Synopsis: A fast-paced story about a youngster who loses everything and everyone he holds dear. Through the only family that still remains with him, his uncle, he gets to choose to dedicate his focus and attention to blacksmithing rather than to fall into depression and street life...
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A gust of wind burst over Sora and the sound of cutting air filled her ears. The atmosphere chilled dramatically as Eric hissed. Opening her eyes, Sora found a thick blonde braid swinging in front of her. Following the long, intertwined ponytail to a luminescent helmet crafted with glowing white feathers, Sora watched Eyia walk between Eric and her.
She was clad in a body of plate mail with a short plate skirt and plated boots that covered up to her thighs, the metal glistening with dazzling hues. The armor seemed to meld with her frame and shifted like fluid as she changed her stance, glowing blue eyes sweeping the group of werewolves; the biting atmosphere deepened.
She held a seven-and-a-half-foot spear in her hands, loosely gripped with its point following Eric as he paced nervously. The spear was comprised of a glowing white shaft and platinum blade with golden symbols etched across its long razor length. The blade itself was a foot long, ending with a thickening point that held intricate designs emanating with a yellow glimmer. Two six-inch prongs branched from the metal fused portion of the spear to wrap around the thickening point, and even they held gold runic lacing.
Eric backed up further, keeping his eyes trained on the spear. “A Valkyrie in Miami—and why—how—does a Valkyrie wield Gungnir? It was said to be lost in Ragnarök!”
Eyia flipped the shaft around in a flourishing motion, which left silver lines dancing through the air, and Eric leaped back several more feet. Eyia’s English was almost perfect and her tone ice. “Sister, are you unharmed?” Sora felt a tremor quake through her body. Sister?
Sora lifted to her feet. “My leg—it’s healed.” She mumbled in disbelief, realizing the burst of her innate power was the cause. Swallowing, Sora’s vision turned to her father. “My dad!” She was astonished to find a faint white glow surrounding him.
“Do not fear. Your father will not perish.” Eyia stated as she moved toward him, keeping her spear directed at Eric. Sora cried out as two werewolves darted in from their sides; Eyia’s spear smoothly twisted around her body, leaving silver threads lacing through the air to strike the advancing wolves. Both werewolves stiffened as the threads hit, skidding across the ground; Eyia didn’t break pace or turn from Eric. The fallen werewolves didn’t cry out or move. Sora couldn’t smell any blood from them, they merely laid motionless. This is the power of a Valkyrie? They were supposed to be like death angels in Norse mythology.
She watched in wonder as the faint aura around her father grew stronger as Eyia neared. Eric and his werewolves had started circling them, keeping their distance, but the chilled air rumbled with their growls.
Sora ran beside Eyia as she kept her defensive position, intense shining blue eyes hounding Eric. “You’re sure he’ll be fine?” Sora asked, her worries starting to fade as security took their place. Eric seems scared of Eyia, or maybe it’s the spear?
Eyia hummed with assurance. “He will live for the time being.”
Concern disappearing, Sora asked, “How did you find me and why are you helping?”
A smile lit Eyia’s lips. “We shared a feast. We are sisters! Who would deny a sister in need?”
Tears came to Sora’s eyes, and her heart felt like it was on fire; all she could say was. “Thank you.”
A humming laugh resonated through Eyia’s throat. “Do not thank me yet; the battle is yet decided.”
Eric grunted and jutted his head toward Eyia. Eight werewolves broke off from the circle and charged toward them. Sora’s eyes widened as ice crystals began forming around them, the temperature continuing to plummet; snow in Miami. Eyia twisted her spear around her body, the weapon blurring; the shaft bent slightly as wind and ice whipped into a flurry around them.
In amazement, Sora watched silver lines extend fifteen feet past the spear and seven of the werewolves drop to the floor just as silently as the first two. Catching sight of the first werewolves, she swallowed; they started to frost over, their fur showing ice forming from inside their bodies. Sora shuddered as the threads danced around her, but didn’t strike.
