True Sisters: Part Eight
The second day was the same, march and march, stop, eat,
march again. By the end of the day, all three of us were too tired to change,
and we collapsed upon our worn out blankets, sleep catching up with us so fast
we barely had time to close our eyes. Lyra was helpful for me; she fetched my
meals and trickled cider into my mouth while I slept. Then again, she had ridden
upon my shoulder all day and didn't need to march.
Our third day of marching would have been just
as bad if it hadn't been cut short by the arrival of a messenger. A large Hissi,
one of our scouts, slithered up to Aaron, conversing with sharp whispers and
motioning quietly. Aaron nodded and the Hissi joined our ranks, picking up his
weapons on the way. A hush went through the straight lines of warriors as Aaron
began to speak.
"It seems we shall meet this Fanteni upon the
field of war in less than one hour. Prepare yourselves, soldiers, for the time
has come to battle!" A cheer went through the armed forces as they readied themselves
to do what they did best; fight for what they believed in.
Half an hour later we heard the rumble of hundreds
of feet approaching and we marched right back at them. Feet thundering as one,
we marched and felt proud; we were here to protect our world, and no one was
getting in our way. Turning the corner, we saw them, all five hundred and sixty-three
of them, as we later found out. Though I was expecting a large band of "insane
losers," but these pets seemed, well, normal. They wore normal armor and carried
normal weapons, though I did think I detected a small twitch in the eye of a
small JubJub on the right. Then again, our large force, much larger than theirs,
could have intimidated him, I wasn't sure. Lyra, Laborite, and Slowpoke were
shooed off into the bushes; they had their own job to do.
We grew quiet as Sir Aaron stepped forward,
his armor shining in the sun. "Where is your leader, brothers? May I speak with
her?" Without a word, the army shifted to both sides, creating a walkway, down
which a small, blue Pteri, with eyes as bright as the stars, approached. Standing
next to her was a large black Skeith, and sure enough, he was missing the tip
of his left wing. Her eyes widened when she saw me, but they grew hard and cold
once again at the sight of Aaron.
"What do you want, Aaron? Not to hurt me, I
suppose; oh no, that's not your nature."
Aaron seemed shocked that she knew his name,
and was about to speak, but she continued.
"Wondering how I know these things?" A small
chuckle escaped her and she stared deep into his eyes. "I've been keeping an
eye on you, and you, and you, and you, and all of you!" she said, pointing at
my sisters and me. "I know all about each and every one of you, and so does
my army. There's no chance you can defeat us!" And with that, she launched herself
into the air, sword flying and battle cry screaming from her lips.
We rushed right back at her, our weapons raised
and armor up. Our two armies collided with a crash of metal and it was begun.
I pulled out my sword and charged at the nearest pet, the same JubJub with the
twitchy eye. I raised my sword to attack, but he blocked it with an excellent
flip of his blade. Even without any arms, he moved with an acute grace that
I began to respect as our battle continued. He held all of his weapons in either
foot or mouth, sometimes both. I jumped about and flipped in to the air to get
an advantage. Dipping around, I corkscrewed and went straight for his big body,
screaming. He rolled over and jumped high with his large feet to smash his club
onto my head. Stars danced in front of my eyes and he faltered, sure he had
defeated me. But nay, I was stronger than that! Billowing out my wings, I caught
an updraft and flew straight into him, knocking him out cold. I pulled his distorted
figure to the safety of the growth and jumped at a nearby Lenny.
While this battle raged, I watched my sisters
and Aaron out of the corner of my eye. Morbid seemed to be doing just fine,
her three blades danced through the air, whistling softly. Many pets avoided
her just by looking at her and therefore, she got only the toughest of the tough,
which were keeping her busy. Three large Grarrls and a particularly fast Kacheek
were after her and she took them all at once.
Tid was taking on slightly easier opponents;
Nimmos and Kikos were her specialty. She was an excellent kicker, but the next
second she clutched a nearby tree and scampered up it. Pulling out her personal
arrows, she began shooting with a deadly accuracy that frightened even me. One,
two, three pets fell, only stunned by her flat tipped arrows meant to knock
out an opponent.
Looking over at Aaron, I was nearly knocked over
by the Lenny in my awe. He and the Skeith were taking out their anger on each
other, locked in a battle I could only describe as epic. Aaron's claws were
extended and he growled so deep I thought I might scream. His teeth flashed,
but they clanged against those of the Skeith, who was just as impressive. His
wings were large and his whole body almost as muscular as Aaron's, he made up
for the lost muscle in pure size. He was twice as big as Aaron and just as formidable.
Aaron, however, was faster. They were both growling and circling one another.
Aaron's tail was twitching and the Skeith's large wings quivered with rage.
Roaring, he lunged at my knight friend, who lunged right back at him. Teeth,
claws, swords, arrows, muscle, growls, speed and they pulled away, only to jump
right back. Aaron latched himself onto the back of the Skeith who bucked furiously.
More teeth and claws, Aaron was in the air flying and flying. He hit a tree
and moaned, sliding down the trunk. The Skeith moved in but Aaron was such a
trickster, he tackled him and then I saw no more, for I saw Fan.
She was flying away and I changed, running with
my new Gruslen feet between the feet of battlers. I caught a glimpse of our
Petpets, who were deviously tripping the enemy, and I nearly laughed at the
sight of Slowpoke deliberately pushing against the feet of a large Grarrl. Still
I ran, all the while looking at Fanteni up in the sky. She was being chased
by one of my Faerie Xweetok friends, but she pushed down the Xweetok and dived
back down into the chaos. I jumped after her and came to a stop at her feet,
changing back to my form.
