作者 主题: 【Drawing Destiny】缚龙  (阅读 759 次)

副标题: 母子相会,感人至深 翻译:薛猫

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【Drawing Destiny】缚龙
« 于: 2018-05-24, 周四 19:25:47 »
DRAGONBOUND
缚龙
(THE DRAGON)
AARON ROSENBERG
劇透 -   :
The sky beckons. The clouds call out. The sun beams down, welcoming, inviting. Enticing.

But restraints limit movement. Metal clanks on metal. Links slither and clatter against one another, old but unyielding.

The sky retreats. The world rushes in, tamping down, tethering and tying, binding.

All is heavy and dull once more.
天空招手。云层呼唤。阳光普照,欢迎着,邀请着。诱惑着。

但束缚限制了行动。金属敲击金属。锁链间相互摩擦、碰撞,古老但坚固。

天空退回。世界闯入,压迫,拴牢,系紧,束缚。


劇透 -   :
“You look like a troll took a dump on your face,” Lanos remarked, lounging in his seat, feet up on the dash and crossed at the ankles.
“Gee, thanks,” Allie Fiddich shot back without lifting her hands from the wheel or her gaze from the road and the route mapped out in translucent green on the windshield. “I love you, too.”
The elf beside her snorted at that, and Allie smothered a smile, determined to make him think she was angry with him, at least for a minute. It was no use, though. They’d been partners for three years now. He knew her too well.
“Seriously,” he continued, some of the mocking fading from his tone, “you okay? You look beat.”
“I’m fine.” She pushed back a lock of hair that had sprung loose from the ponytail, swaying in her peripheral vision like an albino snake eager to strike. “Just not sleeping well, I guess.”
The cross street she wanted suddenly loomed in her vision, the blinking map indicating the turn, and she yanked the wheel hard right, sending the ambulance careening around the corner.
“Gods!” Lanos cursed, his right hand clutching at the strap above his door. “Slow it down, Allie! We’re trying to get to an accident, not be one!”
“Yeah, yeah,” she groused, but eased off the gas a little to appease him. It wasn’t like he wasn’t used to her driving by now, and they both knew she’d never had an accident. She couldn’t handle going slow, that was all—it was either nothing or full speed ahead. But maybe she had been going just a little fast.
Still, people were waiting on them. And Detroit was a big place, too big to dawdle on their way.
“你看起来向被巨魔拉脸上了一样。”兰诺斯指出,他斜躺在座位上,脚踝交叉着翘在仪表盘上,。
“恶,谢了。”艾丽·菲迪克回嘴的同时双手没松开方向盘,视线也没离开路面和挡风玻璃上绿色半透明的规划路线。“我也爱你。”
坐在她旁边的精灵哼了一声,艾丽压下一个微笑,决心要让他以为自己生气了,至少生气一分钟。但没用。他们搭档有三年了。他太了解她了。
“说真的,”他继续说,脸上的玩笑从他的语气里消失了,“你没事吧?你看起来累坏了。”
“我没事。”她拨开一缕从马尾中散开、在她视线边缘像白化蛇一样等待进攻的头发。“只是没睡好,我猜。”
她想找的十字路口突然出现在视野中,闪烁的地图指示转弯,她迅速将方向盘右转,让这救护车朝一边倾斜。
“老天!”兰诺斯咒骂了一句,左手紧抓着他那边门上的带子。“慢点,艾丽!我们是要去事故现场,不是成为事故现场!”
“好,好,”她不满地说,但还是稍微调低了进气好让他满意。他又不是还没适应她的驾驶,他们都知道她从没出过事故。她受不了慢慢开,就是这样——要么一动不动,要么全速向前。但可能她确实开得有点快了。
不管怎么说,有人等着他们。底特律是个大城市,他们没时间在路上耽搁。


劇透 -   :
“This is it,” Lanos remarked as Allie hit the brakes, the ambulance screeching to a halt. She pulled up onto the curb and left it there, lights spiraling, as they hopped out and studied the building. It was old, pre-UCAS for sure, with a red brick front decorated here and there by pale stone elements to match the broad steps leading up to the front door.
“Nice,” Allie said, and her partner nodded. Nicer than her place over in Dearborn, that was certain. And Lanos lived all the way out in Windsor, across the river, in one of the all-elven enclaves. “Which apartment?” she asked, reminding herself they were here to do a job.
“4D,” he answered as they took the stairs two at a time. The information was hovering in a corner of her helmet visor, of course, but she hadn’t felt like clicking on it. Since her partner had his projected directly into his corneal implants, she knew he’d already have the info on hand, and it was just easier to ask him for it. One of the other reasons they worked so well together—they both put up with each other’s idiosyncrasies.
 A small, mousy woman was waiting for them, and pushed open the front door as they reached it. She’d obviously spotted the Ares logo on the ambulance, and the IDs projected from their uniforms’ breast pockets, so she knew they were legit.
“I’m the one who called,” she explained, stepping to one side so Lanos and then Allie could ease into the entrance hall. “Skulldrinker is my next-door neighbor.”
She wore an AR visor set into old-fashioned glasses that curved up at the ends and did nothing to make her plain features more interesting,
and she pushed them up her nose as she trailed Allie and Lanos past the handsome brass bars of a small elevator—Lanos didn’t even ask, knowing how much Allie hated enclosed spaces—toward the broad central staircase. “He’s not a bad man, he’s actually very nice most of the time, but sometimes he gets a little out of control. Today’s been a bad day. I heard shouting, and the sound of things breaking, and then more shouting and cursing, and more breaking, and—”
“—and you’re afraid he’s gonna hurt himself, or someone else,” Allie finished for her. The woman nodded. “Is he on anything?”
The neighbor looked away, but finally nodded again. “I think so,” she managed in a near-whisper. “I’m sorry.”
Allie exchanged a look with her partner. She knew they had to be thinking the same thing: should they or shouldn’t they?
They were paramedics. If Mr. Skulldrinker was suffering the ill effects of some drug, they could help him. If he’d hurt himself, they could help him.
But if he was upset about something and having an old-fashioned hissy fit, there wasn’t much they could do. And this should be a matter for Knight Errant, the Ares security force that handled all local law enforcement.
After a second, Allie nodded. Lanos sighed, but then shrugged. She knew he’d have her back.
Together they started up the stairs.
“We’re going to see what we can do for him,” Allie called back over her shoulder as they ascended. The woman hadn’t made a move to follow. “But if we’re not back down in ten, you need to call the Knights.” Their uniforms had built-in red buttons for just such a need, of course, but if the worst happened and neither of them were conscious to hit the link, this was a good back-up. And it gave the woman something to focus on beside her fear.
“Preferably before the angry man upstairs caves in our skulls and, well, lives up to his name,” Lanos muttered. Allie shot him a glare, but didn’t bother elbowing him. She was going to need all her energy to get up all these stairs.
“就是这里。”艾丽踩下刹车时兰诺斯指出,救护车轮胎尖叫着停住。她拉起警戒灯,让它在那转着闪着,他们跳下车研究起这栋楼。它很旧了,肯定是UCAS前的,正面的红砖墙各处点缀着白色石头元素,与通向正门的宽阔石梯相得益彰。
“不错,”艾丽说,她的搭档点点头。比她在迪尔伯恩的住处要好,这是肯定的。兰诺斯住在老远的温莎,在河对面一个全精灵的公司居住地。“哪间房?”她问,提醒自己他们来这是干活的。
“4D,”他回答道,两人正两步并作一步上楼梯。当然,这条信息悬在她的头盔面罩的边角,可她懒得点。毕竟她的搭档把他收到的直接投影进角膜殖装里,她知道他已经准备好了,直接问更方便。他们能如此合作无间的一个原因正是他们都能容忍对方的坏习惯。
一个像老鼠一样的小个子女性在等着他们,他们到正门时正推开了门。显然她看到了救护车上的阿瑞斯标志还有他们胸前口袋投影出来的ID,她知道他们是正规的。
“是我打的电话,”她一边说明一边站到一旁好让兰诺斯然后是艾丽能够挤进前厅。“喝脑是我的隔壁邻居。”
她在老式眼镜上戴了一个AR显示屏,末端弯曲的那种眼镜,没做任何能让她平淡的五官亮眼一点的打扮。她推了推眼镜,领着艾丽和兰诺斯经过一架有漂亮的铜柱的小电梯——兰诺斯问都没问,他知道艾丽有多痛恨封闭空间——朝宽敞的中央楼梯走去。“他不是个坏人,实际上他大多数时候都非常友善,但有时他会有点失控。今天是个坏日子。我听见大叫,还有东西摔碎的声音,然后更多的大叫和咒骂,还有打碎东西,然后…——”
“——你担心他会伤到自己,或者伤到别人。”艾丽替她说完。女人点头。“他在服用什么吗?”
这位邻居别过头,但还是再次点头。“我想是的,”她用近乎低语的声音说出来。“我很抱歉。”
艾丽和搭档交换了个眼神。她知道他们一定在想同一件事:他们该还是不该管?
他们是救护员。如果喝脑先生在遭受某种药物的不良反应,他们就该帮助他。如果他会伤到自己,他们也该帮助他。
但如果他只是因为某件不开心的事用老套的方式发泄,他们就没什么好做的。这该是游侠的事,阿瑞斯的安保力量负责所有本地执法行动。
一秒后,艾丽点头。兰诺斯叹气,然后耸耸肩。她知道他会支持自己。
他们一起开始爬楼梯。
“看看我们能帮他什么,”他们向上爬时艾丽朝身后喊道。女人没有跟着的意思。“但如果十点我们还没下来,你就得叫游侠来。”他们的服装内置了红色按钮,以防万一,但如果最坏情况发生——他们都失去意识没法按下,这会是个后备。这也给女人一点关注的东西,让她停止恐惧。
“最好在楼上那个愤怒的男人挖开我们的头骨然后,好吧,实践他的名字之前,”兰诺斯低声说。艾丽瞪他一眼,但没费心思给他一记肘击。她得留着所有的能量爬上这些楼梯。