The last werewolf stumbled and fell, scrambling to its feet; it ran back to the circle. Eric looked less frightened, but his tone still showed slight reservations as he held his tongue to his lip for a moment, before popping it. “I get it. You can’t wield Gungnir’s power. You’re only using it as a weapon, not using its supremacies at all. Everything you’ve done so far is normal Valkyrie abilities.”
Eyia didn’t answer him as she kept her blade pointed in his direction. Losing even more of his nervousness, Eric hummed. “I’m not fool enough to think a Valkyrie isn’t dangerous, but you were better staying away from this little skirmish—this will be a good test of my growing power.”
Vapor escaped Eyia’s mouth as she warned Eric. “My death is not meant for this battle. Fate wills it; I will not die.”
Smile shining across his peeled back lips, Eric asked, “Oh? How about my fate? Am I supposed to die this day?” Eyia didn’t answer as she kept her pose and suddenly, relaxed. Her eyes were stone-cold, but she rested the butt of the spear to the ground, dropping her guard. As if on cue, Eric leaped forward, transforming into his brown werewolf form. Sora’s gut tightened. What’s Eyia doing?
Five feet from Eyia, Eric hissed and looked to his right, striking out. Sora was stunned to see Jin. She casually lifted her left hand, a bemused expression lighting her face as Eric’s claws struck her thin arm. A rush of frigid wind gushed past her smooth cheeks, whipping back her bound black hair. She didn’t seem strained in the least as her arm took Eric’s full blow. I didn’t even hear her approach!
Eric leaped back as fast as possible, turning into his partial form. He truly looked frightened now. “What is a Korean Dragon doing in Miami and why are you interfering in my affairs?”
Jin ignored Eric completely as she turned to study Eyia. Sighing, while shaking her head in exasperation, “Honestly—you didn’t even tell me where you were going. If I hadn’t been interested in that massive burst of spiritual energy, I wouldn’t have even known. So, you sensed someone near death then?”
Jin’s hair was curled and held in the bridesmaid style, likely done by Eyia. She wore a gray round-collar long-sleeve shirt, with black tank-top straps visible around her neck, tight-fitting black jeans, and two gold rings on her left index and pinky fingers..
Wincing, Jin shook out her left arm and Sora watched in alarm as red stains started filtering through the entire length of her left sleeve. Squeezing her hand into a fist, she pumped it a few times. Catching Sora’s expression, she laughed. “Don’t worry about it. Oh, you’re probably wondering how I showed up out of nowhere.”
Sora had almost forgotten about Eric as he and his group backed up further, giving them a very wide berth. “It—did cross my mind,” Sora hesitantly replied.
Grinning, Jin hopped up and floated in midair. “I flew, of course!” She said with a wink.
Sora’s brow lifted. “Wow—you can fly!”
Nodding Jin did a few flips in the air before landing. “Yup.” She added a frown as she examined their surroundings.
Sora shivered slightly as the wind picked up and the snow thickened. Jin let a long breath of mist expel from her mouth before glaring in Eyia’s direction and speaking Asgardian. Jumping, Eyia laughed apologetically, and the temperature started to warm as Eyia stopped feeding the cold atmosphere.
Jin turned to Sora. “So, what was that huge spiritual discharge? I’ve never felt anything that powerful—ever.”
Swallowing, Sora shifted in place. “That was me.”
Eyebrow lifting questioningly, Jin asked, “And what’s the story behind that?” She glanced around at all the werewolves. “And these mutts? Also—who’s the man you’re defending, Eyia?” She asked glancing behind her. Pausing, she sighed, with a shake of her head. “Just summarize everything for me.”
Throat clogged, Sora cleared her voice. “That’s my father and Eyia is saving him—I think.” Pointing at Eric, she said, “He’s Kari’s older brother, and he may have killed her; I’m not completely sure. He killed Lori, and hurt my dad, kidnapped my friend. I—kind of—exploded, I guess. Power just filled me and then my birthday passed, and all the power faded.”
