Gun Princess Royale - Book 3 - Ch6. (Part2)

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Chapter 6.
– II –

One young man with a long sandy hair, a medium build, and fine facial features stood apart from the other security personnel, and it wasn’t because he was nearest to Erina.

Nor was it the easy manner in which he conversed with her, standing casually as though he was chatting to an old friend…an old friend that looked less than pleased to see him.

It certainly wasn’t his slightly unkempt appearance, the tad bedraggled way he wore his suit, or his tie hanging loosely from his neck.

No.

He stood apart because I sensed something different in him – something I felt deep in my gut, in my bones, in the muscles wrapped around them, and in the faint hairs along the nape of my neck.

It was the impression that we had met before, but I couldn’t call it déjà vu.

Rather, it was a sense of knowing him on a deeper level than just a passing glance or brief encounter, as though my body recalled an unpleasant experience at his hands.

I came to a stop several feet away from him, with Straus a couple of feet off to my right.

Erina, standing about two meters away from the young man, stared at me in disbelief that quickly turned to anger. But before she could chastise or berate me for disobeying her instruction, the young man reached up, removed his sunglasses, and met my eyes.

At that moment, as our gazes touched upon each other, something inside of me was unlocked, and invisible shackles I’d been unaware of suddenly fell away. However, the deep unease I’d been feeling all the way down to my bones now jumped up a rung, and a chill slithered its way down my back.

The impression that I knew this young man, that there was history between us, grew stronger.

A faint smile curved his lips as he cocked his head slightly and regarded me for a silent moment.

“So you’re Isabel.”

His voice was quiet and yet it carried, tickling my senses with that damnable feeling that I somehow knew him despite having no memories of him.

He turned his body toward me, pocketing his sunglasses into his shirt’s breast pocket.

“But if you’re Isabel…where’s Mirai?”

It was extraordinary how swiftly he moved.

The moment the words slipped past his lips, his right hand dove in and out of his jacket with no noticeable acceleration.

Normally when someone moves, no matter how quickly, their limbs will visibly accelerate. But with him it was as though his arm had already gone past the accelerate stage and straight into maximum velocity. It was one of those ‘blink’ and you’ll miss it moments, or rather, it was as though that moment had been cut out from the flow of time, causing the scene to jump as though a dozen or more frames were missing.

Regardless, this lack of discernible acceleration threw me off and was the primary reason why my reaction trailed behind his by a wide margin.

However, even if I reacted a late, I wasn’t going to stand still and do nothing because despite his incredible speed, he had yet to aim his weapon at me, and that gave me a narrow window of time within which to counter him.

From a standing start, I bolted forward like lightning toward him.

I felt as light as a feather as my right foot touched ground, a millisecond before I kicked upwards with my left foot.

It connected with his right hand, throwing off his aim, and the black sidearm he held discharged a small round that sailed over my left shoulder.

It certainly felt like it missed my left ear by millimeters, and might have taken some of my raven hair with it.

As expected, the moment he reached for his gun, Mirai transformed from blonde to brunette.

In other words, she had powered up in the blink of an eye.

With my senses sharpened to a razors edge, I was able to perceive him and my surroundings with remarkable clarity.

In my peripheral vision I could also see the lifeforce surrounding Erina who appeared frozen in shock, her mouth slightly ajar. But her lack of movement was simply because time had slowed down for me. My Awareness was overclocked and yet I noticed it wasn’t the same as I had experienced when I fought the Gun Queen.

Time seemed to be moving slower.

Rather than at a quarter speed, it felt as though time had slowed five-fold.

And there was something else that was different.

For a brief moment, my body had moved in harmony with my overclocked mind. As a consequence, my left leg must have blurred in real time as I kicked the gun upwards.

It was this unexpected acceleration that saved me from injury.

That said, pain lanced through my left foot, and to my consternation, the agony faded slowly while my consciousness was overclocked.

But I didn’t have time to dwell on the pain.

I had avoided the first shot, but I wasn’t ‘out-of-the-woods’ yet.

Despite the heavy blow I’d dealt his hand, the bastard still held onto the gun.

I was surprised by that.

Considering that I hadn’t held back, I expected his wrist to have broken when I landed the upward kick.

No matter. If I hadn’t disarmed him then, I was committed to disarming him with my next kick, or the next one, otherwise I ran the risk of taking a bullet from his gun.