劇透 -   :
“Okay, here we go,” Allie said. They stood outside apartment 4D, listening. From inside came the sound of someone clomping about, muffled curses, and noises that sounded like furniture being shoved aside. So clearly Mr. Skulldrinker was still conscious, and still in a crappy mood.
Swell.
Lanos was still gasping for breath—she’d have to tease him about that later—and Allie felt fine, so she took the lead. “Mr. Skulldrinker?” she called out, loud enough that he’d be able to hear her through the thick safety door. Too bad their med sensors couldn’t pierce the reinforced wood and metal to just show them where he was! “My name is Allie, I’m a paramedic, I work for the city. Are you in need of medical attention?”
No answer.
She tried again. “Mr. Skulldrinker, we received a call that you might need help. Is that true? Do you need help?”
Still nothing.
“We’re going to come in and just make sure you’re okay, all right?” she said, pointing at the doorknob. Lanos nodded and grasped it firmly, his long fingers wrapping around the metal knob. He muttered several words Allie couldn’t make out, but that sent a chill down her spine and a thrill up from her toes nonetheless, and with a sharp click the door unlocked. Lanos pushed it open, and slid inside, with Allie right behind him.
She could see right away that Mr. Skulldrinker had been busy. Everywhere she looked, furniture was in disarray, pictures were knocked off the wall, throw pillows and all sorts of other décor had been scattered about—it looked like a small hurricane had ripped through here.
A second later, that hurricane leaped out, snorting and snarling like a maddened boar.
Which wasn’t an inaccurate comparison, Allie found herself thinking with the part of her brain that wasn’t frozen in fear, watching as a large, powerful figure came stomping toward them from a back room. Skulldrinker was built like a typical ork, complete with heavy brow, jutting tusks, thick tufts of hair, and pointed ears. Unlike many of his brethren, he wasn’t sporting any obvious tattoos or piercings, and he wore a nice suit instead of leathers—or rags—but his big hands were still wadded into fists, and his muscles still bulged beneath his clothes.
He didn’t look very happy to see them.
“好了,我们要进去了,”艾丽说。他们站在房间4D外,听着动静。里面传来了有人踏步、咒骂,还有听起来像是家具被掀到一边的声音。很明显喝脑先生还清醒着,情绪还很暴躁。
声音更响了。
兰诺斯还在喘气——她可以之后在嘲笑他,艾丽感觉良好,于是她开口了。“喝脑先生?”她喊出声,声音足以透过厚重的安全门让他听见。真糟糕,他们的的医疗传感器不能穿透强化的木钢结构看到他在哪!“我的名字是艾丽,我是个救护员,我为这座城市工作,你需要医疗吗?”
没有回答。
她再次尝试。“喝脑先生,我们接到电话说你可能需要帮助。这是真的吗?你需要帮助吗?”
还是没回应。
“我们现在要进来确保你没事,好吗?”她说,一边指着门把手。兰诺斯点点头,牢牢抓住把手,细长的手指宝住金属握把,他低声念了几个词,艾丽虽然听不懂,但还是背脊发凉,一股兴奋感从脚趾往上窜。一声脆响,门开了。兰诺斯推开们,闪身进入,艾丽紧随其后。
她一进门就能看出喝脑先生很忙。目光所及之处,家具全都七零八落,照片从墙上掉下,抱枕和各种装饰散落一地——像是被小型龙卷风肆虐过。
一秒后,龙卷风跳了出来,喷着鼻子咆哮着,像头发疯的野猪。
这个比喻不能说不准确,艾丽发现自己在用还没被吓僵的那部分大脑这样想,一边看着一个巨大、强壮的家伙从里面的房间朝他们踏过来。喝脑的体格像个典型的兽人,厚实的额头、突出的尖牙、浓密坚硬的毛发,还有尖耳朵。但他不像他的许多同胞一样有外露的纹身或鼻环,他还穿着不错的套装而不是皮衣——或者叫烂布,但他的大手还是攥成了拳头,他的肌肉还在他的衣物下隆起。
他看起来不太高兴见到他们。
劇透 -   :
He also doesn’t look entirely lucid, Allie thought, studying the sweat beading his brow and the glassy look in his eyes, her visor automatically cataloging and recording the data. His neighbor had been right—he was definitely on something.
Unfortunately, that only meant he’d be even harder to reason with.
<Knights?> Lanos texted, and Allie nodded. Mr. Skulldrinker didn’t appear to be injured, so the security forces could handle this.
But he clearly had other ideas. He swung a heavy arm in a wide, fast arc, and his fist crashed into Lanos, sending him reeling backward. Then the ork turned toward Allie.
“Don’t,” she warned, her own hands rising defensively toward her face. “We’re just trying to help—”
The ork either didn’t hear her or didn’t care. His fist lashed out again, this time straight in front of him, leaping the gap between him and Allie like a missile. The blow caught her full in the chest, and now she was the one falling, arms flailing as she tried to right herself in time—
—and then, suddenly, she wasn’t.
There was what felt like a rush of wind, brisk and invigorating. Somehow Allie found herself back on her feet, centered and stable, and within arm’s reach of the crazed ork. He took another swing at her, but this time she blocked the blow, his massive arm unbelievably sliding off her much slighter limb, the force of the impact jarring her but not enough to make her shift her stance in the slightest.
Then she retaliated, her own hand balling into a fist that rocketed forward to connect with the ork’s sloping brow like a sledgehammer.
One punch. One punch was all it took. One punch that knocked Skulldrinker right off his feet, his head snapping back from the force of the blow, dismissing his consciousness so that when he dropped back to the ground it was to collapse in a heap before them, body limp, eyes shut.
She had knocked him out.
Allie paused to let that sink in. She had knocked him out. She, Allie Fiddich, had just knocked out an ork. With one punch. And her hand didn’t even hurt, which it definitely should—hell, it should be a mess, considering how tough orks were compared to humans, but nothing felt broken or even bruised. Her hand looked and felt…fine.
Huh.
“You okay?” she asked Lanos, who had just righted himself.
“Fine,” he answered. “Even better if no one ever hears about what happened to me.” He eyed Allie carefully. “You?”
“Five by five,” Allie answered, an old saying she’d read in one of her books. “Let’s get him restrained and call it in.” She hit the downed ork with a hypo-spray, just to be on the safe side, then tugged a pair of zipties from one of her vest pockets. Once they’d trussed him up, the two of them struggled to get the unconscious ork back downstairs and to their ambulance.
“So what was that?” Lanos asked as they cleared the first landing. “Was I still dizzy, or did you really put him down with one punch?” He eyed her hands, clearly expecting the one she’d used to be pulped or at least torn up.
Allie shrugged and shifted her grip so her hand wasn’t as visible. “Just got lucky, I guess.”
But deep down, she didn’t entirely believe that.
他看起来也不完全清醒,艾丽一边想一边研究他额头成串的汗珠、眼中虚无的神色,她的面罩屏显自动分类和记录数据。他的邻居是对的——他肯定在服用某种摄入物。
不幸的是,这只能表示他会更难劝服。
<游侠?>兰诺斯打字给她,艾丽点点头。喝脑先生看起来没有受伤,安保部门能处理。
可他显然有别的主意。他举结实的手臂,快速挥出一个大圈,第一击甩中了兰诺斯,让他踉跄后退。随后兽人转身朝向艾丽。
“不要,”她警告道,她的双手防御性地护在脸前方。“我们只是想帮——”
兽人要么没听见,要么不在乎。他的拳头再次挥出,这次直接向前,像一枚导弹越过他和艾丽之间的距离。拳头直击胸口,现在轮到她倒下了,她的双手胡乱挥舞着试图及时稳住自己——
——然后,突然,她没往下倒了。
感觉像是一阵风,活泼而清爽。不知怎么回事艾丽发现自己重新牢牢站稳了,离那个疯狂的兽人有一臂之遥。他又挥出一拳,但这次她挡住了,他硕大的手臂不可思议地滑过她纤细得多的身体,她受到一些冲击,但远不足以让她移动分毫。
然后她回击了,她的手攥起拳头朝前像火箭一般击出,如同锤子敲在了兽人倾斜的前额上。
一下。仅仅一下。一下就将喝脑敲倒在地,他的头因拳头的力道向后歪,他的意识消散,他向后倒下成了一滩烂泥,全身瘫软,双眼紧闭。
她把他敲晕了。
艾丽停顿片刻消化这个事实。她把他敲晕了。她,艾丽·菲迪克,刚刚敲晕了一个兽人。一下。她的手甚至不痛。手应该痛的——老天,它该伤得不成样子,毕竟和人类比兽人太强壮了。可她没感觉骨折,甚至没有淤青。她的手看起来……挺健康。
嗯……
“你还好吗?”她问兰诺斯,对方正支撑着站起来。
“没事,”他回答。“要是没人听到我发生了什么就更好了。”他仔细地查看艾丽。“你呢?”
“好得不能再好,”艾丽回答,这是她在书里读到的老说法。“让我们把他控制起来,然后叫人进来。”她给倒地的兽人来了一剂无针注射,以防万一,再从背心口袋里掏出两条塑料带。把他绑好后,他们开始艰难地将这个昏迷的兽人搬到楼下、搬进救护车。
“那么,怎么回事?”成功抵达后兰诺斯问。“是我还迷迷糊糊,还是你真的一拳敲晕了他?”他盯着她的手,显然指望看到一只血肉模糊的手,至少也该有皮肤撕裂。
艾丽耸耸肩,挪了下变速杆好让她的手不那么明显。“只是运气吧,我猜。”
但内心深处,她也不完全相信。