Jin followed Eric with pursed lips as she listened. “Okay, so he’s trying to eat you to gain that power?” Sora nodded with a shiver. She just instantly picked that up? Puffing out another breath of air, Jin turned to Eyia. “Well—how can we let a mongrel eat our new friend?” Tears started dripping down Sora’s cheeks. Even Jin thinks I’m a friend? I haven’t had new friends for such a long time!
Eric’s eyes hadn’t left Jin’s left arm, and after a minute he scoffed. “You’re not of age yet. You’re an Imugi! Transforming any part of your body will cause severe consequences; you won’t be able to use your arm for quite a while.”
Jin huffed haughtily. “Is he always this pretentious? You can’t do this; you can’t do that.” Her face suddenly darkened as Eric snorted derisively. The wind burst around them in a torrent as a sharp edge of danger enveloped Sora, her hair standing on end. Jin’s voice echoed in a resonating roar that dominated the area. “I’m a dragon you feeble cur! Know your place!” Every werewolf darted back several yards to the waterline and Sora flinched as tingles shot up her spine; even Eyia’s eyes leveled with her.
Taking a deep breath, Jin sighed with a light giggle as she turned to Sora. “I apologize. My temper can get the best of me at times.” Sora shook her head. “You’re fine.” She managed to choke past her gagged throat while wiping at her cheeks.
Eric began to move forward again, his confidence in place. “No—you’re playing a Dragon.” He challenged. “You won’t be using that arm for at least a day.”
Jin laughed with exasperation as she faced Eric with a testing grin. “Alright, if the mutt wants to bite then come and spread your jaws!” Eric’s expression faltered as he licked his lips. Beckoning, Jin spread her arms wide. “I’m right here cowering pooch, come flavor a dragon.”
Sora backed closer to Eyia, sharp prickles running across her body as Jin’s threatening aura deepened. Jin’s goading Eric on; can she really deal with him? Eric snarled, working himself up and Eyia put her hand on Sora’s shoulder, nodding that it would be alright.
A condescending sneer crossed Jin’s posture. “So, you’re a belly dragging scrounger that digs around the trash with waste as company. You should stay in the hole you call home, the sewers?”
Snapping his teeth, Eric leaped forward, fully transforming into his Fenris form. Jin watched him advance with a leer. As the eight-foot-tall wolf came into striking distance, Jin’s feet moved with blurred speed as she spun in a circle around his jaws, her left heel striking the side of Eric’s body with a full roundhouse kick. Sora’s eyes snapped shut as a concussive burst of air shot around the area, and the sound of cracking bones burned her ears.
Opening her eyes as the pressure passed, Sora witnessed Eric strike the concrete ramp and smash into it; large pieces of concrete and dirt, shattered iron and steel bars, and all manner of debris were sent spraying across the area.
Shocked, Sora examined the large crater in disbelief as dust flowed around them, carried by the sharp air currents. Eric broke away from the mess in a tangled heap; he twitched once and fell limp. His arms and legs were clearly shattered from the impact. Sora imagined his ribs must have been turned to shards from the strike, embedding into his internal organs, and gashes covered all his visible skin as blood pooled off him.
Her vision turned to Jin as a slight gasp escaped her lips. She fell to her butt, her black jeans showing wet patches as blood soaking them. “Jin! Are you alright?” Sora asked as she ran to her. Eyia seemed worried as well, but she’d taken a defensive stance as the werewolves stirred restlessly, unsure what to do without their leader.
Devin raced to the crater, ashen-faced. “Eric!”
Jin chuckled, showing a fraction of the pain she should have felt. “Of course, who do you think you’re talking to?”
Glancing back at Eric, Sora swallowed and asked, “Did—you kill him?”
