Friday, August 28, 2015

Day Nine-Hundred-Five: Hey, I know you

The squadron of sky dwarves, or at least most of it, disintegrated. The surviving members buzzed in place for a few seconds, looking dumb-founded and confused, before retreating the way they came.

Evangelina lowered her finger. Interrupting Libby with a quick, commanding squawk, she’d ordered the gunners to fire on the sky dwarves rather than the bulky Non below. Libby was already trying to countermand the order, simultaneously unleashing a torrent of swear words at Evangelina, but the witch cut her off again with a quick chop of her hand. Libby, after all, didn’t have all the facts.

“No,” Evangelina insisted, shifting some of her attention to the swaying stalk of grass outside the Sky Bitch. “Save the Non. Get them firing at the werewolves. Aim for any the Non pitches off her back.”

Libby spared herself half a second to gawk at Evangelina, fingers tightening into her customary fists. “The… the fuck? Fire at the werewolves? Missy, they’re our buddies - “

Evangelina shook her head. She’d extended her consciousness into the grass beyond the stalk, peeking out of it through tiny, invisible periscopes, and she’d noticed at once that something was wrong with the werewolves. Their eyes simply weren’t right, and judging by stories she’d heard and things she’d seen, she had a good idea what exactly was wrong with them. “They aren’t ours. They’re bogies. Hurry up and give orders or that Non’s going to die in a hurry.”

“Like I give a fuck - “

The cannons roared again, this time at open air. The sky dwarves had already all but retreated, and today’s gunners - a crew-in-training, hardly field-tested - were launching cannonballs uselessly into the ether. It was a waste of valuable time and ammo.

Evangelina hissed. Stepping forward abruptly, she swept her arm up and planted it onto Libby’s forehead. Before the bigger woman could push her aside Evangelina was plunging into Libby’s mind, trying to give her a mental picture of what Evangelina was seeing. She’d heard Fynn could perform a similar trick, albeit with greater power, and if Evangelina could tap into that boy’s magical potential even the slightest bit -

It worked. Libby’s arms slackened as an image of the Non, frozen in place, resolved in her mind’s eye. Three werewolves were leaping onto the Non’s back while a fourth clawed at the Non’s bulky, outstretched arm. Locked in time for a few brutal seconds, the werewolves were all as plain as day - and the looks on their faces, the ghastly, amused, familiar look said it all. Libby recognized the expression immediately, even if came from a completely different species. Even more damning when it was also painted across the features of a dozen squirrels, two bears, four chickens, and what appeared to be a wolverine.

Breaking out of her reverie, Libby grabbed at a comm tube. “AIM FOR THE FUCKING WEREWOLVES! GET ‘EM OFF THAT NON!”

The gunners shouted back a chorus of uncertain confirmations, and the Sky Bitch clicked almost inaudibly as its turrets began to shift towards the ground, far too slowly. Far too slowly.

“Not gonna make it,” Evangelina said, frowning deeply. She had to save that fucking Non down there, because by the gods, it was so bloody familiar. “Not gonna make it.

Libby shouted orders for the Sky Bitch to descend. Perhaps she considered taking the fight to the creatures on the ground. Perhaps she wanted to make it a bit easier for the gunners to open fire. Perhaps she’d lost her mind. Evangelina had no idea, and judging by the events on the ground, it didn’t really matter. The Non’s hand was falling, its brilliant green eyes were closing, and its wounds were running fiercely and deeply.

Evangelina only had one choice, really. Though it made her stomach churn to think of it. “Port. Now.

Libby and the tech at the wheel of the Sky Bitch didn’t have enough time to so much as look her way before the vine wiggling outside the ship began its rapid, whipping descent, broadsiding the Sky Bitch as it went. Evangelina grabbed for a support as she gritted her teeth, her world whirling as the ship flew almost upside-down in a tight, violent arc. She concentrated on the vine, on its trajectory, on parting the thing into dozens of smaller vines, each aimed towards a different target, moving at so lethal a speed that Evangelina could easily have killed the Non had her aim been off.

In only one case did Evangelina miss her target, and the Non’s left leg twitched upward as it broke. The rest of the vines launched themselves at the jaunty beasts with murderous accuracy, crack the air dozens of times as they snapped animal after animal off of the Non’s back. The beasts were thrown to the ground in a heap of oozing fur, their assault abruptly halted, and the only survivor - a squirrel - bounced off of the Non’s back and fled. Evangelina considered striking at the squirrel with a second volley, but by now the Sky Bitch was swinging back the way it had came, and Evangelina was knocked off of her feet and into the bulkhead on the other side of the ship.

As unconsciousness came, as well as a berating inner voice telling her that she’d done something stupid again - a voice, no surprise, which sounded a lot like her mother’s - Evangelina decided that, hell, she’d just done something very good. She couldn’t wait to find out what it was.

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