“Go, go, GO!” yelled Holly, and Silver was more than ready to obey. Shielding, she hovered low, in search of the eighth cell in the basement, as Zidan’s army closed in on Holly and Piper. She stopped in her tracks and turned back, just to be sure that everything was alright. And then she left, without another backward glance, as fast as she could.
Twelve Minutes Later
Loken walked fearlessly across the glass floor and yanked open the cell’s door. Silver was standing on the other side, the said pressure resistant suits safely in both arms. She stepped in quickly and handed it to him. “Mud men are on the way here,” she warned. “Some of them are being handled by Holly and Piper, but it looks like Zidan has found out.”
The male elf frowned. “Big deal. His army is as weak as he is. Nothing I can’t handle.”
From the other end of the room, Minerva groaned loud enough for him to hear. “Are you always like this?”
Artemis sighed. He stepped back from the glass, onto the tiny space there was of actual ground. “We have bigger issues on our hands. For instance, who is going to dive in? I hardly think Minerva or myself are suitable for the task. We cannot risk sending Shaadia, for obvious reasons.” Shaadia pouted. He disregarded her and continued anyway. “I suggest Loken stay back to fight any Mud Men. Silver–”
The hybrid nodded. “I’ll go in, but I’m not doing it alone. I don’t know what exactly has to be done.”
“I do,” said Minerva. “There’s a hatch. Open it, connect the right wires. Make sure of that because if not, instead of starting the alarm you might blow this place up for real.”
Silver frowned at her. “I’m not a mechanic and I don’t know what could be the right wires.”
“Well, I am not go–” Artemis interrupted.
Holly and Piper already had their hands considerably full, because they’d already run out of ammunition in Foaly’s latest old fashioned neutrinos. Holly silently vowed to herself that she’d get him for it later. They were outnumbered by a few hundred mud men but that was enough. They couldn’t hold out against all of them without weapons and they had to be on their guard not to get hit with their weapons.
Piper was new to this. She’d already ranked top in her Academy and successfully accomplished a lot of missions, but she’d always had a team for it. The young elf had never before been in a situation like the present. They had to duck, hide behind objects and use whatever they could find. The humans fired bullet after bullet, some missing her by less than half an inch. She got hit only once, but that was nothing too big.
All eyes were fixed on Artemis now, as he tried to show them reason. “It’s simple really,” he said, sounding calmer than he really felt. “I can figure out what needs to be done when we get there. True, I am not entirely capable physically, but the suit will prevent any serious damage. It is only logical that I should go.”
Silver glared at him. “You aren’t going in, Mud Boy. I promised Holly to keep you safe and I fail to see how diving into a pit of tiger sharks, can be safe.”
“I should go instead,” said Loken. He walked over to where Artemis stood. Even being an elf, Loken was almost his height. “She’s right. Captain Short will not approve of it and neither do all of us.” He glared just like Silver had, but this looked menacing rather than really annoyed. “You know very well why you shouldn’t risk your life. There are people out there who need you.”
Artemis was surprised with what Loken had just said but listened without objecting.
“You have a family, for Frond’s sake. What are they going to think if you return with a broken leg? I thought you cared about Holly.”
“She wouldn’t ever forgive you. Believe me, I know what it feels like to lose someone.” Loken paused, before following with, in a softer tone, “My parents.”
A reign of silence followed, broken only by Shaadia’s breathing, which was for some reason very loud and uneven now. Minerva slowly came to stand next to the elf and placed a hand on his shoulder. Loken didn’t even notice and continued to wait for Artemis’s reply.
“You’re right,” he said, finally. “Holly really would dissapprove, but I have no choice.” He picked up the pressure resistant suit that Loken had dropped earlier. “We have survived much more dangerous things than this and I see no reason to stop now.”
Loken clenched a fist. “D’Arvit, Human. You just don’t get it, do you?”
Artemis sighed. “Of course I get it. Which is why I want to ensure the survival of everyone closest to me, and this is the only way I can accomplish that.”
A/N: So, like it? Hate it? Neutral? Please let me know! And kudos for anyone who can guess what happened to Holly.