White Hawk and Sable Swan: A Martial Romance of the Far Future - Part XIII

in #fiction6 years ago (edited)

This is the thirteenth part of an ongoing serial, written in honor of the Swords of St. Valentine initiative. Here are Parts One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven and Twelve. Updates every day.

“Who is it, you bitch?”

She stared at her father with dull, green-encrusted eyes. He slapped her, hard, in the face. The bed creaked, but she barely rocked.

“Who did you sell me out to? Which money-grubbing, high-flying pimp have you been baring your pussy for, huh?”

Two whole days since the party. She’d been paralyzed for two whole days. He had blocked the same acupoints again and again. It was getting harder and harder to even think.

“Another day of this,” screamed Father, “and you’ll be dead! Go on, try it!”

He howled and kicked the sliding door, splintering it clean in half. Veins bulging, eyes quivering, he slammed his hands against the wall, slid down, and shook for a minute in pure rage.

“Do you think I don’t know that you’ve been messaging the White Hawk, you stupid, stupid bitch?” he moaned. “Did you really think I wouldn’t block your putrid sexts? You really are your mother’s daughter. Just a soft-headed, water-brained woman.

Perhaps he really would let her die. It would be more convenient to explain to his debtors, after all, to his colleagues and masters in this grand money-grabbing scheme.

Perhaps he would just let her go mad. She was almost there. Immobility crept along her sides like ants, seeped up from her skirt like the stench of her own filth. She couldn’t even cry.

But no matter what, she knew, deep down, that she could never, ever, fight the White Hawk in the ring. Because if she did, she would win, and that would ruin Li Wei forever.

It’s a miracle I still have any funds left at all.

It wasn’t even that. She could see it, right inside him. He wasn’t like Father, a cut-throat financial genius, as brutal in the conference call as he was in the ring. Fighting was the only thing Li Wei would ever be good at. And once his star fell…

She could see him back on the streets, rummaging in the garbage, starving, dying. While she soared like a swan in clouds of glory…

You were right, Li Wei. I don’t want your problem. I don’t want your fame, your fortune, any of it. I’m so sorry.

Just please, please -

don’t forget me


The recording was clear as a knife to the gut. A bedroom, dark with the gloom of dust-drawn curtains. A girl on the bed, frozen like a doll, wet with filth and weeping bruises. And in the center, the black-bound form of the Sable Swan, like a shadow in the night.

“I have your girl,” said his childhood hero. "Don’t bother calling the police, they won’t listen. Aren’t you about to come get her?”

The recording froze. The linked address flashed like a deranged mockery.

Li Wei clawed his way to the GPS function and barreled through the hotel door.


“Sable Swan!” he screamed. “Come out, you wretch!”

He gasped, looking around the living room frantically, seeing the holoprojectors in every corner. Without smartshades, they were worse than useless. But with a synthsuit on, his opponent would be unwoundable, practically invincible. And if Xu Hai’s father was even better than she was, then…

“Oh, gods in Heaven,” he said. “Xu Hai, please…”

The black broad-shouldered figure, clad in an uncalibrated synthsuit, stepped out before him and cracked hard knuckles. There was a strange litheness to his form despite his bulk, and even through the darkness that clung to his skin, Li Wei could see the family resemblance. It was in the stance, the way he held himself. Like rainfall given form.

The Sable Swan.

“You really are her father,” he said. “You son of a bitch.”

“That’s nice,” said Xu Deng. “Do you know that I killed my parents? They wanted me to continue the family style, transmit it wholeheartedly to the next generation. Can you imagine that? A useless, outmoded system of punches and kicks. My only inheritance.”

“You don’t have to do this,” begged Li Wei. “Just let her go. Whatever you want, I’ll do it.”

“Well,” laughed Xu Deng, “isn’t that a treat? Maybe you could have thought of that before letting my daughter fuck and suck you! No, White Hawk; it’s all out of your hands now. She wanted you instead of money, and so she’ll get you instead of money. Together at last, in the arms of death!”

It was all so clear now. So painfully clear. What he’d feared, what he’d dreaded, was becoming this man. A twisted monster with no soul, no heart save an endless jumble of graphed-out points.

“You were my hero,” he said. “I wanted to be you.”

“Why don’t you try?” leered Xu Deng. “It shouldn’t be too hard. You can’t hurt me. Just turn around and walk away, White Hawk. A few more years at the top, and you’ll be set! Famous! Without a single token to your name, but famous! Forever!”

“Yes, I will. I will be famous. I will win. But not in the way you want.”

He took a deep breath and mirrored the other man’s stance, arm for arm and toe for toe. Xu Deng shifted in surprised recognition.

“Your daughter was right,” he said. “I was wrong. She knew that in the end, I wouldn’t become anything like you. She believed in me.”

“How touching,” said Xu Deng. “You’ll forgive me if I refuse to cry.”

“I can do that,” smirked Li Wei, despite the utter hopelessness that filled his body. “Prepare yourself.”

I’m coming, Xu Hai.

He threw himself head-on into certain defeat.


It was as hopeless as he’d thought. Utterly hopeless. Despite his desperate mirroring, his attempts at slipping and sliding past the flurry of lethal strikes, his every counter, he couldn’t even hurt the man. The Sable Swan’s synthsuit absorbed every blow.

Li Wei slipped the kick and retreated, desperately scrabbling up the stairs. Xu Deng ran up the banister like a ghost, bounded off the wall, and smashed his palm into Li Wei’s chest.

He did block. Three of his ribs broke along with his right ulna. He flew, crashed straight through the remnants of a splintered door, rolled to a ragged halt against a computer chair. Coughed, almost half-heartedly, a bright spume of blood.

“That was the Crashing Torrent Palm,” said Xu Deng, cracking his knuckles again. There was a terrible ease in his manner, so at odds with his former snide anger. “Please don’t make me kill you. You have so much to live for, and besides…”

He gestured lazily at the bed. Blinking through the tiredness, the uselessness that flowed through his entire broken body, Li Wei stared at the body on the bed. He groaned.

“Yes,” said Xu Deng with relish. “My useless daughter is still alive. Perhaps I’ll wake her up, shall I? It’s a little family secret, this technique. Just long enough for her to watch you die…”

He tapped the body once, twice, thrice. There was a terrible, broken wail, like the cry of a torn sparrow.

“Li Wei!”

“Xu… Xu Hai!”

Li Wei lunged through the darkness with a bloody gurgle, latching on to Xu Deng’s legs with both arms. The synthsuited man stared down at him for a moment, as if sorely disappointed.

“Well, if I must,” he said, and took them both in one hand each.

The sounds of choking filled the air.


Oh, my!

Loving this!

Hooked on this!

So, so glad it's only fiction!


I'm glad it's fiction, too. Stay tuned for the grand finale!

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