Finally, with a primal roar and a flash of purple light, Ilimay was able to free her arms from the demon’s grasp. She whipped around and tried to drive her sword into the demon’s chest, but the demon was quicker. It plunged one of its clawed hands into Ilimay’s chest, and the scream she emitted was even more wrenching than her previous one, but as she screamed, she dropped her sword, reached up with both hands, and grabbed the demon by the head. Immediately the demon shrieked, and then it flashed a brilliant white and disappeared.
As soon as the demon was gone, Ilimay collapsed onto the ground. Her breathing was labored and her face was ashen. Weakly, she gestured for Alessandra to come closer, and Alessandra did so, feeling shaken to her very core. Members of the Order of Sunaru were viewed as akin to gods by the people of the slums, and now that Alessandra saw one of them broken and bleeding in front of her, she had no idea how to process it.
“Come here,” Ilimay said hoarsely. Alessandra knelt down close to her, and Ilimay coughed weakly. Then she reached up and touched Alessandra on the cheek. As soon as she did so, Alessandra felt as if she were racing down a long, narrow tunnel at an incredible speed. Images and sounds and sensations flooded her mind, faster than she could possibly process. It seemed to go on and on for an eternity, but in reality it lasted less than a second. As soon as it ended, Ilimay’s hand dropped limply to her side, and Alessandra recoiled with a gasp.
“What…what did you do to me?” Alessandra said in shock, but she didn’t get an answer. She reached out and touched Ilimay’s neck, feeling for a pulse, but there was none. Alessandra recoiled in shock. How could a member of the Order of Sunaru die? They were supposed to be invincible champions of justice. And yet she had just seen one destroyed by a demon. Her mind couldn’t process it. She stood up and backed away slowly, her hand over her mouth in horror. And then, she turned away and started running as fast as she could.
It took her a few minutes to process what was happening. At first, all she could think of was Ilimay’s broken, bleeding body, lying in the gray dust of the outskirts. That image consumed her mind, and she was blind to all else that was going on around her. But gradually, something else broke into her consciousness. She slowly became aware of just how fast she was running. She had always been fast, the fastest member of Clan Mekoval, in fact. But now she was moving at a speed which made her previous top speed look like the top speed of a fat, old man with two broken feet.
She stopped suddenly, and looked around at where she was in awe. She had been running for…what? Five minutes? At the most? And yet she had come an eighth of the way around the city from where she started. Even if she’d been able to maintain her top speed the whole way, there was no way she would have been able to travel that distance in less than an hour before.
Before? Before what? Before Ilimay touched her on the cheek? What had she done? Had she transferred her powers to Alessandra? Why would she do that? Because she was dying? Alessandra stood there, on the very outskirts of the city, her mind racing, trying to comprehend what had just happened to her.
And then, a broad smile crept across her face, and she was gone.
The first thing Alessandra did was try to figure out the extent of her newfound powers. At first, she was running at top speed into the slums, but she quickly realized that she shouldn’t draw attention to herself, and slowed to a normal walk before she encountered any people. Night was just falling, so there weren’t too many people out and about in the slums, but she didn’t really want anyone to see her running at superhuman speeds and start spreading rumors. As soon as she did see some people, she thought for a second, and she did…something. She had no idea what she was doing, just that she knew it felt right. Whatever it was, it had the intended effect. She was invisible.
A huge grin broke out on her face as she looked down at her body and saw nothing but the ground beneath her. She started walking down the street, and then realized that her disguise wasn’t perfect. Her feet still made noises as she walked. She thought for a second again, and then did something that seemed right again. Then she stomped her foot as hard as she could, and her grin grew even wider. Completely silence. Now nobody could see her or hear her. Perfect for a thief.
She strolled down the middle of the street, and not a single person so much as glanced in her direction. Perfect. Now, could she undo what she had done? She found a dark alley with no one in it, thought about it for a moment, and then she looked down at herself in the faint moonlight. It was hard to tell, but it seemed as if she was perfectly visible once again. Smiling, she made her way out of the alley, and as she did so, a voice yelled to her.
“Hey there, pretty lady!” a man yelled drunkenly at her. A spike of fear shot through her heart as she realized that this man was much larger than her, and he was accompanied by three other men who were just as big as him. They lurched toward her, shouting suggestions and insults as they came. For a split second, Alessandra panicked, and then she remembered what she’d been doing. She had superhuman speed, and the ability to turn invisible. Why not superhuman strength?
To be continued…