“You are taking the Motorbike? Why?”
Bloodwitch looked at Ellen and gave a massive grin. “I loved these things back in the day. Look, this bike has been modified to hell and back. It’s all cape tech, and Texan cape tech, too.”
“That doesn’t answer why,” replied Ellen, with dull inflection.
“It does. I want to try it, and I know how to ride it. Ryan won’t do anything stupid, anyway.”
Sacrifice looked worried. I loved it. She was actually stressed, her usual confidence and her theatrics are gone. Taker was nearly heroic in my eyes, but he was still scum like her.
“Bloodwitch, We sho-”
“We’ve delayed too long, Sacri-
I woke up, face in the wet dirt. I motioned to stand. I couldn’t feel my legs. I figured that the dirt was probably soaked in blood. I’m dying, and I don’t know why. Ellen stumbled into my field of view. She’d been hit by whatever it was too. Maybe that kil-
Sacrifice walked into my peripheral vision from the other side, grabbing Ellen by the arm. She pulled her away.
“Bloodwitch, check up on our little pet,” said Sacrifice.
She was okay, Bloodwitch was okay. Why do they get away with everything? I hate this.
A pressure on my neck, then I was flipped over painfully. I couldn’t stop myself from screaming.
“He’s crippled, I don’t think we can carry him,” said Bloodwitch, looking at me.
She was smiling. Why was she smiling? I’m supposed to be necessary to Sacrifice’s plans?
Was Sacrifice being betrayed already? This soon?
“Heal him,” ordered Sacrifice.
“Fine, give me a second.”
Everything went black again.
I woke up, dazed in the back of the van again, laying on the floor, not seated. Bloodwitch was driving, Ellen sat calmly in the passenger seat, bandaged up. Sacrifice lay in the back, reading her book again.
“He wakens,” said Sacrifice, not even bothering to look away from her book.
“What happened?” I asked, still sore. Correction; freshly sore. The adrenaline and shock wore off, and Bloodwitch must have fixed me up while I was out.
“Merly’s bike was rigged to set off his toys. His toys, if you didn’t realize by now, were small explosives.”
Ouch. I must have been hit by shrapnel along with Ellen.
“Where’s Glutton?” I asked, not seeing him anywhere.
“And knocking me out?”
Sacrifice put her book down and leaned over.
“You read up on us. We had to knock you out to work on you,” she spoke.
I gave her a look. What was I supposed to do, nothing?
“Don’t you ever fucking act like you did back there again, got it?”
I looked away, moving my head to the side.
She grabbed my chin and pulled my face back to hers, forcing me to look at her. “Got it!?”
The pet remark she made was becoming really apparent. All I’ve been doing is rebelling and hoping for a chance to do something, and all she does is punish me for it.
“Fine,” I relented. “I’ll behave.”
She let go.
“Good,” she remarked.
The pause and quiet was unbearable. I had to talk.
“Can I ask some questions?” I said, swallowing my pride.
Sacrifice put her book down again. “Go ahead, you can ask three.”
“I was in the van when I got hit, how was the van okay?”
“The bearings were secretly placed on our clothes, according to Trauma’s recollection. She was hit by one nestled in the collar of her shirt. Only I got away with no injuries because, well…” she gestured to her lack of anything that could be called clothing.
“Two questions left.”
“What is Kingmaker’s powers, and what is it with all these kings and stuff?”
Sacrifice shot me a look of utter bemusement. She barely held a laugh in. “What?” She asked, shaking her head slightly, thinking she didn’t hear.
“What is this Kangmaker and King of Texas thing all about?” I repeated. It was a good question that allows me to gauge what exactly the Hunting Party was or still is after. If Taker had usurped Sacrifice in all but name I’d suspect they both are after the same thing, and maybe I could prevent them both from getting it.
“I don’t believe it. How stupid are you?” She said bluntly, bursting out in a fit of laughter. Bloodwitch was also laughing from her seat in the van.
Ellen turned around. “He’s not joking. He actively ignored cape related stuff for years,” she explained. “He only knows that there is a Texas, a Scotland and a few more nations influenced by kingmaker, like the former Japan.”
Sacrifice wiped a tear off her face. “I see,” she said.
“Let me tell you a story. Kingmaker was a low level cape on his own, but he had one of the strongest powers ever. You see, Powers can be simple, like Bloodwitch’s and Undertow’s and that girl we caught with you, or they can be complex. Complex can mean complex, here. I’ve seen people whose powers work only under a full moon, or they dissipate if you say your name in french three times backwards. I’ve actually encountered those capes,” she said.
You probably killed them too, I thought to myself.
“Kingmaker was the granddaddy of needlessly complex powers. We still don’t know how they work, we just assume they work off a theme, like most powers. Alliance needs friends and support, and he gets stronger. That’s why he’s called Alliance. I need to bathe in blood, as you’ve seen; thus my moniker. Truama influences people to kill themselves as quickly as possible.”
“Your powers punish your ignorance, leaving a very unfitting name there,” she smiled at me. She saw that news cast, too. Hell, she might have seen it in person, lurking in Oklahoma, under my nose the whole time.
I wanted to hit her so badly for mocking me. She was right, and I hated her for it.
“We don’t know how Kingmaker did this, but he created nations. Nations where the king gains powers over his or her people, and they have invincible borders as long as they avoid war, and they can do many other things as well. You know capes who become kings have their powers increase to godly levels,” she said.
I figured it out, to my horror.
“You want to be a queen!?” I blurted out.
“That’s three, and I-” she paused, looking at Trauma who was watching her explain to me. “Yes, I wish to be a queen.”
“Can we get back to the second question?” I asked, trying my best to steer her away from giving up her counter-betrayal too soon. Just you wait, I thought. I’ll get you yet.
“Sure,” she replied. “Well, the guy who is the King of Texas is a former villain called ‘Contractor’. His powers are complex, but the jist is he could teleport animals back to himself as long as he wrote their names in blood. I don’t know what that says about naming things that can’t speak, but that happens with powers.”
I didn’t press the issue any further, I was actually tired, with the pain shooting throughout my body.
“I understand,” I said.