劇透 -   :
The sky calls. Open and endless, sweeping and grand, it begs to be explored, to be traveled. To be dominated.

Still, the chains bind. Still, they restrain.

But the clanking is different now, the tone sharper, more urgent. The scrape of metal against metal fiercer, more aggressive.

And almost hidden among that noise is the sharp whine of metal being twisted, pulled out of shape.

It is the sound of chains beginning to break.
天空呼唤。开阔而无尽,广袤而壮丽。乞求被探索,被徜徉。被统治。

然而,锁链束缚。然而,锁链约束。

但敲击声有所不同,音调愈尖、愈急。金属与金属刮擦,更剧烈、更迫切。

嘈杂之中,尖锐的悲鸣几乎被隐藏,那是金属被扭曲、拉扯、变形。


劇透 -   :
“Looks like you’ve got an admirer,” Lanos told her over lunch the next day. He must have read the utter confusion in Allie’s ice-blue stare, because he laughed and waved his chopsticks toward his left. “Behind me, long hair, pale, sharp suit. Been watching you.” He grinned around his noodles. “Want me to scare him off?”
“No worries,” Allie replied, scooping up another big bite of spicy chicken and using the motion to cover her search for the man. “I’ve got this.” Her helmet sat beside her, which meant she couldn’t use its visual enhancement to get a better look, so hopefully the guy in question was close enough she wouldn’t need it.
There. He matched Lanos’s description, such as it was—tall, slender, long hair as white as her own, good suit. There was something familiar about him, though she was sure she’d never seen him in her life. And he was definitely watching her. Allie took another quick bite before setting the remains of her lunch aside and hopping to her feet. She took off at a fast walk straight at the guy, determined to get some answers.
But he saw her coming a kilometer away. She was close enough to see his thin lips curve into just the hint of a smile before he stepped back and allowed the noon crowd to swallow him up. Allie cursed under her breath. She didn’t know why or how, but she was sure this was connected to what’d happened the other night.
Unfortunately, it didn’t look like she’d be getting any answers any time soon.
“看来你有了个爱慕者,”第二天午饭时兰诺斯告诉她。他一定是从艾丽冰蓝色的目光中读到了全然的疑惑,因为他大笑着用筷子指了指他左侧。“我后面,长头发,脸色苍白,时髦的套装。一直看在着你。”他嚼着面条笑了。“要我去把他吓跑吗?”
“别担心,”艾丽回答,又吃了一大勺辣鸡块,用这个动作掩饰她的搜寻。“我来处理。”她的头盔放在旁边,就是说她不能用上面的视觉增强看得更清楚,希望那家伙足够近,不需要视觉增强也能看到。
那里。他符合兰诺斯的描述,诸如——高个,修长,长发和她的一样白,高级套装。他有种熟悉的感觉,但她确信自己从未见过他。他一定是在观察她。艾丽快速又啃了一口,把剩下的午餐推到一边,跳了起来。她快步朝那家伙走去,决心得到一些回答。
可他老远就看见她过来了。她近得足够看见他的薄唇弯起了一个类似微笑的弧度,随后往后退,让正午的人群将他淹没。
艾丽低声咒骂。她不知道为何与如何,但她确信这和那晚发生的事有关。
不巧的是,她似乎没那么快得到任何答案。


