“No! Let me go! Let me go!” Arisa screamed at the top of her lungs.
Fang set her down from his shoulder. He forced her to sit down and placed a hand over her mouth. Tears streamed over his hand as Arisa cried and screamed against his hand.
“Listen,” Fang said.
She tried to shake her head but Fang’s grip was too firm.
“I said listen!” Fang raised his voice. Arisa opened her eyes to look at him. “I recall that Blue told you to behave,” Fang reduced his voice to a harsh whisper, “If you aren’t going to be of any use, I might as well have Shadow take you outside! If you misbehave here we all die! Do you understand?” he waited, “Do you understand!?!”
Arisa slowly nodded.
“Good,” Fang released her and stood up, “Let’s go then.”
Fang walked down the hallway. Shadow stayed a moment and looked at Arisa. He crouched down beside her.
“You okay?” Shadow reached out a hand toward her.
“I’m fine,” Arisa slapped his hand away and stood up.
She followed Fang, her hands balled up in fists. Shadow sighed and followed.
Raven jumped over the railing and landed on the floor near Alister, “Gun!”
Alister reached for a hand gun that was attached to his belt and tossed it in her direction. Raven caught the gun, turned and fired two shots, each taking down one gunman.
The continuous flow of gunman was ebbing slightly as the others were sent off to find the others that were now scattered throughout the building.
Raven clipped the gun on her own belt and pulled out one of her swords, “What are we going to do now?”
Alister smiled, he fired his gun before answering, “Don’t know, haven’t thought that far ahead yet!”
Raven was about to comment when something interrupted her.
“Roooooooaaaaaaaar!” out of nowhere a dragon seemed to form from the shadows.
Raven’s eye caught sight of a dash of blue at the base of the dragon’s neck. Its black scales shimmered as it roared. As it dipped its head, Raven saw its rider.
“Alister!” she called, “Its Zorah and her monsters!”
“Well, that’s just freaking great,” Alister muttered, “Doesn’t she ever die?”
The hired men stepped back and ran away from the beast, some even dropped their weapons. Alister and Raven stepped back a couple of paces. The dragon reared its head. Its sharp claws looked like the curved talons of a bird of prey. Smoke trailed out of its flared nostrils.
“Well, ‘ello Alister,” Zorah said with a smile, “Who’s your girlfriend?”
Alister responded, “She’s not my—”
“Raven,” Raven answered keeping the small talk to a minimum.
“That’s all well an’ good,” Zorah smirked, “Was expectin’ to settle a little score with Fang but I guess the two-a-you will do.”
Just then the dragon opened its mouth. Fire spewed from its mouth, its frill behind its head fanned out. Alister and Raven jumped apart as the fire rushed past them. Raven dived and rolled out of the way, the fire barely touched her. The glass in the front building that was still intact by the explosion shattered at the intense heat from dragon’s breath.
Alister had ducked as well but unluckily caught the dragon’s eye. The dragon turned its head to follow the wind wielder. Alister had just found his footing again when he saw the dragon and the fire coming at him, he threw a hand in front of his body.
Raven watched as Alister was overcome by flames. She quickly grabbed her gun and shot at the dragon’s neck. It didn’t do the intended damage but it got the beasts attention. It snapped its mouth shut and glared at Raven with its green eyes. A deep growl seeped from its throat.
Zorah dismounted the beast and let it lunge at the girl. She quickly lifted part of her shirt and toughed one of the black ink pictures.
Raven turned, put away her gun, and ran as fast as she could. She used her speed to run up the wall. The blast of the heat hitting the wall behind her made her loose her footing temporarily. She looked behind her briefly to see the dragon emerge from the flames and crawl up the wall after her.
The dragon stretched its long neck to try to snap at her. Raven was just fast enough to keep out of its reach. Still the dragon slithered, snapped and crawled after her. She looked ahead of her and noticed the ceiling of the lobby was coming too soon. Raven could feel the dragon’s hot breath as it prepared to release another stream of fire.
Raven slipped causing her to lose her momentum. She fell toward the dragon. There was a stream of gunshots that rang though the lobby hitting the dragons face and neck, again without having much of an effect on its scale skin but the dragon did clamp its mouth as the bullets riddled him. Raven fell on its closed mouth and because the dragon was still moving the momentum caused her to fall backwards again.
