I was a bit miffed that Marx and Carissa completely ignored my help in the battle. More than a bit miffed, actually. I wasn't angry, just... I searched for the right word.
They were both so wrapped up in their own battles that they didn't pay attention to their teammate. It bugged me more than I wanted to admit. Sure, I always tried to conceal myself while helping my team, but in the end, people always saw how I contributed and appreciated it.
I reminisced the last mission I went on. I'd loved that last battle with the Rat King, as well as all the monsters before it. Even though we were a huge group, we worked great together. I was darting around everywhere, always there to help with a health potion or a shield. I even had the honors of striking the final blow, with my trademark poison Nightshade, my namesake.
I fumed silently for a while about my current team. How did Marx not notice that his wounds didn't hurt? Did he really think he could just go on fighting with an arm like that? I gave him a potion to numb his pain and shielded both of them. I even threw a blinding poison at the angle/demon thing, though I wasn't sure if it worked on stone.
It would've turned out much better though, if Carissa didn't push me down. If she hadn't ran ahead like an idiot, leaving Aya and me on the floor. I could've teleported us after Marx.
The disappointment had curdled into annoyance. "Stay safe behind me," she had said, as if I was just some healer who needed protection. I know how to use a scythe. I know how to swing a sword and shoot an arrow. I can fight, but I just prefer my potions and bombs, and being there for my teammates when I need them.
But instead of letting my emotions out, I bottled them up. Now is not the right time to feel bitter about a mission I volunteered to be on. Marx is great and Carissa just needs someone to get through her shell.
I turned my attention back to Aya, who was holding my hand again, skipping next to me. Her smile made me relax a little bit. I was just being selfish, wanting recognition when I didn't need any. I just didn't want to feel so useless, with such independent and powerful teammates.
Suppressing my negative thoughts again, I focused on the town we were rapidly approaching. The lord and the mage, Viola, were waiting at the gate.
As soon as we were in hearing distance, Viola opened her mouth and started spewing out a flood of words, "Why did it take so long? I thought members of the Supernova Guild would be professionals!"
"Only the Elites are professionals," Marx explained in a professional tone, "We just offered our help, nothing more."
"I see you have brought back the girl," she said, holding her hand out demandingly, "The townspeople are back to normal. Did you complete the rest of the task?"
"We defeated the demon," Carissa declared. Viola's unsatisfied expression didn't change, and she moved foward to grab Aya's wrist. The little girl clung even harder to my hand and hid behind me.
"Give me the child!" she almost screeched as her fist closed on thin air, "Come here, girl!" she beckoned to Aya.
The lord stiffly stepped past her and said quietly, "Can I have a word with my daughter, before you take her away?"
"Your daughter?!" I asked, astonished, "Why didn't you tell us?" He should've been more worried about her! He should've desperately urged us to rescue her from that demon. Didn't he care?
He grimaced, "The information wasn't important to your task. Can I please speak to her privately?"
Aya clearly wasn't glad to see him. She didn't call him Dad or run into his arms, and instead buried her face into the back of my jacket.
"I don't think she's going anywhere," Carissa said, a hint of a threat in her voice, "You'll have to talk to her here."
The lord crouched down awkwardly next to me, trying to look at his daughter. "Aya, I've agreed to let Viola take you to her guild and help you control your powers. You are going to go live with mages and wizards and learn magic from them. How does that sound?" He tried to smile at her, but she didn't turn her head to look at him.
"I want to go with them!" she said, her voice muffled by the coat as she hugged my waist, "I don't like Viola!"
The mage's face was slowly turning red. "This is part of our deal, Tobias," she said sharply to the lord, "I'm taking her with me." She reached forward again, but the scythe that appeared at her neck stopped her movements.
"She wants to come with us," Carissa said in a cold voice, "So we're taking her with us." Viola looked furious, and suddenly, a shield wrapped around Carissa, forcing away her scythe and surrounding her on all sides. It's surface rippled with electricity, and Carissa had to stay absolutely still to avoid getting shocked.
"How dare you threaten a priestess of the Nightwing guild-" her angry words were cut off as images of Marx appeared around her. An orange ball of energy was forming in his hand, and her arm shot forward, ready to release a spell.
"Stop!" I shout, and threw a potion onto the ground between them. It splashed onto them both, freezing their muscles and temporarily disabling them of magic. The shield around Carissa flicked off.
"Marx! You need to stop attacking every threat in sight! You can't knock down everything that stands in our way." It was time to play the diplomat. I wasn't as professional as Marx, but not as destructive either. I turned towards Viola, "If Aya wants to go with us, that's for her and her father to decide, not you. Please respect their decisions, and let us continue on our journey."
I made sure that they both heard what I said, and gave them the antidote. As their muscles relaxed, Marx rubbed his arms, and Viola glared at me. Then she whirled around and stalked away, back into the town. "Thanks," Marx said, smiling at me, "I would've handled that much worse."
I gently remove Aya from my back. "Do you really want to come with us?" I ask her, looking her in the eye. She nodded vigorously. "Then go talk to your dad." I gave her a nudge in the back, she hesitantly walked over to him.
I turned to Marx and Carissa. "We can arrange an escort to pick her up here, and keep going on our mission."
Carissa frowned, "I don't trust leaving her here with Viola." Marx agreed with her.
"Then we take her to the next village and drop her off there." I said, reaching in my pocket for a communicator.
Aya had finished her conversation, and she skipped over and beamed up at me. "I can go!" she said happily. Her joy even brought a tiny smile to Carissa's face.
"How far is the next town?" I ask the lord, who was still uncomfortably standing in the same spot where we had found him.
"5 miles down the road," he responded, seemingly eager to get rid of us, "Goodbye!" Aya gave him a tiny wave as we turned away. I quickly send a message to the Guild, requesting an escort at our next location.
"I really hope the next town doesn't have another monster waiting for us." I say, following my teammates down the bumpy road, "I've had enough adventure for today."