A Song of Chaos - Book cover

A Song of Chaos

Lotus O’Hara

Bombs, Bullets, and Blades


The Altahan grabbed her throat, but the strength wasn’t there. Her right hand rested on his, and the left held a blade to his throat. What was she doing? She should just kill him and get it over with.

His glowing skin warmed her hand. He took a moment to examine it as if it offended him.

“Are you going to be a good boy? Or do I have to show you what happens?”

The corner of his mouth turned up as he dropped his grip. His body slid to the ground. He gave Kahli a look that threw her for a loop.

“Close your eyes,” she said. “I’m going to walk away. If you’re smart, don’t follow.”

He smiled and looked at her. “I was the slowest in my class.”

She returned it with a chuckle. “That adds up. You ran headfirst into a bomb.”

“I’ll kill you next time,” he said.

“You can try,” she said. “Close your eyes.”

He did, and she waited. Kahli even waved her hand in front of him. His eyes didn’t shake or flinch. She took the opportunity and walked backward into the bush, then ran.

The explosion was bound to draw more of them in. It was time to meet up with her teams.

The first person to greet her was Alexi, wearing that disapproving glare. He gave Kahli a look over, then embraced her.

“Tell me that was you out there,” he whispered.

“It was, and it worked. Ten, maybe more, are dead.”

His eyes went wide as he scoffed, “Bullshit.”

“I shit from time to time, but it’s true. We can beat them.”

She thought of at least five different ways to use this to their advantage. It all depended on if they could get more—a lot more and fast. The blacksmith would be working overtime—bombs, blades, and bullets.

Samantha hugged her with a mouth full of bread.

“So worried that you’re already eating.” Kahli laughed.

“I ate it as an offering for your safe return.” She smiled.

“None of us have made an offering in years. But if you both want to make one, go to the lab in Iami and bring back more titanium.”


“The secret ingredient. We need as much as possible. As fast as possible,” she said.

“We’ll do it,” they announced.

“Thank you, take about a dozen soldiers. I’m sorry, Alexi. I know you had plans.”

“It’s okay, Chief. You’re buying the ale for the wedding party,” he said.

Kahli laughed. “And the food,” she said, slapping his shoulder.

“Then we can’t fail.”

Once the plans were made, she and the rest made it back to the city. They were greeted with worried and angry faces. So, they heard too. Her father and Lewis were the first in the crowd.

“Arrest her.”

“On what grounds?” she asked.


“I earned my rank. Everyone saw,” she scoffed.

“And like I told you, you’ll kill us all. That explosion was only the beginning.”

“To our victory. I found a weakness, and it worked with the blacksmith’s help. Ten of theirs died with one blow. I’ve sent a group to collect more so we can be prepared.”

“This is madness and will only provoke them. We’ve stayed hidden for all this time. Now—”

“We have no choice but to see it through. I have a plan, and it will require all of us to work together. After tonight, they will not negotiate.”

“Take her to a holding cell until the board can decide how to proceed forward,” he said.

For a moment, no one moved. The captain of the guard stepped up. He towered over her by at least two feet. Kahli rested her hands on her hips as she met his gaze.

“I want to hear about this plan,” Captain said.

“We take the fight to them and pick the location best suited for our fighting style. The forest near the clearing.”

“Isn’t the lake too close?”

“No, it’s perfect. We push them back to the edge and block them in.”

“With your bombs?”

“Yes, to thin their numbers and break their formation. We can use the trees to our advantage, and once they’re trapped, we finish them off. New special bullets and blades.”

“And if they’re prepared for it?”

“Let’s not give them a chance. We know where they are. Our time is now.”

He stared at her, then nodded. “It’s a decent plan.”

“Do I have your support, Captain?”

He glanced back at the crowd and eyed the guards. The crowd was getting restless.

“Captain Don, what are you waiting for? Arrest her,” her father yelled.

“The guard is with her,” he announced.

“And I,” someone called out.

Others followed suit, but some moved forward to apprehend her. Her father came to the middle and held up his hands. The pursuers froze.

“The majority has spoken. The last thing we need is a civil war within our walls,” he said.

After some time, the crowd began to disperse. With his back to her, he shook his head.

“You want to play soldier but don’t understand the first thing about war. There are dangers from every angle, especially from behind,” he said, walking off.

She knew about war: the pain, loss, and cost. Their family paid their fair share twice over. What was a little more? No price was too high to win—not after what they’ve endured.

Turning back wasn’t an option; a promise was a promise.


The treatment took a while to complete, but he was just like new. Besides some stiffness—a common side effect of the healing box.

While surrounded by the darkness, that tiny, tattooed hand haunted his dreams—a wilted flower. This could not stand. The shame would kill him before King Tu’ari got to him.

Zuco took his knife and dragged the edge across his warrior’s ponytail. The waist-length hair hit the ground with a thud. His hair was long and thick—he never lost.

Fifteen men under his protection perished. He swore years ago after Anki that no one within his personal unit would die. He failed, but their sacrifice wouldn’t be in vain.

Zuco learned about their new weapon. It was a big problem.

The massive ship hummed as he transversed the corridors. The looks he received burned his skin, but no one dared to look him in the eye. Two large metal doors slid open.

His scientists were hard at work analyzing the sample he brought back. Zuco read the translucent screen.

The doors slid open again; he could tell from the footsteps alone who it was. Zuco trained him after all—his second. Oda’s steps faltered for a moment.

“I came as soon as I heard. I didn’t believe it,” he said.

Zuco growled as his skin blazed. He still didn’t believe it himself.

“Was it a large force? Fifteen men in an instant. Had to be a new weapon.”

He was bright—another reason why Zuco took him under his wing. Oda didn’t mention the shameful haircut. He seemed more concerned about whether Zuco was in good health.

When Oda thought Zuco’s attention was on the screen, he examined the scarring on his back. Zuco saw him as he always did. Even as a child, Oda thought he was smarter and sneakier than the rest.

“It’s a weapon, but it has the potential to shred our skin, like paper, then it releases a toxin that hinders our natural healing abilities. I got lucky.”

A truth hard to swallow. If the female didn’t set him free, he would’ve died. It was a mistake she would come to regret.

The sample was a metal tougher than their skin. They never wore armor at any point in history. To make some now to withstand an attack and have enough for everyone would be impossible.

He could stop the advancement and make a call to the king, but he would have to tell him of the failure and ask for assistance. Or he could do something unorthodox.

“They don’t have enough for a large-scale attack. We should march on them at first light,” Oda said.

“What if they have an abundance of it, and it’s a trap to draw us out?” Zuco said.

“First things first: we find their city and get a read on the situation. Their numbers, weapons, defenses, and food supplies. Then we will send the offer.”

“When you didn’t return, I assumed the worst and sent out another team. We already have all the information and have sent an offer. Do you think they’ll take it? They think they can win now.”

“There’s always a few that want the deal. It’s up to them to bring the others to heel. If they can’t, we will destroy them.”

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