[One last breach of order, getting out of dodge so the others can finish up before deadlines hit and such.]
It all seemed to be going so well. Ema's blade came free of the boy's neck quite easily, spewing another gout of his blood onto the ground. He fell forwards, quite clearly lifeless. Rapid exsanguination tends to kill, after all. Two down, then, assuming the motionless body was dead too. Two to go, in that case. Two bodies that didn't look quite dead yet. Then whoever was indoors, if they hadn't already fled or hidden. As she turned to face Raidon, the girl had no reason to expect what was awaiting her. No, she was thinking how she really didn't want to have to hunt down the Parish's occupant before she could get to sleep. How it was late, and she really needed to bandage her shin. And hope there were painkillers in the first aid kit; even with adrenaline running strong, it hurt like a bitch.
It couldn't compare to the pain that'd come next.
Because when she turned around to kill her next target, she found him standing. On his feet, even slouching, the boy easily had half a foot on her, and... well, almost everybody in the school was more muscular than Ema Ryan. It was more the proximity that lent him such an intimidating air. That and the darkness, and the axe he was putting all he had into swinging for her head. Actually, it was mostly the axe.
Had she not turned, the girl would probably be dead. The axe would've smashed through the top of her skull, and either killed her outright, or rendered her quite incapable of defending herself from a following attack. But she was lucky. Perhaps the several years prior, enduring so many small misfortunes, had been building up to this absurdly fortunate moment. Maybe the "luck of the Irish" was on her side, for once in her life. Because Ema saw the attack coming just about early enough to jerk her upper body away, rendering the impact less than fatal.
A wordless cry split the stillness of the night.
Less than fatal. Marginally. There were no words for the agony Ema Ryan was experiencing in that moment, no curse, no exclamation of anything could possibly measure up to the feeling of Raidon's axe biting into the flesh of the redhead's face, cleaving through the soft, pale skin and into the blood and muscle below. A clean, straight cut was left as she fell away, and from the lack of any vision in it, even any irritation from the blood that was surely flooding it, she knew her left eye was lost. She didn't quite comprehend it, though, only recognised that there was something wrong with her sight. That boy, that boy that ought to be dead, he'd taken something of great importance away from her. It was all she knew. There was room only for pain, and unbridled hatred, not just hatred, fear. Fear of this... this nameless monster that had permanently maimed her.
There was only one physical reaction. In her haste to pull away, to swat the axe away from her flesh, Ema stumbled back on her wounded leg, flailed her arms weakly, dropping her katana somewhere behind where her body came to land on the ground below. Was this how she'd appeared to all the people she'd killed? A nameless, horrible creature, a bringer of nothing but pain and then death? A force that could be neither reasoned with nor stopped?
...was this it?
No, no, she was Ema Ryan. Ema motherfucking Ryan, the immortal badass and future winner. So he'd wounded her, so she'd never get her left eye back, big deal. She didn't need both, she could carry on. She just needed to survive this, somehow. That's the thing about real life, though, you can't load up a save from just before you fucked up, do it over without making the mistakes again. You have to roll with what you're saddled with, do the best you can with what you have. And when what you have is a deep wound running the length of your face, and a hole running right through your leg, rolling with it isn't easy. There was really only one thing she could do, in fact. Remember the ace in the hole that she still possessed. A gun in her pocket. Not just any gun. Vera.
She couldn't say how long it was between falling, writhing in pain on the floor, and gaining the lucidity to come to that realisation. It could've been seconds, could've been minutes. All she knew was, by the time she'd wrenched Vera out of her jeans pocket and taken very shaky aim at Raidon, he hadn't killed her, but in the blur of blood and sweat and pain, he was holding something that was probably a gun as well. Parlay?
No. It was down to the wire, less than 20, maybe even less than 15, people left. Every kid for themselves, kill or be killed. No more time for alliances, or truces... nor mercy, or hesitation.
Ema pulled the trigger as many times as she was able. Her ears told her it had been three times. The sounds were answered in kind, and by now it was easy enough to distinguish between the familiar register of the Taurus and the foreign sound of whatever it was the boy was firing at her. Miraculously, as she rolled over to her knees, scrambled up to her feet, the girl wasn't hit. Maybe she'd hit him, thrown off his aim. Hard to say. It was barely possible to tell he'd been aiming anything at her at all. It didn't matter, either. Even after he'd gotten up to retaliate, Ema had been able to tell it was a dying attempt at revenge. He was already finished, he just didn't realise it yet. Her first priority had to be surviving to take the credit for it. Forget the other boy, forget the chapel's occupant, Ema needed to escape, needed to treat her wounds.
She needed to survive, that's what it was all about.
All it had ever been about.
...okay, maybe there was a little bit of looking cool, too, and after shoving Vera unceremoniously back into her pocket, Ema couldn't resist flipping Raidon the bird as she staggered away into the night.
[Ema Ryan --> Used to be a sweet girl...]