This is what keeps you alive. You breathe in the stale, bloodstained air—the smell of iron and sweat—and you press down with even pressure on her wound as you listen to her shallow breaths. You can already see the fever in her glazed eyes and flushed face. It doesn’t matter if you can’t actually smell the infection yet.
He was lighting a cigarette when Seri asked curiously, “How precise are you with that?”
Izumo stopped, stared at her for a moment, then smiled. “How precise do you want me to be?”
She shot him a look he could read easily, Don’t get too cocky. But her expression turned speculative, finger running over the lighter cap. “Hot but not painful.”
Which meant getting very close but not touching her skin. He glanced appreciatively over her skin again as she stretched out on the bed.
“You sure?” he asked one more time.
“Get on with it,” she commanded.
“Sometimes I miss it,” the woman said softly.
She was short and blonde. The man beside her was dark, tall, and quiet. About ten feet away, a rock wall stood roughly ten feet tall and ran nearly the length of the park.
On paper, she was Cate and he was Jason. Standing there remembering, she was Shield and he was Quake.
He stretched out his hand. The ground trembled but didn’t break.
She lifted her hand, then dropped it without releasing her power. This wasn’t their wall where they had trained as children. It couldn’t handle them.
“Sometimes.” She shrugged.
Word came at dawn of the newly outfitted military station in Westerfields, that vast uninhabited territory between Glaston and Edyll, both kingdoms cities. A quick reconnaissance by interested parties (read: operatives) identified standard and, to them, quite familiar signs of Thorn Republic activity. Once upon a time, those operatives had been the source of those signs, and they knew their own, besides any other departments Thorn might tap to do their dirty work.