And equally as I was intent of relieving him of his weapon, I sensed he was intent upon shooting me.

Behind these concerns was another and it bothered me as much as it puzzled me.

My body was performing actions ingrained upon it.

It was adhering to techniques that had been honed through countless hours of training, and yet I no conscious memories of ever having performed physical training of the kind that would turn my legs into lethal weapons. It reminded me of Mirai’s skillful operation of firearms as though she’d been using them for years. However, operating weapons wasn’t the same as executing precise martial actions.

So why was I able to do so?

With my left foot back on the ground, I pivoted on it as I swung my right foot around in a fast arc.

I had to kick high because his right arm had yet to come down.

Fortunately, I was wearing a skirt that fluttered upwards and didn’t impede my movements.

Unfortunately, said skirt was short and held nothing back as my slender, toned leg scythed through the air.

With time moving slowly for me, I had plenty of time to observe his reaction.

As expected, his attention focused on the racy black panties I was wearing.

His eyebrows shot up in slow motion as his eyes widened.

Damn that Tabitha!

I imagined his memory taking rapid snaps of the vista between my legs even while the side of my foot succeeded in knocking his arm wide.

If this is going to be norm, I’m going to start wearing shorts under my skirt!

Using the kick’s momentum, I continued turning my body, pivoting on my right foot as soon as it touched ground, and lashing out with my left leg.

Again, I gave him a view to remember and write home about as my skirt billowed upwards.

Tomorrow—no, today—I’m wearing shorts!

The kick I delivered planted my left foot into the young man’s belly, and the impact knocked him back several feet into the flank of the black SUV parked behind him.

But like Newton said, for every reaction there’s an equal and opposite reaction, and I felt as though I’d kicked a wall as I rebounded away from the young man.

I had to spin my body in order to regain my balance, and quickly dropped into an offensive stance, determined to charge into him while he was still addled.

But as I leapt forward, I noticed something strange about the aura surrounding his body – it wasn’t complete.

What the Hell is he?

I avoided crashing into him as I grabbed onto his arms, preventing him from aiming the gun at me, but I immediately felt something was wrong and panic began to gnaw at my consciousness.

Gods damn it—why is he so strong?

Tabitha had said I was six or seven times stronger than a girl my size. But it was taking every ounce of that strength to compensate for the difference in mass between us as I pinned him against the dented side of the black suburban.

Wait a minute—the car is dented?

His eyes met mine as they were widening in surprise and confusion, and through the lifeforce radiating from them I could tell they were real.

What are you?” I hissed through clenched teeth, my breath coming in short and fast due to the effort I was exerting as I pressed him into the suburban.

And yet he was breathing easily as though he was standing leisurely with his back against the vehicle.

I sucked in air, then cried out, “Answer me—”

Distracted by the aura I was seeing, I didn’t notice him bring up a leg until I was winded by his knee burying itself into my gut.

Doubled over, I tightened my stomach muscles, and refused to let go of his arms.

But when I sensed his knee come up again for a second strike, I straightened hastily and then darted back by kicking off against the side of the suburban.

I avoided his effort to hit me, but I released his arms in the process.

However, I had one more desperate move up my sleeve.

As I retreated from him, I grabbed his gun and twisted it harshly with all the grip strength my left hand could muster.

Since he wasn’t going to let it go, then the least I could do was render it inoperable.

It wasn’t my first time wrecking a handgun.

I had twisted and bent Straus’s firearm back on the landing platform, although on that occasion I’d had the luxury of time on my side.

That wasn’t the case now.

I’d have a second at best during which to break my opponent’s handgun.

But I was determined to wreck the weapon so I gave the gun a vicious twist as I leapt backwards.

I landed around ten or eleven feet away from him. With a glance, I took stock of the situation around me.

The security personnel had drawn their sidearms and were aiming them at me. In response, Straus had yanked Erina out of harm’s way, and retreated out of the line of fire. Now he was shielding her behind his body.

I could understand him wanting to protect her from stray gunfire, but it needled my ego.

Hey—shouldn’t you be protecting me? I’m you’re hope, aren’t I?

Movement caught my attention, dragging my focus back onto the young man I’d grappled with.

I was already on edge, but felt even more uneasy at sight of him slightly buried into the side of the large black suburban.

