Part 2 of C.R. Gardner’s Two Faced Goddess serial.
The Two Faced Goddess Pt 2
‘What are those?’
‘I’m gonna need more proof than a bunch of pretty glowing markings, girl,’ said the American in his faded denim jeans, cowboy boots and hat.
Erris spun round facing the door, pistols in both hands, ready to fire before it opened.
‘Why not?’ growled Erris.
‘They’re all with me,’ said Chi Sun, dragging an injured man forward, ‘Lost the enemy, but they can smell blood, and he’s bleeding bad. Can you heal him?’
‘Why didn’t you leave him, then?’ said the American.
‘Because that is not our way,’ said Chi Sun, putting down his gun and hugging Chi Lyn who was clinging to him, glaring at the American over her head until he looked away.
Erris returned the guns to her belt and began unwrapping the bloody bandage covering the man’s hand. His blood smelled sweet and coppery; his scent familiar. ‘What are you doing here?’
‘Escaping the enemy,’ he said.
‘The enemy had penetrated the royal bunkers. We escaped into the subway tunnels,’ said the Lieutenant, coming to stand beside the Prince.
‘And the Prince’s injuries, Lieutenant Huxley?’ said Erris.
‘They wanted the royal signet ring and couldn’t get it off.’
Erris paused and looked into the Prince’s black eyes, dancing with reflected firelight. ‘Why were you wearing the royal seal?’
‘The King gave it to me when the order to evacuate was given.’
‘So he chose you as successor, not your brother. I wonder why they want it?’ she mused. ‘Okay everybody, gather your things, we’re moving out.’
‘Do you trust her, Prince?’ said the American, ‘I mean, twenty-seven souls…’
‘Thirty-two,’ interrupted Dorian.
‘Whatever! That’s a lot of people even with those pretty markings glowing on her arms and face.’
‘What’s your name, cowboy?’ gasped the Prince, as Erris removed the last of the blood soaked bandages, revealing three mangled, fingerless stumps.
‘Well, Anson,’ said the Prince, still gasping, ‘Colonel Sofia Laguna led four hundred hostages to safety from mountainous, hostile terrain in deep winter. They were mostly old men, old women and children. She lost no-one. I know this because I was also one of those hostages.’
‘And the markings on her arms and face? What do they mean?’
‘They’re a gift from the Two Faced Goddess,’ said Lieutenant Huxley. ‘But, that’s a story the Colonel can tell another time.’
‘Yes, another time. This better be proof enough,’ she said as the sigilla on her arms and face began to writhe like snakes and glow with a fierce brightness. She placed her left hand over the Prince’s bloody one and said, ‘With the left hand of the Goddess, I give life. With her right hand, I bring death.’ Light flared and wind swirled about them. The Prince cried out, and as the power dispersed everyone could see three new fingers where the stumps had been.
Erris poured water on a cloth, ‘Scrub off the blood. Leave anything with blood on it behind. Dorian, lead us to the nearest tunnels that will take us to the country. Ana, Ty, Chi Lyn, you’re behind Dorian. Combat skills, cowboy? Do you have any?’
‘Taekwondo black belt.’
‘Then you’re next with Chi Sun and Lieutenant Huxley. Everyone else, until I know your skill level you’re in the middle. Prince, you and your body guards are after them. I’m rear guard.’
‘I’ve been searching for you,’ said the Prince, dropping the bloody cloth to the floor.
‘I know. We’ll talk later. Move out.’
Watching them go she allowed herself a partial transformation and scented the air, listening with silver grey wolf’s ears moving back and forth. She couldn’t hear them yet, but she could smell them. It made her nose twitch uncomfortably. There was something very wrong about their scent; she felt her hackles rise. What was this enemy? Why had they attacked? What did they want?
She set off at a slow trot behind them, all her senses on heightened alert. Life had never been ordinary with the transformation abilities she’d managed to keep secret from everyone except her closest friends, but since fusing with the Two Faced Goddess Erris Eritrayeaux, Colonel Sofia Laguna’s life had well and truly gone down the rabbit hole.