Third Chapter of Apocalypse Royale]]>
Banshee from the East
Two boys walked down the gravel pathway.
“Man, shit is getting so tough,” The Korean boy complained.
The other boy, who looks to be of Mediterranean origin, looked back. “Yong Soo, don't be so down about everything,” He said.
Yong Soo looked at him. “Herakles, not everybody is as upbeat as you,” He grumbled.
Herakles chuckled as he thumbed his EPK submachine gun. “I think we can get out of this alive,” He replied.
Yong Soo rolled his eyes. “Sure. We'll get out of this alive-” He stopped talking.
“Hah, what's gotten to you? Cat's got your tongue?” Herakles turned around to his friend, and froze when he saw thin red line across Yong Soo’s throat.
Yong Soo’s body landed into gravel with a loud thud.
Herakles stepped backward, his hands shaking violently as he raised his EPK. He looked all around, but he was the only person in the vicinity.
“What the hell…” He muttered, his voice quivering in fear, “How in the hell…”
“16…” A voice whispered behind him. Herakles whipped around to see a girl standing there. She had long, silver hair and wore a dark beige military dress. She also had a large bow in her hair. She held a PPD smg in her hands.
“What?” Herakles said.
The girl pointed to the body of Yong Soo. “Him. He's my 16th kill…” She repeated. She had a eastern European accent, maybe Russian or Ukrainian. She aimed her smg at Herakles. “And you're my 17th.”
By the time Herakles pulled the trigger, the girl was gone. “Shit,” He mumbled as he turned his head, “Where did she go?”
He heard the crackling of bullets hitting the gravel, and Herakles stumbled forwards.
“Stand up and fight, boy,” the girl called out, waving her PPD. “Or are you too much of a coward?”
Herakles, enraged, turned around and let loose a hail of bullets. But the gun jammed right in the middle of his barrage, and Herakles frantically pulled out the magazine. He cursed as he dropped the magazine and with shaking hands tried to insert a new one.
He cried out when a bullet struck his hand, forcing him to drop the magazine. He tumbled onto the ground, cursing and groaning, still clutching his EPK with his left hand.
He saw the girl walk towards him, and he began to crawl backwards, terrified of her.
The girl aimed her PPD at Herakles’ chest. “Goodbye, number 17,” She smiled, before faltering. “I think I want to hear your name before I kill you. It'll be satisfying.” She said.
Herakles dropped his smg and drew out his pistol in a final, desperate attempt at saving himself. He fired six times, but they all missed as the bullets flew past the girl.
“Pity…” The girl muttered, slowly pulling the trigger. Herakles jerked up as a bullet went straight through his chest. Blood spurted out, and he slumped back down, lifeless.
The girl picked up the EPK, examining it. “Trash,” She muttered and tossed it away.
Alfred lead the group of teens through the forest. Alfred and Kiku led the way, Ludwig and Mei were in the back and Emil and Lien got the tail end.
“I wonder what they got in the village,” Alfred said.
“Hopefully supplies they can trade with us,” Kiku replied.
Alfred nodded. “We need everything we can get our hands on,” He added.
“The most important items we need are food,” Kiku said, “We can't survive for long without food.”
“I think medical supplies will be good as well,” Ludwig suggested.
“Let's hope the village we're heading to has everything we need,” Alfred said.
Lien and Emil plodded behind the rest of the group.
Lien glanced at Emil. “You okay?” The Vietnamese girl asked.
Emil nodded. “I'm fine,” He replied slowly, “I'm okay.”
Lien put a hand on his shoulder. “Look, if you're thinking about what just happened, it's not your fault,” She told him.
“I know that,” Emil sighed, “But I could have done better. I shouldn't have decided to head into the woods.”
“What happened, happened. We can't change that. And we have to look out for ourselves, and now that we have even more friends, I say you did a pretty good job,” Lien said.
Emil grimaced. “But Romeo. He's dead…”
Lien nodded. “Yeah, I wish that didn't happen. But we can't change the past, can we?”
Lilly was sitting on a tree stump, eating an apple. She chewed on the yellow insides, letting the juices flow down her throat.
“Man, such a good snack!” She exclaimed. She took another chunk, and found herself at the core of an apple. She felt the seeds in her mouth, and decided to spit them out. Sucking her mouth in, she launched individual seeds like a mortar, which quickly disappeared into the forest scenery.
“Such a waste…” A voice behind her whispered. Lilly immediately turned her head around. It was the girl with the silver hair, her PPD slung over her shoulder.
Lilly jumped up. “Who are you?” She demanded, pulling out her S & M 500.
The girl lightly frowned. “There is cyanide in apple seeds. You only need 200 for a lethal dose. Crush it up into a smoothie, and give it to someone,” she explained in her silky eastern European accent. “You really don't know how to utilize your assets, do you?”
Lilly took a step back. “Who are you?” She repeated.
The girl smiled. “Oh, I'm just a passerby,” she replied, sliding her fingers across the holster on her hip.
Lilly wrapped her finger around the trigger guard. “Don't do anything funny,” She warned.
The girl smiled as from the bushes a boy came charging out, brandishing a large axe.