劇透 -   :
“Coming, Allie?”
She glanced up from stowing her gear in her locker. “Hm?”
Tina, one of the other paramedics, grinned from under her mass of glowing red curls. “It’s my birthday, remember? We’re all going parasailing?”
“Oh. Right.” To be honest, Allie hadn’t planned to go. Not that she didn’t like Tina, but she wasn’t much of the party type. Nor did she go in for thrill-seeking. Especially if it involved heights.
“Ah, you know she won’t,” Tina’s partner Grittan said with a deep chuckle that sent the braids of his beard dancing across his broad chest. “Not Ice Queen Allie.”
Lanos materialized behind the dwarf and glowered down at him. “Watch it.”
“What?” Grittan threw up his hands, his smile wicked beneath his beard. “I’m just saying. She never deigns to mingle with us lesser mortals. Do you, Allie?”
The challenge was obvious—no one had ever accused Grittan of being subtle—and normally Allie would just roll her eyes and ignore it. But tonight she found herself grabbing her jacket out of the locker before slamming it shut and rising to her feet. “You know what?” she declared, tugging the light jacket on as she stepped closer to the others. “I’m in.”
“Really?” Lanos looked surprised, as did Grittan. That, and the fact that Tina was practically squealing with delight, made the decision worth it.
At least Allie hoped so.
“来吗,艾丽?”
她抬眼看过去——她正在将装备收进她的储物柜。“嗯?”
蒂娜,另一个救护员,在她浓密的红色卷发后咧嘴笑了。“是我的生日,记得不?我们都要去玩帆伞?”
“哦。对。”老实说,艾丽没打算去。不是她不喜欢蒂娜,可她不是聚会的类型。她也不喜欢寻找刺激。尤其是和高度有关的。
“哎,你知道她不会去的,”蒂娜的搭档葛力坦一边说一边低沉地笑着,震动让他的胡辫在宽阔的胸前舞蹈。“冰雪女王艾丽不会去的。”
兰诺斯在矮人身后出现,低头瞪着他。“说话注意点。”
“怎么了?”葛力坦甩起手,在胡子后面阴险地微笑。“我只是这么说。她从不屈尊和我们这些低劣的凡人交流。你去吗,艾丽?”
明显是挑衅——也从没有人说葛力坦隐晦。艾丽一般只会转转眼珠无视掉。但今晚她发现自己从储物柜里抓起夹克,狠狠地甩上门,站起身。“知道吗?”她大声说,一边穿上薄夹克一边走近其他人。“我参加。”
“真的?”兰诺斯看起来很惊讶,葛力坦也是。两人的反应,加上蒂娜开心的尖叫,让这个决定没有白费。
至少艾丽希望如此。


劇透 -   :
“Oh my gods, what am I doing?” Allie wailed. “Why can’t we just do something nice and safe, like sim-jump into active volcanoes? I’m going to die!”
“You’re fine,” Lanos assured her for the tenth time. “Just relax.” A smile tugged at his lips. “You might even enjoy this.”
She just glared at him as he ignored her complaints and entreaties and checked the straps and buckles of her harness. “Good to go,” he said at last, stepping back and giving the boat captain a thumbs-up.
Allie shrieked one final time as the boat revved its engine and shot forward—and she rose up from the water, the parasail filling with air and lofting her into the night sky.
For a second, she was terrified, looking down at the Detroit River and the city to either side of it. Her hands clutched the straps so tight her fingers were bone-white, and her legs swung frantically, desperate for anything solid to kick against.
But then the breeze tickled her cheek, the smell of the water and the crisp upper air inflated her lungs, and she breathed deep, her thrashing slowing, her cries fading away.
It was so beautiful up here! Why had she never thought to try this before?
The boat raced along, carrying her behind it, and she just floated, head tilted back, letting her pale braid flap behind her like a kite’s tail. For the first time she could remember, Allie felt totally at peace.
And then something else rose up within her, like a sea beast slowly cresting the surface.
She was hungry.
But not for food. No, this was the same burning need she felt when she was behind the wheel. The hunger for speed.
She wanted more. Faster. She wanted to race through the night, the wind whipping past her, cutting through the air like an arrow, swift and silent and deadly.
She tugged on the straps connecting her to the boat, but the captain either didn’t notice or didn’t care, because he didn’t speed up. The leisurely excursion continued, with Allie chafing to cut loose and really soar.
Eventually it ended, the boat powering down, and she drifted gently lower, until she was floating on the water, the parasail draped behind her like an enormous silken cape. Lanos was waiting, along with Tina and Grittan and a few of the others who had already gone.
“What’d you think?” her partner asked as he waded over to Allie and helped her unbuckle. “Great, right?”
“Yeah, it was great,” she agreed, and if her tone was less than ebullient her smile convinced him she was telling the truth. Nor was she lying, really. It had been great being up in the air, far more so than she would have believed.
But deep down, Allie knew she’d never do this again. Not because she hadn’t liked it, but because she’d liked it too much, and because it hadn’t been enough. Floating along like that had been a taunt, teasing her with what she really wanted, but then denying it to her.
She wasn’t sure she could bear to go through that again.
“哦老天我在做什么?”艾丽哀号。“为什么我们不能做点好玩又安全的事呢,比如拟感跳进活火山?我要死了!”
“你会没事的,”兰诺斯第十次安抚她。“放轻松。”他嘴角浮起微笑。“你可能还会喜欢这个。”
她瞪着他,而他无视她的抱怨和恳求,继续检查安全背带上的皮带和卡扣。“好了。”他最后说,然后站到一边伸出拇指示意船长。
艾丽发出最后一声尖叫,牵引船马达加速向前猛冲——她从水面升起,帆伞盈满空气将她拉入夜空。
有那么一秒钟,看着下面的底特律河还有两边的城市,她害怕极了。她的手死死抓着皮带,指节发白,她的双腿乱蹬,绝望地想踢到坚实的东西。
但之后清风拂过她的面颊,水的气息、清新的上层空气充盈了她的肺部,深呼吸,她的挣扎变慢,她的哭喊消散。
上面太美了!她之前为什么从没想过尝试?
牵引船继续向前,带着后方的她。她就这样飘着,头向后仰,让她苍白的辫子在一旁拍打,像风筝的尾巴。有生以来第一次,艾丽感到了彻底的平和。
某种东西从她内部升起,如同一头海兽缓慢露出水面。
她在渴求。
不是食物。不,是她在车轮后感到的同一种燃烧的渴望。渴望速度。
她想要更多。更快。她想要在夜空中疾驰,让风打在身上,如箭一般刺破空气,迅捷、安静而致命。
她扯了扯与牵引船相连的皮带,但船长要么没听见要么没理会,他没有加速。船只继续悠闲地航行,艾丽恼火地想要解脱,想要真正翱翔。
终于结束了,牵引船功率降低,她轻轻地下落,最后飘在水面上,帆伞披在她身上,如同巨大的丝绸斗篷。兰诺斯在等着,和蒂娜、葛力坦还有其他几个已经飞过的人一起。
“感觉如何?”搭档趟水来到艾丽旁边,一边问一边帮她解开背带。“很棒,不是吗?”
“是,很棒,”她附和道,哪怕她的声音有点不那么兴高采烈,她的笑容也让他相信这是实话。她没撒谎,真的。在空中很棒,比她以为的还要棒得多。
但内心深处,她知道自己再也不会尝试了。不是因为不喜欢,而是因为太喜欢,因为还不够。这种飘浮着像是在嘲弄,以她最渴求的东西诱惑她,再收回。
她不确定自己能第二次次承受。


劇透 -   :
The sky wraps around, but not stifling, not enveloping. 

