I squealed despite myself as Neroze's shape-shifted form bounded over my head, then quickly bit my lip. I would never get to Appointed rank like that. Ever, Eternity and I swapped ideas, muttering near the back of the small cave and constantly glancing back at the monsters as Neroze and some other fighters let out battle cries.

     "How about we use someone as bait while we make a run for it?" Ever suggested, looking pointedly at my dog companion.  I threw out an arm protectively in front of Levi.

     "No. Not a chance. These things are as fast as us, maybe faster. Even with adrenaline pushing us forward, 'bait' might as well be 'suicide.'" Glancing around, I look for something else we could use. Perhaps there was a rock or something we could throw -- Were monsters like dogs? Would they go try to fetch it? Ever snorted, reading my thoughts. I pouted. "What, you have something better?" Eternity glanced toward where Neroze and the others valiantly hacked away at the monsters that somehow just kept getting back up.

     "Look, I don't know what you guys are talking about; I'd like to let y'all know that I'm not a mind reader. I do have an idea, though, as far as our distraction plan goes, and I'm starting to think that's our only hope. I can make some figures out of fire, maybe. It'd take a lot of energy to control them enough to attract the beasts to them, but I think I can manage it." We stared at her, dumbstruck.

     "And you realize what will happen if you don't manage to keep their attention with your flames, right?!" Ever said in a panicky voice. I slid my finger across my throat.

     "I know," she replied simply. "Go let Neroze know; I'll see what I can do about these distractions."

The End

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