Bound To Evil 28 Don't Feel Guilty To Live
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If Lazar's objectives didn't make everything complicated and he only had to think about his survival he probably would have already agreed to ally with Amandla, he had many reasons to do so, 'She is cunning, she knows more than me about the Apocalypse and she is strong, stronger than me I imagine since she obtained a cla.s.s. She would make an ideal partner, but...' He didn't want to give Amandla false hopes because he would be warier of himself than of her if they were to ally. Knowing himself he could let her down in the second if he came to think that their alliance kept him away from his revenge.
It was easy for Amandla to understand that Lazar was hesitating, she was once again ent.i.tled to one of his interminable silences and his empty expression didn't allow her to know if he was leaning towards a refusal or an approval. She felt that it wasn't the time to say something to try to convince him so she was just standing there waiting in frustration that he finally decides to say something.
Suddenly Lazar's eyes widened, Amandla thought he had finally made up his mind then she fell into misunderstanding when he grabbed her hands all of a sudden. Taken by surprise, she didn't have time to react, "You're bleeding." He said.
"Look at your hands, idiot!"
Amandla's fighting style as well as her cla.s.s were particularly focused on her perception, which is why it was her highest statistic. With what was happening to her, no chance that she will boast of the effectiveness of her senses in the future, "What a fool!" She had felt absolutely nothing, she would have had to see it with her own eyes to realize that she had contracted her fists so hard that the mark of her nails was imprinted in the flesh of her palms now bloodied.
Amandla had stopped contracting her fists unconsciously as soon as Lazar had put his hands on hers but he decided to let go of them only when he saw that she had completely come to her senses, 'I will have to take care of that, the slightest discomfort at the hands will be very problematic for her.' He walked over to the bathroom, "Try not to get your blood everywhere while I'm going to get you things to treat you."
A few minutes ago Lazar was on his knees emptying his stomach in a bucket, the probability that his wounds would reopen was near zero if Amandla let him do what he wanted but she preferred not to leave anything to chance, "Come back here, I can do it myself." She said as he was walking casually down the hall as if he weren't hurt much more seriously than she was.
"Sit down and shut up. Your blood is already flowing on the ground and it will be much worse if I let you move, if I go it's because I don't want to slide on it later." He replied scathingly without stopping to walk.
When Amandla disagreed with someone and was convinced she was right, she always made sure to have the last word. It was one of the rare times when it wasn't the case and the first that the person who put her in her place was younger than her, she had a little trouble accepting it but on the other hand that rea.s.sured her, 'I, who expected little from him when I saw that he was so young, he continues to prove to me that I was wrong. It only remains to convince him.'
Lazar quickly returned with disinfectant and bandages in one hand and compresses in the other, he approached Amandla who was sitting cross-legged on the sofa on which he was previously lying and stood in front of her in the same position. She held out her hands to him, he saw that the bleeding was much less abundant than before, 'her const.i.tution must be quite high.'
"Did you forget that you were an archer when you decided to screw your hands up?" It was really a stupid way to get hurt, he wasn't going to deprive himself of reminding her.
"f.u.c.k you, just apply the disinfectant. I'm not anymore in the mood to appreciate your irony."
Lazar poured an excessive amount of disinfectant on two compresses and flattened them without taking any precaution on the two palms of Amandla.
"Ouch! What's your problem?!" It had hurt her way too much to think that he hadn't done it on purpose.
"What made you angry to the point that you did this to yourself ?"
"I'm not..." She was going to deny it instinctively but she gave in to the obvious, he managed to pin her down, "*Sigh*... You're right, there is something."
"I'm listening to you." Seeing that Amandla was willing to confide Lazar began to treat her properly by gently patting the wounds on the palms of her hands.
"After the announcement of the Apocalypse did you have the reflex to check if a radio was working?" She asked him.
"d.a.m.n... the radio waves are still working?" Lazar was so engrossed in the idea of going back to Boston that he forgot to do something so obvious when he had the occasion, 'I was in a car with a radio and I never thought of turning it on!'
