You Will (Not) StayMature

Lara Leona


     "Watch out!" I yelled. The group of fighters quickly changed their position, just in time for my landing.

     The floor jarred against my shield, but I quickly recovered, expanding my shield to surround the rest of the group. The Nightwings kept attacking, but the shield didn't budge.

     "L-Lara?" Raina stuttered with surprise, "What are you-?"

     "I brought reinforcements," I told her, "Juxon- I mean, Grimlock ordered a retreat. We're getting you out of here." I put a hand on her arm and realized her muscles were trembling with fatigue. 

     I looked around at the rest of her team, and saw that some were in even worse conditions. Two wounded fighters were slumped against the shield, barely conscious, and a third figure was facedown on the floor, a pool of blood slowly spreading from their still body. I looked away and concentrated on thickening the shield even more.

     "What are you doing? Trapping us in here?" snapped one of the fighters, "Aren't you supposed to be getting us out of here?!" His eyes were wide and desperate, and his arm was wrapped tightly around his bleeding side.

     "Wait," I told him, watching the attackers throw themselves uselessly against the shield, "The Cavalry is coming."

      "Cavalry?" Raina's eyes widened, "She's back?"

     Two heavy clunks sounded on top of my shield, and a cloud of smoke exploded in the midst of the attackers outside. Shouts of pain told me that the poison was working as it filled up the room, until all I could see out of the shield was a uniform gray.

     "Nightshade." A low voice reverberated through the sudden silence. I opened the top of my shield, and a sleek figure dropped into the middle of our group.

     When she straightened up from her landing, she became even taller than Raina. Everything about her seemed dark and intense, from her piercing gaze to the graceful point of her halberd to the sharp silver designs on her black armor. Her eyes turned towards me, I suddenly felt very, very small.

     The Cavalry, the legendary Elite of Supernova. The entire group looked ready to get on their knees and start worshiping her.

     "Here's the plan," Her voice was quiet, but her presence made even the noises outside become muted. "Nightshade can teleport all of you, one by one, to the guild hall. While she is gone, I will maintain the shield, and defend us if necessary, until all of us get out."

     It was a simple plan, and no one argued with her. I grabbed one of the wounded fighters on the floor, and after receiving a nod from Cavalry, I concentrated on the guild hall.

     Short distances weren't that hard to navigate, and I settled the limp Supernova onto the familiar rough wooden floor of the hall.

     When I got back, the smoke was starting to dissipate. Poisoned Nightwings were still trying to get back on their feet, but I knew the effect wouldn't last forever. I increased the shields again.

     The second and third trips were easy enough, but as I brought the fourth Supernova into the hall, I felt my shields shatter. I rushed back, heart racing as I got ready to fight, but the room was completely still.

     The Cavalry was standing in front of the rest of the group, her halberd held out in front of her. The Nightwings were in a pile at the other end of the room. 

     "I can handle them," she said simply, and for some reason those four tiny words filled me with reassurance.

     I lost track of the rest of the journeys, and even with the anticipation of a potential battle hanging over my head, everything was in control, every time I got back. I eventually had to bring the unconscious Nightwings to the hall to be evacuated with the rest.

     "They'll be wards of Supernova." The Cavalry told me, in her quiet tone, as if she was reading my mind. We were the only ones left in the room now, and I released all my tension through a heavy sigh.

     'Wards', like Aya. Under Supernova's protection. I didn't ask if they were actually prisoners in disguise.

     She put her hand on my shoulder, and signaled me to proceed.

     A flash of light enveloped us, and we were back in the main hall again. This time, however, someone new was here.

     Grimlock strode up to us, every heavy step echoing through the hall. "Zeena, progress report." he said, his voice stiff and formal. I could tell by the state of his clothes  that he just got out of a battle.

     "Seventeen Nightwings. Nine Supernovas left. I picked up Nightshade along the way, so now we have ten. Five are wounded, two of them severely. Six dead or captured." Her voice was monotone, almost like a machine. Why were they being so formal with each other?

     Grimlock sighed. "There's still seven teams fighting out there, and an extraction team just went down." He rubbed his temple, "Can you cover two more? You made it out of this one in..."

     "Only ten minutes." One side of her mouth tilted up in a tiny, subtle smile, "Lara's very fast." I felt myself my face flush. She was actually saying my name, and complimenting me, too! If I melted into non-existence right here and now, I would've died happy.

     Before I could speak, Grimlock cleared his throat loudly. "I know you want to keep fighting, Lara, but I'm going to have all of you evacuated. Elites only now. We can't risk letting teenagers die for us."

     I glanced at the group of Supernovas and Nightwings I just got out of battle.

     "Yes, sir." I gave him a sarcastic salute, "But I want to talk to my sister before we leave."

     "You're leaving with your sister." He started, but was suddenly distracted by another extraction team rushing in. I ignored what he's said and walked over to Raina.

      She was still bandaging one of her wounded teammates, but she turned her attention to me when I sat down next to her.

     "Are you alright?" She asked, voice full of concern, "She shouldn't have let you fight, you're not even an Elite."

     "Neither are you," I responded, "But there you were, leading an Elite team."

     "I wasn't the leader," she looked away from me, "I just... took charge. After their leader... you know."

     I looked at the body covered in the white sheet that I teleported out, "Yeah, I know." I turned my attention back to what I was planning on saying.

     "I evacuated a Nightwing before this. Teenager, about fourteen, tall, crystal gauntlets, dark hair. If you see him again, just watch out for him for me."

     "Why do you want me to do it?" Raina looked at me, confused.

     I plowed on with my stream of information. "Rai killed Juxon. She's from the other guild. You need to tell Grimlock, in case she comes back to Supernova."

     "What?" Raina was gripping my arm now, "You can tell him yourself. Why?"

     "Because I know he can stop me." I took a deep breath and waited for her reaction.

     "What the hell? What are you planning?" She wants me to stay with her, but her stubbornness wouldn't be enough.

     "I have too many unanswered questions. I need to know more about Nightwing. I know Rai, and I know that they've captured some of us. It's a perfectly reasonable for me to -"

     "No." She said, her voice absolutely serious. I pulled my arm out of her grasp, and shielded myself when she grabbed me again. Grimlock broke out of his conversation with the newly-arrived Elite to stare at us.

     I took off my jacket and dropped it to the ground. "What's left of my weapons are in my workshop." I kept my voice calm, cutting through her streams of protest as I stepped away from her, "Get it all out of the pockets before Nightwing gets to it. When you get somewhere safe, alright?" 

     I concentrated on a location, a certain person I needed to talk to. Short distances weren't that hard to teleport.

     "Grimlock!" Raina shouted, still trying to get a hold of me through the shield, "We need to get her out! Now!" He was coming towards me, but his reaction was too slow.

     There was a flash of light, and the guild hall, Grimlock, and my sister disappeared.

The End

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