He’s alive but he’s not human either.

I frowned at another possibility as I considered his incomplete aura.

Wait a minute—could he be human after all?

He gave the mangled gun in his hand a sour look. “Damn, I really liked that gun.”

Tossing it down onto the grass, he then pushed himself free of the vehicle’s warped door.

“Damn, you kick hard,” he muttered.

Once free of the suburban, he raised his hands at the surrounding security personnel.

“Stand down,” he called out. “I said, stand down. No harm done. Everybody relax.”

I couldn’t tell if the order included me, but I had no intention of dropping my guard, and I assumed a slightly crouched defensive stance.

Most of my attention remained focused on him, though I could see the security agents in my peripheral vision continue to aim their sidearms at me in defiance of his order.

The young man had sounded faintly amused before, but now impatience darkened his tone. “I said, stand down. That’s an order. If I have to repeat myself, I’m going to be mad.”

Shifting my gaze slightly to the left and right, I watched the dark suited men and women slowly, reluctantly holster their weapons.

“That’s better,” he remarked with a thin smile of approval that quickly grew cruel. “But I’m going to have you running fifty laps around the compound when we get back. Disobey me again and I’ll make it a hundred.”

As he took a long stride away from the side of the suburban, I now clearly saw the depression his body had made into the doors and B-pillar.

“What are you?” I loudly asked him, falling well short of a yell.

The young man frowned curiously at me for a second or two but didn’t answer.

I swallowed quickly and pressed on. “I know you’re not a Simulacrum. And you’re not a mechanical either. But you’re not human. So what the Hell are you?”

He cocked his head at me. “What makes you say that?”

“Other than the fact that you’re stronger than me, kicking you is like kicking a wall, and you left your body imprinted on that car.”

“You do have a point or two….” He broke into a thin smile. “You’re remarkable.”

“Aw, you’re making me blush,” I snarked sarcastically but not knowing what he was meant not knowing the extent of his abilities. That made me nervous and it sapped my sarcasm.

He dropped his smile. “But is it enough for you to survive?”

A frown flickered across my brow. Had I been asked something like that before?

“Are you talking about the Gun Princess Royale?” I asked him.

He answered me with a nod.

Unwilling to drop my guarded stance, I tried to hide my nervousness behind a casual shoulder shrug. “I guess I’ll find out sooner or later.”

He nodded again, then glanced down at the gun lying on the grass. “That was a gift.”

“Then you shouldn’t have pulled it on me.”

He fiddled with his loose tie as he regarded the weapon for a moment longer. “I must say, your speed surprised me. For a second, I couldn’t see you move.”

So I had blurred in his vision. By why was he telling me that? Wasn’t it better to keep it a secret?

He stopped fiddling with his tie and directed a thoughtful gave at me. “You certainly exceeded my expectations.”

His expectations?

“Who are you?” I asked bluntly, intending to force the dialogue in my favor.

But he ignored my attempt to divert the conversation. “It looks like all the work they put into you paid off.”

Damn him, I muttered inwardly, but found myself quickly asking, “What work?”

“The training they imprinted into your body. I’m sure she’d be proud of how you turned out.”

My stance wavered.

She? And was he referring to my knowledge of guns or the martial prowess I’d demonstrated less than a minute ago.

I swallowed quickly.

Or was it both?

Taking a short breath, I reminded him, “You haven’t answered my question. What are you?”

“That’s true. I’ll save that for another time. But shouldn’t you instead be asking who I am?”

“I did ask you! Weren’t you paying attention?”

He blinked and glanced away as though spooling back his memory. “Did you?”

Frustration took a bite out of my anxious feelings. “Frankly, I don’t care who you are. You’re with the Sanreals. Enough said!” I clenched my hands into fists. “And you pulled a gun on me. Nice way to make a good impression, asshole.”

He snorted curtly as he looked away and ran the fingers of his right hand through his sandy blonde hair. “And here I was thinking brats these days have manners—”

A poppy tune started to play from somewhere in his jacket.

It was the kind of music I was accustomed to hearing vapid looking female starlets sing on variety shows.

But then I recognized the song and a grimace worked its way up from my gut onto my face.

“Great—another frekking Ami Amero fan,” I remarked sourly.