Cradling, but open enough to allow full freedom of movement, inviting but not restricting.

The chains still bind, but their creaking is louder now, more strident,
the links struggling against the forces pushing them outward, striving to break free.

Already there is some give to them. Soon there will be more.

Soon they will snap, and fall away, and there will be no more obstacles, no more tethers.

Only freedom.
天空包覆,但未压迫,未封锁。

怀抱着却又敞开着,容许自由移动,诱人但不封闭。

锁链束缚依旧,但它们的嘎吱声愈发响亮,愈发刺耳,
连接正挣扎着对抗向外的推力,挣扎着逃离。

有的已经屈服。很快将有更多屈服。

不久它们都将断裂、跌落,再无阻碍,再无束缚。

仅剩自由。


劇透 -   :
“What’ve we got?” Allie asked as she pulled the ambulance over between two patrol cars. The Knight Errant officers had waved the ambulance through the cordon, dropping the electric warning fence they’d erected and then quickly reestablishing it, so as Allie parked and got out, all she saw around them were people in full tactical gear.
“Domestic violence,” Lanos answered. That was how they always worked, he took the calls while she drove, then filled her in when they got there. The last thing he wanted, he often said, was to distract her from her driving. “Husband, wife, two kids.”
“Injuries?” This was directed as much to the sergeant approaching them as to Lanos.
“We don’t know yet,” the security expert admitted as he reached them, looking no-nonsense in his smart black uniform. “The husband just got laid off, he and the wife got into it, he got physical, the neighbor called it in. He’s tough, was one of us till he got let go for drinking, so we weren’t taking any chances. Sent in a neuro-stun via drone, place’s been quiet since, figure he’s down and out.”
“Right, so we’re on search and rescue.” Allie tapped Lanos on the shoulder. “Let’s go.”
They headed past the Knights and inside. They’d done this sort of thing before, of course. The wife and children would’ve been knocked out as well, and who knew if he’d hurt them before that, so Allie and Lanos would go in, locate the wife and kids, assess their condition, escort them out if possible, and call for backup if not. Meanwhile the Knights would keep watch outside—once everyone else was clear they’d go in and cuff the guy, but they didn’t want to risk setting him off and endangering everyone else further.
An HRT Knight, fully decked out in tac-armor and an Ares Alpha with underbarrel grenade launcher, showed them to the apartment door, which had already been breached. Gas was still drifting out from under the partially-open door, but the room behind was only mildly hazy, which meant most of the stun gas had already dissipated. Even so, Allie pulled out her gas mask and slid it on, hooking it onto her helmet, and Lanos did the same beside her. Better safe than sorry.
Then they went in.
Even through her visor, Allie could see that everything had a seedy, rundown look to it. Most of it was neat, though. Nothing out of place, not like that ork’s the other day. Clearly this family believed in keeping up appearances.
But where were they?
“Over here!” Lanos called, and Allie turned. He’d split off, checking a room to the side, and Allie quickly caught up with him. Three figures were curled up in the far corner behind a set of bunk beds: one adult, the other two smaller. The wife and kids. Allie sighed in relief before hurrying over to help check on them.
“Vitals are strong,” she reported a minute later, reading the scan off her visor. “Unconscious, but they’ll be fine. Where is he?” They couldn’t risk waking and moving the family until they knew they had a clear exit path.
“Got to be around here somewhere,” Lanos answered. There wasn’t anyone else in this room, so they stepped back out into the main area. A kitchen lay beyond that, and there were two other doors as well. One had to be a bathroom, which would make the other the master bedroom.
They could see the whole kitchen and it was empty, so the husband had to be behind one of those two doors. Their helmets had IR capability, but gas confused the sensors, so they were stuck with operating on pure visual for now.
Allie reached the first door, quietly twisted the knob, and pushed it open. A large bed greeted her. Master bedroom. But she didn’t see anyone. She cautiously stuck her head in and looked around, but still no sign of the husband.
She was just turning to let Lanos know the room was clear when she caught motion past him. It was the bathroom door, silently swinging open. The space beyond it was dark, and completely clear of gas—but far from empty.
“我们知道些什么?”艾丽一边问一边将车穿过两辆巡逻车之间。游侠警察挥手示意救护车通过警戒线,将他们竖立的电子警告围栏撤下后又迅速立起。艾丽停车下车,周围都是穿着全身穿着战术装备的人。
“家庭暴力,”兰诺斯回答。这是他们一贯的工作方式,她开车时他负责接电话,到达后再给细信息。他经常说他最不想做的就是打扰她开车。“丈夫,妻子,两个孩子。”
“受伤情况?”除了问兰诺斯,这也是再问正靠近他们的警长。
“我们还不清楚,”安保专家走到旁边时承认,他穿着得体的黑色制服,看起来很严肃。“丈夫刚被解雇,他和他妻子吵架,他动手了,邻居报警。他很难搞,在酗酒被解雇前是我们中的一员,所以我们不敢冒险。用无人机送了一发神经晕眩剂,之后这地方一直没了声响,估计他晕倒了。”
“好的,那么我们的任务是搜寻和拯救。”艾丽戳了戳兰诺斯的肩膀。“我们走吧。”
他们穿过游侠进入室内。他们当然之前干过类似的事情。妻子和孩子应该也被迷晕了,谁知道他之前有没伤到他们。所以轮到艾丽和兰诺斯进去,找到妻子和孩子,评估他们的状况,可能的话带他们出来,不能则呼叫增援。与此同时游侠会监视外部——所有人都出来之后他们就会立即进去绑走那家伙,但他们也不想冒险刺激他逃走进、一步威胁到所有人。
一个HTR游侠,装备着全身战术甲和一把阿瑞斯-阿尔法及附带榴弹发射器,给他们他们公寓门的位置,门已经被破坏了。晕眩气体依然从半开的门往外冒,但门后的房间只是轻微模糊,这说明大部分晕眩气体已经扩散了。即使这样,艾丽还是拿出她的防毒面罩,把它拉下,扣在她的头盔上。旁边的兰诺斯也同样动作。安全好过遗憾。
然后他们进去了。
即使通过她的面罩显示屏,艾丽依然能看见所有东西都看起来肮脏、破旧。但大部分还算整齐。没有东西移位,不像那天那位兽人的家。显然这个家庭认为应当做好表面工作。
可他们在哪?
“这里!”兰诺斯呼叫道,艾丽随之转身。他走开去查看一个旁边的房间,艾丽迅速跟上。三个人蜷缩在最里面,躲在一架双层床后面:一个成年人,两个小孩。妻子和孩子。艾丽放心地吐出一口气,马上跑过去帮忙检查他们。
“生命体征强烈,”一分钟后她读取了面罩上的扫描度数报告说道。“昏迷,但他们会没事的。他在哪?”确保安全撤离路径前他们不能冒险叫醒或移动这一家人。
“一定是在附近某处,”兰诺斯回答。这个房间里没有别人,于是他们走回到主区域。后面是厨房,还有另外两扇门。其中一扇肯定是卫生间的,那么另一扇就是主人房的。
他们能看清厨房全貌,里面没人,丈夫一定是在那两扇门之一的后面。他们的头盔有红外线接收器,但气体阻挡了传感器,现在只能依靠纯视觉了。
艾丽靠近第一扇门,轻轻地扭开把手,推开门。面前是一张大床。主人房。可她没看见任何人。她小心地把头探进去四处打量,还是没看见丈夫的踪影。
正转身要告诉兰诺斯这间房没人时,她瞥见他旁边有动静。是卫生间的门,悄悄地打开了。里面的空间一片黑暗,没有晕眩气体——但不是空的。
劇透 -   :
“Look out!” she shouted, but the gas mask muffled her words. Her partner’s sharp elf ears heard her anyway, and he started to turn, but didn’t get more than halfway around before a short, stocky figure reared up and smashed Lanos across the head with something heavy. Allie heard the crack of metal on plasteel, and her partner dropped to the ground.
“No!” she shouted. The husband—a dwarf, by his height and build and heavy beard—turned to her, grinning savagely as he raised the mace and stepped forward. Allie tried to back away, but only got a few feet before she bumped up against the living room couch. The husband stalked closer, mace ready to swing.
He was only a few feet away now, and she could clearly see his wild eyes and flared nostrils, the heaving chest and the mumbling, grunting mouth. There was definitely something wrong with him.
Allie couldn’t breathe. She ripped off her helmet, gas mask and all, locking eyes with the dwarf as he lifted his mace. He hefted it, clearly about to strike her down as well—
—and somewhere in her head Allie heard a clear, crisp sound, almost like the tone of a bell.
Or the sound of something metal finally snapping and falling away.
“You will not hurt me,” she declared in a loud, ringing voice, tossing her braid over her shoulder. She glared down at the dwarf, and suddenly it seemed as if he had shrunk or she had grown because the height difference between them increased so that she had to tilt her head forward in order to make him out. His own face had paled, his mouth falling open, eyes widening as he gazed up at her, and his hand shook around the mace.
“No…” he whispered, the first word Allie had heard him say. “Please, no.” For a second, she thought he might drop the weapon, but instead she saw his eyes narrow and his lips pull back in a sneer as he gripped the mace even more tightly. With a roar he leaped toward her, mace poised to strike.
But the blow never landed, as Allie opened her mouth to scream her defiance, daring him to do his worst—
—and electricity shot forth, arcing into the dwarf and freezing him in place, his whole body convulsing. The mace fell to the floor, but the crackling energy continued for a few seconds before finally fading away, leaving the dwarf unconscious and twitching on the floor, Lanos there beside him.
Allie felt her feet sink back down onto the threadbare carpet, a wave of exhaustion suddenly hitting her, and she staggered, resting a hand on the couch back for support.
What in the nine hells just happened?
“小心!”她大喊,但防毒面罩闷住了她的呼喊。搭档敏锐的精灵耳朵还是听到她了,他迅速离开,但没走到半路就有一个矮壮的人影从后面追上,他用某种重物狠狠地敲在兰诺斯的头上。艾丽听见塑钢被金属敲裂的声音,她的搭档倒在了地上。
“不!”她大喊。这位丈夫——从他的身高体格还有浓密的胡子判断,是个矮人——转向她,凶狠地咧着嘴,举起钉锤朝她走来。艾丽试图向后逃,但没走几步就撞上了起居室的沙发。丈夫怒气冲冲地靠近,手上的钉锤已经准备好。
他只有几步了,她现在能清楚地看清他狂暴的眼神和外翻的鼻孔、起伏的胸部和咕囔的嘴。他绝对不正常。
艾丽无法呼吸。她扯下头盔、防毒面罩和所有东西,盯着矮人的眼睛,看着他举起钉锤。他掂量着,显然也要将她打倒——
——艾丽在脑海中某处听见了一声清脆、明晰的声音,几乎像是铃铛。
也可能是某种金属终于断裂脱离的声音。
“你不会伤害我,”她用大声、有力的声音宣告,一边将辫子甩到肩后。她向下瞪着矮人,突然间似乎他缩小了或者是她长高了——他们之间的高度差增加到她必须朝前低头才能看清他的程度。他抬头看着她,脸色惨白,嘴张大,双目圆瞪,握着钉锤的手在颤抖。
“不……”他低声说,这是艾丽听见他说的第一个词。“请不要。”有那么一秒钟,她以为他会扔下武器,但相反,她看见对方眼睛眯了起来,嘴唇扭回嘲笑状,手把钉锤抓得更紧了。他怒吼着扑向她,钉锤举起准备攻击。
但攻击没能落下,艾丽张开嘴尖叫着抗拒,质问他竟敢做出最糟的事——
——一道弧形电流朝前射出,甩进了矮人身体,将他定在原地,让他全身抽搐。钉锤落到地板上,但迸发的能量持续了几秒才终于消失。昏迷的矮人在地板上抽搐,旁边是兰诺斯。
艾丽感到自己脚落回了磨破的地毯上,一阵疲惫将她席卷,她踉跄了一下,手撑着沙发背。



