After getting tossed from the Shipyard, I was just about to ask what we were going to do about Elvis when Martialla sucker-punched me. What’s the origin of that term? Is the person punching the sucker or the person being punched? I hate getting punched. That may seem like a stupid thing to say, no one likes getting punched (well, almost no one) but I really don’t like it. She punched me right in the mouth too, which is a real bitch move if you ask me. Out of the water she has no super-strength but she’s still someone trained in punching. I mean compared to getting shot in the damn foot it didn’t hurt that much, but it still god damn hurt. What hurt more is getting knocked on my ass. I think I bruised my coccyx.
I put a hand to my mouth and saw blood “Jesus Christ, what was that for?!”
Instead of answering, she ducked and slithered under Blue’s restraining arm and tried to get me in some kind of hold. Fat chance lady. Some of us are strong all the time. I hurled her away like a bull shaking off a clod of shit and she rolled across the ground a couple times before popping up into some kind of fighting stance. Blue got a hold of her as I probed my mouth (phrasing) where she had belted me.
“I think you cracked one of my fucking teeth! What is wrong with you?!”
Even on her dumb fish face, I could tell she was incredulous “Me? What’s wrong with me?”
“Yeah, what are you, six years old? Why did you attack me? We don’t fight each other, use your words like a big girl.”
Blue was speechless as Martialla gave me a death stare “Ela, why can’t you ever just follow the plan? I am being serious right now, do you have some kind of mental disease? What makes you act like this? We had everything worked out!”
“I didn’t want to do her thing, it sounded dumb. She told me where Baron Iaogo . . .”
Blue interjected “Iorgu.”
“. . . WHATEVER, she told me where the Baron is so we just go straight to him. None of this bullshit where we help one criminal against another and then wait to see if we get double-crossed. What are you so pissed about? Now we can go get your niece, because of ME. How about a little fucking gratitude?”
She laughed bitterly “Yes, it’s all about you Ela. My problem is that you keep making enemies out of our allies! How are we going to live long enough to rescue my niece when you keep doing moronic things like this?”
I gestured angrily “I got the information, how is that moronic? I feel . . .”
Martialla spread her arms out and yelled at the few people not staying far away from us “Attention! Attention everyone! Princess has a feeling, let’s all stop whatever we’re doing and listen while she explains how hard her life is and how it makes her feel.”
“What the hell is your problem?”
“You almost got us all killed! We should have been killed! I’m tired of you acting like a child because you feel sorry for yourself. What? Your head hurts? You’re hungry? Let’s hear about that for the nine hundredth time! You sit there pretty as a picture and whine and whine and whine.” She held out her webbed hands “LOOK what they did to ME! LOOK at me! I’m the creature from the black lagoon!
You got powers and yet all you can do is complain. They took my niece! I literally swam hundreds of miles to get here and find her and since day one all you do is talk about how sad you are.” She gestured at Blue “And what they did to me was nothing compare to what they did to Lucien. Look at him, you think he likes being like that? And all he does is wait on you hand and fucking foot. And do you ever thank him for anything? You are the most selfish person I’ve ever met in my life and I’m sick of it!
Toughen the hell up!”
She stared at me for a long while before continuing “It isn’t easy for me either you know. You like to talk about how bad you have it, but I had it way worse than you. I was on my own.” She gestured expansively “Out there. I had my sister to worry about and keep safe. You think your life is such a fucking tragedy? Who was looking out for me? Fucking nobody! You complain all the time about how you can’t trust anyone, you think it’s easy for me to trust anyone?”
“I never thought about it.”
“Of course not, why would you ever think about anyone else? Ela you are selfish, and you are cruel, and you treat me and Blue like servants. What kind of friendship is that?”
“The only one I’ve ever really had.”
She took a breath like she was steeling herself before plunging into cold water “I think we’ve reached the end of the trail, Ela. I can’t afford to be your friend anymore. It’s too dangerous. I think it’s best that we go our separate ways.”
The words came a lot easier than I expected “Please don’t leave me. I know I’m a bad friend, I wish I could say that I’ll change but I don’t know if I can. I’m scared all the time, I’m not a fighter like you and Blue, I can’t even speak the language here. I feel like I’m stuck in molasses, going nowhere slowly. I’m starting to realize that I’ve never faced true adversity in my life before. The hardships I‘ve had – not getting a record deal, not getting on with my parents, money problems, relationship issues, things like that back home – that was nothing. I realize that now. Homeless, rootless, penniless, hunted, stranded in a strange land – I’m not cut out for it. But here I am anyway. I know that I don’t deserve your loyalty, but I’m asking for it. Please don’t leave me alone.”
After what seemed like an eternity, she spoke “Do what you said Ela, help me get my niece back like you said when the first met. Show me that my concerns matter to you at all. Then we’ll just see what happens after that.”
She walked away and I started to go after her but Blue told me to give her some time to cool off. We both watched her disappear into the crowd and then after a beat, Blue looked down at me curiously.
Blue flicked is tongue in my direction “How did you get Serpentina to tell you where the Baron is?”
“I kicked her ass and made her tell me. Well I guess really all I did was push her down and step on her. I’m not sure why you were so afraid of her, she wasn’t very tough.”
Blue threw his hands up “That’s impossible, I’ve seen her file! She’s got sixty confirmed kills. And who knows how many others?! You can’t fight! You just said so!” I shrugged again “Apparently I can enough. Plus, you don’t have to be a good fighter to kill people. You should know that. You said she was an assassin right? Not a soldier. She probably shook her ass in her marks’ faces and then poisoned them. That doesn’t make you a good fighter.”