“Hey!” The young man pointed a finger sharply at me. “Watch yourself there.”

My grimace contorted my face another notch as my voice dropped to a hiss. “…what did you say…?”

Jabbing the air in my direction, he proceeded to lecture me. “For your information, brat. Her name is Ami Amuro. Pronounced, Ah Moo Roh.” He clenched his fingers into a fist. “Do not dare to disrespect her or I’ll spank you over my knee.”

I straightened from my defensive posture, then made a show of cracking my knuckles – although they made no sound – as I worked up my most Hellish grin onto my face. “Oh yeah? Just try it, you asshole. Next time I kick you, I’m putting you through that car.”

He held up hand as if to stop me. “Just a moment. I need to take this call.” Then he calmly placed the flat device up against his left ear. “Arnval here. What is it?”

No matter how much I tried, my knuckles just wouldn’t crack.

Damn it. Another weird quirk of Mirai’s body. I blinked quickly. Wait a moment—so his name is Arnval. Weird name for a weirdo.

“Oh, really,” Arnval mused lightly as he listened to whomever was on the other end of the phone line. “And they’re coming here? Well, can’t you do something about them? I don’t know. Shoot their tires. Well then you think of something. I can’t think do all the thinking around here. That’s why you’re my right-hand woman. Damn it. It’s just one problem after another.”

He lowered the phone away from his ear and ended the call with a thumb tap to its screen.

Then he faced me with an amused smile.

“Change of plans, Princess. We need to get you out of here pronto.”

I stopped trying to crack my knuckles and shook my hands in a drying motion. “Did you just call me Princess?”

Arnval hurried toward me. “If you’ll step this way, please.”

He walked past me, and then beckoned me to follow him with a wave.

I stared at him in disbelief.

What is wrong with this guy?

Arnval noticed I wasn’t following him. “Would you prefer to stay and be questioned by the authorities?” he asked nonchalantly.

At that moment, Ghost materialized before me, startling me back a step.

“Princess, I suggest you do as he says.”

“Why the Hell should I?” I gasped while recovering from my fright.

“Because they may ask questions of you that you may not be able to answer.” Ghost replied with his customary calm, though I may have sensed an undercurrent of trepidation in his voice.

But there was no mistaking the apprehension Erina was expressing as she ran up to me and anxiously implored me, “For now, please. Would you just do as he says?”

“Who?” I asked, looking first at Ghost before pointing at Arnval. “You mean him?”

“Yes, him. Who else do you think I’m talking about?” Erina swiftly grabbed both my arms and shook me – well, as much as was within her means. “Isabel, Ronin, Mirai – for the love of the gods. Please, just do what you’re told—even if it’s just this once.”

I shook off her grip on my arms. “Okay—okay. Fine. I’ll do it.” Then I frowned sharply. “Do what exactly?”

“Do this!” she declared, and to my surprise, Erina grabbed me by my right hand and then pulled me along behind her.

I could have stopped her. Her strength compared feebly to mine so I could have held my ground with ease, but her anxiousness eroded my stubbornness.

Fine. Just this once. Just this once! You hear me, Erina?

Towed behind her, it took me a moment or two to realize we were walking back toward the parkland and in the direction of the harbor to the east.

Sheesh, what the Hell is going on? Go where? There’s nothing but water in that direction.

“Erina, what’s the big deal?”

“Dealing with the authorities is the big deal,” she replied hastily.

“Well then somebody should have told him not to pull a gun on me.”

“For once we are in perfect agreement!” She scowled at me over her left shoulder. “But it would have helped if you’d stayed where I told you to stay.”

“It would have helped if you’d told me he was a weirdo!”

Erina clenched her jaw and glared at me before swiftly turning away. “You’re right. I should have told you he was missing a few million brain cells…among other things.”

We continued walking back to the picnic benches when Arnval abruptly raised a hand, urging us to stop.

“Ladies, if you would be so kind as to wait right there.”

Erina and I both stopped a single step later.

I looked around us and noticed the security personnel had chosen to remain by the parked vehicles. However, Straus had followed us and now stood a few feet off to my left.

I threw him a puzzled look. “Do you know what’s going on?”

Straus wore an oddly constipated expression that grew worse by the moment as he peered at our surroundings. “I have a bad feeling about this.”

“A bad feeling about what?”

