The Aftermath Academy - CH55 (Olivia)

Stupid, stupid, stupid. I threw her the wrong direction! Now she might get in Abe’s way. Dammit all, I’ll need to go kill her. This operation is really starting to suck, and not just because I’m down a freaking arm.

Fortunately, other than the first blow, most of the damage Valkyrie managed to deal me is superficial. She might be able to cut through my Pride, but I did a badass job defending. Looks like all that time training in VR paid off. If I hadn’t spent so much time learning to dodge and how to use skill in a fight instead of just crushing my opponent, I’d probably be dead right now.

I can tell that Krieg’s programmed the nanobots with some sort of adaptive software as the healing is occurring much more quickly than the first time. Or maybe the damage just wasn’t as severe. It sure as hell feels severe, but I don’t remember enough of my time being tortured to death to do an unbiased comparison with this torched muscle and skin thing I have going on right now.

My Envy lifts me into the air and I begin to float towards to the tower. Probably not the best approach, but I’m tired of this crap and if Abe hasn’t dealt with Void and the rest of the security forces by now then we’re probably all dead anyways.

I’m…tired. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt this tired. I should try to gather enough energy to devour Valkyrie from a distance, but I just don’t have it in me. I don’t think I’ve ever used that many of my powers at once in that concentrated a manner before. It’s left me feeling drained. I’ve only felt this way during a fight once before.

I even consider pausing to rest my eyes a couple of minutes, but I can’t just hang out taking a cat nap in the air since her sword can do that annoying extending thing it does. If she hadn’t gone and gotten stronger she wouldn’t be enough of a threat to worry about it and I could totally recharge a bit before finishing her off.

But her friend had to go and die on her and give her an upgrade. What the hell? How’d that even happen? I don’t remember killing the strong girl! Good thing Krieg’s been keeping track of these guys or I might have let her sword come down on my damn face instead of blocking the thing with my arm.

As I come to the wrecked remains that are now passing for the top of the tower, I don’t see Valkyrie anywhere. Not surprising. My understanding is that unless her armor gets breached she won’t take any damage. So it doesn’t matter how hard I threw her, she’d be able to walk away without a problem. In that case, where is she hiding to strike me from?

Look, I get that you might mistake her absence for listening to reason and just leaving, but why would you think an Executioner would be reasonable? Most of the time they just go kill people targeted by software my boyfriend helped build. They’re human weapons with short life expectancies made to follow orders. Valkyrie is more competent than most, but they’re clearly just not trained to have great reasoning skills.

I put forward as evidence this frustrating tendency of theirs to overreact to me defending myself. Honestly, I have yet to kill an executioner that didn’t try to kill me first. Might have accidentally killed a couple of vigilantes… but no executioners! Probably. That I remember anyways. Regardless, I don’t believe she’d just leave, which means she’s repositioned herself to strike at me. I’m guessing it’ll be that piercing technique.

If my transponder weren’t already broken I might be able to ignore Valkyrie and just go straight for Hope. But it didn’t last through the fight with Reader, so now my main objective is just to help clear the way for Abe. Lilith should be on standby but there’s still a chance it could be bad if Valkyrie goes chopping him to pieces. He’d be fine, but there could be some bad interactions with Hope’s immortality field and his regeneration.

I jerk to the left as a sword pierces through the floor, glad my Greed gave me warning of the attack. I drop through the ground, grabbing Valkyrie’s sword with the hand still made from Gluttony. The dark claw of my fist surrounds the sword, continuously reforming as Pride keeps the blade in check despite the energy pouring out of it.

You know, something occurred to me the other day re-reading Krieg’s dossiers on the executioners. Valkyrie’s power is officially called Souls of the Damned. Krieg believes it’s a bit of a misnomer, but then again so is my chosen name. I wonder though, if it means her items have any sense of feeling.

“I really have to admit it to myself,” I whisper, my power taking form as it enters the blade. “I really need to find a new name. Seven Sins just isn’t accurate. I thought maybe if I pretended I didn’t have this power I could act like it didn’t exist. That I wasn’t the one who used it on my mother’s army. I really liked the name I’d come up with. Now I’ll need to find a new one. But maybe yours can be more appropriate.” Acedia.

I can feel Valkyrie trying to dissipate her blade from my grasp. She doesn’t understand what’s happening, but she knows it’s bad. The blade stays where it is. I was right, it does have feelings, at least in a fashion. I can feel the energy the blade was putting off dim, the blade going dull, its strength is gone. I don’t even bother using my Pride to snap it, curious to see what it’ll do.

The blade shatters into thousands of pieces. This time none of them dissipate, the metal shards fall to the ground. Then rust creeps over them as if they’d been lying there for decades.

A joyless smile tugs at my lips, self-satisfaction at my cleverness perhaps, but I don’t feel anything approaching happiness about what comes next. I continue my descent towards the suddenly unarmed Valkyrie.