Rushing out of the manor Lydis's mother was carrying Lydis. Followed by the young doctor. They were swiftly making their way to the transport cars when suddenly a group of people dressed as maids blocked the path.
"Move it." Marie gritted her teeth and spat out the words.
"You won't leave here with your life." The raspy voice of the maids echoed in the empty garden.
"This is my last warning, move it." The maids didn't respond. Instead they all rushed in, wielding blades and spears. Marie tightened her grip on Lydis slightly and began to fend off her attackers.
The first two blades that came were aimed at her legs. Jumping up Marie flipped in the air and brought both feet back down on the maid's heads, crushing them. The sharp crack of their skulls caused the others to change formation. Now positioned in a spiral around Marie and the young doctor.
"M-miss…" The young doctor was frightened, his knees almost buckling. The only thing keeping him standing was the thought of being left behind by the miss and left to die. He was content on following the miss out of there. The spiral was tightening. All at once they attacked in a synchronized move. Spears jabbed at Marie's leg while others thrust upwards, anticipating Marie's jump. What they didn't expect was that instead of jumping Marie just stood there, using kicks to break the blades and spears. She raised her leg and kicked upwards. A gust of wind followed her kick and the spiral was broken. The enemies scattered but reformed further away.
"B-boss, we didn't hear about her still being this strong." A grunt whispered to his superior.
"Yeah, didn't she get injured a year ago?" Another grunt pitched in.
"For all we know she could still be as strong as she was during her prime…" The nervous agreements of other members chimed in as well.
"Quiet!" Their leader's pressure weighed down on them heavily. Some had to step back a couple of feet while clenching their chest. "She could just be faking her strength. For now let's follow her and wear her down first."
"Yes sir!" The other members saluted and dispersed, going after Marie once again.
While the enemy had been talking Marie slipped away from them. The young doctor tried to follow Marie but since he didn't have her kind of constitution and stamina he fell behind by a couple meters. Though he was breathing hard he was determined to not be left behind. His willpower had stopped him from collapsing long ago. Marie continued without waiting at all. The only thing on Marie's mind was to get Lydis somewhere safe and then to go back to help her husband. They continued their sprint through the manor's dense forest. Soon they heard the enemies following them again. Blades and darts were thrown at Marie. Using one arm she swatted the weapons out of the air and continued to run, undisturbed. The enemies kept their distance but still attacked Marie. Some who had managed to circle around them set up traps, bombs, and poisons to stop and weaken Marie. Though she managed to avoid them she still wasted more effort than she originally planned to. The young doctor behind her had been lucky was well. Following her movements and going along with her decisions though, it wasn't like he had a better chance of living if he didn't.
The attacks didn't stop and the toll was becoming evident on Marie's face. Her brows were furrowed and sweat was trailing off her cheeks. The young doctor was barely managing to stick with Marie. His condition was worse as he was breathing heavily and reeked of sweat. His steps were becoming unsteady and sloppy but, he wouldn't let himself fall. In Marie's arms Lydis was becoming colder and colder. The mini cryostasis was taking effect at the worst possible time. Marie's arms were getting numb from holding Lydis.
The chase continued. Watching out for attacks from behind them and traps below them Marie and the young doctor continued to push on. The enemies like wolves, keeping pace and attacking wherever there was even a slight opening. Their attacks never letting up. Soon they reached the river which acted as a boundary between the Archduke's manor and the wilderness. The young doctor's pace slowed and the distance between him and Maire increased even more. Eventually Marie reached a cliff. Due to its natural defense with a steep cliff and raging rivers below not many would try to swim or climb it. Much less bring an army through it. Huffing the young doctor stopped next to Marie, fear invading his eyes. Marie stopped before the cliff looking at the raging waters and thinking of any kind of plan. Sighing Marie set Lydis down gently, caressing her cheek one last time before turning to face the invaders. The young doctor had already given up and slumped onto the ground, defeated and in despair.
"You're already surrounded." From the tree's shadows the enemy captain walked slowly towards Marie. His voice distorted by his black helmet. Marie glared at him, readying her fists to attack at any moment. "It's futile to resist. Come with us quietly and we might be able to let you live a little longer." The man struck out his hand and offered it to Marie. Seeing this Marie spat at him.
"Scum like you have no right to order me around." Marie raised her hands above her head and stood ready.
"Don't make things difficult, we wouldn't want any… accidents, now would we?" The man nodded at Lydis. From the cliff four men appeared and grabbed Lydis. One grabbed Lydis and two others had a blade pointed at one of Lydis's vital points. The fourth one grabbed the young doctor. Although he was caught the young doctor didn't struggle. Tired from running and exhausted, where once had been a will to live the young doctor was no filled with despair for the inevitable. Before Marie could react they already had Lydis.
