Hello. Yes, finally, an update! If you want excuses, please see the top of my profile page. If not, well, here you go:

Chapter 27

His stomach dropped.

He'd finally found her.

But he wasn't relieved.

A tall, dark figure had her by the throat.

And then that tall, dark figure let go, letting her drop to the ground.

She didn't resist. She didn't jump back up. She didn't curse at him. She just lay there, clutching her ribcage and struggling to breathe.

There was no time to be relieved.

"Max!" Fang yelled.

He could just make out her brow furrowing and then her eyes closing as he rapidly approached from the air.

His stomach dropped again as he prayed that he hadn't gotten there too late.

Fang II turned and looked up at Fang, his face expressionless, not moving to attack Fang or do otherwise.

"Max!" Fang yelled again.

A look of annoyance crossed her face as she kept her eyes squeezed shut, looking pained.

Fang touched the ground soundlessly, resolving to take care of Fang II first. Seeing that Fang II wasn't taking the offensive, Fang approached him calmly, standing a few feet away from him.

Fang II spoke first. "I'm trying to execute a slow and painful death here. I don't need you interrupting me."

"Too bad," Fang replied, feeling too sick to come up with something witty. He didn't say anything else because he couldn't.

"You're no fun. Unlike Maximum over there," Fang II said, jerking his head toward her. "She's loads of fun."

Fang immediately punched Fang II in the jaw, catching him off guard and knocking him on his butt.

Fang II looked up and half-grinned, saying, "Was it something I said?"

He then sprang to his feet quicker than Fang had thought possible and punched Fang back, right in the face. Fang staggered a half-step backwards, but he didn't fall. The adrenaline began to flow faster as he almost eagerly greeted the chance to knock the clone freak into the next millennium.

He quickly took a glance back at Max. Her eyes were open wide, and she had her hands in front of her face, looking at them as if she'd sprouted hooves or something.

What the heck is wrong with her?

He made the mistake of letting his glance last a nanosecond too long, and Fang II jumped at the opportunity, aiming a chop at Fang's windpipe to cut off his air supply. Fang caught his arm in mid-air, but the other free hand grabbed hold of his neck, just as it had done with Max's. Fang kicked Fang II in the knee and thrust Fang II's arm into his own face, making the hold on his neck slide off.

Fang sucked in a bunch of air, trying to get his breath back, when Max made a pained noise and then went silent. He looked at her again, and she had passed out. Fang II was looking at her too.

He looked back at Fang with that same half-grin and said, "Oops."

With another kick of adrenaline, Fang snapped his wings out and powerfully leapt into the air, feeling a new wave of anger coursing through him. Fang II followed suit, saying, "On second thought, this might actually be fun."

Fang lunged at Fang II, but Fang II quickly dodged him, ascending above Fang's head.

"Like my boots? They're steel toe." Fang II brought a boot to the back of Fang's skull, sending him lurching forward. As Fang II began to ascend higher, Fang gathered himself and followed. Fang reached up and grabbed Fang II's boot, trying to twist his ankle, but the force of Fang II's upward flight just left Fang in midair with a boot in his hands.

"Did you really just resort to stealing my shoes?" Fang II yelled down.

Without reply, Fang flew up and let Fang II deliver a punch to his face that sent him sideways. He gathered momentum, spun around, and rammed the steel toe into Fang II's teeth. He then brought the steel toe down on top of Fang II's head and then into his eye and then his nose, causing several satisfying streams of blood to start flowing, spilling onto his shirt where Max's blood had already dried.

"Yeah, your boots are fabulous," Fang said as Fang II began to fall.

Fang II caught himself and began to rise again, but Fang threw the boot down at his head, making him fall again. He yelled a couple curses up at Fang before catching himself again and gaining altitude.

Seeing that Max still wasn't moving, Fang decided that he had to finish Fang II off fast. Fang decided to fly straight up as fast and as far as he could, with Fang II in pursuit. Within seconds, they were so high up that Max seemed like a little dot on the ground, even with raptor vision. Fang II was mere meters behind Fang and was about half a second away from being within reach.

Suddenly Fang folded his wings in, falling toward a surprised-looking Fang II who didn't have time to dodge out of the way. Fang aimed his feet at one of Fang II's wings, hitting it right at the point where it connected to his back. Fang II let out an enraged yell as Fang dropped behind him, wrapping an arm around his neck.