劇透 -   :
Afterward, she just stood and stared. Lanos was finishing up handing the wife and children off to nurses, but Allie couldn’t even remembering driving them back to the hospital. She must have, though, because the ambulance was in its usual spot and she was standing outside it.
“You okay?” her partner asked her once the family had been taken care of. He winced and rubbed his head. “I’m going to get checked out—you should too.” He’d been lucky—the sound Allie had heard had been his helmet shattering, not his skull, and it had dispersed the force of the blow enough to render it nonlethal, but he probably still had a concussion, if not worse.
“I’m fine,” Allie pulled herself together enough to reply. “You go on. I’ll talk to you later.”
“Yeah, okay.” He started for the hospital doors but paused. “Hey, Allie?” he asked, and she nodded. “Good work today. If you hadn’t hit him with that taser... Thanks.” This was as serious as she’d ever seen him, and Allie knew better than to blow off such a sincere statement.
Instead she just said, “Of course. You know I’ve got your back.” She watched as Lanos headed back inside.
Then she turned and took off in the other direction.
之后,她只是站着发呆。拉诺斯把妻子和孩子都处理好送到护士那,但艾丽甚至不记得有开车送他们回医院。她一定开车了,因为救护车正停在它通常停的位置,她站在车子外面。
“你还好?”处理好那家人后她的搭档立刻问她。他皱着眉揉了揉他的头。“我要去检查一下——你也该去。”他很幸运——艾丽听见的声音敲碎了他的头盔而不是头骨,头盔消解了打击力度,没致命。但他还是可能有点脑震荡,如果不是更糟的情况。
“我没事。”艾丽努力回过神答道。“你去吧。我之后再和你说。”
“好啊。”他推开医院的门然后听了下来。“嘿,艾丽?”他问道,她点点头。“今天干得漂亮,要是你没有泰瑟打晕他……谢了。”这是艾丽见过他最严肃的样子,她知道自己最好不要毁了这样一个真诚的道谢。
她只是说,“当然,你知道我会支援你的。”她看着兰诺斯继续朝医院深处走去。
随后她转身往另一个方向。