She rolled down the dragons back somehow dodging its spinal plates that stood erect along its spinal cord. The dragon’s tail hit her off to one side. Raven hit the ground with a thud. She rolled a ways to lessen the blow. Raven rolled onto her back to see Alister standing over her, a machine gun in one hand. There was a crash as the dragon hit the ceiling before crashing to the floor.
“You all right?” Alister asked.
His clothes were smoking and he was sweating nonstop, understandable for almost being a barbecue rib. He offered her a hand.
Raven took it and stood up, “How did you—”
“Manipulated the wind around me,” Alister answered calmly.
The dragon rolled onto its legs again and glared at the two wolves. Raven drew one of her swords while Alister replaced his ammo.
“Really?” Alister said, “Isn’t that a little, I don’t know, lame? Knight facing the dragon?”
“Really?” the sarcasm in Raven’s voice was obvious, “Isn’t that a little, oh, I don’t know, stupid? Shooting a dragon with a gun?”
A high pitched scream brought them to their knees. The dragon roared in anger along with it. Both soldier and cop looked up at the balcony. A sinking feeling fell on them both, the thunderbird had come out to play.
Alister looked from the dragon to the bird, “There a chance that I could—”
“You take the dragon, I’ll deal with the bird,” Raven took charge.
“Hey! Who said you were in charge?”
“After Shadow, I’m next then you, therefore when both Fang and Shadow aren’t present, I’m in charge.”
The bird screamed again. The dragon reared its head.
Zorah smiled, “Thought I’d even thing up.”
Alister glared at her, “You are so dead when I get up there!”
“We’ll, see,” Zorah laughed.
The dragon opened its mouth and spewed fire toward them. Again the two darted separate ways, hopping the dragon wouldn’t be after them. Raven was running when she felt something grab her leg. The next thing she knew was that she was upside down in the air. Out of the confusion and shock, she dropped the sword that had been in her hand. She looked up at the bird that was quickly ascending toward the ceiling.
Raven looked down again quickly to see another figure by Zorah side. It ran down the hallway where Fang and the others had gone. She closed her eyes just before the bird shot through the ceiling. She was then thrown into the ceiling on the next floor. For a moment she blacked out.
Penelope had managed to get far up the building. Her teleporting powers allowed her to keep out of the way of most of the guards and anyone else that was looking for her. She peered around a corner. When she determined that the coast was clear, she ran as fast as she could down the hallway. She heard something and quickly slid under a work table that was set outside in the hallway. Penelope waited patiently and sure enough she heard a door open and close. Three men with guns walked out and looked up and down the hallway.
She heard them agree to look where she had just come from. Penelope waited as she heard them march off. She finally allowed herself to breathe a sigh of relief. After pushing her glasses up her nose, she risked a look up and down the hallway. With a nod, she left her hiding spot and continued on her way.
As much as possible, she didn’t want to fight anyone. She had a feeling she would need her energy for later.
Shadow was the last to ascend a flight of stairs. He had long lost track at how many floor he had gone up. Somewhere around ten, he thought. They entered the deserted floor to reach the next stairwell. Fang hadn’t said a word since the incident with Arisa. She too hadn’t said anything.
Fang stopped suddenly without any explanation. He looked over his shoulder for a moment as if to make sure the others were following. Shadow met with Fang’s eyes. He saw brief confusion than a light of understanding. It looked like Fang was about to say something when Arisa took another step before falling thought the floor. She screamed but her scream was cut short when she was pulled completely through the floor.
Shadow instantly followed. He slipped into the floor leaving Fang alone in the hallway.
Fang swore under his breath, annoyed at the fact that he hadn’t felt the presence before. He had promised Blue that he would take care of Arisa but now all he could do was wait and let Shadow bring her back.
Fang paused a moment. The low rumble of a growl rose from behind him. Fang smelled the familiar stench of tattoo ink mixed with a forest smell. He looked over his shoulder. Green eyes glared at him and teeth were bared. Fang slowly turned around a small smirk on his face.