"So, you like to strangle people?" Fang hissed as they fell and Fang II struggled against him, trying to flap his wings but unable to fight gravity and their combined weight. Fang made sure to keep his own wings tucked in tightly.

"Leh… go!" Fang II choked out as the ground got closer and closer.

"What? Legos? Yeah, my little brother loves those things."

As soon as Fang II's face showed the slightest tinge of blue, Fang released his neck and threw his wings out, reaching to catch Fang II by the hair.

A chunk of black hair came off in Fang's hand as Fang II continued to fall, trying to yell but only making strange, muted noises.

"Oops," Fang said.

Fang II began to flap his wings again, slowing his fall but barely getting any higher in the air.

Fang let go of the hair and flew down to Fang II, catching him around the torso this time and flying up again. He then let go and flew over to Fang II's left wing and grabbed the end of it. He began to fly up and down, making large circles in the air, twisting the wing around over and over again, creating a series of sickening snaps accompanied by strangled screaming. Fang kept going until he heard a huge CRAAACK and the wing went limp in his hand.

He let go, not wincing a bit at the curses or screams or the vibration of the cracking noise that was still traveling up his arms. Fang II tried to fly with one wing, but he ended up with his one wing sticking straight up in the air and with him falling even faster in an awkward spiral.

Fang watched him struggle to stay in the air like an animal struggling to escape from a cage.

Except an animal trying to escape from a cage has better odds, Fang thought.

Fang II crashed into the ground, right in the middle of a corn field, making a Fang-shaped indent in the crops. Fang flew down to see if Fang II was still moving, and he was, writhing around on the ground in pain.

"Payback's a kicker, ain't it?" Fang said as he landed beside Fang II.

And with that, Fang kicked him in the head one last time, causing the writhing to stop.

He wasn't dead. Fang knew that. He didn't want him to be. He didn't kill Max II, and he wasn't about to kill this freak either. He just made sure that by the time Fang II woke up, he and Max would be long gone, and Fang II wouldn't be able to catch up.

Fang then leapt into the air, not looking back. He made his way back to Max, making an abrupt landing by her side. He fell to his knees and checked her pulse. It was there. He then checked her neck, and it thankfully wasn't broken.

He shook her arm a little, saying, "Come on, Max. Wake up. We don't have freaking time for this."

Of course, being her stubborn self, Max didn't move a muscle.

She was bruised all over, and as he moved the hair out of her face, he could see that her eye was purple too.

"Wake up, you jerk," he said, shaking her arm again.

Her lips were red with blood that had spilled onto her chin and down to her neck, and her bottom lip had deep tooth marks in it.

He removed his hand from her arm, backed away a bit, and shook his head. "What happened, Max? You look like he-"

Before he even heard anything coming, Fang was knocked forward. A combat boot had delivered a hard blow to the back of his skull, and his head collided with the bottom of Max's ribcage. The pain in his head that by now had become all-too-familiar didn't even compare to the dread he felt in his guts.

As Fang silently apologized and pushed himself up off of Max, she stirred, letting out a short groan before turning onto her side, her back to Fang, and coughing blood onto the ground.

"Oh look, you've awakened the princess," the voice behind Fang said.

As soon as he heard the voice, he thought, That's not possible.

Fang knew the voice. He hated it. He'd never really liked his own voice, but now just the sound of it made him sick.

"You thought you could beat me that easily? I recover fast. Faster than you, my friend."

Before Fang could respond, Max's eyes filled with tears, and she coughed up more blood, the red liquid spraying all over the dirt. She clutched her ribs again as tears spilled out of her closed eyes.

Fang's temper boiled over. All traces of any patience he may have had left swiftly and quietly disappeared.

He made a decision.

"I'm going to kill you," Fang stated barely audibly to the voice behind him, still staring at Max, letting Fang II know that he wouldn't make the same mistake again and let Fang II continue to have a pulse.

Max passed out again, her body going limp.

Fang stood up, turning to face his enemy. He looked Fang II over, surveying the useless wing, the patch of visible scalp, the blood-covered face that was beaten so badly that it looked like it came straight out of a horror movie…

Looking him straight in the eyes, Fang repeated slowly, "I'm going to kill you."

Somehow still able to contort his face up into a stolen smirk, Fang II replied, "Let's see you try."

Wow, Fang II sure recovered quickly. Fascinating.
Sorry if anything in there was scientifically incorrect/impossible. My bad.
I hope this chapter is decent. Please review? It'll make my day. :)