Gulla rolled her eyes. “It enhances genes. My parents were working a way to make it cheaper, easier, and more effective.”
“To what extent? I wish we had someone to showcase what it can do.” I knew from the unfocused expression Harl mostly was talking to himself.
Her impish little face broke into a smile. “I can demonstrate. Set up an obstacle course, or something. I’ll impress.”
Harl shot me a look which indicated he found her amazingly annoying. “Fine,” He turned around and started to bellow out orders.
“Amaria, you should have told me.” She knew Gulla was my sister’s daughter. Amaria’s shoulders flowed upward, and collapsed. “Ties of family confuse me more than they clarify anything, Vallen. You gave your heart to her family, this I know. But, she did not know you. As far as she knows you are a stranger. Would you have forced a stranger on a child who witnessed her parents’ murders?” She knew the answer to that.
“I can make up my own mind. I’m not a child, I’m sixteen.” She announced as if there was a difference.
I could see a bit of her mother in the face. Her features had been altered with a great deal of symmetry. One of the side effects of enhancing that became a mark of pride. “You’re a child to me. I can still remember you chewing on plastic blocks.”
A flush turned her face red. “That was rude.”
“You are rude.” I kept my tone level. I didn’t appreciate her nasty words toward Harl.
“Maybe so, I’ve been on the run since I was fourteen. I didn’t even meet Amaria till a few months ago.” She looked away from me. “I’ve killed.”
Shame and sorrow caused me to flinch. She might look like a tiny girl, but she had to grow up fast on the run. Gulla should have grown up trusting me, and the rebels. Instead, she grew up fighting. I thought they had all died. The Nobles cleaned up all the bodies. What bastards leaving a young girl vulnerable so they could hunt and kill her. “I’m sorry. I didn’t even think you were alive, no one did. We should have checked.”
A strange, wise look came over her. She gave me a half smile. “How would you know? They did it deceive you, and it worked. No surprise. I know you are friends with Harl. My parents never liked him. I don’t like how his running this war.”
Amaria stepped the shadows fading into them. I turned my attention to obstacle field. Harl was going full out. Tall walls to climb, barrels to climb through, a field with twisted bits of metal across it, and some tattered beams very low to the ground. I would have found it gruelling, and I had been fighting a brutal rebellion for years. Gulla looked undisturbed.
Harl swaggered over. “What do you think?”
She ran her eyes up his physique. “You think it’s impressive, so it’s good enough.”
“How so?” He cocked a brow at her.
“I need to prove to you about my abilities. If you think it’s tough, then I’ll amaze you. She tipped her head to the side looking up at him.
Harl shook his head. He threw a glanced my way. I smiled. He didn’t have to say it. I could tell what he was thinking. The little girl was cocky, and bold. And he’d enjoy watching her fail.
I wasn’t sure so sure her bravado was unearned. Amaria wouldn’t have brought her around if she couldn’t do what she said. If she’d been on the run from the Nobles for two years, she was no pushover. A question overwhelmed me suddenly. “Gulla, what happened to your brother Anth?”
Her dark eyes turned toward me. Her fingers brushed my arm.
A burning explosion filled my head. My vision blocked by metal grates as I looked upon my sister, her husband, and Anth playing in a living room. A knock at the door as my sister answered it. “Gab, what are you.” Her words cut off as bullets cut into her body knocking her on the ground. The man grabbed my nephew attempting to flee, but the bullets got him and he went down. Anth bawled as he was covered in blood. Gab, I assume, strolled in. He kicked my brother-in-law’s body over, and calmly put a bullet in Anth’s head. The vision faded as I staggered to my feet.
The boy had barely been old enough to walk. Her parents called him their little miracle. Things are degraded so much in the last few years. It was hard to imagine at one time the world hadn’t been in utter chaos. “Gulla, you can share memories?” I barely got the words out.
She dipped her head, eyes glossy, and bright. She bit down on her lip. “Don’t tell anyone.” Her eyes locked onto Harl, “Especially, not him.”