Worlds Adrift Chapter 73

On instinct, Mary sidestepped the thrust and swung her mace in the path of the crusader’s face. The mace met air as it flew over the crusader’s head and Mary was set off balance. She regained her footing just as the sword of the crusader was cutting at her. Crouching, she let the blade swing over her head as she jabbed at her opponent’s stomach, but was met with a force that threw her backward. 

She quickly stood as the crusader rushed at her, thrusting with his blade once again. She leapt backwards, hitting her back on a shipping container, and narrowly avoided the thrust. Swinging her mace up high, she tried to bash the man’s skull but a booming bang drowned out all other thoughts. The revolver in the crusader’s hand fired a round that tore toward Mary’s forehead. Her mana shield flicked to life but was torn to shreds as the bullet struck it, leaving nothing between the bullet and her head. Then a spark flickered.

Arcs of electricity that could only be called lightning flashed to the bullet, seeming to grab it out of the air. Seeing that the crusader chuckled, then laughed, “So I was right! You did fuse with that damn core!” he laughed, “Good! One more bounty to bring to his eminence; along with your head!” Screaming, he swung his blade down with a heavy swing that Mary tried to match. As the blade struck the mace, her back was forced against the container behind her. She tried to hold up to the force, but the telltale glow of runes shined on the crusader’s armor as the blade was pushed closer and closer to her face. 

Just as she was about to lose her head bullets pinged off of the crusader’s shield from behind, making him growl in irritation. Taking advantage of his momentary lapse in attention, Mary pushed against the container, angling herself to the crusader’s side. The force of his sword sent her flying backwards once more, landing next to the open shipping container. She scrambled to her feet to see the crusader aiming a revolver shot at Cody, who was diving to the side in an attempt to avoid it. The revolver’s trigger was pulled and the bullet flew true. The bullet slammed into his mana shield, breaking it almost as fast as it broke Mary’s. It dug into his helmet, then his skull. Cody was thrown backwards, dead on the spot.

Mary was momentarily stunned, but Abe shouted in her head, [Get the damn rifle! You can’t beat that guy without using it!] Abe’s shout roused her from her shock, and she wasted no time in quietly pulling her rifle from her back. 

The crusader snorted and turned to Rick, “Heh, looks like you two are just as useless as you looked.”

The insult grabbed Rick’s attention, then enraged him, “You… YOU BASTARD!” he shouted, charging the killer. Rick tried to slam his rifle into the crusader’s side, but his strike was dodged effortlessly. Stumbling forward, Rick was unable to do anything as the crusader aimed his revolver at the back of his head. He pulled the trigger unceremoniously, and the bullet flew.

Turning, he locked eyes with Mary and laughed, “It is no wonder you rats cannot take the city back! You bring such amateurs to such an important mission. Now, let us-” he was cut off as a dagger was stabbed into his helmet. The crusader whipped his sword behind him on reflex and met flesh. Throwing his assailant off of him, the crusader turned and stepped back, “My God… You maniacs!” he shouted. Mary could see past the crusader and couldn’t help but agree with the crusader. She saw Rick and Cody standing there with their knives out and pointed at the crusader, their bodies’ bent to be a smaller profile. What made the crusader shout out was the green light seeping from their helmets. 

They shambled forward a step before breaking into a full sprint into the crusader. Holding the revolver high, the crusader launched shot after shot into the men; they didn’t slow down. With an awkward leap, Cody tackled the crusader and frantically stabbed into his chest. Despite his effort the knife could only scratch the armor, but that did not deter Cody. Bringing his sword to bear, the crusader stabbed into Cody’s side again and again and again. Only after the twelfth stab poked through his entire body did Cody slump and die for good.

Throwing the corpse off of him, the crusader looked around quickly as he stood. Despite his vigilance, he was unable to see Rick creep up behind him and stab him in the helmet once again. With a rage-filled growl, the crusader swept his blade behind him and into Rick’s neck, slicing off his head. Rick’s headless body stepped back and crouched, ready to strike once more. “You see!? This is what happens when we let these demis rise above their station!” the crusader shouted to Mary, “They make things like this!” As he shouted, the headless body charged him, knife aiming for his throat. A rune flashed on the crusader’s arm, blasting out a shockwave and throwing the body backward and into a shipping container. The crusader rushed up and touched his arm. Another rune flared and let loose a blast of white-hot fire. The body, container, and metal wall behind them were incinerated, leaving a bent hole in their place.

The crusader turned, once more, and glared at Mary, as well as her ‘armtaker’ rifle aimed at his chest. He sighed and turned his body to her, holding his revolver and sword at his sides, “This is why I fight,” he said, gesturing at the charred hole in the wall, “This is what happens when we let demi-humans do what they please; they make abominations like that, that raise the dead into mindless beasts. For the sake of the people, stand down, and let me kill you.”

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Mary, hearing his words, became furious, “‘For the people’? You murder people you find wrong and use this crap as a flimsy excuse to justify yourself! Why should I ever stand down!? I could kill you right here, right now,” she stated with a growl, “I’m only waiting for you to finish your excuses.”