The girl whipped out a Makarov PM pistol and shot the boy two times in the head. The boy flew back, landing into the dirt.
Lilly's game watch vibrated, signaling an update. Lilly glanced down. Natalia used her Makarov to turn George into dust, was what the game log said.
Lilly looked up at the girl, who was grinning maniacally. “You….you’re Natalia?” She asked.
Natalia nodded. “I am indeed Natalia,” She confirmed, pointing the Makarov at Lilly. “And you will die.”
Lilly took off like a gazelle, her heavy backpack somehow not dragging her down. She dove behind a tree, bullets zipping past her.
She gripped her S & M 500 in her hands as she leaned over. “Hey,” She called out, “Why are you only using your pistol? You have that smg.” She pointed out.
Natalia laughed. “Your life is in danger, and that’s what you’re worrying about?” She threw her head back. “Fine, I’ll tell you. I’m only using my Makarov because you only have that Smith and Wesson. It’ll be unfair on my part if I use my PPD.” She explained.
“What? Unfair? Is that a thing anymore?” Lilly scoffed.
“The satisfaction of killing you will be diminished by the fact that you were more lightly armed than me. I like a challenge,” Natalia smirked as she reloaded her Makarov.
This was Lilly’s chance; She turned and fired off one shot. But it flew wide, hitting a tree some meters away.
Natalia grinned as she disappeared within the forest. “You can’t get me like that~” She taunted, “You can’t hit a koala from there!”
“At least I’m not as dumb as a koala!” Lilly retorted.
“Are you sure about that?” Lilly turned her head to see the barrel of the Makarov pointed right at her face.
Lilly just had enough time to duck, the barrel exploding as it fired a bullet; a large hole bored through the tree. She kicked her leg up, just barely clipping Natalia in the chin.
Natalia jumped back, wiping her face. “Not bad,” She growled, charging forwards. She threw her fist out, striking Lilly in the face.
Lilly fell to the ground, and Natalia fired off a succession of rounds from her pistol. Though all rounds missed, they dug into the ground, throwing dirt all around Lilly. She covered her face with her arms, and Natalia spat as she reloaded her gun. Lilly jumped back up, smacking Natalia with her revolver.
Natalia staggered back, blood trickling down her forehead. “You little…” She snarled, before getting struck in the face.
“Now who’s talking?” Lilly jeered.
Natalia scowled. “You think just because you got one hit on me you can beat me?” She whispered. She dug her hand into her dress and flicked out a knife.
Lilly aimed her revolver and fired; Natalia weaved through the bullets, her knife flickering in the sunlight.
Lilly’s eyes widened when her revolver clicked, just as Natalia was face-to-face with her. Natalia shot her arm forward, and the blade raced across Lilly’s cheek. Lilly placed her finger on her cheek, feeling the blood seep onto her fingers.
Natalia raised her arm, ready to slash Lilly’s face open, when Lilly elbowed Natalia in the chest. She coughed as she staggered back. Lilly advanced, reloading her revolver in a matter of seconds as she leapt onto Natalia.
Natalia was up before Lilly could land a hit; she surged forward, striking Lilly in the gut. She picked up Lilly in the air and slammed her against the ground. Lilly groaned, rolling over. Natalia chuckled as she marched over, and she was about to kick Lilly, when she grabbed Natalia by the leg.
Lilly swept her hand forward, causing Natalia to fall on her face. Lilly stood back up and wiped the blood streaming down her face. She stumbled over to Natalia, who was still on the ground, and kicked her in the stomach.
Natalia coughed, and Lilly aimed her revolver at Natalia’s head. “It’s over,” She muttered.
Natalia let out a little laugh, slamming the butt of her PPD smg against Lilly’s stomach.
Lilly sailed across the air, her back slamming against a tree. She dropped her Smith & Wesson 500, which clunked on the ground.
Natalia cracked her neck and arms, twirling the smg in her hands. “You were a good match,” She said, “You were a worthy opponent.”
She froze, seemingly trying to discern something. “Shit!” She cursed.
“What?” Lilly was confused when Natalia threw the S & M revolver at her.
“Marauders,” Natalia cursed, loading her PPD. “At least half a dozen of them. Go. You’re not going to end up in a good place with those creatures.” She dug into her pocket and threw Lilly a bandage.
“Why are you doing this? Why won’t you just kill me?” Lilly questioned, ignoring Natalia’s humane action.
Natalia smiled. “Because I can’t have you die to Marauders, silly. I have to be the one to kill you,” She turned around, “So don’t die on me.”
Lilly stood up. “You’re one crazy bitch,” She chuckled.
Natalia laughed. “Yeah, I guess I am,” She turned to face Lilly. “What’s your name? I want to know the woman that was able to stand her ground.”
“Lilly,” Lilly replied, and the two girls shook hands.
Natalia turned around to face the source of the shouting, which was coming closer. “Lilly. That’s a good name. I respect you,” She took a few steps forward, her smg in both hands. “I’ll see you later, I guess. As enemies or friends, who knows.”
“Yeah, sure,” Lilly replied, staggering away as Natalia ran towards the group of marauders.