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Trojan wolf olympia, p.2
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       Trojan Wolf: Olympia, p.2

           Tobias Gavran
 
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was still in use. Somebody dwelled there and didn’t want anyone to find out. The Wildlanders would never have settled in an urban area. As for the Barbarians, they simply didn’t settle at all, nomadic as they were. Then who had set up the protections that tried to keep her from reaching the higher floors? There was no point in wondering. Whatever her assumption it would probably be wrong and endanger her more than anything else. Thompson probably already figured it out, anyway.

  As this thought crossed her mind, an arrow crossed her path, inches away from penetrating her skull thanks to her reflexes. The man that held the bow was reaching for another arrow when she rushed into the corridor. When he loosed again, trembling and panting, his aim was so bad that Daya didn’t even have to dodge. All she had to consider was whether or not to kill her attacker.

  Not skilled enough to be a threat, she thought. Disarming him seemed the better option. The man dropped his bow to grab his blade, but Daya got hold of his wrist before he could reach it. She twisted his hand backwards and hit him in the nose to blur his vision. Seconds later, he lay on the ground, his head held down under her knee.

  She waited. Someone was bound to come by, to reinforce or investigate. Nothing. Could the man be alone in this building? Was the trap simply intended to keep the wildlife from getting in?

  This man probably knew more about this place than they did. Intel was always good when it could be obtained without sacrifice.

  Screaming out her situation to Thompson didn’t seem as good an idea anymore. If Jack couldn’t get communication links here, she trusted no one could. That meant this man couldn’t have sent out an alert through magical means.

  “How many in the building?” she asked.

  It wasn’t Daya’s prerogative to handle prisoners, but she needed to move quickly. Her commanding officer wanted to get in and out as fast as they could. They couldn’t afford getting trapped in a confined space. As elite a force as they were, they would not survive direct confrontation with numerous hostiles.

  She removed her leg from her prisoner’s face so that she’d be able to see through any lie he may tell. She soon regretted her move. What she’d taken for a man was no more than a boy, a teenager with soft traits and panic in his eyes. A Barbarian wouldn’t have looked panicked. A Wildlander from the north wouldn’t have had such soft skin. Killing a frightened boy was nothing like killing a man.

  “How many are you?” Daya unsheathed her dagger and put the blade against the boy’s right thumb. She doubted she’d have the guts to mutilate a teenage captive, but she knew she looked the part. Her past had left scars that only winding-sheets would ever cover entirely. The warrior noticed how the boy’s gaze lingered on her neck, where claws had once ripped her flesh beyond her regenerative ability.

  “Please,” he whimpered. “Don’t, please.”

  “Tell me the truth, and I won’t.”

  “I don’t know.” The teenager shook his head. “I’m not sure.”

  “A dozen?” she tried.

  “More,” he swallowed, “about fifty.” The number loomed over Daya, or so she thought, until the boy delivered a more troubling statement, “About three hundred, throughout the city.”

  They couldn’t all be teenagers. On the other hand, if this young man was here, they weren’t all warriors. She needed to go up. Thompson wanted her to secure the path. The best way to go would have been to kill him. He was young and a lousy fighter, but she had no way of knowing exactly what kind of magic he was capable of. The Sergeant Major and Diego would.

  Her mission was to secure the way to the 18th floor, or at least to do some reconnaissance if she could do so. Yet, she couldn’t bring herself to terminate the hostile like she knew she was supposed to. A rope and a charm would have to do. She left him tied to the railing, gagged physically and magically.

  How did three hundred people made their way through the wilderness? Why would they try to reach Olympia? This made no sense to her. The boy could have lied, but even if he did, he only gave her a look at the worst possible situation: the city had been colonized by people from the Empire. People they couldn’t legally kill.

  Daya sheathed her dagger and clenched her jaws as she started climbing the stairs again. To keep her mind away from her troubles, she told herself that she only had to follow orders. This was the blessing of being a soldier. The weight of responsibility rested on her superior, a position she didn’t envy. Eyes on the prize, her maneuver instructor often repeated at the academy.

