Adriana vs. Assassins
“Leave and postpone your destruction,” Adriana said in her native French, knowing that despite the various nationalities of the Daughters before her, they knew her language. “Stay, and you die here and now, your blood to mix with that of the bitch who spawned you.”
These five Daughters were all no older than twenty-five when they were Turned; Adriana had trained with them all, knew them all. They were not privy to Cytheria’s manipulations and should not have to answer for them.
However, Adriana would not let them stop her from thrusting her nodachi’s blade through Cytheria’s atrophied heart. What was left of it after she had broken it in anger the night she learned of Cytheria’s duplicity.
Three of the Daughters moved down the stairs as gracefully as a trio of ballerinas. The katana swords in their hands belayed all thoughts of beauty, replacing them with the will for violence.
The center Daughter, a fair-haired European girl not much taller than Adriana, swung her sword from high to low, probably hoping to catch Adriana’s head and end things quickly. The other two, both from Yukio’s Japan, came in from the sides.
Adriana parried the blow with her nodachi and spun toward her attacker, forcing the attacking girl into the path of the Daughter coming on her right. The other girl failed to pull her attack and slashed through her fellow sister’s arm. The European’s katana fell from her hands and clattered on the ground.
Unfortunately, Adriana’s maneuver left her open for an attack from the Asian Daughter formerly on her left. Despite a deft spin from Adriana, the Daughter slashed her across the side, drawing blood.
Adriana returned the blow with one of her own, thrusting forward with her right hand, ramming her nodachi through the girl’s forehead. Blood spurt from the wound trailed from her mouth. The Daughter slid from Adriana’s sword and to the ground.
The fourth Daughter, a Spanish girl, moved to flank Adriana. Before Adriana could react, the European girl grappled her from behind, restraining her right arm and squeezing her throat. The throat hold did no good to a creature who didn’t breathe, but it helped immobilize Adriana while the Spanish girl advanced with her sword ready to slash Adriana’s face.
Her nodachi contained, Adriana opted instead to hook her leg between the European girl’s legs and yank them out from under her. As the European fell, Adriana spun. The Spanish girl’s katana sliced into the European girl as both she and Adriana tumbled to the ground as one.
To her credit, the Spaniard was an expert swordswoman, evidenced by the European girl’s head rolling away from her body.
Adriana disengaged from the dead vampire, rolling further down the stairs.
The fifth Daughter, whom Adriana guessed from somewhere on the African continent, stabbed her sword down on Adriana, catching her in her thigh and stopping her escape. Adriana rolled onto her back, kicking her uninjured leg at the Daughter. Adriana struck the girl in the stomach, breaking her grip on her sword and sending her up a few steps. The girl stumbled but retained her footing.
Adriana kicked the katana in her leg at its handguard. The weapon went up into the air, freeing her. The Asian and the Spaniard descended the stairs, their swords at the ready. Adriana vaulted to her feet just as the Asian’s sword swung for her head, the Spanish Daughter going for the already wounded thigh.
Reaching up, Adriana caught the katana she had kicked, using it to parry the Asian girl’s blade. In the same motion, Adriana brought up her wounded leg, parrying the Spaniard’s blade on the bottom of her boot and kicking it away. Adriana then used her injured leg to kick the Spaniard in the face.
Seizing the moment, the Asian kicked Adriana’s good leg, sweeping it out from under her. Adriana fell to her back but quickly somersaulted from that position. Swings from the Asian’s and the African’s blades met empty air.
Adriana took up a kata stance at the bottom of the stairs. The remaining three Daughters regrouped, forming a unified front against her.
“You could at least make this interesting,” Cytheria said in a tone relaying her boredom.
That was all the encouragement Adriana needed.
The three Daughters charged Adriana. When they were nearly upon her, Adriana leaped into the air, vaulting over the Daughters. She landed behind them but stumbled to one knee due to her wounded leg. The Daughters stopped, turned on Adriana.
Adriana’s thrown nodachi lodged in the Spaniard’s chest.
Now weaponless, Adriana ran up the stairs and scooped up the European’s fallen katana. She turned and swung the blade, guessing one of the other Daughters would be upon her.
She guessed correctly, slashing the Asian daughter across her face. The girl spun away, falling to the ground at Adriana’s feet. Adriana spun the katana, thrusting downward and through the Asian’s throat.
The African Daughter flew through the air at Adriana, a foot aimed at the vampire’s head. Adriana ducked to one side. The girl flew past, landing just behind Adriana. She was quick to bring about her sword to parry the African’s attack and then deliver a blow of her own aimed at the African’s legs, cutting them both at the thighs.
The African Daughter stumbled to her knees.
Hearing footsteps behind her, Adriana fell to one knee and thrust her katana behind her. It came up and into the Spaniard’s torso. The Spaniard’s blade hung in the air above Adriana in what would have a been a killing blow to her atrophied heart. Adriana rolled to one side, taking her katana with her.
From a squatting position, Adriana quickly licked the blood from the katana. Before her she saw the Asian on her hands and knees, blood pouring from the wound in her throat. As Adriana watched, the blood flow slowed; the girl used her vampire power to heal.
Adriana couldn’t watch further as the bleeding Spaniard continued her assault with another thrust of her sword aimed at Adriana’s head. Adriana parried the blow with her katana, then pulled the girl down to her level with her hand. The Spaniard crashed to her knees in front of Adriana.
“You could have prevented this, Litia,” Adriana said.
“And allow your betrayal to go unanswered?” Litia spat back.
The vampires’ eyes locked.
“You never were any good at forcing your will, Adriana,” she said.
Litia tried to break Adriana’s hold, but couldn’t. She glared at Adriana and found the vampire smiling.
“And you could never break my holds,” Adriana said.
A thin line of blood oozed from Litia’s nose. Soon more blood trailed from her eyes.
“Unlike you,” Adriana said, “My abilities improved since we last sparred.”
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