Price In Triplicate, Chapter 39- Kitten

“We need to run.” I tugged on Cecelia’s shoulder. Please, please just listen to me for once. “Next time they find us, they’ll be out for blood. We can’t fight them all, and if we keep trying they’ll just bring more. We’ll die if we stay.”

“You’re right.” Cecelia finally took her eyes off Daybreak’s glow in the distance. At night, she was like a green star dancing in the sky. “We die if we stay. That’s why you’re going to leave.”

But “What about you?”

“I can’t.” To my surprise, my power said she was telling the truth. “Not while they’re here.” She gestured to where Daybreak’s glow was heading toward the west outskirts of town.

“They’re drawing you into a trap!” Cecelia was always the crazy one, but this was going too far, even for her.

“Well, duh.” Cecelia bared her teeth; orange lightning danced across them. “I know it. And they know I know it. But it’s Destiny. It’s impossible to fight Destiny. We must have our final showdown. Either I kill them, or they kill me.”

“Don’t be stupid!” I grabbed her shirt. “They’ll have the entire city’s Imbued waiting-” My power saw her anger and angle of attack right before the back of her hand to hit my cheek. The blow itself was minor, but the thunder that came with it knocked me off my feet.

“I’m not stupid!” Cecelia’s voice crackled with the energy she didn’t expend on my face.

I stared up at her through my tears, my hand on my burned cheek while my power running down all the ways I could end her. Each second gave me five new options, a list of flaws in her fighting skills, and all the ways ice could insulate against electricity. “S-sorry. I don’t get it.” Why you’re trying to kill yourself. “If you have to go, let me come with.”

“No.” Cecelia’s voice was still angry, but the lightning was gone. She stepped closer to me, while my power screamed that I should move to avoid another attack.

Her glare softened, and a soft smile formed. “You can’t.” She kneeled down in front of me, her face hovering just over mine. “This is my Destiny, not yours. You’ll understand when you find yours.”

She’s so happy. I couldn’t remember a time when she was ever so calm and at peace. Excited, yes, but that was filled with so much rage. It was why I could never satisfy her like those other girls did. This was something different, something almost religious.

“O-okay.” If I wanted to stop her, I’d have to hurt her, and then I’d have to kill her so she didn’t kill me. Or maybe. I smiled, then wet my lips with my tongue. “But maybe a little fun before you go?” With all the fighting and hiding, it had been almost two days since we had a chance. All I have to do is distract her until they give up.

“Mmm, that does sound nice.” She ran her tongue along my cheek, cleaning my tears and the soot left from her attack. Her hand ran along my neck, nails just sharp enough to draw blood. “But my Destiny awaits.” Danger! I couldn’t escape in time.


I woke half-buried in cold mud. My power turned inward, scanning the damage and healing in order of importance. She stopped my heart with electricity, poisoned me with something arsenic based, and then left me in a muddy ditch. In short, my body was a wreck, but I healed the worst of it while unconscious. By my best guess, I’d been out for about fifteen minutes.

I started working on my muscles. Cecelia was a stronger shapeshifter, but my other power made me more precise.  As soon as my body would let me, I started running. It hurt; I could turn off my ability to feel pain, but that would slow me down, and I needed every second.

If I hurried, I should only be ten minutes behind by the time she got to Daybreak and Damascus. She couldn’t beat them, but she could keep up the fight with them for ten minutes.

Fortunately for me, my danger sense works no matter what. I dropped into a roll moments before the ground behind me exploded. “Fuck!” I didn’t have a chance to look at who attacked me before my senses screamed out again, but not in time to dodge the blade that slit open my throat.

I stopped my bleeding, then forced my healing into overdrive. I shifted my muscles around even while avoiding another attack. A huge man with a battle ax almost cut me in half. I made daggers in my hands to throw, but he vanished in purple flame. Teleportation? Illusion?

If it was an illusion, it was a very good one. I crouched, changing my senses to pick up scents or sounds that humans could not. “Show yourself! Who are you!?” I survived the ambush, but it seemed unlikely that was the end of the fight. I froze the air around my arms, creating bracers of solid ice. I couldn’t block the big guy; he was way stronger than a human body, even mine, could hope to be, but it would beat the attack that hit my neck.