  Her flank suddenly collided with the railing, her breath taken away by the tip of a spear trying to make its way between her ribs. The trap was mechanical rather than magical, carefully crafted into the concrete wall. The drywall had been made to look like its more solid counterpart not through magic but thanks to skillful make-up; either the work of a great artisan or a time-consuming installation.

  Both her hands were already wrapped around the wooden shaft, but bones and muscles had stopped the pike more effectively than her palms could. She barely bled when she pulled the weapon out of the wound, but hemorrhage was the least of her concerns right now. She had been conditioned to withstand venom injections from the wilderness, but all poisons weren’t organic. The spear could have been enchanted with something nasty as well. No wound would ever feel like a light thing to deal with, no matter how well-trained her body could be. Not while she had this job.

  She didn’t have to use a marker on the wall this time, as the weapon had busted the fake concrete to get to her. She used her dagger to perforate the pneumatic cylinder, disabling it, just in case. By the time she looked at her torso using a little mirror meant to check angles, the wound had already disappeared without a trace.

  Daya felt stupid or rather unprepared. She knew how to hide her scent, both through magical and physical means. She had spotted some of the deadliest nocturnal creatures known in this part of the globe. Yet, this was the second trap to get her. Each attack made her weaker, less apt to heal, until she would eventually end up as helpless as a child, relying on platelets and white cells to repair and protect her physical integrity.

  Better her than any of her teammates, she thought. Diego was a precious little boy, for example, and would have needed stitches after a single stabbing.

  The distinct noise of steps closing in caught her attention. The number above the nearby doorway read 14. Daya grabbed a javelin and laid in wait for someone to enter the stairway. Instead, she was met with silence again and a little mirror very similar to her own floated out. Her eyes met those of a man with a determined look.

  A tall warrior encased in metal armor rushed out of the corridor, wielding a shield where her steel-tipped javelin ended its course. Not the same man, she noticed as she locked eyes with him. He broke the wooden shaft sticking from his shield with a single stroke of his sword. Neither afraid nor mad, Daya thought as she looked deeper into his gaze. She started walking towards him, dagger still in her left hand. Her opponent had the higher ground, an advantageous position that also limited the way he could fling his weapon at her.

  He went for her head as soon as she came in range. Daya crouched out of the way easily before she jumped, knocking him down. She was about to drive her knife through his head when something suddenly sent her crashing against the nearby flight of stairs. A four man squad, she now realized. The telekinesist with the determined look probably was the one that had just saved the life of his armored fellow. She felt the pull he exerted on her dagger, but the blade didn’t move an inch. The weapon was enchanted and Daya, strong.

  Once she got back on her feet, he tried to knock her down again, but she was prepared. With a good enough stance and a military-grade leather protective gear, there was a lot she could withstand. Had the telekinesist been alone, she wouldn’t have feared a thing. Three swordsmen in metal armor coordinated by a mage, however, were enough for her to worry a bit.

  The urban setting could hardly be described as her favorite terrain, but she could see the virtue in a small platform next t
o a fourteen-story drop to the ground. The first one to charge her was also introduced to such considerations when she threw him over the railing. The sight of a 5’2 woman lifting a grown man from the ground led the remaining fighter to ponder about his chances of survival. Her devilish smile dented his moral even further.

  The first swordsman she had faced got back on his feet and advanced with his companion. She dodged a blow, parried another one, and then suddenly felt her arm go numb. The charm weighed heavily on her skin. She shot a glance at the telekinesist. He had found a way to dispel or circumvent her warded clothes. He either had a quick mind or a history fighting against the army.

  His mind still pushed against her, trying to destabilize her with some success, now that she barely had time to parry or dodge his companions’ assaults. Cuts started to be dealt, disappearing at an ever decreasing rate, forcing her into action.

  Daya lodged her dagger into one of the swordsmen’s left thigh, the other one thrusting his blade into her arm at the same time. She growled as she felt the cold steel tearing through her flesh; the pain she knew best and yet the one that got to her most. Since the apparition of magic into this world, weapons that had often wounded had a very peculiar roughness to their edge. They bit
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