Invincible (A Centennial City Novel) - By Fionn Jameson



My eyes stung from the blood.

“I’m begging you!”

As if I had any say in the matter.

My hand slipped further up the sword hilt and I clenched tighter. “I am sorry.”

But there is no answer to be got from a corpse.

Unseeing eyes stared upward at the dark, storm-tossed sky and rain continued to fall at a steady clip, the staccato of thunder almost in beat with my pulse. I reached down and wiped the sword blade on Henson’s jacket. He didn’t look like he needed it anytime soon. Clean, anyways.

The dead have little use for anything of the living.

Rain ran down my neck and I wiped at my temple, not even breathing heavily. It had taken long enough, but perhaps I had become an expert now.

An expert at killing.

“You’ve done well.”

I turned around slowly, hand on the scabbard as I slid the hwan-geom into its home strapped to my back. “Were you there the whole time?”

Adrian, sporting a perpetual five o clock shadow, nodded once and took his hands out of his leather coat pockets. “That’s one less Renfield we’ll need to worry about. Good clean kill.”

I took it as a compliment. “Thank you.”

He hunkered down on his haunches and snapped the small necklace off Henson’s scrawny neck. “I’ll be taking this then. Don’t need anyone knowing who he is, eh?”

“Does it matter?”

“Not really,” he said, straightening up to his full height of six-three. At that height, he was only a couple inches taller than I was. There weren’t many women who were as tall as I was, but then again, there weren’t a great deal of them in the same trade. This was one job in which height presented quite the advantage. “But it’ll be instant proof we got the bastard. Besides, I’d rather we had it rather than the cops. Who knows what they’d dig up with this as an identification piece.”

I shrugged. “As you wish.”

“I swear, one day you’ll say more than three syllables to me” he said with a shake of his unruly head. “Never mind, then. Are you hungry? I know a nice place. They make burgers that melt in your mouth and onion rings that taste like manna. Not butter burgers, though. Those things are terrible. Just looking at one makes my cholesterol go up.”

My stomach growled at the suggestion. I don’t think I would have minded burgers cooked in a vat of butter. “Thank you.”

Laughing just a bit under his breath, Adrian Hampton walked out of the blood-slicked alleyway.

I followed.


“You have disposed of the necklace, I presume?”

I inclined my head, taking care never to match gazes with the old man. “I have, Elder Chang.”

“That is excellent news,” he said, stroking his chin with long, lacquered fingernails. “It will not do to draw their attention. They must not know of our intentions before we are ready to reveal it.”

“Of course, Elder Chang.’

He gestured to the chair in front of me. “Sit.”

Refusing an Elder is tantamount to betrayal. “Thank you, Elder Chang.”

“I’ve heard much of your skill, Hwang,” he said as I pulled the chair out enough so my knees wouldn’t bang into his desk. “There are many who compliment you. A female such as yourself is an asset to us. A woman can infiltrate a location where a man can not. There is a proverb that says a small thorn can bring about greater harm than a sharpened battle axe…should it be in the right place and the right time.”

I stared down at my scarred, beaten hands clasped in my lap. “Thank you, Elder Chang.”

Silence reigned in the richly decorated chamber as he considered me for a moment, one finger poised on the curve of his chin. “You are loyal to us, are you not, Hwang?”

“I am.”

He grunted in satisfaction and traced a circle on the thin stack of papers in front of him.

“You are to be our greatest weapon, girl. This is something only you can do. We’ve tried to break through his defenses with a battering ram, but doing so has provided us with nothing but a trail of dead bodies. Perhaps a petal can sail through when a battering ram cannot,” he said in a contemplative manner. “It is not without its dangers. I’m told you fear nothing. Is this true?”

What a stupid question. “I don’t know what you want me to say, Elder.”

A corner of his lips kicked up under the thin, well-kept mustache. “A simple yes will suffice, Hwang.”

“Yes,” I obliged.

“Good, good,” he said, pushing the papers in my direction. “Your