My arm shot up before I knew what was happening, to block another hit. Enough force to chip the ice, but only human strength using a sword. My other hand went up to catch something warm and soft. I barely realized what happened when I heard the gunshot.

I can catch bullets?

“Well, that’s inconvenient.” A woman’s voice came from everywhere and nowhere. Whoever it was wasn’t using telepathy; my power was good enough to confirm it was normal sound, but not enough to figure out where it came from. Even my lifesense saw nothing. “But perhaps a blessing in disguise.”

Danger! I flipped backwards, which let me avoid the ax, only to be rewarded with a slice under the armpit by the sword.

“We prefer our kills to be quick and clean.” The voice continued. Two more gun shots missed thanks to my speed, but I had to block a flash of light. One of my bracers shattered from heat. An energy attack? “Seems your powers make that impossible. So we’ll have to cut you down the slow way. I must admit, after what you did to Abraham, I’m rather looking forward to it.”

“By talking me to death?” I jumped sideways, avoiding some unseen attack. I threw a spread of ice knives at the direction of the attack, but hit only the dirt. Where are they? Why can’t I find her? My lifesense was able to pick everything else up, including people further way, but not my attackers. Even my combat sense could just barely keep up with the attacks.

“You must think you’re pretty good. I have to admit, of everyone we’ve hunted down over the years, you might be the single most vile,” the voice continued. “But you’re just another animal that needs put down. Isn’t that right, Kitten?”

My stomach clenched. How did she know? “That’s not my name!” That’s what He called me when… when…

A face, mutilated and bloody appeared in front of me. “It is your True Name. The name of the rot in your soul.” His voice was dry, empty of any emotion, but it cut me deeper than their weapons had.

“You’re not real! We killed y-” Trapped! My power decided on a direction, which forced me to run straight into a sword point. Ice wrapped over my chest, which kept me from being impaled by the weapon. I found myself slammed to the ground with enough force to shatter my arm, then narrowly escaped a killing blow that shattered the ground.

One’s so fast I can’t retaliate, but isn’t that strong. She’s trying to distract me so the big guy to take me out in a single blow. I stumbled to my feet, and threw a dagger with my usable arm. It struck home, sinking deep into the giant’s stomach. Purple flame covered him, and he was gone. I could only hope I did real damage.

Behind where he was stood my father; His skin burned off, showing organs that still moved despite being half-eaten by decay. My other sense showed the lie for what it was; there was a person standing there, but whole, intact, and not rotting. Though he was old, frail, probably in his eighties.

“Look upon the face of your sins.” The illusion stepped toward me. “You are nothing more than a monster, a cancer to be excised for the wellbeing of all good people. Yield to your fate.”

Fate. Cecelia said I would find one. “No! You’re a fake! Some kind of Infiltrator!” Already my arm was repairing itself, but it would take time. I forced the humid air to solidify into another dagger. My senses told me the perfect plan of attack, a single flick of the wrist and I’d take the throat out of the monster in front of me. Yet, no matter how I tried, I couldn’t make myself do it.

He’s not there. He’s dead. It’s a fake. Why can’t I-

I shot my arm out to my side, then twisted. Pain ended my train of thought; a beautiful rose colored mithril sword was stuck through my forearm. The weapon responsible for most of the hits I’d taken.

“Poor Kitten,” the infuriating woman spoke. “You stared into the abyss so long that it ate you alive. But you kept looking, and you found us: the monsters who hunt other monsters.”

I screamed as my reflexes kicked in, allowing me to avoid a series of gunshots as well as a couple more bursts from their laser weapon, but also slicing open my arm where the sword was still stuck. They’re doing this in bursts because they have to. She can talk the whole time, but they only have short windows to attack. Great, now how does that help me in any way?

“I almost feel bad for this, Kitten.” The woman’s voice still echoed around me. “We can end the pain. All you have to do is close your eyes, and it will all be over. I promise, you won’t feel it. Or anything else. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? His face will never trouble you again.”

It does. But I have to buy time; if they found me, then they must know where Cecelia is. Trembling, I brought up my barely functional arm to pull the sword out of the other. Everything hurt, but I couldn’t afford not to feel pain.

Now! I dropped to the ground, screaming as my every nerve punished me. In the same move, I swung the sword in a wide arc, casting off splinters of frozen blood in every direction. The horrid woman’s cry of pain joined my own.

