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Mirror: Chapter 4

CutOut Mar 31st, 2019 (edited) 81 Never
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  1. The only one in the mirrored racer's pit was the mirrored racer, himself.
  2.  
  3. The assemblage suspended him off his dangling feet. The apparatus looked shoddy enough that a solid kick would send parts and bolts dropping out of it.
  4.  
  5. Coach and her pit crew worked on Alita. For the most part, a repair assemblage required a certain level of trust and relationship, since you were trapped in it until they finished. Ido had suggested her workers for her.
  6.  
  7. He had no one, so he operated on himself. His body trembled from the pain.
  8.  
  9. Clamps locked his knife hand down, and bolts pried his armor open. Every time the surgical arm moved he hissed and flexed. His other hand directed them from a dusty keypad.
  10.  
  11. After he took a deep breath he pushed a button, then the surgical arm stabbed in deep with a loud crunch. To his credit, the mirrored racer didn't scream, but his legs curled.
  12.  
  13. He took a long, slow breath. Then another. On the third, he held it and pressed another button.
  14.  
  15. Louder crunching sounds followed. His free hand gripped the reinforcement cage, which groaned from fatigue, and he dropped his head.
  16. The horrific sight mesmerized Alita, as the machine forced the endoskeleton of his arm straight and then unfroze his jammed elbow. Blocking her one strike of the Damascus Blade cost him.
  17.  
  18. "Just replace the arm! Why not turn off the pain sensors at the very least!?"
  19.  
  20. His head snapped up.
  21.  
  22. "I won't attack you!" she declared.
  23.  
  24. In his mask Alita saw how awed she was, holding her mouth with her hand. Becoming aware of her expression, she put on a poker face.
  25. He stopped grunting or trembling. The only sounds in the pit were from the assemblage as it crunched its way through his arm. Although his stoicism was admirable, Alita could see his free hand tighten more and more on the cage.
  26.  
  27. After welding his armor closed the assemblage unceremoniously dropped him.
  28.  
  29. He flexed his finger, curling and uncurling them.
  30.  
  31. "What do you want?" he asked. His voice passed through a digital changer.
  32.  
  33. Why hide your identity? Motorball only offers three things: fame, money, and violence. There's little reason to avoid any of them.
  34.  
  35. "Don't you have a crew?"
  36.  
  37. He tilted his head impatiently.
  38.  
  39. Right. No small talk.
  40.  
  41. "I came to get my sword. Please give it back."
  42.  
  43. "Why?"
  44.  
  45. Well, at least that's not a no.
  46.  
  47. "I'll pay you. You can have my winnings."
  48.  
  49. "I don't want your money."
  50.  
  51. Avoids fame and doesn't want money. He's a battle junkie. I can work with that.
  52.  
  53. "A bet? Do you want to spar?"
  54.  
  55. "I hate fighting."
  56.  
  57. What the hell? Are you being contrarian or what?
  58.  
  59. "Then what do you want?"
  60.  
  61. As soon as the words left her mouth, she regretted them.
  62.  
  63. If he demands something weird or demeaning, I'm going to walk away, and that will be that.
  64.  
  65. She crossed her arms subconsciously, then kicked herself again, realizing how vulnerable she was acting in the reflection.
  66.  
  67. "You don't have anything I want, tell me why you want it back."
  68.  
  69. "That's it?" She was incredulous.
  70.  
  71. He waited for the answer, and her reflection frowned.
  72.  
  73. “Sentimental reasons.”
  74.  
  75. “Which are?”
  76.  
  77. “Someone I cared about very much--their blood is on it.”
  78.  
  79. When Hugo fell, it took Alita all day to muster the willpower for an attempt to walk down the cable. Next, she ran to where he scrapyard. Ido was waiting for her, clasping her hands to slow her. She shook him off and desperately dug through the junk.
  80.  
  81. He's gone, sweetheart. Where is he?!
  82.  
  83. Looking back she regrets screaming at Ido.
  84.  
  85. At that moment it felt like her lungs were being ripped out, and she realized an intense and long scream was suffocating her.
  86.  
  87. The factory had disposed of both bodies already.
  88.  
  89. Jacked parts filled Hugo's apartment to-the-brim, mistaking it for a tomb. Looking at it made her feel stupid, realizing her love for him blinded her. She didn't want the parts at all.
  90.  
  91. He had no spare clothes, no keepsakes collected, and no pictures. His only clothes followed his original body into destruction. Every trashcan he had she turned upside down, hoping to find the original chocolate wrapper, at least. Nothing. If he kept it with him, and he might have, that meant it was gone, too.
  92.  
  93. In the end, she had ripped apart even the furniture desperate to find anything.
  94.  
  95. All that remained was a little of his blood on the Damascus Blade.
  96.  
  97. The ringing of the URM-forged metal woke her from the flashback. At some point she had squeezed her eyes shut, to block out the moment, and tumbled straight into it.
  98.  
  99. "You don't have to tell me any more. I won't take what isn't mine."
  100.  
  101. Nothing fancy, no flourish. He gripped the guard and extended the sword to her by the handle.
  102.  
  103. Her hand trembled, worse than his hand did under the agony, as she received it.
  104.  
  105. "Thank you. What do you want for it?"
  106.  
  107. He turned his back, "Don't lose it again."
  108.  
  109. She left the pit with a sigh of relief.
  110.  
  111. "Kid? Hey kid, where are you going?" Coach called as she jogged by her own pit crew.
  112.  
  113. "Home."
  114.  
  115. "But the other races?"
  116.  
  117. "Don't care."
  118.  
  119. "Then I quit!" he bellowed, "Ungrateful! Find another coach!"
  120.  
  121. She plodded one carelessly, driven by a blind and childish instinct to get home. An hour later she was beating on the clinic door.
  122.  
  123. "I'm coming! Don't break my door down!"
  124.  
  125. Ido's face filled her eyes.
  126.  
  127. "Alita? Sweetheart? What's wrong?"
  128.  
  129. She wrapped her arms around him and sobbed.
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