A hand snapped over the side of a ventilation shaft. Then, a second one. A grunt was followed up by a young woman up with severe eyes, and brown skin. “Ugh, this hurts.” She mumbled under her breath. With a heave, she pulled herself into the shaft. She leaned up against the wall clutching a dagger shoved into her side. “She told me it would hurt, and she was not lying.”
She dug around in her tall black boots, and pulled out a slim tube. She clicked the back-end showering light onto her side. She chewed on her lip for several hard bites. Her nose twitched once. “I should have asked whether or not I should pull it out. Can I get out with it in me?” She chewed on her lip some more. “I think I can.”
She shoved the flashlight back into her boots, and started to crawl. She sang a quiet song punctuated with a curse word or two. A faint blood trail followed behind her. Each foot scrap, and ding made her wince. “I wish I wasn’t so loud.” Her voice just above a whisper. Several more feet before the tunnel began to lighten. She increased her speed a bit, it got brighter and brighter.
At last, she was facing the outside, her face staring up at the glistening spires, and shooting up from shattered remains of the old city. She let out a holler. She shifted to face downward and grimaced. The drop was several feet high. “Ko.” She cursed in a mild tone.
A loud chink made her jump sideways, and her eyes close as her face paled. She leaned out the tunnel to see a massive hook and rope. A figured climbed up it with skill. The woman smiled when she recognized who it was. “Hey, Amaria.”
“Stuff it, you are late to the rendezvous.” Amaria, looked very young, her face unlined with the round, soft features of someone not quite mature. Her eyes, in contrast, were mature, and far-seeing.
The older woman grunted. “I went on a mission. I didn’t go out to buy a new dress.”
“Gulla.” Amaria voice was girlish and high, but there was a hint of danger in it. “You wanted to lead a rebellion, get used to the fact people will worry about where you are. Come on, jump on and let’s go.”
Gulla’s twitched her lips. “I might need help.”
Amaria’s narrowed her eyes. “Why?”
“I got stabbed.”
“You got stabbed?” Amaria’s black brows shot up underneath her massive pile of bangs.
She shot her a sideways grin. “You adorable, when you’re shocked.”
Young girl ignored her, and twisted close to the wall. She grabbed her arm. “This is going to hurt.” She yanked her out of the shaft, and swung her over to the wall.
Gulla let out a cry, which she cut off by biting the inside of her cheek.
Amaria glanced down, and shouted. “You didn’t pull the knife out. What is wrong with you?”
She clung to the rope for several minutes. “I wasn’t sure if it would be better to leave it in or not.”
“Unbelievable.” Amaria shimmied down the rope. Her eyes level with the knife. She pressed one hand against Gulla’s side. “It does not hurt, you feel fine. The wound is not bleeding.” She repeated the phrase over and over a minute. She took her hand off Gulla’s side and placed it on the hilt of the knife. “Hold on to the rope tight.”
Gulla’s eyes were squeezed shut, and she gave a terse nod.
With a quick rip, Amaria pulled the knife out and let it fall. “I can’t believe you. You are genetically superior being, you are not immortal.”
She opened one eye. “I’m young and foolish.” Her face was white with tension, but she managed a smile.
“No need to tell me. I’ll climb under you. I’ll catch you if you slip and fall.”
Gulla twisted so her legs and arms were wrapped around the rope. “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome, as always, friend.” Amaria moved down the rope her eyes on Gulla as they made a slow pace down to the ground.