A black wolf growled viciously at him. Fang reached for his gun. The wolf bared its teeth even more as a warning. Fang let the gun fall gently on the ground. He moved one leg back as to brace himself.
“I’ve got to warn you,” Fang said to the wolf, “I don’t always play fair.”
The wolf took that as a challenge and lunged for the man.
Shadow looked around the black dimension looking for two white silhouettes. He turned to look behind him to be hit in the face. Shadow fell and Thae was on top of him. Thae’s hands were around Shadow’s neck. Suddenly though Thae recoiled in pain. Shadow caught a glimpse of another figure pulling at Thae’s hair then hit him in the face. The figures size and stature was unmistakably Arisa’s.
Thae grabbed her arm and threw her away at a distance. Shadow got to his feet and ran towards her. He sensed Thae behind him and pulled out a dagger; more like thought about pulling out a dagger. He turned and threw it at the pursuing silhouette. Thae dodged and continued running. Shadow stood his ground and got another dagger.
He saw something coming at his face and crouched down before charging into Thae. Shadow stabbed Thae’s thigh. He heard Thae shout in pain in the strange world. Shadow pulled out the dagger pushed it deep into Thae’s shoulder. When Thae grabbed his shoulder, Shadow turn to where he last spotted Arisa.
She seemed to be standing still waiting for Shadow to get her. He ran at her. When he reached her, he could hear Thae recovering and starting to come after him. Shadow pushed Arisa. She fell back into the real world.
Arisa lay in the middle of the hallway. She turned to one side and stopped. She looked wide eyed at two wolves at one end of the hallway. One was black with green eyes the other was a mix of black and white with gold eyes. The white one had a large paw on the black one.
Gold eyes eyed her, “Arisa?”
“Fang?” Arisa asked, confused.
The black one turned its body suddenly and bit down on Fang’s shoulder. Fang snarled in pain. The black wolf threw his weight forward causing Fang to fall to his side. The wolf growled ferociously before looking up at Arisa with its night green eyes. Arisa lay frozen on the ground.
“Run Arisa!” Fang shouted before biting his fangs into the other wolf’s leg.
Arisa scrambled to her feet and ran in the opposite direction of the fighting wolves. The black wolf bit at Fang’s neck, to stun but not to kill yet. It then ran after the girl.
Arisa heard the wolf behind her. She ran as fast as she could but at the end of the hallway she had nowhere to run. Arisa risked a glance behind her. Fang had gotten up to his feet and was closing in on the other wolf but even as fast as he was going he was not going to save her in time before the black wolf got to her. She turned her head forward again and forced herself to run faster.
On the wall ahead of her she thought she saw a shadow move. As she grew closer and closer to the wall, the shadow became more and more defined. She knew that form she had seemed in several times. Instead of slowing down, she sped up. The wolf was already nipping at her heels. With feet from the wall, Arisa jumped and disappeared into the wall.
The wolf crashed into the wall, denied access. Fang ran up and bit the wolf on the neck, drawing blood but not killing him. The wolf moved in a way that prevented that killing blow. Angered, Fang threw the other wolf onto the floor by the neck. He scratched at the wolf’s exposed stomach. The wolf growled and howled in anger and pain. A black paw scratched Fang just above the eye. Blinded by blood, Fang released the wolf only to be attacked shortly after.
Arisa landed back into the unfamiliar world. She felt Shadow’s hand on her shoulder.
“Stay here,” he said before leaving.
Shadow formed three daggers and threw them at the other figure. He winced slightly as something sharp flew past his face. Shadow got a dagger and tried to stab Thae in the stomach. Thae grabbed the hand, took his elbow and rammed it into Shadow’s extended arm. Shadow fell to his knees and screamed in pain then was back handed by Thae.
Thae found one of Shadow’s daggers up his sleeve and used it to try and slice at Shadow’s throat. Shadow was quick enough to bend backwards so that the dagger cut nothing but air. He tried to pull away from Thae but Thae’s grip was set and firm. The dagger came down again this time on Shadow’s shoulder. He cried out in pain and again tried to get out of Thae’s grip.
The dagger withdrew from his shoulder. Shot out one led at Thae. Thae lost his balance. To regain his uneven footing he let Shadow’s arm go. Shadow pivoted on one foot and kicked Thae’s side, sending him sprawled on the ground.