劇透 -   :
Allie didn’t get very far, however. A few minutes later she was in the hospital garden, a little place out back that provided a few bushes, a few flowers, a few benches, and some grass and trees for anyone needing to escape the hospital’s sterile environment. She sank down onto one of the benches and tried to marshal her thoughts.
What was going on with her? What had happened with that dwarf? Yes, their gloves had built-in tasers, but she hadn’t activated hers. And what about that ork, for that matter? None of it made sense, but something deep within told Allie that that might not mean it was wrong. Making sense didn’t seem to have much of a relationship with the truth at the moment.
Footsteps suddenly rang out nearby, making her glance up.
It was the man she’d seen the other day, the tall one with the pale hair and the fancy clothes. “You appear to be having some difficulty,” he said as he slid onto the bench beside her, leaving a small buffer space between them. “I can help, if I may.”
Allie glared at him. “Who are you? What do you want? Have you been following me?”
But he waved the questions aside. “The past is not important,” he claimed. “It’s what we do with tomorrow that matters.”
“Nice way to avoid the question,” Allie shot back, earning a flush against almost-milk-pale skin.
“Very well.” The stranger executed an odd, seemingly formal bow. “I have been following you, yes. To make sure you are safe. That is all.”
“Safe? Safe how?” She shuddered at the memory of recent events. “I nearly got flattened by an ork a few days ago. Then today I almost got taken down by a dwarf. You call that safe?”
“Neither of them could have hurt you,” he assured her, sounding as if he genuinely believed that, “and that is not the sort of safety that concerns me.” Eyes as ice-blue as her own stabbed at her; not meanly, just with laser intensity. “Tell me, what do you remember?” Allie started telling him about the ork and the dwarf, but he held up a long, slender hand. “No,” he said softly. “What do you remember?”
“I—I’ve been having these dreams,” she replied finally, not even sure why she was telling him this. “About the sky—and flying, I think. And about chains.” He nodded, and she went on, “and the chains—they were breaking.”
That earned a sigh from him. “Yes,” he agreed, pushing back his long white hair; a hue that, like her own, belied youthful  features. “You are starting to break free. To remember what—and who—you truly are.” He did not seem entirely happy about this. “It is too soon, however,” he declared softly, his gaze fierce and sad all at once. “You must go back.”
“Go back? Go back where?” Allie felt a shiver of fear run through her. “Who did this to me? And what did they do to me, exactly?”
Now he smiled, and it was so sad she felt her own eyes well up in response. “Who did this?” he repeated. “You did.”
“What?” But something inside Allie told her this was true.
“You knew they were not ready yet,” the man continued. “Your presence would set certain events in motion, and to start that too soon would spell the end of all. So you hid yourself away. But you are beginning to break free, despite yourself.”
She considered that, searching for falsehood in his words, his tone, his gaze, and finding none. “So this . . . release,” she said slowly, watching him closely. “It’s bad?” He nodded. “And I knew that?” Another nod. She almost asked what she was, what she had been, what she was becoming, but some instinct stopped her. If she did ask that, and he answered, she somehow knew that would be irreversible. And if what he said was true, that would be bad for everyone. “All right,” she decided. “Then how do I stop it?”
“Only you can restore the bonds you forged,” he told her. “I can guide you, however. But are you sure?” 
“If it keeps people safe, yes.” She didn’t give herself time to second-guess her choice. “What do we do?”
He frowned a second, then smoothed his face to calm again. “Close your eyes,” he instructed, and she did so, oddly finding herself completely comfortable trusting this man she’d only just met. “Picture the chains in your mind.”
That was easy enough—she could hear them grinding against each other every time she went quiet, could see their massive, rusted links every time she blinked.
“Now pour your strength into them,” he told her, his voice low and soothing and hypnotic. “Imbue them with your convictions. Will them to grow solid and closed again.”
Allie did as he said. She focused on the chains and wished for them to become strong again, to tighten around her, to grow taut. She put all of her thought into it, all of her heart, and she felt the change take hold, the chains firming and freezing, the links no longer shrieking and bending, the lengths no longer sliding and shifting. Everything settled, like a great weight sinking in on her, pinning her down.
“Good,” he said, and she wondered how he could know she’d succeeded. “You have done well. As I knew you would. You were ever the greatest of us.” She blinked, opening her eyes, but he was gone, the echo of his words fading away on the breeze.
Allie shook her head and rose to her feet. She had a fierce headache, and wanted nothing more than to go home and sleep it off. Why had she been sitting here in the hospital garden, anyway?
She staggered toward home, her limbs leaden, her eyes aching, her mind numb. Somehow she made it back to her apartment and to her couch, which she dropped onto, too exhausted to continue to the bedroom. This would do fine.
Why does my head hurt so much? What have I been doing? Everything was a blur, particularly the last few days, and trying to think about them just sent shards of pain lancing behind her eyes. Easier not to, she decided, and let her eyes droop closed. Perhaps I’ll feel better in the morning…
但艾丽没走多远。几分钟后她到了医院的花园,在医院后面,一个小地方,有一点灌木、一点花、一点长椅,还有些草和树,好让人能够逃离医院的杀菌水味。她重重地坐在一把长椅上,努力整理她的思绪。
她怎么了?那个矮人怎么了?没错,他们的手套是有内置泰瑟枪,但她没打开她的。还有那个兽人又是怎么回事?全都不合理,但艾丽内心某种东西告诉她,或许这不代表错误。此时合理似乎和真相没关系。
附近突然响起脚步声,她抬起头。
是她之前见过那个男人,那个头发苍白、穿着高级衣服的高个男人。“你看起来遇到困难了,”他说着在她旁边坐下,他们之间只有很窄的间隔。“我能帮忙,如果你允许。”
艾丽盯着他。“你是谁?你想要什么?你在跟踪我吗?”
但他挥挥手无视了这些问题。“过去不重要,”他断言,“我们对将来做什么才重要。”
“话题转移得不错。”这让对方几乎同牛奶一般苍白的皮肤上浮起红晕。
“好吧。”陌生人做出一个古怪、看起来很正式的鞠躬姿势。“是的,我一直在跟踪你。保证你的安全。仅此而已。”
“安全?怎么安全了?”想到最近的事件她不由颤抖。“几天前我差不多要被一个兽人拍扁。今天我几乎要被一个矮人弄死。你管这叫安全?”
“他们没人能伤到你,”他对她保证,听起来好像真心相信似的,“我担心的不是这种安全。”和她一样的冰蓝眼眸盯着她;并不刻薄,但如激光般专注。“告诉我,你记得什么?”艾丽开始和他讲兽人和矮人的事,但他伸出一只纤长的手。“不。”他轻轻说。“你记得什么?”
“我——我一直在做梦,”最后她回答,自己都不知道为何要告诉他。“天空——和飞行,我觉得是。还有锁链。”他点点头,于是她继续说,“还有那些锁链——它们要破了。”
这让他叹了口气。“是的,”他附和道,一边拨开他的白色长发;和她一样的颜色,掩盖了他年轻的五官。“你正在重获自由。正在记得你真正是什么——是谁。”他看起来对此并不高兴。“但太早了。”他轻声说,他的目光热烈又悲伤。“你必须回去。”
“回去?回去哪里?”艾丽感到恐惧蔓延全身。“是谁做的?到底为什么他们要对我这样做?”
现在他微笑了,笑容如此悲伤,她觉得自己的双眼也盈满了伤感。“谁做的?”他重复道。“是你。”
“什么?”但内心某些东西告诉她这是真的。
“你知道他们还没准备好,”男人继续说。“你的存在会导致某些事件发生,过早启动会让万物终结。所以你把自己藏了起来。但你正在挣脱,虽然你并不希望。”
她思索着,在他的措辞、他的语调、他的目光中寻找漏洞,但没有。“那么这个……解放,”她缓慢地说,仔细地观察他的反应。“很糟吗?”他点头。“我知道?”再次点头。她几乎要开口问她是什么、她曾经是什么、她将变成什么,但某种直觉阻止了她。如果她问了而他答了,她知道那将无可挽回。如果他说的是真的,会给所有人带来不幸。“好吧,”她决定了。“那我要怎么停止?”
“只有你能恢复你自己铸造的束缚,”他告诉她。“但我能引导你。但你决定好了吗?”
“如果能让所有人平安,是的。”她没给自己再次考虑的机会。“我们要做什么?”
他皱了皱眉,然后面孔平复再次冷静下来。“闭上你的眼睛,”他指示道,她照做了,很奇怪地发现自己完全信任这个刚刚见面的男人。“在脑海中想象那些锁链。”
这很简单——每次静下来她都能听见相互摩擦的声音,每次眨眼时都能看见巨大、生锈的链条。
“现在将你的力量注入它们,”他告诉她,他的声音低沉、温柔,让人昏昏欲睡。“用你的决心浇铸它们。命令它们再次变得牢固、密实。”
艾丽按照他说的做了。她将注意力集中到锁链,希望它们再次变得强力,让它们在她身上收紧,让它们绷牢。她全身心投入进去,她感到锁链发生了变化,变得牢固冰冷;链环不再尖叫扭曲;链条不再滑动位移。一切都被固定了,如同重物压迫着她,将她钉在地面。
“好了,”他说。她好奇他怎么知道她成功了。“你做得很好。我知道你可以。你曾是我们中最伟大的。”她眨眨眼,睁开双眼,但他已经离开了,他的话语在微风中回荡、消散。
艾丽摇摇头站起身。她头痛欲裂,只想回家睡过去。说起来,为什么她会坐在医院花园里?她拖着脚朝家走去,双腿像灌了铅,眼睛隐隐作痛,思维麻木迟钝。她不知是怎么回到公寓、爬到她的沙发旁。她倒了下去。回卧室太累了。这里就好。
为什么我的头这么痛?我做了什么?一切都模糊不清,尤其是最近这几天的事。试着想只会让疼痛刺穿她的眼后。她决定,最好别想了。她让眼皮耷下闭上。或许早上会好点……