Being surrounded by nervous, harried people who were telling me diddly squat was doing little to alleviate my anxious feelings and my confused state of mind.

Arnval’s strange antics weren’t helping, either.

He was pacing back and forth a short distance before us while waving his phone through the air like someone searching for signal reception.

“Blasted app. What is wrong with this thing?” he muttered loudly, before repeatedly slapping the side of his phone.

The more I watched him, the more I unhinged I became. Eventually, my emotions exploded. “What the Hell are you doing?”

And once again he completely ignored me.

“Ah! There it is.” Arnval proudly held the phone aloft. “And now—Geronimo!”

Wearing a happy grin on his face, Arnval tapped the phone’s display with his thumb.

Erina inhaled sharply and squeezed her eyes shut.

Straus gasped and stood rigid.

However, I cocked my head at Arnval and asked, “What the Hell does Geronimo mean?”

“It means, grab your ass and tuck your head between your legs. We’re Trans-Locating!”

“What?” I swept my free hand in a half circle. “Out here? With all these people looking? Are you crazy?”

“Of course not, you silly brat.” From a suit trouser pocket, Arnval retrieved something that resembled a small peach. “That’s what this is for.”

My eyes widened as Arnval pitched the small peach into the ground between him and me.

“Kaboom!” he intoned with a laugh.

The peach exploded with a kaboom of its own, expelling a thick black, acrid smoke that rapidly billowed into the air and covered everything in sight.

I squeezed my eyes shut but felt them water when I opened them. Concurrently, my throat began to itch unpleasantly.

Beside me, Erina collapsed to her knees, gagging for air.

I crouched alongside her, but there was nothing I could do for her.

If not for Mirai’s Ultra-Grade specs I may have found myself as incapacitated as Erina was.

Even Straus, who happened to be a mechanical avatar, was waving a hand about in the thick black cloud as though he was trying to ward it away.

“What the Hell is this?” I choked after swallowing a mouthful of the awful, pungent black gas.

Arnval replied between coughs. “A smoke bomb.”

“Really? I thought it was chemical warfare.”

He coughed some more. “It’s my own design.”

“What did you use? An expired chemistry kit?”

Beside me, Erina was wheezing sickly as she struggled to breathe. She was using her blouse as a makeshift filter but it was having little to no effect.

I realized I had an urgent choice to make – one that went against my recent grain – but it was still a choice I had to make. “That’s it! I’m getting us out of here.”

Suddenly, a sharp tone sounded out from Arnval’s direction.

“What now?” I snapped at him, barely discernible in the thick black cloud.

“Finally,” he declared with evident relief before breaking into another coughing fit. “G—Geronimo!”

“You said that before—uggh!”

A familiar, disagreeable, and unwelcome sensation swept over me.

It was a combination of disorienting weightlessness that threatened to upend my stomach as darkness completely enveloped us.

Then it transmuted into the impression that I was perpetually falling into an all-encompassing abyss.

We probably endured the nauseating experience for only a handful of seconds, but it felt like it lasted a lot longer.

A moment later bright sunlight blinded me, as though someone had tossed the curtains wide open and ripped the shroud of darkness apart.

Reflexively I squeezed my eyes shut.

And then I noticed something was wrong.

The Trans-Location process had ended but my body continued to experience a sense of freefall. In conjunction with the roaring wind plastering my clothes to my body, there was no denying something was seriously amiss.

What the Hell is going on?

With a mounting sense of urgency, I pried my eyes open and struggled to look around me.

The sight of Erina, Arnval, and Straus swimming helplessly in the air had my heart skipping beats.

When I looked below me, I almost wished I’d kept my eyes shut.

A palatial luxury villa surrounded by acres of lush, verdant garden was rushing up to meet us.

Or rather, we were falling toward it.

To be specific, we were headed for a watery landing in an immense swimming pool easily mistaken for a lagoon.

In freefall beside me, Erina screamed at the top of her lungs.

Arnval you—!”

Then all of four us splashed down into the cold, crystal blue waters of the pool.



Thank you for your patience with this next release.

For those of you who are new to the series and would like to read or purchase Books 1 and 2, the links are provided below:

Book One - Awakening the Princess

Book Two - The Measure of a Princess

I will hopefully have the next part out by the coming weekend.

Thank you for sticking with it.



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