“You little bitch!” Her words made the pain almost worth it. “Just know we really didn’t want to do this.”

The Infiltrator appeared in front of me. The illusion of my father’s naked, rotting thing was right at my eye level. It’s fake! It’s not real! It’s not! “Monster. Join me in hell, where you belong.” His hands reached out for me. I can kill him! He’s just an old man! There are so many ways I can kill him! My power gave me solution after solution, but the fear was so intense I could barely think, let alone act.

My power stopped describing him, and started describing me. I was bleeding out of several places, including a nasty gash in my thigh I hadn’t even realized happened. My heart was racing so fast from fear that, if I were a natural human, it would have exploded already. Some weird Gadgeteer poison, more powerful than anything Cecelia ever created, ran through me.

I should not be alive. Am I one of those? The ones that can’t die, even if they try? If I am, how will they beat me? Horrible images of being locked in a casket and buried in some sort of Gadget-concrete filled my mind. An eternity trapped in a cage, with my only memories being His face, and what he did to me.

The ground rumbled beneath me. For just a moment, the illusion of my father flickered. The Infiltrator lifted his head. “It is done. The first is slain, by another’s hand.”

The first? Cecelia! Power swelled up within me, as it had before. This time, I didn’t need Cecelia to make me brave enough to accept it. She’s gone, I need to be strong enough for both of us.

My senses changed, collapsing inward. My two mile sight now reached only a block or two, but it was clearer than ever before, and not limited to sight. It connected to my hearing, my sense of smell, and my combat sense; a single power existed where before it had been three.

More, I could feel the ebb and flow of the forces warring inside me. A thought, and the part of my brain vulnerable to the Infiltrator was reduced to near absolute zero. The pain was breathtaking.

He’s not where I thought he was. One of the three had some other form of illusion. It’s the woman. It wasn’t quite an illusion, more like some disruption of my sense of position and depth perception. The weakness is, it doesn’t discriminate, it hits her and her allies. They have to drop the power to find me. They must have trained with each other for years to use it as well as they do.

I could feel her now, not far away. She was on the ground trying to bandage the hole I put in her leg. My physical senses swore she wasn’t there, and the illusionist was right in front of me. Even my lifesense agreed, but my newly improved combat sense knew the truth. The Infiltrator was further away, but still in attack range.

They don’t realize I know.

My upper body was almost useless, so I relied on my lower. Two ice daggers formed, held by my toes. I kicked out in two directions, scoring direct hits into their skulls.

I forced myself to stand; now I could afford to turn off my sense of pain. Cecelia’s dead. What do I do without her? 

Miles ahead of me, a plume of dust rose into the sky like a mushroom cloud. To my right, the roar of sirens and howl of wolves. Undoubtedly dozens of other Imbued rushing to the scene of my sister’s death.

Some of them will come this way, they’ll find me if I stay.

I hobbled my way toward a nearby patch of woods. If I could just stay hidden for an hour or two, I’d be able to heal and run.

I’m sorry I wasn’t strong enough to save you, Cecelia. I’m glad you were so happy to find your Destiny before you died. Maybe, some day, I’ll find mine.



19 thoughts on “Price In Triplicate, Chapter 39- Kitten

  1. A/N- This… this chapter… there is only one thing I can say about this chapter.

    I have wrote a lot of things in my life… but this is the first time I’ve ever made myself cry. Not the first piece of fiction that has made me cry (Where the Red Fern Grows holds that position)… but the first time I’ve ever done it to myself…

    In more cheerful news? I am officially a full week ahead of schedule. I may post a couple bonus “trailer” chapters for future books if I think I can keep ahead.

    And I am *very* close to returning to the top 15 on TWF. Please help?


  2. Woah Nice chapter it was great and also poor Kitten because unlike her sister she actually has feelings(well when she does not cut the relevant part f her brain off anyway).

    The origin of her new name was a nice touch and quite sad, Judge iwas really nasty in the way he used his power and so was Jury, so she was not the one having illusion, she had perception manipulation, nice power especially combined with those of her team.