Shadow quickly glanced over to where Arisa was. She still stood there waiting for Shadow to come back for her. He had a few more minutes before he would really have to get her out. Shadow looked at Thae and drew some of his daggers. He drew his arm back and was about to end it when Thae kicked him in the stomach. Thae kicked again when Shadow bent over slightly. The kick landed just under the chin, forcing Shadow’s head to shoot upward.
Shadow saw stars for a moment before he fell back. Thae stood up with the dagger he stole in one hand. He was about to throw it down at Shadow when someone else ran over. They knelt by Shadow then grabbed a dagger and threw it at Thae’s arm. The dagger struck Thae’s wrist. He dropped his own dagger and gripped his arm. Shadow looked at Arisa with a look of thanks.
He got to his feet, “Jump!”
Arisa jumped. Shadow placed his hands underneath her feet and threw her a few extra feet. Arisa appeared on her feet in the hallway again.
“Arisa!” Fang yelled, “My gun!”
Arisa looked at the fighting wolves. Currently the black one was over Fang scratching at Fang’s side. However the black one was adorned with some of Fang’s handiwork. The wolf was bleeding black ink from scratches all over its body. Even now Fang was ferociously attacking the wolf as he lay on his side.
Then Arisa looked at the gun. The black wolf took notice of her again then eyed the gun. Arisa was much closer to the gun that the wolf was but that didn’t stop it from lunging at it. The girl jumped into action and dove for the gun. She reached the gun.
“Give it here, Arisa!” Fang called.
Instead she pulled back on the slide and pointed it at the black wolf. It stopped in its tracks. It shifted from paw to paw as if daring her. Arisa had never fired a firearm before but she had seen the others do it all the time. It didn’t seem that hard. Just point and shoot right?
“Arisa,” Fang’s wolf eyes eyed her carefully.
The wolf grew bored and made a motion to run at her again. Scared and startled Arisa pulled on the trigger. The recoil was too much for Arisa’s body and much weaker arm muscles. Instead of firing the gun straight the gun tilted upward. The bullet struck the lighting fixture above the wolf. The glass fell on top of the wolf causing it to close and protect its eyes.
When it could see again, it eyed Arisa angrily.
“Hey,” Fang called.
The wolf turned to look at him. Its eyes looked at the gun that was now at Fang’s feet. Fang stood up, now in his human form and reached down to get the gun. The wolf growled at him with venomous anger.
Fang shrugged, “I told you I don’t always play fair.”
He raised the gun and fired. There was a short whimper than nothing all that was left was a puddle of black ink.
Inside the wall, Shadow backed up as Thae lunged at him. It was about time that this ended. As Thae ran at him, Shadow stepped to one side. He grabbed Thae and threw him, using his powers to transport him to the real world. Thae found himself falling. The streets below were coming closer. He spread his wings and stopped his fall. He landed on his feet lightly. Thae looked up at the building. He sighed and entered the wall again.
Shadow walked out beside Fang.
“Is he gone?” Fang asked.
Shadow nodded, “For now,” he looked around, “Where’s Arisa?”
“She’s right,” Fang paused as he looked around, “there.”
She wasn’t. There was a slam of a door just down the hallway. Fang started running. He reached the stairwell door and threw it open. He looked over the edge in time to see Arisa about eight floors below.
“Arisa!” Fang ran down the stairs.
Shadow reached the door when a sharp pain shot through his leg. He looked behind him. Thae stood at the opposite end, a cold look on his face. Shadow’s eyes fell to the dagger stuck in his leg.
Fang was half way between floors, “Shadow!?”
“I’ll be a little while longer, Fang,” Shadow replied
Fang understood and continued running after Arisa. Shadow pulled the dagger out and faced Thae. He limped a little in his injured leg. More daggers appeared in his hands.
Shadow smiled, “Let’s dance.”
He charged at Thae and the two of them joined in combat.
Fang reached the bottom of the stairs. He was about three floors below ground level. There was one door that had the yellow danger sign on the front. The door requited a passcode but was slightly opened. Fang opened the door and walked inside.
A shadow stood on one of the higher floors, a dark smile lurking on its face.
Twilight descended into midnight.