The girl pulled herself up onto her mount. Her bare legs flashed white under the dark leather riding skirt. The boots that ran all the way up to her thighs were reinforced with metal plates to stand up to even the bite of a blood winder. In some of the more remote places in the desert the blood colored snakes could snap a horse in half. She seemed to have no problem with the extra weight of the boots though. Over the din of the rain D's footsteps fell silently on the road and yet she turned and frowned at his approach.
"Who do you think you are? Walking right in and taking my job. Well you can just go back. You hear me?" She yelled. D quietly watched her for a moment. The cold had raised a flush in her cheeks and even without seeing her eyes it was obvious she was tired from the ride to town.
"My name is D. Who are you?" She set her shoulders and huffed into the cold.
"My name is none of your business. No please, go." Her harsh tone faded at the end of the sentence. Now she sounded almost pleading. "This is my hunt. Don't you understand?" D pulled himself onto his horse and walked it close to hers.
"You're tired. The sheriff has a room at the inn for you, but if you insist on racing me to the kill then you had best get started." The girls' brow creased with anger and she pulled back hard on the reins. Her horse galloped out of the town as she screamed one last time at D. "Bastard!"
Without a word from D, his own cyborg horse suddenly raced for the road. The Jensen brothers had only a moment to open the gate before the two riders sped through. Joseph pulled the cigarette from his lips to gape in their wake.
"Holy hell. Would you look at that. They're off already and it'll be dark for hours still."
"Shut your mouth. You'll drown in the rain. This kind of night those two will be dead by morning. Fools the both of them." Thomas turned back towards the town. From his post on the wall he could survey the whole of it. Each window was barred in fear against that which might come with the night. Thomas's jaw clenched tight. "The sheriff entrusts our town to fools. How can he think that pretty boy and a fucking blind girl are going to kill a noble? "
"Well I know I could beat that blind girl with my arms tied behind my back. I don't know about D. He's scrawny sure, but I've heard his name before." Joseph brought his gun up and sighted down the barrel at the tiny figures riding off into the darkness. "I wonder if they'll even make it up the mountain."
"If they don't, it'll be up to us. I think we should go up there on the morn and make sure." Thomas said quietly. Without a lantern, Joseph didn't see the perverse smile that crawled over his brothers lips.
An hour later both cyborg horses heaved breaths of icy air. The rain showed no sign in stopping. In fact it appeared to have gotten worse. The mud sucked at their hooves and greatly slowed the race down. While D was not visibly fatigued at all, the girl was having trouble staying upright. On a tight corner a tree had toppled over in a rush of mud. The girl, too tired to react, could not signal her horse in time. The steed made to leap a moment too late and smashed against the huge trunk of the tree. She was thrown past the branches and landed a few yards away. D's horse nimbly vaulted the obstruction. He didn't stop to pull her from the mud where she lay unconscious. Down the road a chiding voice remarked.
"Leaving the girl here. I didn't think even you were that cruel. Heh. The job that important? You didn't even know about it this morning." D continued down the path, not bothered by the words.
"She'll live longer in the mud than if she tries to kill a vampire."
"I don't know about that. I smell water ahead. More than just the rain. Its coming quick." On D's hand the tiny face curled into a menacing smile. Only a few moments later a flood rushed down from the mountain ahead. It filled the road and tore down massive trees with its force. D wheeled his horse around and raced back to the girl. Slowly she was beginning to pick herself up off the ground. The mad covered the left half of her face. She pulled the blindfold from her eyes and wiped it away. As D's horse sped towards her the first of the flood reached its hooves. The water surged up maddeningly fast. It looked as if D would drown before he reached the girl. She turned in horror at the sound of the water. She must have hit her head very hard to not have notice it before with her almost supernatural hearing. The girl felt D grab her hand just as the wave crashed over them.
Any other man might have been crushed beneath the weight of the water, but the flood held no power over D. Only a moment passed before his horse broke through the surface and leapt onto a ridge nearby. The smooth grace with which the animal traveled through the air could only be accounted for by its rider. Beneath D's arm the girl choked and sputtered, but lived. He placed her on the ground with one hand as easy as if she weighed nothing more than a flower.
"You. I though you'd rode on. When I awoke you were gone." She looked angry, but the emotion faded into sorrow. "Oh no. My horse. If the fall didn't break his neck that flood certainly did. Damn it." She raised her face to the sky and let the rain wash off the rest of the mud. "I guess you've won. The flood won't last long. I'm sure you'll be able to reach the foot of the mountain by dawn." Her voice wavered. Only a keen eye could tell the tears in her eyes from the raindrops. Besides looking a bit pale her eyes were surprisingly clear. No cataract or scar marred the green irises that stared blindly at the sky.
"There's some cover under that tree there. You should rest." D said. She looked puzzled and replied.
"Why are you helping me? The kill is yours now." D didn't say anything, but dismounted and led his horse to the shelter of an overgrown branch of an Iron tree. Its massive bough had extended so far that its weight forced the branch to the ground providing a small space where the rain didn't reach. The girl followed D. She sat down on a dry patch of leaves that crunched beneath her.
"I didn't introduce myself before. My name is Dahlia." She thrust out a hand in D's direction. He sat opposite her under the tree and ignored the gesture. She gave him a small smile and let her hand drop to her lap. "Well, I guess we both could use the rest. The road won't be getting any easier to travel." She paused and waited in silence as if trying to hear even the slightest breath escape from D. They sat so still that a passerby might have thought the two were strange statues carved from the wood itself.
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