"Trash! Release my daughter before I tear all your limbs off!" Marie turned around to face the three men. When faced with Marie's overwhelming pressure their knees almost buckled but they didn't budge, instead the one holding Lydis tightened his grip on her throat and shifted the blade closer to her throat. A fine red line appeared where the blade was pressed on Lydis's throat. "STOP!" Marie reached out but stopped when she saw that the blade moved deeper.
"See? It would be a shame to have any 'unfortunate accidents' befall your daughter while she's… is she dead?" The captain was confused. A blade was pointed at her neck and there was already a cut but Lydis wasn't crying at all, much less moving. The one holding Lydis noticed this too and made a cut on Lydis's remaining arm to see if she was faking bravery. The whole area was silent except Marie's teeth grinding against each other. "Huh? Who would've thought that you'd run while carrying a dead body on you." The captain seemed amused by this.
"Sir, the child's body is also extremely cold." The man holding Lydis lifted Lydis's hand and showed them her cold blue fingers.
"Disgusting. Is that how much you treasure her? Too bad but this is the end of you." With a snap of his finger dozens of soldiers dressed in black armor suits appeared beside him. "End her but, make sure you aim for her right side. I heard she got a pretty bad wound a year ago." Hearing this Marie tensed. The wound she received a year ago was due to the betrayal of a trusted friend. Lydis had gotten kidnapped and they asked for Marie to bring the ransom. Unwilling to sit down while her daughter was being threatened Marie had blindly rushed into their base with the ransom. What awaited her was an ambush. The kidnappers were a recently famous bomb terrorist group. What Marie rescued was a dummy Lydis and in the slyphir explosion fragments of heavy metal lodged themselves inside her left leg and right eye, almost taking her life. After the failed ransom they tracked the group for another month before finally pinning them down. Luckily Lydis wasn't killed but sadly she had no memories of the time when she got captured or her mother in fact. Diagnosed as short term memory loss doctors had said that it would come back in a few months.
As though she was reliving the memory Marie's face scrunched up, hatred blazing from her eyes.
"Uh-uh. Don't move an inch, or else…" The captain gestured at Lydis and the soldier holding Lydis tightened the blade again. Marie stopped moving again.
"Release her." Marie was spitting the words out through clenched teeth. The men around her felt the pressure increase even more and the one holding onto the young doctor collapsed. The moment that happened the young doctor turned towards the men around Lydis and threw a dark black vial at their necks. All it took was a second. Out of the three vials thrown two hit their mark while the one holding Lydis, who had been furthest away, managed to deflect the dangerous vial.
Seeing as the young doctor was going to throw something else the captain signaled for his hidden men to take care of him. From the cliff a man in black armor climbed up and wound a thin metal wire around the young doctor's throat. Without room for him to defend himself the young doctor was once again captured.
*cough* "I can't do much more than this… too bad." The young doctor fell onto the man in black armor and pushed against him, knocking both of them off the cliff into the torrent river below. Marie didn't waste a second of the doctor's sacrifice. Making her move while the one holding Lydis was distracted she appeared next to him and landed a punch on his ribs from the side. To shocked to do anything the one holding Lydis died instantly, his ribs crushed and lungs punctured. On his other side the impact caused his bones to pierce through his skin, making him look even more deformed. He released Lydis and fell to the ground, blood slowly streamed out of his mouth.
"I see even a wounded tigress is still a tigress." The enemy captain glanced at his fallen soldier and back to Marie. Feeling a sudden chill Marie summoned her Embodiment weapon.
"Come my claws." With this short phrase blades of metal gold appeared out of air and formed steel knuckle gloves on her fists. Flexing her fingers Marie shot out thin gold blades at the captain.
Dodging the blades he kicked up a curtain of dirt towards Marie. Raising her arms to block the dirt Marie didn't notice the captain had shifted to her right side. His swift kick grazed Marie's leg as she leapt to the side. Stopping her dodge midway Marie pushed off against one foot and shot towards the captain, a fist colliding with his chin. Her knuckles flipped to reveal blades on the top. The blades cut into the captain's chin, leaving behind an ugly jagged cut. Marie then kicked off from the captain and flipped around to stand in front of Lydis's body, her stance ready.
The captain didn't say anything as his helmet fizzed electricity. Short wires made visible from the cut. Soon a slow distorted snicker escaped from the captain.
"I didn't want to do this but, you're still just too much fun!" The captain pushed a button behind his helmet and a *fwosh* noise came out as the pressure inside his helmet released. A familiar face smiled gently at Marie, his young voice ringing in her ears. "Well, squad leader, miss me?"
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