Her eyes widened once again, but she squinted
suspiciously. Before she could ask, I pulled out my weapon and our battle began.
She was quick and agile, but I was more so. However, she had more brute strength
than I, and just as good of weapons. Our talons scraped at the moist earth and
suddenly, thunder sounded. My cloak whipped through the air and her blade came
down upon it, slicing through the beautiful fabric. Not thinking, I pulled it
off and continued the fight. My sword screamed down towards her head and she
blocked it easily. The clash of metal against metal harmonized with the thunder,
joined now by large bolts of lightning. I brought the sword down onto her helmet,
the effort of which cracked both of them.
Desperately, I pulled out my dagger. Oh, the
horror! Her large blade struck towards me and to dodge, I jumped into the sky.
A feeling of familiarity flooded through me and I laughed, I had the advantage
now. Another clap of thunder and the clouds opened, pouring their contents on
our battle below. The rain skimmed off of our waterproof feathers and we only
flew higher. I heard the thunder and an idea came to me. Timing would be crucial,
but I knew it could be done, terrible as it was. Putting my dagger in my claws,
I turned into a dive at the exact second the next bold of lightning came. Everything
happened so fast, I could hardly think, I just did. The lightning bolt flew
through the air and went for my dagger; the metal in its build attracted the
electricity. I let go at the perfect second, and the lightning attacked the
dagger that was streaming towards Fanteni and the three collided at the same
moment. A large flash of light and a scream, scream so loud it tore at my heart,
and Fanteni fell towards the ground, my charred dagger falling after her. I
dove for her and pulled her out of the air at the last second, clutching her
in my wings and landing on the ground away from the battle. My throat choked
up as I supported her weak body, weakened horribly by the fall and the lightning.
Realization hit me as the rain poured down and
as I hugged her close to me, tears began streaming down my face and mixing with
the rain soaked earth. Holding her, I sobbed my heart out with sorrow, for I
suddenly knew her pain, her guilt. How all she wanted was for things to be better,
better, better but that was all she couldn't have. She knew she didn't have
to do this, believe this Skeith and help him, but she wanted so badly for things
to be the way they used to be that she made herself believe that this was how
she could make things right. I cried and cried with the injustice; why couldn't
people just be nice to her? Suddenly, I heard a groan, and felt Fanteni move
in my arms. Gasping, I very nearly dropped her but managed to control myself,
cradling her closer to me.
She groaned again and fumbled for her sword
but I moved it away from her and lowered her wings. "Shhh, shhh..." I comforted
through my tears. "Don't worry, it's ok..." and she sighed. Suddenly, her eyes
snapped open and she stared at me, frightened, confused, and hurt.
"Fa... Fan?" she murmured, and I nodded slowly,
shushing her. Ignoring my attempts to put her to sleep she grabbed at my collar.
"The flute... you have it?" I nodded again and she became more insistent. "Play
it Fan, play it please! It needs to stop, it needs to..." she drifted out of
consciousness and I realized that her time left was limited. "Play the flute
Fan, please..." she whispered and then she fell into a sleep I knew only I could
bring her out of: a coma. Shaking, I pulled the flute out and concentrated on
nothing and everything. Pushing my sadness away, I put the flute to my beak
and played, anticipating the soft healing notes.
The notes were not soft at all, but hard and
biting. The thunderstorm seemed to rage all the harder and I was worried I had
only made things worse, but I never took my eyes of Fan. As I had already learned,
there was no turning back once you began the song, and even if I made it worse
I might as well look after her. I played on, waiting for a change in the music.
Finally, it came. The notes mitigated and became soothing; so much so that even
I felt as if a great load had been taken off of my chest. Fanteni sighed and
I noticed her stir; she was waking up! The rain pounded on me hard and cold,
but I played on.
Quite suddenly I noticed a change in the atmosphere.
No matter how hard I strained my ears, I could not make out the sounds of the
battle. Looking up from Fanteni, my eyes widened. The two armies were now standing
right in front of me, one on either side. Aaron led my army and the Skeith led
his, but they were not fighting; nay, there were standing as if in a trance.
I noticed my sisters and waved my tail at them, but they did not react, merely
stared into space. I could feel the song coming to an end and began thinking
of a way to get Fanteni away once the fighting resumed, but then the song stopped.
Utter silence, except for the pounding of rain
on the ground. I closed my eyes, held my breath and counted to three, but when
I opened them again, the armies were still there. Slowly, ever so slowly, I
moved towards Fan. She was shivering, and I wanted to warm her up. Grabbing
my torn cloak, I wrapped it around her, and, still ignoring the warriors, I
leaned in towards her.
"Fan..." I whispered, trying to wake her up.
"Fanteni, it's me. Fan. Everything going to be all right, don't worry. Can you
stand? Just nod your head, don't talk." Indeed she could and I put my arm around
her as a support. Turning towards the soldiers, we hobbled towards the gap between
them. Still, there was silence. However, when we reached the gap, I heard a
small, but heartwarming sound. A single, tiny, Cybunny was clapping, putting
her two paws together in a ritual of respect for us. Fanteni's eyes opened ever
so slowly, and she smiled a real smile for what I assumed was the first time
in a long while. Suddenly, more and more pets were joining in, until both armies
put their paws, claws, tails, anything together for us. We walked off this field
to thunderous applause.
To be continued...