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"Born of the Blade" - Part Ten

The Daimyo sped along, now a block ahead of us.
   
"How long do you make it?" said Mouse.
   
Scanned to either side, then at the rearview.
   
"Another twenty seconds," I said.
   
The Daimyo crossed Spenser Avenue and three crotch rockets sprang out from the side street and sped after it.

"Or sooner," I said.

"Go-Boys," said Mouse.
   
"This could get ugly," I said and slammed the accelerator to the floor. The Royale lurched forward with a new  burst of speed and we shot ahead.
   
The Go-Boys closed on the Daimyo, one behind, two on either side. The Daimyo swerved into the joyboy on the right but the rider swung away from the car and dropped back to join the Go-Boy in the back.
   
The rider on the left of the car swerved in, twirling a length of chain, and swung at the Daimyo's side window. Glass exploded and the sedan swerved right.
   
The Go-Boy pressed in, still swinging the chain. The Daimyo swerved back and slammed into the rider. The bike skidded, its tires smoking, then dropped to its side spraying sparks, and flipped. The joyboy went airborne, arms and legs pinwheeling, flew into the opposite lane, and went sprawling across the concrete.
   
We closed to half a block from the Daimyo and its pursuers.
   
One of the Go-Boys craned its head toward us, then slapped its partner's shoulder. The other Go-Boy turned to look, swung away from the Daimyo, and slowed to come alongside us.
   
"Mouse," I said, drawing Bonnie.
   
Mouse grabbed the pistol, rolled down her window, and when the Go-Boy slid next to us, she shot the rider in the helmet. The bike wobbled then skidded and flipped, throwing the rider's limp form onto the roadway.
   
The last Go-Boy turned to look at his fallen comrade, reached inside his leathers, and drew a pistol. He swerved away from the Daimyo, to the left, half turned and started firing.
   
The shots spanged off the hood.
   
"Here," Mouse said, handing Bonnie back to me.
   
I grabbed my pistol, slid it into my lap, then rolled down the window.
   
Two more shots hit the Royale's windshield near the roofline, the glass spiderwebbing.
   
The Go-Boy slowed slightly to get a better angle.
   
Right into my sights.
   
Raised Bonnie and she barked twice.
   
The Go-Boy crumpled and fell off his bike. The crotch rocket dropped sideways and flipped over twice as we raced past.
   
"Kirkwood," said Mouse, jabbing a finger at the windshield.
   
Half a block away, I saw the back end of the Daimyo disappear down Kirkwood Avenue.
   
A few seconds later, I yanked the wheel hard left, and we fishtailed from South Harbor onto Kirkwood, the Royale's back tire missing the nearest curb by centimeters.
   
Twenty-five meters ahead, the Daimyo caromed off a parked car and swerved back into the middle of the street, a taillight missing, its right rear corner crunched in.
   
We raced forward, slowly closing the distance.
   
Twenty meters.
   
Fifteen.
   
Ten.
   
Five.
   
The Daimyo was about to cross Larkspur Street when she swerved hard left, tires skidding and smoking, hit the far curb, tipped and rolled once before ending upright in a battered mess of metal, bits flying off the body.
   
Then I saw him.
   
I hit the brakes and we skidded to a long squealing fishtailing stop.
   
In the middle of the intersection of Larkspur and Kirkwood, ten meters away stood a lone figure.
   
Steel Demon.
   
Two-and-a-half-meter tall, broad-shouldered male dressed in a ragged leather vest and black trousers. Both arms were well-muscled, flesh melting with tech, ending in clawed hands. Light from the only working streetlamp on the corner glinted off the sharpened blade-fingers. Bald, his face half flesh, half mechanized with a mesh-grill mouth, single left optic pulsing red.
   
He looked at us for a moment, human eye narrowed, then turned his attention to the smoking Daimyo.
   
The car had tumbled into the southwest corner of Meecham Park and its landing left huge gouges in the grass.
   
Then the driver's side door popped open and McCarthy tumbled out onto all fours, her sides heaving.
   
In her right hand she held a chef's knife.
   
The Demon flexed his fingers, turned in McCarthy's direction, and took a step toward her.
   
Fuck.
   
I burst out of the driver's side and bolted toward McCarthy and the Steel Demon, heard Mouse follow me a second later.
   
When I reached the intersection, I said "Stop!"
   
The Demon stopped in mid-step and whipped his head toward me.
   
I skidded to a halt, Mouse stopping just behind and to my right.
   
Put up both hands, palms out. "Wait," I said.
   
The hairs on my nape saluted.
   
Pan and scan.
   
Shapes appeared in the shadows beyond the lone lamplight.
   
Not-quite-human shapes.
   
The Demon looked at me, optic pulsing red, human eye now slitted. "You are trespassing on our territory," he said, his voice guttural and mechanical, as if an engine were talking.
   
"We're just here for the woman," I said.
   
"She has spilled blood here," said the Demon. "We will take her as our own."
   
"Who the fuck are you?!"
   
We all turned.
   
McCarthy stood up against the side of the Daimyo, chef's knife leveled at the Steel Demon, her face a mask of terror.
   
The Demon turned to McCarthy and took another step toward her.
   
She waved the knife. "Get the hell back!"
   
"We will make you ours," he said.
   
I drew the Twins and leveled them at the Demon. "Back off," I said. "Or I put you down."
   
The Demon stopped and turned his head back to me. "We are many," he said, and I caught movement in the shadows. "You will bleed for us."
   
"You!"
   
Looked.
   
McCarthy was staring at me now, the knife lowered slightly, eyes slitted, mouth drawn in a snarl.
   
Correction.
   
She was staring at Mouse.
   
"You little bitch! How dare you come back!"
   
"Elaine--" I said.
   
"You ripped out my heart! So I'm gonna rip yours out!"
   
She bolted toward Mouse, teeth bared, the knife held reverse grip overhead.


(to be continued...)


"Born of the Blade"
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5  
Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 11
 

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