Chapter 9, Part 4

In a flash, she launched herself at the first man, intending to rain down a flurry of punches and kicks. Instead, her first punch was so powerful that it sent the man flying twenty feet. He crashed into a brick wall and slumped over, unconscious. The other three men stared at her for a second, their mouths hanging open in shock, while Alessandra stared at the man she’d punched, with her mouth also hanging open in shock. Then the three men yelled and charged at her at once.
In a few seconds, it was all over. Two punches and one kick were all it took for Alessandra to dispatch all three men, and then she was standing there, taking deep breaths, staring in awe at the unconscious men slumped all around her. There was no longer any doubt in her mind. Ilimay had somehow transferred her powers to Alessandra, and even better, somehow Alessandra instinctively knew how to use those powers. She took a deep breath with her eyes closed, and then, with a quick look around to make sure no one was watching, she turned invisible again and slipped off into the night.
The rest of the night she roamed the slums, zooming from one part of the city to another, beating up thugs and then disappearing again. She had plans for these new powers, but she needed to make sure she knew what they were capable of before she put them to use. During one fight, she deliberately allowed herself to get hurt, and then, once the battle was over, she willed her flesh to heal itself. During another fight, she willed a fireball into existence and flung it at one of the thugs she was fighting. At one point she attempted to fly, but she felt instinctively that such a thing was not possible, and sure enough, her feet remained firmly planted on the ground.
All night long, she raced, snuck, and fought her way through the slums. She didn’t seem to tire at all, and she didn’t know if that was because her newfound powers meant that she didn’t get tired, or if she was just so excited about her new powers that her body was running on adrenaline. A nagging voice in the back of her head told her that maybe she should think about what happened a little more, maybe reflect on it a little, but she shoved that voice back down every time it surfaced. This was the most exciting thing that had ever happened to her in her life, and she didn’t want to sully it by thinking too much about it.
Finally, the light of the sun began creeping into the streets of the slums, and Alessandra, for the first time since before the demon showed up in her hut, started to feel a little tired. She wanted to be at peak performance before she put the first part of her plan into motion, so she decided to search the outskirts for a place to sleep. There were so many abandoned buildings on the outskirts that finding a place to hide for a few hours was easy, especially considering her speed and her ability to turn invisible.
Her last thought before she drifted off to sleep was to wonder if she could stay invisible even while she slept, and sure enough, when she woke up in the early afternoon, she was still completely invisible. Because of her confidence in her new powers, she had slept more soundly than at any time since she’d been exiled. In fact, her sleep had been even deeper than most nights when she lived in the Mekoval clanhouse. For the first time in a very long time, Alessandra was confident that things were going to be alright.
She stood in the doorway of her new hovel with a broad grin on her face, brimming with exuberance, confident that today was the day her exile would end. She had a plan, and there was no reason for her to delay carrying it out. Actually, she thought, as her stomach growled, maybe a slight delay would be fine.
Obtaining money for food was easier than it had ever been, of course. She found that not only could she hide herself from sight and sound, she could even buffer herself in such a way that people couldn’t feel her when she touched them. Pickpocketing had never been such a breeze. In fact, she obtained so much money, she was able to buy as much food in one trip as she had in the entire previous week. She only intended to eat a portion of it, saving the rest for later, but once she started eating, she found that she couldn’t stop until it was all gone. That had unsettling implications for the energy costs of her new powers, but she refused to let that bother her. She had a plan, and once she carried out that plan, everything else would fall into place.
Once she had eaten and drank, she felt refreshed, more refreshed, in fact, than she’d felt in a long time. She wondered about what that might mean, but not for too long. She sat on a park bench with her legs crossed and her arms stretched out along the back of the bench. The bench was half rotted and any trace of paint that might once have been applied to it was long lost to the elements. The park that the bench was in was a small, shabby thing, with a pair of bedraggled, scrawny trees, and a few sprigs of wilted grass. Despite these bleak surroundings, Alessandra was happier than she’s been in a very long time. Maybe ever. Everything had gone wrong for her lately, but that changed today. With these new powers, she would be able to take what was rightfully hers, and force her universe to bend to her will. Starting today, everything was going to start going her way. She knew it.

To be continued…

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