“Really?” Kyle asked with raised brows. “What makes you so sure?”
“I consider myself something of an expert of history before the fall of man. I was fascinated by the things we used to be able to do, and I’ve spent years of my life scouring every mention I could find of that bygone era.” Garth set up his backstory.
“And you recreated some object that gives you the godlike power of the ancients? Flying through the sky? Killing a man at fifty feet with nothing but a shiny metal box?” Kyle asked sarcastically.
“I saw a quote.” Garth said, subtly weakening Kyle’s heavy wooden sword.
“Oh, this should be good,” Kyle said, grinning as he stretched.
“Know yourself, and know your enemy, and you shall not fear the outcome of a thousand battles.”
“That seems…fairly obvious?” Kyle’s eyebrows clouded. “Was there a point to that?”
“You don’t know me.”
Garth lunged forward, arm outstretched.
Kyle sidestepped easily and grunted with effort, delivering a full power, two handed strike to the back of Garth’s neck, but the heavy wooden blade simply snapped rather than damage its master.
“And that’s another Bergstrom for…me?” Kyle noticed the busted blade an instant before Garth grabbed him by the face and took him to the ground.
“It’s about time!” one of the onlookers shouted, his attention attracted back to the melee.
Garth was planning on going for a mount as they were falling, but the bastard was strong, peeling Garth’s grip away from his face and jutting his knees up into Garth’s stomach, while hunching his back, turning the fall into a roll. He threw Garth all the way over him, and used that momentum to flip himself on top of him in a mount position.
Well, that’s no good, Garth thought an instant before a punch drove his face into the sand.
“Kick his ass Kyle!”
“You can do it, old soul, harness the powers of your ancestors or some shit!”
“Nice groundwork Kyle.” The teacher said with a bored tone before returning to teaching two of the slower members.
One thing that Garth had taken away from Kyle’s lessons was that there weren’t really any rules in a real fight.
Garth grabbed some of the sand lying beside him and threw it in the teenage psycho’s face. The kid blocked the sand with his forearm, but it also blocked his vision of Garth’s true target: His dick.
Garth awkwardly punched straight down with everything he had, where the kid’s thighs were conveniently spread.
“Uuung” Kyle let out an anguished groan and leaned forward, the veins on his neck standing out as his face turned red.
Garth wrapped a hand around the back of Kyle’s head and brought his neck into biting distance. Garth tasted blood when Kyle let out a shout and returned fire, delivering a blow that could shatter stone into Garth’s gut.
Garth’s jaw loosened as a grunt was forced out of his lungs, and Kyle took the opportunity to push himself away, flinging backward with superhuman strength.
“Ooh, that’s umm… Teacher?” one of the catcallers spoke with rising alarm as they saw Kyle back away with a bloody hand clapped to the side of his neck.
“What’s the matter, weren’t you going to break my neck?” Garth pushed himself up and lunged forward, sliding his front foot forward along the ground violently as he went, sending a spray of sand in front of himself.
Never hurts to stick with the classics.
“Gah,” Kyle said, squinting as Garth tackled him back to the ground. The two of them flew through the air a moment before Garth landed on top of Kyle, driving the air out of him. Kyle’s free hand was caught under Garth’s armpit, and Garth pinned his other hand to the ground, allowing his bloodied neck to continue oozing into the sand.
“Looks like I missed the jugular,” Garth whispered into Kyle’s ear before licking the side of his face. “Maybe next time I’ll get a proper taste of your blood.”
It wasn’t Garth’s thing, but you had to make people reaaaally uncomfortable if you wanted them to be afraid of you. Psychos need something a bit more kinky than the idle threat of violence.
“You insane bastard!” Kyle shouted, slamming his forehead into Garth’s nose.
The impact sent stars through Garth’s vision, turning his already bloody nose into a faucet.
Garth felt a giggle welling up from inside, and didn’t bother to push it down.
“Hee hee heee…” Garth spat the blood dribbling into his mouth into Kyle’s eyes, then pushed himself up and delivered a solid blow to the kid’s temple, the boy began to shudder like a clubbed fish, and so Garth discretely healed the lethal damage to his brain.
Whoops, gotta keep him alive for this.
“What should I take next?” Garth asked as the boy’s eyes rolled back to the front.
“I’m thinking maybe snipping your nose off.” Garth sported a manic grin and clacked his bloody teeth together while wiggling his eyebrows.
“No, NO!” Kyle shrieked, pushing Garth away with a superhuman shove and crab walking backwards.
Garth tumbled backwards, cackling. He pushed himself to his hands and knees and spotted Kyle, then prowled forward, singing to the tune of Lesley Gore’s ‘you don’t own me’
♪You don’t know me…
♪I’m not just one of your…many toooys.
♪You don’t know me…
♪Don’t run your mouth off you...little boooy.
“Get away from me!” Kyle shouted, his nostrils flaring, eyes wide with fear. Excellent.
Garth was getting into it, now, scuttling forward inhumanly fast. When Kyle kicked at him in fear, he’d catch it and break the little psycho’s ankle… Maybe bite off a toe.
People thought psychopaths don’t feel fear, because of all those cop shows where they don’t give a shit about the interrogator’s threats.
Not so. Most of them are so calm because they know law enforcement would never do any permanent damage. The threats and intimidation, It’s all so much hot air. But real threats, actual harm, or a complete loss of control, and they feel it. They can feel fear.
Now to make this one afraid of him…
“Mr. Bergstrom, that’s enough!” The instructor shouted, Snapping Garth out of it.
Garth felt the energy drain out of his body and he sat back on his knees and panted, glancing at the teacher.
