There was one long moment where time seemed to stretch for Emiray as she strained every sense that she had. Gray was opening his mouth as if to ask a question to her but she blocked it out keeping everything tuned for that one instant. Gray’s hand set down on her shoulder for only a moment before she twirled and ducked, knocking Gray’s legs out from under him.
He cry out as he collapsed onto the floor with a loud crash. During that slow moment Emiray could see a large blurred shape leaping through the air where Gray and her had been a moment before. Then after time had been going so slow it seem to speed up in double time to make up for it.
Emiray leapt forward after the Black Crocodile, holding her knife perfectly still. She plunged toward where the Crocodile should have landed and felt the impact as the point of her knife reach it. It felt like molassis as the knife slowly sunk in. However it didn’t get all of the way in and before she could react something whipped out and knocked her back, sending her spinning to the ground.
Reeling from the hit that must have come from the Crocodile’s tail, Emiray clambered to her feet. She could feel the pain and was gasping for breath but she could see the knife, seemingly suspended in midair, moving quickly toward her. This Black Crocodile was bigger then the last one, much bigger. Emiray hadn’t know that they grew this big.
Emiray kept her balance the best that she could as the Crocodile rushed toward her in an indistinct blur. She managed to slip to one side, avoiding the mouth of razer sharp teeth by mere inches and grabbed the hilt of her knife. It slit a little as she lost momentum and she pressed it in deeper, hopefully deep enough. Then she hung on for her life as the creature thrashed. As it rocked backward and forward trying to dislodge her, she held on to the knife like her life depended on it.
The Crocodiles tale came up and lashed her hard across the back once and then twice. The pain was intense but she kept her teeth gritted and her hands locked firmly on the knife. Then it was all over the Crocodiles movement slowed and eventually stopped. Emiray then waited for minutes, making sure that the creature was finally dead. Only when she was certain that it was finally dead did she let go of the knife and collapsed onto the ground in exhaustion and pain.
Everything still seemed like a hazy to Emiray event when Professor Gray helped her up and lead her out of the pile of gore that she had been kneeling in. Things began to slowly come into mental focus, she first wondered how she should deal with the bodies of two Black Crocodiles. Eventually she gave up on that problem, she would report it and a couple of Engineers would come to clean up and make sure this section of tunnel didn’t have any more of them.
Eventually it began to dawn on her that she was covered in blood and grim and that everything felt a great deal unpleasant, especially her boots which squished a little when she tried to move her toes. The pain was also beginning to seep back into her body as the adrenaline that she had felt went facing down the Black Crocodile began to fade. Most of the time she never missed it but right now she could use a nice hot shower.
It took her a moment to realize that Professor Gray was talking to her. She shook her head to make it a little better, “I’m sorry, what were you saying. After what happened I’m not feeling very well.”
“Well I should think not. Your back is in pretty bad shape with plenty of cuts and it is bleeding all over. You need to get that treated and wrapped or it could get bad. I recommend getting real medical attention but since that it not available to use now we need to do the best we can and keep the would clean.”
“Rob should have bandages.” Said Emiray and R08 stepped forward automatically and pulled several small rolls of bandages out of one of the many bags strung along him. Gray took the rolls from R08 and began to unwind one of them. Staring with and annoyed look on his face Gray looked over the wound.The skill was cut in several places and there was gravel and grim all over, probably from the tail when it hit her. He needed to get the wound clean or any bandaging would just make it worse.
Unscrewing his water bottle he pored it over her back, making sure to wash all of the worst of it clean. Then he scowled and pulled out his personal bottle of liquor. He hated to waste it on something like this but the back needed to be disinfected and without proper tools this was the best that he had available to him.
“I need to disinfect the wound so this is going to be painful.” The scowl still on his face he poured the bottle of alcohol over Emirays back. She flinched but didn’t cry out. The back mostly clean he wiped away the rest that he could with the clean cloth that R08 had conveniently provided for him.
Gray smiled grimly at a job well done, medicine had never been his strong suit even though he had taken several courses. Maybe it was because of his oath, it was already painful for him to heal her given that the only reason he was doing it was to make sure she was capable of leading him to the surface.
Eventually Emiray managed to recover enough to begin leading them again. However, while she would probably be able to lead them to the University District by the end of the day in ordinary conditions it was now no longer possible for her. Her only seemed to have enough in her to lead them both to an Engineer safehouse a couple of hours away. There she was able to get hot water and enjoy a relaxing shower and bath before collapsing on a half sized bed. She could normally keep walking all day but the fight with the Black Crocodiles had drained her and the pain of her back had been making each step a new type of torture. It didn’t take her more then a minute to fall asleep after she had laid down on the bed.
Gray looked over at R08 sitting next to Emiray’s bedside. He had been impressed by her today. She was still a young girl but her skill was much higher then her age would merit, what kind of difficult life had she had. He knew he wouldn’t have been able to wrestle an almost invisible crocodile and end up victorious. It was all he could do to keep from running while Emiray had fought the beast. All thoughts of the weapon tucked away in his coat had disappear from his mind the minute he had seen the blurred look of the creature that had attacked Emiray.
He knew he couldn’t get attached to her, it wouldn’t end well, but he couldn’t help feeling things toward her. Predominantly to was respect for her abilities and pity that she wouldn’t be able to do more with her life. With her skills she would eventually have been someone important, maybe even the head engineer. He feel sorry that she had to get wrapped up in all of this.
It was many hours later that Emiray awoke. She was feeling better then she had been but her back and body were feeling incredibly sore. She felt like she would be able to make it to the surface today but it would be slow progress and would probably be night by the time that they arrived there, maybe a little bit less then half of her average speed.
Hot breakfast was a luxury that seemed to difficult at the moment so she passed out bread and cheese to Gray and eat some herself. An hour later after she had had Gray help her change her bandage they started making their way but up the passageways to the University District. The route hadn’t normally felt so long but she kept a slow pace that event Gray didn’t have any trouble keeping up with.
She kept an even close watch out on her surroundings then usual to make sure they didn’t get ambushed by another Black Crocodile. That never happened however and they reached the surface without further incident. Gray had occasionally tried to keep conversation up, asking her questions about her job, but it was just too much of a pain to answer so she just listened. Gray eventually switched from asking her questions to telling her stories of different experiments that he had done and what the outcome had been. She never really paid attention to the stories.
The passageway to the University District that she had taken was locked with a keypad. The security system was mainly there to keep unrulies out and to make sure new experiments didn’t get released into the Belly like Black Crocodiles had been. It wasn’t very complictated and Emiray then left Professor Gray back into the Academy District.
With the change of scenery around them Gray asked, “Are we finally back in the University Dictrict.”
Emiray nodded mechanically. “Yes, we are still below street level but was are definitely in the University District, on the east side of the District if you needed to know.”
“I see.” Said Gray, he sounded reluctant. “Since you are injured I can take the man’s possessions and give the description of events to the authorities if you want. They you will be able to get medicial attention without worrying about it.”