The pale moon was obscured by dark midnight clouds, wisps of it peeking through. The night was so silent that the softest of whispers could be heard a mile away. In this quiet, Anushka Roy walked with her hood drawn, her feet soundless on the parched earth. Her weapons remained sheathed under her ebony cloak, well hidden from prying eyes. Most people would say that Mumbai was a safe city but Anushka knew better. She knew of the other world embedded into the mundane part of the city, a world of the paranormal, the world that she was going.
Finally, she came to a stop, letting out a huff of exasperation. How dare they be late, she thought, when she had specifically asked them to come right on time? Her breath misted and dissipated into the foggy night.
“Careful, someone might see you,” came a voice, cold and confident. It was hoarse and low pitched but definitely belonged to a girl. Anushka began analyzing her – she was stealthy as the voice seemed to have come from the shadows; probably cunning if the cold voice and mild sarcasm was any indication; definitely experienced because nobody else would have had the nerve to speak so condescendingly or confidently to her but someone who thought themselves to be her equal. She was almost impressed.
“They sent you,” she sneered, not letting her admiration show, hiding her emotions behind a mask of a cool, bored calm, a mask she had perfect over years.
“Why? Not pretty enough for the great Anushka Roy?” the girl replied, taking of her hood.
Anushka stifled a gasp. The girl was absolutely stunning with her shoulder length wavy hair, the colour of the midnight sky. An electric blue strand framed both sides of her face, bringing out the crackling electricity behind her sapphire eyes. Light makeup accentuated her face and her full lips shimmered with lip gloss. But, a large scar streaked down both sides of that gorgeous face, raised and thick, making those feminine features harsh. Another long scar traced its way across her neck and disappeared into her shirt. It was thin but it stood out against her tan skin. Anushka felt a twinge of regret for what she was about to do to the girl.
“You’re a bit of an eyesore but you’ll do.” Lies. The girl was anything but an eyesore. “Come, we need to leave.”
The girl didn’t even flinch at her harsh tone but instead examined her nails with a bored interest.
“I’m not giving you any information,” she stated.
“Then I’ll make you,” Anushka replied and with a clean swish her twin blades were out and one was at the girls throat. However, it was met by a blade too and the resounding clang shocked her. The girl was fast and while Anushka had thought she’d be good, she had never imagined this. She swiped with her second blade only to have it met by another. She slashed again but the girls defense was good. Every slash was met with a parry. The girl evaded her blades no matter how fast they cut through the air. Anushka kicked at her gut but the girl stepped back, making Anushka lose her balance. No one had done that before. The fight resumed with more fervor, more anger, more rage. However, they couldn’t even touch each other. Anushka ran fast, praying that the girl would take it as a sign of retreat. She sheathed a sword and drew out a dagger. The girl had followed her after a moment of surprise which was enough for Anushka to retrieve her weapon.
She threw the dagger at the girl who tried dodging it but failed. The dagger meant for her ribs lodged itself into her shoulder. Anushka quickly disarmed the girl as she gritted her teeth in pain but still kept her own weapons up warily.
“Why are you here if not to give me the information I need?”
“Because you’re about to die.”
“Stop giving me vague answers. Why would you care if I die?”
“You’re the greatest fighter we have excluding me. You’re on the wrong side.”
“What’s your name,” Anushka asked indifferently but inside her veins, her blood roared. She had never met a fighter that skilled or fast. No one had dodged her blows that efficiently and her daggers always hit their mark. The fact that it hadn’t hit the mark was a proof of the girls reflexes.
“Okay, Anika,” she drawled. “Care to elaborate?”
“The creatures aren’t evil. If I gave you any information you’d give it to him,” she snarled, removing the dagger from her shoulder. Anushka’s weapons rose but Anika discarded the dagger which was covered in blue blood.
“You’re one of them,” Anushka said with a look of disgust. For the first time, Anika flinched.
“That’s the problem with you. You think of anything different as something bad, something wrong but you’re the ones who hunt us and kill us and deny us rights. Yet you call us the monsters?” Anushka was taken aback as the girl continued to rant.
“I’m sorry. I never thought of it that way,” she apologised softly.
“Of course you didn’t. If you mean that apology you’ll come with me. There’s something you need to see.”
“Fine. But I keep my weapons.”
“You don’t need them. Your skill and reflexes are better weapons than any piece of steel.”
“Was that a compliment?” Anushka asked with the hint of a smile. Anika shrugged.
“You’re not an eyesore by the way. I’m sorry for what I said.” She shrugged again.
“It’s okay, I’m used to it. You’ve probably been with tons of pretty girls. Besides, it doesn’t make a difference if my enemies think I’m ugly…they always end up worse when I’m done with them.”
“Whoa…who said anything about girls?”
“You have short nails. Besides, you’re too scary for any guy to have. I have done my research too. It was easy to piece everything together.”
“I underestimated you.”
“Most people do. They always regret it.”
“So tell me more about this plan of yours. And we’re not friends. We’re still enemies…kind of.”
“I believe that the correct term is frenemy.”
“Let’s go then, frenemy.”