Round And Round: Chapter Eight Of “Bounty Hunter”

The vampire clans we run into after Morani are small and weak. They are relatively simple to destroy. I train Cyanne as best I can as we make extremely good time on our way down the path left by the messenger. I look over at Cyanne as we walk.

“Do you know where we will find Romanof?” I search her face for clues.

“Not really.” She is telling the truth. “I heard once that he was in Denver or Colorado Springs. But that was years ago, when I was still just a child.”

“Where you originally from?” I smile.

“Tampa. Mom and I headed north after dad was killed by the Human Alliance for not evicting an empathy from our home.”

“who was the empathy?” I look at her concerned.

“I am. I am also a changeling. That was what Cypher was using against me to get what he wanted from me. He had seen me change. But so did Demon Hunter. And I didn’t know he had. Or I would have gone to him for help sooner.” She looks down, ashamed.

“So, Demon Hunter. What is he like?” I change the subject.

“He is a nice man. Never once tried anything on me, even after he found out what I was. The rest would have killed me. He did not. I am not sure why.” She looks over at me. “Where are you from?”

“A small town in the Midwest. We moved there after papa and mama were disowned by their families. I was a baby then. I was four when papa and mama were killed by vampires. And I was turned. Been hunting them ever since. Well, since I finished training twenty years ago.”

“Oh.” She grows quiet.

“I will take you to the Sisterhood.” I look over at her.

“No. Not until I have learned from you. Besides. You need me. At least for a while. And I need you.” She is pleading.

“Alright. But only until you feel you can make it on your own.” I hug her reassuringly.

I am just hoping that we make it long enough for me to teach her what I know. And then get her to the Sisterhood. But I am having one of those doubtful feelings. Like we aren’t going to get to do as much as she wants to. Like I won’t be able to finish teaching her.

***

I am training her. She is getting the moves down rather well. I can feel her getting stronger. If she survives the next few days, she will become a strong warrior. But will she survive the next few days? that is my question.

I can’t help but wonder why I have this sense of dread. Why do I sense death? Doom? Darkness on the horizon?

Could I just be imagining it all. I hope so. I have grown to like her. She is a good companion.

But as I was taught by McCall, I remain aloof as I teach. I do not get too attached. I cannot afford to. Life is too short.

Her life. Not mine. My life is infinite as long as I am not killed. And I make it nearly impossible to kill me. So does my armor.

I show her how to make the pikes. I find ripe gourds and show her how to stick the heads upon them. Then set them in the ground as a warning. I show her how to parry with one hand and slash for the neck with the other. And how to switch hands when the enemy least expects it. But to do so carefully. so one does not leave themselves open in battle.

I am proud of her progress. She learns fast. Maybe faster than me. I am reminded of something Truva always said. Of how I reminded him of McCall when they first met. Raw talent just waiting to be refined.

Yes. She reminds me of me when I started. Fresh. Awkward. But quick to learn.

But I have to do both Truva’s job and McCall’s. I have to spar and voice the moves. Not the easiest of things to do. But I get it done well enough for her to understand.

***

“We need to find shelter.” I am thinking about what might be out during the dark. Especially those things we have been lucky not to run into so far.

“I think I saw a farm a mile back. Maybe we can make for that.” She seems to agree with finding shelter.

“Yes.” I am agreeable. “I think it might rain as well. No need to tempt fate. Can’t afford to get sick.”

“You? Sick?” She seems shocked.

“No. You. If you get sick, we will have to stop anyway. Until you get well. If you get well. Then, we will have to make up for lost time.” I look her in the eye.

“Oh. OK.” She smiles sheepishly. “Are you always this cool? I mean cold?”

“What do you mean?”

“You are always all business. Cold as ice. Almost as if you are afraid to make friends.” She looks over at me hesitantly. Unsure if I will be upset by her words.

I smile. “I am sorry. I was taught to not allow bonds to go too deep. My teacher never spoke. Felt it would form too much of a bond. His partner was the one who spoke. Taught me everything I needed to know. Education wise. I guess I kind of took to their philosophy. Don’t want to become too attached. I am only your teacher. Sooner or later, we will go our separate ways. After all. Our missions are not the same. You are meant to kill demons. I am meant to destroy the Sabbath Stones.”

“What if they become the same?” She is grasping at straws.

“They cannot become the same. At least I do not think so.” I bow my head.

We walk back to the farmhouse in relative silence. I must have hit a nerve. Or she has nothing more to say. I just hope the house has no ghouls or other undead in it. I am needing a bit of rest.

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