Kiara picked her way through the underbrush, her hood low and her crossbow in her hands, ready.
Puck was coiled around her arm, a small snake.
There were a handful of other Hawks with her, moving like phantoms among the trees.
Kiara had been more than willing to volunteer as part of Group A. She was itching for a fight.
“This is boring.”
She sighed, adjusting her hood.
“Shut up, Puck.”
“This is really, really boring.”
Kiara resisted the urge to throw the snake off.
“You didn’t have to tag along, you know.”
“And stay at that camp? The most excitement there is a sprained wrist.”
“If I remember correctly, you couldn’t even stomach the dislocated shoulder.”
Puck let out a hiss.
“Hardly my fault. It looked so…unnatural.”
“Says the purple-eyed shape-shifter.”
“I’m not unnatural. I’m just special.”
There was a rustling in the bush ahead and one of the Hawks held up a hand.
Everyone went still, melting into the forest.
When the first Fae came out into the clearing, they were ready.
Kiara found a perch in a tree and began methodically shooting them as they approached, loading the crossbow mechanically.
It didn’t help that Puck continued his commentary.
“Get him! No, that one!”
“Your reload time is horrible.”
“I could’ve shot that one with my eyes closed!”
Kiara muttered a few expletives under her breath.
“What do I have to do to get you to shut up?”
“Well…what are you willing to do?”
“Punch you in the face.”
Puck seemed to laugh.
“I’m almost hurt.”
She slung the crossbow onto her back, taking her whip and dropping from the tree. Almost instantly one of the Fae was lunging at her and Kiara grappled with it, a dagger in one hand and her whip in the other.
“Puck.” Kiara began, in between slashes, “You. Said. I’m. Fae. So…why…am I…being…attacked?”
“These Fae were born here. They’re young. Stupid.”
“I can hear you.” The giant rabbit growled, “And I’ll have you know, we’ll soon own this pathetic world.”
Soon after the dagger plunged into its neck.
“Stars…the Fae keep getting stranger and stranger.” Kiara muttered, following the other Hawks deeper into the forest.
“That’s nothing. I once saw a Giant Krilohanian Slug.”
“I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that.” Kiara replied, her cloak streaming behind her as she ran.
“If you think that’s bad-“
They emerged into another clearing and Kiara felt her jaw drop. There was an ocean of Fae in front of them, and the sounds of battle were already ringing in the air.
Jem and Griever were there. Somewhere, in the mess of bodies and battlecries.
“Heavens be damned.”
“Finally,” Puck sighed, “Some action.”
He slithered to the ground, morphing into an exact copy of Kiara, except with his indigo eyes laughing at her shocked expression.
“What do you say? First to twenty wins?”