"The apocalypse deprived us of our weapons but not of all our technology. Anyway, at the end of the first day, I managed to get my hands on a radio and I received broadcasts relayed by the government, which is still in place by the way. I learned some pretty weird things about the situation in the United States and the rest of the world." There wasn't an ounce of satisfaction in what she was saying, which made Lazar think she didn't consider finding this radio was a blessing.
"What did you discover that could put you in this state?" Lana often said it, when he wants it Lazar can be a good listener. He spoke little and only when Amandla was pausing in her sentences or when she was waiting for an answer from him, it was nice for her to see that Lazar could sometimes abandon the interrogation mode.
"I will come to it. I have learned that globally the large-scale monster attacks are only concentrated in small geographic areas. Some areas, called green zones, have been completely spared, or almost, they still represent the vast majority of the world territory. Others, the orange zones, are war zones opposing the army and sometimes awakened civilians to the monsters, the majority of these zones include big cities so one might think that they are attacked strategically but this is an error. As for the United States, there are dozens of these orange zones, but the scale of monster attacks is much more disastrous for 4 cities on the East Coast to the point that the term 'red zones' was coined for them. I understood why these cities in particular were more affected than the others when I got my cla.s.s thanks to one of my new skills."
'Some cities on the East Coast...' The connection was quickly made in the head of Lazar, "Boston is one of those cities in a red zone and the city where you were too, right? These attacks were aimed at us..." It didn't take long for Amandla to get here, she was probably from an East coast city.
"Yes, I was in New York when it all started. You know, even with my skill and if I was a bit dumber I could have thought it was a coincidence. I could have told myself that the monsters were just trying to destroy the biggest cities on the East Coast but the fact that Pittsburgh is also part of a red zone was too big for me to see no correlation." Pittsburgh was a city of barely 300,000 inhabitants and had no strategic importance, knowing this, it was indeed strange that the city had suffered a major attack.
"What is so special about Pittsburgh?" If Pittsburgh was the third city to have undergone a really large-scale attack, then Philadelphia should be the fourth, since the mess that the column of fire had caused was comparable or maybe worse than what was going on in Boston.
'The column of fire was probably the epicenter of the attack on Philadelphia, let's imagine that I forgot the fact that it's impossible that it was triggered just a few hundred meters from me by accident...' Philadelphia remained the second most populous city on the East coast which corroborated the possibility that the monsters were targeting the main cities on the East coast, but Pittsburgh? 'The capital Was.h.i.+ngton D.C, Charlotte, these are just examples among many other cities on the East Coast more important than Pittsburgh, it's not consistent that Pittsburgh is in a red zone.'
"I reached level 10 yesterday in the morning, I obtained with my cla.s.s a rather special skill. This skill is called 'strategic positioning', it allows me to know in all circ.u.mstances where the heirs related to me are, like you, my princ.i.p.al role for the moment is to gather us. The remaining heirs were in Pittsburgh when I was able to sense their position for the first time, in other words; yes, someone is trying to eliminate us. However, although everything seems coherent so far there is one thing that I cannot explain..."
"...How do you know?!"
"I was there, monsters came out of the ground right next to my bus just minutes after the Apocalypse started." Lazar would have been almost relieved if Amandla had told him that the Philadelphia and Boston s.h.i.+t had nothing different than the rest of the world, now he had to add 'being chased' to his pile of worries, "Who targets us and why?"
"The ent.i.ties that command the monsters obviously, if you want names and addresses it will be complicated..." The bleeding from Amandla's hands had completely stopped and Lazar had finished cleaning her wounds, he was opening the box of bandages when he caught Amandla glancing at the top of the fireplace with an absent look. She was looking at a photo frame of Lazar and Lana who were posing in front of the house, the photo was dating from when they moved in. It was quite sober for a photo with Lana on it, they were just side by side and were holding hands. Lana was smiling tenderly, and although Lazar wasn't doing the same he had a rather cheerful expression.
"She is my adoptive mother." She was about to ask him questions about this frame and he preferred to direct the conversation himself to avoid talking about it too much.
Lazar was already antic.i.p.ating what Amandla was going to say, "Yes. She is the reason why I came to Boston as well as the reason why I will stay here for a moment, I have to finish something here."
