian and Curtis belong to.

    1. Suplex requires a lot of core strength, than arms, so as long as he’s got the technique and footing right, he doesn’t need that much strength. But Kian is supposed to be much more buff than Curtis. His clothes doesn’t show it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Just checking in. Totally hooked. Agree with the other comments, fight scenes are great. Really felt some of those punches… oof. Pace is awesome too. Can’t wait to see how much deeper and darker we go; feeling a lot of layers and secrets lie before me.

    1. Heey!! OOf I love getting your checkpoints! I’m glad you’re liking what you’re seeing. If you’re here things are about to get pretty twisted. Don’t hesitate to voice out what you’re (really) thinking. We could use some Snuffy wisdom to lighten, (or darken since the latter is fun too) the mood.

  7. Aw, well, Steve isn’t going to die yet. Oh well, at least he got dunked. But maaaaan, Kian is strong! And Curtis too, obviously. All of their injuries, and they still were able to dispatch the remaining goons, wow. I’m suuuuuper intrigued to see what Kirino is like. Her look is very high-class and sophisticated so I wonder what her role is going to be. And d’aww, poor Grim (poor? I can’t believe I’m feeling bad for someone NOT dying, yeeesh) not being able to collect a soul. Good for us, too bad for him!

    1. Why does it sound like you want my teens to be killers? ๐Ÿ˜ Adrenalin is a good source of temporary power. Especially when there’s an innocent person (Athena) suddenly in the midst of getting hurt. Lol yeh, Grim and all that ‘paperwork’ for not completing his job.

  8. “She knew her heightened emotional state meant her push was imbued with magic”—so Athena’s starting to get some hints about her secret abilities? Good for her! I guess the time-stopping thing was a hint, that and the strength she didn’t know she had.

    References, references. Was that a Mulan reference I saw? And now Grim’s talking about Faust; yeah, he’d get along great with Xiyuan. He’s probably the only other person in any other SimLit, save Bernard (some versions of him, anyway), who would. THIS is the unlikely-power-duo summer blockbuster I’ve been waiting for. “He was the Grim Reaper… he was an eccentric artist … and together they’re… Hard To Talk To!”

    Ooooooh… Kirino is shiny. And she knows how to make an entrance, too. Looking forward to more of her.

    (‘If one happened to own a pair of binoculars and looked out their window’: needs parallelism in verb tense; ‘incredulous’ -> ‘incredible’? ‘Incredulous’ means unwilling to believe something; ‘polluted murky water’ -> ‘polluted, murky water’, but this one is so subtle that only annoying grammar people would raise an eyebrow at it (https://getitwriteonline.com/articles/commas-between-adjectives/); ‘Devon however,’ -> ‘Devon, however,’; ‘turn the tide around’ -> ‘turn the tide’; ‘pile of mess’ is questionable but I actually love it and have said it out loud five times; ‘fits of cough’ -> ‘fits of coughing’ or, more cleanly, ‘coughing fits’; ‘Kianโ€™s smile faltered. Athena knelt beside him’: ‘him’ refers here to Kian, which makes the next sentence confusing)

    1. I’m not sure where the Mulan reference is. You’ll be disappointed to find that I significantly changed Grim’s way of talking after this ๐Ÿ˜…

      Athena knows she can do magic but she doesn’t know how to channel/control it so at the moment it only appears whenever she’s emotional.

      Yeah! Kirino is testing out a new cc skin. I like it so she stays shiny for the rest of the story.

  9. Oh wow. That was intense. I like the action sequences. I always feel I don’t describe them well in my stories. However, I feel you execute them well via your prose and pictures.

  10. Well ok, here we go!

    The unclaimed soul is upon us, and Grim brought it upon himself. I had thought she pleaded for Curtisโ€™s life, oh no, she saved him. He never died! Nice!

    But wow, what a mess! I canโ€™t even imagine what Athena is thinking right now! Who is this woman? And why does she know my name? I hope that Curtis at least sounded like he trusted Kirino when he said her name. That would really help in this situation.

    I love how her mind went to the fact that he did actually want to be her friend right away. Lol

    But yikes! Her mom is going to freak the hell out when sheโ€™s not around after the festival.

    And dang! I canโ€™t go any further right now! Lol! Duty calls

    Anyway, itโ€™s all wonderful so far. You are an amazing writer, and Iโ€™m loving reading it all in order!

    1. Aw thank you! Haha yes, Grim didn’t expect Athena to be so brazen. So now he has to go do grimmy paperwork haha.

      Yeah Athena would feel so many things at that point confused, worried, afraid, desperate are some that comes to mind.

      ๐Ÿ˜‚ at least Athena’s priorities are clear to you haha!

      You’ll see Avery’s take on the situation. ๐Ÿ˜†

    1. Lol~! Hii! Thanks for checking in! Kian will disagree and say his hair’s red. ๐Ÿ˜‚ We both know they’re tomato, tomayto. But we’ll let Kian have his moment haha!

  11. The way you write fight scenes is so damn good, *chefโ€™s kiss* I see a new face has arrived…not sure how I feel about Kirino yet? I like the intrigue, letโ€™s see if sheโ€™s friend or foe…

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