He laughed, “Oh? That’s why you haven’t killed me yet? Because you find my words funny?” he asked, “Look at your hands, Mary. You’re shaking. You saw what these rats are like, and you didn’t like it. How long have you known them? A week? No. Not even. I know where you came from, little miss Grant. I know that you killed every member of the Sect and that you barely know these rats. Just admit it, you’re scared of them,” he mocked.

Mary looked down and saw her hands shaking, throwing her aim off. Her lapse in attention did not go unpunished, as the crusader charged her as she was distracted. She looked up just in time to see the sword reach the height of its overhead swing, falling fast. Then the crusader was blown away in a gust of wind, sending him skidding across the deck and to the edge of the blown open wall, an arm dangling off the side of the ship. Mary turned and saw Huk running towards her, “Pay attention! Don’t look away from him!” he shouted. It was all the warning she needed, as a bullet whizzed by her head as she rolled out of the way. Huk flew at the crusader, throwing air blades and blasts, “Don’t listen to him, kid! He’s trying to f*** with your head!” he shouted.

Steeling herself, she tried to calm down as the two men began to fight with knives and swords, and tried to take aim with her rifle. Huk and the crusader dodged back and forth, left and right, and she was unable to get a good shot on the crusader. Eventually, she sighed and fired. The side of the gun exploded in a shower of mana, metal, and runic paint while the bullet flew wide, hitting nothing but the open water. Mary cringed back from the blast; that was all it took for the crusader. He kicked Huk in the chest and charged Mary. Reaching her before she could react he swung down with his sword, runes turning the blade into a blast of colored mana. 

The blade cleaved into her arm, and severed it. The tip of the blade dug into her shoulder and almost cut into her chest before an unnatural force stopped the blade. Annoyed, the crusader kicked Mary in the head, sending her pain-riddled mind into blissful unconsciousness.


Huk growled as he saw Mary’s arm being severed and her head being kicked, sending an air blast at the crusader, he rushed to her side. She was in bad shape. Her arm, all the way up to her shoulder, was cut off. The sword’s runes made sure that the cut was far from clean, showing torn strips of flesh. As the crusader shot another bullet at him from his revolver, Huk activated the miniature mana shield on his wrist. The bullet hit the shield and fell to the floor.

He picked Mary up off of the ground and clashed his blade with the crusader, locking blades, “Where do you think you’re going?” he asked in a deranged tone, “I will have her head. For his eminence!” he shouted, activating the runes on his armor. The sword suddenly became heavier, the force behind it doubling. Huk scoffed and activated his own runes, turning the clash back into a stalemate. 

Only allowed on

Suddenly, a glob of flaming liquid arced over the side of the ship and impacted the crusader dead in the chest. The man stumbled backwards and flailed, screaming and trying to put the fire out. Seeing the window of opportunity, he grabbed the box of water-attuned steel, slung it over his shoulder, and picked up Mary, still holding her gun. He sprinted off the side of the ship without a moment’s hesitation. 

Landing in the speedboat, Huk didn’t need to tell Fuel what to do, as she drove the boat away from the cargo ship on full throttle. Huk didn’t waste time and dug into Mary’s pockets until she found the rods of metal she spoke about before. Stuffing them into her wounds, he sent a wave of mana through them and then came to life. Her wounds almost immediately stopped bleeding and showed no signs of changing. Huk sighed as Fuel chuckled, “So, not the best first mission for the newbie?”

He shook his head, “Not at all. I hope she didn’t see… them, but… I know she did,” he said, “I just have to wonder if it’s worth it at this point; we’re doing s*** like what we did to Cody and Rick and-”

“Calm down, Huk,” Fuel soothed, “I’m just a driver, but you’ll come to your own conclusions eventually, right? So just think it through.”

He sighed again, “Thanks, Fuel. All we have to do now is figure out what to do with her.”

“You lost her arm?” she chuckled.

“It was either her or her arm and I think I made a good choice.”

She nodded, “I think so too. But, if you’re wondering about how to get her back into the fight… I have an idea.”

“Let me guess. You want to send her to Doc Fen, don’t you?”

“How else is she going to get her arm back? And besides, we can add a few more Cybers without her knowing, can’t we?” she asked with a secretive smile.

Shaking his head, he sighed, “No. All the other leaders may do crap like that, but not me. I won’t do it.”

“Desperate times call for desperate measures,” Fuel said, shrugging, “Cody and Rick were prime examples of that. If you don’t do it, the others will.”

“I know, but she doesn’t deserve to have her life ruined by our war.”

“And the brothers did?”

“They didn’t either,” he said. “Anyway, we won’t be able to pick up the guys at The Ring, will we?”

“Nope,” she said plainly, “They’ll have to wait for the Company to pick them up.”

Huk sat there in silence for a while.

“You okay?” Fuel asked.

He shook his head, “No. Not at all.”

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