Although Lazar continued to treat her as if nothing had happened, Amandla understood that she was talking about a sensitive subject and chose her next words carefully, "I suppose that this thing that you have to finish has something to do with your injury and the monsters that took over the city?"
"I have to kill them."
"All of them?" Amandla didn't enter into direct confrontation with the Ganipotes and the Garaches but she had the opportunity to see what they were capable of and what Lazar wanted to do seemed crazy to her.
"All of them."
"I'm going to be frank, the next step would have been to convince you to come with me so that we join the rest of the group in New York in 6 days maximum. Even if I help you it will be impossible or at least very complicated to kill all the monsters in this period of time."
"I never asked you to help me and anyway what I'm doing here isn't the only thing keeping me from following you."
Lazar expected Amandla to be discouraged, wrongly, "If they are trying to get us together it's for a good reason Lazar, I wouldn't say that our interests are common but they overlap. My ent.i.ty made me aware that you were looking for a way to your country and I too have things to settle in Norway, we can help each other."
'I feel like I no longer have a private life with her.' This inconvenience put in parenthesis, Lazar could now understand the nature of the determination of Amandla, when she evoked what she intended to do he had the impression to see the same thing that he saw every morning when waking up in front of his mirror for years, "In this case, I have some ideas that could help us get to New York on time." He had made his choice.
Lazar had finished applying the bandages on Amandla's hands, she was happy to see while stirring them that she hardly felt any pain, "Do you already have a plan in mind?"
"Yes, but to make it work we're going to need the army."
"The army? Do you have a short memory?"
"It's true that Slawn will be complicated to convince but it doesn't depend only on him, he isn't in command. The government didn't only send 300 soldiers led by a simple colonel to liberate a city of Boston's scale, there is at least one Major General behind this reconquest."
In the US army, the rank of Major General is 2 notches above that of colonel, after this, there are still 2 ranks before that of full general which is the most important rank in peacetime, 'In wartime 2 even higher ranks can be attributed. They have probably already been attributed.'
Lazar stood up and this time he wanted to go to the kitchen.
"What are you doing?"
"Your pizza is going to burn, I'm going to take something to take it out of the fireplace safely. I will tell you about the program for the next few days while you eat." This time Lazar had no valid reason to move since Amandla had stopped bleeding but she didn't stop him, he wouldn't listen to her anyway.
"You don't want a slice?"
"I'm not hungry." It was more polite to say that than to admit that the reason why he remembered that the pizza was in the fireplace was that the smell of salmon floating in the air gave him nausea. Even if it annoyed Amandla, he would rather eat nothing than vomit in the bucket again.
An unusual morning for a city like Boston where the weather is often poor, for once the sky was clear and the sun was bathing the faces of the soldiers busy unloading provisions from the trucks parked in the street. Leaning against one of these trucks not far from Lazar's house was a man whose presence hardly went unnoticed.
It was the officer who ordered the soldiers to retreat yesterday, Slawn's right arm, the badge on his uniform indicated that he was a Major. A very impressive rank for someone in his mid-thirties.
He was posted at this precise place to carry out a task rather unworthy of this rank besides. The first thing Slawn ordered when he regained consciousness yesterday evening was that that the Major should remain stationed just in front of Lazar's house as punishment for what he had done.
He didn't mind monitoring the house, as long as he did so at a reasonable distance... Slawn was clearly looking for a confrontation, he had made it clear in his order that the Major had to stand right in front of the lawn of Lazar's house, 'What he wanted me to do, our goal is to exterminate the monsters, we can't afford to be... Oh s.h.i.+t.''
The front door opened wide and he saw the archer come out of Lazar's house. She no longer gave him the same image as yesterday, her golden hair was tousled and she wore clothes that made him think that she was just getting out of bed, 'Seriously, she's wearing slippers...'
All the soldiers in the street froze one after another when they noticed Amandla's presence and the fact that she seemed to be looking for something made them even more nervous. Her gaze swung from right to left along the street until it stopped on the Major, she then began to walk in his direction.
No matter what she was wearing the Major wasn't going to forget that she was dangerous, he had seen a part of what she was capable yesterday and the testimony of the soldiers who had been confronted with her before he arrived was even scarier...