劇透 -   :
Sky above. Earth below. Sea beyond.

All quiet and calm. Peaceful.

No motion, no turmoil, all at rest. 

Each to its own place, and all content.
天空在上。大地在下。海洋居中。

一切安静,沉寂。平和。

无动,无噪,万物休憩。

各归其位,一切皆宁。

劇透 -   :
Across the street from Allie’s building, a tall, slender man stood in the shadows, watching with more than just his eyes. At last he nodded, satisfied.
“Sleep well, Mother,” he whispered, his long white hair flowing about him in a wind that stirred nothing else. “I will see you again—some day.” His eyes glittered with more than just their normal icy blue, but no tears fell as he turned away. There was a rustling in the dark, a pale shadow darting up into the sky, and then all was quiet once more.
And back in her room, Allie dreamed of nothing—and did not know to mourn her loss.
艾丽居住的街道对面,一个高瘦的男人站在阴影中,不只在用眼睛观察。最后,他满意地点头。
“睡个好觉,母亲,”他低声说,白色长发在他周围飞舞,风没有扰动任何无关之物。“我会再见到你的——某日。”他的眼睛闪烁着不仅是它们原本的冰蓝色,但他转身时没有眼泪落下。黑暗沙沙作响,一个虚幻的阴影射入夜空。随后一切重归寂静。
在她的房间里,艾丽什么也没梦见——也不知哀叹她的损失。
« 上次编辑: 2018-05-26, 周六 17:28:53 由 NewAlbionDrone »
If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's probably an Andrik

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【Earthdawn-The Adept's Way】Shield p87-88
« 回帖 #1 于: 2018-06-02, 周六 13:03:59 »


有两件工具对战士来说至关重要。盾与剑。所有战士都必须知道如何使用它们,并且必须尊重它们的重要性。下面这个来自龙之年代的故事告诉了我们这一道理。
从前有两位战友——来自富裕的矮人王国的骑士和她的护卫,一位兽人战士。矮人名叫Avani,是位剑术大师,她曾经把这位名叫Kodan的兽人作为奴隶。但矮人多年前就释放了他,原因是他曾多次救过女主人的命。他们一同行进在英雄之道。
随着他们的传奇广泛流传,他们的道路将他们引至巨龙全翼的庭院——作为带着镣铐的囚徒。那时龙统治世界,缔造传奇的予名者需承担风险。超凡的全翼后腿站立俯视两位囚徒,声称他们必将为他们对龙族犯下的罪行付出生命。剑士尝试用言辞平息全翼的怒火。战士一声未发。龙允许剑士说话,直到她口干舌燥,再无声响。全翼微笑了。龙微笑不是好兆头。
“我,以我无可辩驳的慈悲,决定对无鳞之人释放一点善意,”全翼说。“我只会杀死你们中的一个。我将允许另一人回到你们的国家、警告此等无礼行为的危险。”
Avani和Kodan惊恐地注视着对方。他们已彼此承诺忠诚,两人都不愿牺牲对方存活。
龙察觉到了这一点,她说,“你们似乎很失望。为了进一步显示我的慈悲,我将给存活者一件宝物。事实上,你们对宝物的选择将决定你们谁生谁死。你们哪个会作出正确的选择呢?”
“我将给你们其中一位一面盾牌——从我的背上剥下的一面盾牌,”龙说。“它会被叫做全佑。”
全翼从他的肩上扯下一块巨大的鳞片将它扔在剑士和战士面前,上面还渗着脓水。
“我将给另一人一把强大的宝剑,从我自己的嘴里拔出,”全翼说。“它将被称作全噬。你们各自希望哪件奖赏?做出聪明选择的人将活下来。”
劇透 -   :

全翼从她的嘴里拔出一颗巨大的烂牙,散发着强大的魔法灵光。
Kodan朝Avani点点头。他会让她做选择,原因是他感到自己的性命属于她。
“作为剑士,我的选择很明显。”Avani说。“我会选全噬。”
“能选盾时选择剑是愚蠢的,”龙说。“若你攻击但被避开了,你不会受伤。但若你被攻击了却没有盾,你就完了。”
说完,全翼将恶臭腐化的气息喷向Avani,气息将矮人骨肉分离。随后全翼命令解开Kodan的束缚、让他上前取走他的奖赏,全祐盾牌。
“如我们约定,你该去向世界警告我的怒火,”龙说。
“我没有同意,”战士回答。随后Kodan上前抓起了全祐和全噬。
龙向Kodan吐出它污浊的呼吸,但被全祐全数吸收抵挡。Kodan将全噬深深扎进了全翼的左眼,这头巨龙就此被消灭。Kodan本人也死去了,他被这头恶臭蜥蜴庞大可怖的身躯压塌。
这个故事教给了我们智慧与荣誉。它的智慧在于,的确,避开攻击比攻击更好。剑会夺走生命,而盾能保护生命。因此盾比剑更重要。它的荣誉在于,Koden的忠诚比他的性命更宝贵。没有哪个战士希望死去。但若面临失去生命与失去荣誉的选择,战士会选择他的荣誉。与传说流传的时间相比,我们在这世上的时间,哪怕是石人(Obsidimen)的,都太短了。作为荣誉者被铭记,而不是作为懦夫被遗忘。
但切勿将愚蠢误认为勇敢。战士必须知晓何时才是为荣誉而战,何时不是。大部分战斗都愚蠢而毫无意义。为钱币而战、为怒火而战、为证明力量而战,均属于此类。那些在愚蠢战斗中死去的人死得愚蠢,他们只会被当成蠢货记住。但一场有意义的战斗,有着崇高的目的——此时撤退不是选项。真正的战士知晓这些,他们总是做好准备面对后果。
劇透 -   :


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« 上次编辑: 2018-06-02, 周六 13:13:49 由 NewAlbionDrone »
If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's probably an Andrik