    Now I am still wondering about Cecelia: on one had Kitten’s surge during this fight might not really be one but her Sister’s Mark of Cain and Judge said she was killed, on the other hand there was an explosion on the site of the Trio’s fight(hence the mushroom cloud) something that comes from Cecelia’s power interacting with Chloe and on the top of that the Bonding effect screws with Espers just as does Domenic’s power for that matter so…Plus I always found it suspect that the Esper rating of Cecelia’s death on Kitten’s file was highter than the one of her being Cora’s twin.

    Also a pity that Jury and Judge bit it as I would have liked to see more of them(well it can still be done thanks to non linearity and all).

    Also if you do the trailer chapter thing well this will be awesome, by the by which is the current winner for the next book ?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah. Flash-freezing a chunk of your own brain is pretty messed up. Can’t be good for the mental health.

      Imbued cannot get Mark of Cain responses. They always go to unpowered individuals. With certain specific exceptions of people under the influence of a Gifter, as Alex was.

      Thing about not being sure about them being twin sisters is the ‘twin’ part. They have blood evidence- but they’re fraternal, not identical, so all they’re sure of is the pair are very very likely to be siblings. But the girls don’t have birth certificates. Let alone everything else.

      As to who’s in the lead? Last I counted, Threefold was in the lead, with others not far behind.


      1. Ah okay then, so a simple Surge and not a Mark of Cain manifestation then and also good information to have in a general sense.

        Okay, so it is the twin part…still it seems odd to me as even lacking documentation one would think that Esper powers could detect that kind of thing…Bah that’s just me(well that and the fact that I am always suspicious when there are things rated 99.whatever number % of something in a story)

        Hnn…Threefold, that bothers me because as much as I like in Triplicate and would not mind to know what happens to the characters after all this having the second book right away defeats the very purpose of separating the story in two(yeah I know I have said so more than once, repeating myself a bit too much I guess)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Well… the one person who is yet to vote is the one whose vote matters most (aka- myself).

          But I feel that I’ve managed to stick the dismount, so to speak, In Triplicate. I was afraid I might not. And personally, I’m leaning toward Blue Steel or Rebirth.


          1. Yeah I can understand how it must be hard to leave character you have got used to know and be inhead of for some time to get to know a be in the head of others.

            But experiencing those difficulties show that you made great characters, in fact I have yet to see a shitty character in this story(something I highly doubt will happen), hell this is one of the biggest draw of this story for me: Your character building is just great.(and so is your setting and worldbuilding).

            Oooh you are leaning to the same two as I!!! This is great!!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. That is why I give myself a week between. It’s not a vacation from writing- writing *IS* my vacation. It’s so I can forget about one story and start concentrating on another.

              I truly believe complex, interesting characters are paramount to good storytelling. Everything else is secondary.

              One of In Triplicate’s challenges was to make sure all the character voices stayed separate and unique. Turns out, I was good enough that the writing programs I use to track my habits didn’t know the chapters were written by the same person.


          2. If you are good with starting a new story line instead of doing a sequel to one of the last two, then my money is definitely on Blue Steel. I keep imagining it as an over-the-top action movie type of story, all badass secret agents fighting megalomaniacs that the world has no ideas about.

            Even if none of that is true I’d still be interested in reading it. I’ll just have to sate my desire for cheesy action heroes via Netflix or something.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. It has some elements of that nature, I admit. Although the story (as is my nature) will be focused on the characters more than the action. Specifically, the team of scientists, Gadgeteers and Espers that give our badass action hero the ability to be suitably badass.


            2. Ooh, no gifters to help make the field team even more dangerous ? Because I am sure there is a whole field team not just one guy.

              As for the secrecy aspect for this I would think it’s par de course I mean I pretty sure the Blue Steel team deals with pretty scary shit that might make non Imbued a tad nervous around Imbueds(the fact that they may be so already does not help either).

              Now as for writing, I agree that good characters are a very ncessary element to a good story however I feel like that a good setting with at least decent worldbuilding is just as important because an inane nonsensical setting can kill a story almost as surely as shitty characters.

              And yes the voices of the character in the current book were all unique I loved that aspect, I must particularily compliment you on your grasp of Cora and Cecelia which is great, as you made monsters who are still true human beings as opposed as caricatures.

              As for the Switch of the Hunter and Killer name of the Police profile I would think Kitten being the one who dealt with JJ&E in a decisicive fashion might be one of the reason they thought of her as being killer, the other being her power.

              Liked by 1 person

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