"h.e.l.lo... "Her gaze lingered on his badge then his face and she resumed her sentence,"... With all due respect Major, you seem to have spent a dirty night. With the dark circles you have, I doubt you have had time to sleep tonight if you see where I'm going with this."
"..." He didn't know what to do or answer, honestly it wouldn't surprise him that she decides to beat him up with one of her slippers in the second considering what she had done yesterday.
"Calm down Major, I will forget this if you pa.s.s this on to the Colonel Slawn on behalf of Logan Walker." She held out her right hand and left only the back of it visible to hide the bandages on her palm, magically she made appear between her index and middle finger a sheet of paper folded in four.
Although they were in bad terms, all information had to be transmitted, "...Okay, do I have to transmit something else with it?"
"No, you are going to fight today?"
Answering this question would be treason but he suspected that she already had the answer to this question, you only had to take a quick look in the street to know that they were preparing to leave to fight. She probably had another idea in mind by asking him the confirmation.
The intuition of the Major told him that if he really wanted to liberate this city he would have to rely more on Walker and this woman than Slawn so he made a choice. He took the paper from Amandla and gave her a discreet wink, "My friends.h.i.+ps to Walker."
"Tell Slawn that we want an answer tomorrow and I strongly recommend that you read this message yourself before you give it to him. I don't know this guy as much as you do but I have the impression that he would be able to tear it apart before even reading it." She said to him, leaving her hands in the pockets of her pajama pants towards Lazar's house.
Amandla was greeted by the smell of eggs and bacon, luckily Lazar's hotplates ran on gas.
What she had just done had been agreed in the night with Lazar, for her part, all she had asked him was to sleep until noon to recover and it was a little more than 7 am.
"Can I know what are you doing?"
He didn't take his eyes off the pan, "Eggs and bacon, they're for you."
"It's nice, I was hungry, now go to sleep or I'll knock you out!"
"I used to wake up at 5 a.m. every morning before, 7 a.m. is a big improvement. I would have woken up earlier if you hadn't woken me up several times talking in your sleep." A rather thin wall separated Lazar's room from that of Lana in which he had installed Amandla for the night, "Yesterday our conversation had derailed from his purpose, you couldn't really talk about what you want. Do it now you will feel better."
Talking in her sleep is what happened to Amandla whenever something was weighing on her heart, 'Maybe it will help me...' Even if it annoys Lazar she preferred to be honest on what she thought, "Don't take it badly but... How can you not feel guilty about what happened in Philadelphia and Boston?"
'A subtle way of saying: How can you live knowing that thousands of people and your adoptive mother died because of you.' He could understand her point of view but he didn't agree with it, "Would you blame a baby whose birth would have killed his mother?"
"Because we are adults? Whether in the case of this baby or ours blaming us would amount to blaming us of existing. Personally, I think you can judge someone only by their actions or their intentions, not by something that is beyond his control, don't feel guilty to live. It's my opinion, do what you want with it."
'Actually you know how to find the words to cheer me up.' Lazar had stayed focused on the pan all along, too much to notice the tears that Amandla had quickly wiped with her arms. He was just rea.s.sured to see that she had a cheerful expression when he turned around with his pan in hand, "It's ready, sit down."
Lazar showed Amandla her chair at the kitchen table and waited for her to sit down to put the eggs and bacon on the plate he had placed in front of her, he also sat down at the table on a chair next to her.
Amandla grabbed her cutlery and began to eat in small bites "I have found the guy you have talked with yesterday and I have given him the message. He is a Major, his rank is high enough."
"What do you think of him?"
"He confirmed the attack, he can be useful."
"Well, I didn't expect that much, if he survives this day, everything will become simpler. Anyway, the army will quickly have no other choice than to accept the hand that we are extending to them and to treat us on an equal footing. Fighting against the Ganipotes and the Garaches with a force that has a minority of awakened people is suicide and unfortunately, I think that they will learn that the hard way."
Bound To Evil 28 Don't Feel Guilty To Live
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Bound To Evil 28 Don't Feel Guilty To Live summary
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