Huffing with dissatisfaction Jin scowled at the massive crater. “When I struck him, he funneled a surprising amount of defensive energy to my point of impact and head. I’m a little ashamed to admit it, but he’s most likely alive. I should have put more effort into it.” She shrugged. “There was a lot of collateral damage; with most his energy protecting his internal organs he wasn’t able to guard the rest of his body. In other words—he’s out for the count.”
Sora looked back at the demolished area created from Jin’s raw power and found a new respect for the little Korean girl and even more fear. She was able to do this from the start? She said she didn’t even put much effort into it.”
The standoff continued as the werewolves stayed in place and Eyia continued to stand ready for any one of their advances. Jin had taken a more comfortable position as she stared around with a bored expression and Sora didn’t know what to do as she knelt by her father. What next? My dad’s being saved by Eyia; Jin annihilated Eric, but it hurt her in the process. The werewolves don’t know if they should retreat or fight and this standoff continues!
Taking a deep breath, Sora decided that she had to at least attempt to heal her father. I feel completely topped off on energy; I should be able to fully heal him. Concentrating, her tail showed the deep blue aura of healing. Jin followed her actions with interest, but Eyia kept her attention centered on the werewolves, her spear at the ready.
Tail hovering over her father, Sora felt her energy evaporate as she began to heal her dad. What? Why is it taking so much! She sagged to the ground beside her father, feeling exhausted. What happened? It’s like there’s a bottomless pit in him!
She shifted to look up at Eyia who looked slightly confused. “Your father is out of grievous danger. I can cease my temporal displacement.” Sora breathed a sigh of relief as the white glow around her father dwindled.
Jin hummed with interest. “Now you can heal! You are one strange Vulpes. I can feel spiritual energy filling you at an immensely unnatural rate, fascinating.”
Nodding, Sora breathed, trying to steady herself. “From what I understand, it’s because my mother’s Mia the nine-tailed fox.”
Understanding dawned across Jin’s features. “You’re a Founder! It finally makes sense,” she exclaimed. Sudden confusion struck her features. “Yet—that doesn’t make sense.” Shrugging with a huff, she shook her head. “Whatever—if you’re Mia’s daughter then we should be great friends!” She said with a smile. “Your mother supposedly hates her sister even more than the dragons.”
Sora was about to ask what she knew about her mother when her mind seized. An aura erupted everywhere, so enormous and frenzied that it paralyzed her. It was as if her body was being consumed. Jin and Eyia froze in the same way; it was beyond Sora’s understanding. She couldn’t feel anything but hopelessness; there was no escape or fight, against this power. Then it vanished. It didn’t feel right; for something that endless to disappear in an instant left her completely defenseless.
Eyia’s spear blurred into motion as she darted left, deflecting several objects that appeared around her, and Sora suddenly realized objects were coming from nearly every angle and at an incredible speed.
Four objects struck Eyia in the neck; stunned, her left hand released her spear shaft to brush against the points of contact. She pulled out a small dart. “What is…” Sora was utterly caught off guard as Eyia’s eyes rolled back and she dropped to the ground, armor and spear vanishing in a vibrant glow to be replaced with the dress she’d given her.
Warning signals shooting up her tail, she heard numerous objects passing through the air, and all the werewolves started dropping one by one. Jin was hit soon after Eyia; she looked down at the object without understanding. “Sora … what’s this?” She asked.
“Tranquilizers?” Sora questioned and felt her neck get pricked. What’s going on? Fifteen more darts struck Jin in quick succession, and her eyes sagged as she dropped to the ground. Sora lost the ability to keep herself straight, and her head rolled back to strike the ground, hair fanning around her. Staring up at the stars, she felt her mind start to clear, the sky giving her energy back and combating the drugs.
Her ears faintly picked up the sound of spinning blades, and she saw helicopters entering the area. Booted footsteps sounded around her and a few moments later a silhouette blacked out her vision of the sky. A muffled male voice said, “Beta site secure.” He held up a gun and shot another dart into her neck. The lights blurred, and she felt her consciousness fade.