He obeyed without a second thought, his mind perceiving Huna's intent before her hands were raised to the sky. Eyes closed, fingers weaving, she unleashed a storm upon the whirring hornets. Sparks and shocks danced between their metal bodies, some exploding in a cloud of shrapnel.
The shards and slag rained down on the pair, bloody tattoos slashed across their exposed arms and faces. The hordes still remaining followed their fallen brethren down, a buzz of sharp wings and barbed points.
They were on her before Tais' words reached her ears, a tumbling mass of bright silver laced with strings of red.
"Huna!" his cry rang louder, more frantic.
And suddenly the swarm blew apart, an outward explosion of light with Huna at the epicentre. Tears mixed with blood on Tais' anguished face, pent-up despair turning to bitter rage.
"HUNA!" he screamed, a banshee amid the chaos.
The broken bodies of the hornets twitched on the ground with static, knifed wings bent and broken and useless. They encircled Huna, her body still amidst the feeble clicks and dying drones.
Tais ran to her side, a storm of frenzied emotion raining bitter tears and blood. His words were loud and hurried, but his thoughts echoed calm and controlled.
Huna, are you alright?
She didn't answer, but instead asked, How did you do that? Drive them away?
"I wanted to protect you," he intoned, but didn't realize his thoughts carried a different message.
Huna coughed weakly, bloody spittle tracing the creases of her lips. Tais wiped it away with a thumb, silent once more.
Tais, you need to get away from here; you're in danger, her voice speaks to Tais' mind, damaged and distant even in spirit.
No, Huna! I can't leave you.
Tears refused to form in his eyes, already wasted in the previous ordeal.
You must, Tais. Your survival is more important than my own. Leave this place! Flee before the Surgeon finds you!
Frustrated, Tais lashed out with words. "Why am I so damn important? I am just a slave, a miner, a nobody. Why?"
"Because of your blood," Huna managed to say. But Tais didn't hear her words, only the thoughts that mirrored his own.
Because I love you.
Another cough escaped her lips, her eye lids fluttered closed. Breath left her, she became an empty shell like the ruined machinations around her.
Tais arched his back, a feral cry at the tip of his tongue. He stayed silent, though, unable to managed anything audible besides a dry croak.
But he was heard by everyone in the city, his mental anguish and fury released to the world.
End Part One