“How was my groundwork?” He asked, putting a thumb on the side of his nose and blowing the blood out of one nostril before clearing the other one.
The assembled student were watching him with equal measures fear and awe. Alicia was staring at him with something of a predatory smile.
Shit, I was supposed to throw the fight. His plan had been to act like a teenage hothead, but now he seemed more like a bat-shit crazy serial killer.
Not really what I was going for.
“That was totally inappropriate!” She shouted.
“Why?” Garth asked, pointing at Kyle, who was staunching his neck again, watching him with wide eyes. “I won, didn’t I? What separates punching someone in the face from above from biting their neck and scaring the shit out of them?”
“It’s just wrong!”
“Well, that doesn’t make sense.”
This is why I’ll never understand fighters, Garth thought with a sigh.
“You, take Kyle to the infirmary!” The instructor said, pointing to one of the onlookers.
“I’ll do it!” Alicia chimed in sweetly.
“I can walk, bitch, mind yourself!” Kyle shouted, practically running from the practice yard with his hand clapped over his neck.
“See you tomorrow!” Garth shouted after him before a lead weight settled in his stomach.
“And you, Mr. Bergstrom…” The brainwashed teacher said, hesitating. “See to it that doesn’t happen again.”
Whatever that was, Garth thought with a sigh.
Garth’s temper had gotten the better of him. Again. He was supposed to lose, badly. They were supposed to make fun of him, allowing them to build a mental image of him that didn’t sync with being the leader of an underground organization, or the reincarnation of their Satan.
They would have laughed everything he did off as him being weird and not give it a second thought. He was supposed to look like a hotheaded teenage idiot.
Wait a minute. I am a hotheaded teenager. Garth realized. He was in a teenage body, ergo, his emotions were roiling out of control, except the problem was, this time around, he matched outlandish power with total social isolation and a complete lack of give-a-shit. He was a time-bomb.
Gonna have to find a way to reel that shit in, Garth thought as he was about to climb to his feet. I need someone to keep me grounded, like a sidekick.
I miss Wilson.
Garth glanced up, and saw black pants stretched around a juicy pair of thighs, leading up into hips that flared outward pleasingly.
A hand entered his field of view, and Garth took it, allowing Alicia to pull him to his feet. She gave him a smirk and handed him a wet towel.
“For your face.” She said.
“Ah, thanks.” He said, wiping an alarming amount of blood away from his mouth.
“So listen,” She said, looking him up and down, “I’ve been thinking earlier...”
“I didn’t mean to make you grab my junk, I just kinda was having fun wrestling, and…” Garth shrugged.
“Not. That.” She growled, her face reddening.
“Oh, nevermind. What’s up?” Garth asked, scanning the crowd of students that were giving him sideways glances. He probably wasn’t going to get practice partners in awhile.
“You said hanging out with you would be more exciting, and more profitable than attending classes.”
“Not my exact words, but basically, yeah.”
I was reconsidering my stance on that.”
“You’re not just saying that because I almost killed your brother and you’re backing someone else, are you?”
“It’s a factor,” Alicai admitted, “But it’s more about how you almost killed him. you’re not afraid of him, and I need people like that around me.”
“Huh.” Garth grunted. “And it doesn’t bother you that our families have a blood feud?”
“Kyle wasn’t wrong,” she said. “You can make meaningful decisions right now. Putting Kyle’s head on your mantle will go a long way toward satisfying your father and aunt’s thirst for vengeance, and then between the two of us…”
She stepped closer and played with the collar of his shirt, her sweet scent piercing the smell of blood.
“We could wash away the hate.” she whispered.
“I’m looking for a sidekick, not a puppeteer.” Garth said, gently removing her soft fingers from where they were tickling his collarbone.
“If you ever wanna hang out for the fun of it, let me know, but in the meantime, I got bigger fish to fry than your low-stakes family squabbles.”
“Low stakes!?” She shouted, hurting his eardrums.
“You heard me,” Garth said, rubbing his ear with his palm. “I’ll tell you the same thing I told your brother: ‘You don’t know me.’”
“If you really want to know what I am…” Garth considered for a moment, “Go ask your uncle about me, he’s got the inside scoop.” Garth said, turning to leave. “If you still want my help after that, well…we’ll talk terms.”
The tone of an enormous bell cut through the chatter.
“Oh, look at that, time to go home,” Garth said, breaking into a sprint.
“Wait!” Alicia shouted after him. “You have to help clean up the yard!”
Garth ignored her and busted out of the academy, running just to run.
He didn’t stop until he was all the way back to the Bergstrom manor.
Garth stopped at the front door and rang the bell, panting.
As first days go…that was pretty disastrous.
Alicia stewed on Edward’s words the entire trip back to the Inn. She ducked into an alley and changed clothes, heading out a side route to make sure Kyle’s lackeys couldn’t track her to her Inn.
Once she was dressed in a baggy hemp shirt and skirt, she meandered around the city for an hour or so, occasionally cutting through sidestreets and backtracking, until she was in Marcus’s side of the trade district, standing in front of the alley where she’d been forced to defend herself from two hired murderers.
There was no way to prove they were hired by Benedette, but Kyle preferred doing things himself, and Susie didn’t have the money, so it was fairly obvious to Alicia. Lost in her own thoughts, Alicia didn’t notice the difference until she was almost in the alley itself.
Her gaze didn’t even touch on the bloodstains on the ground from the day before, instead landing on the smoking husk of her uncle’s base of operations. The main beams of the building stood like a blackened ribcage, the rest of the wood completely burned away.
“What the hell?” Alicia said quietly. Where was her uncle, then? Surely he couldn’t be inside.
This might warrant hazarding a trip home to see Aunt Maggie.