B1 — 29. Intervention

A gust of frigid wind pressed against Sora’s body, causing her to shiver.  The sound of cutting air and Eric’s hiss filled her ears.  Opening her eyes, the first thing Sora saw was her own breath; the chilling atmosphere dramatically decreased by the second.

Sora’s mind blanked upon seeing a thick, swinging blonde braid appear after a veil of fog dispersed around her.  She followed the long, intertwined ponytail to a luminescent helmet crafted with bright white feathers.  Eyia was standing between Eric and her.

The girl was clad in a body of plate mail with a short skirt and boots that covered up to her mid-thighs; her armor released dazzling hues while perfectly melding with her frame and shifted like fluid as she changed her stance.

“A Valkyrie … in Miami?  Why … No, how does a Valkyrie wield Gungnir?  It was lost during Ragnarök!”

Eyia ignored the question, glowing sapphire irises sweeping the group of werewolves while spinning her weapon to generate a gust that further spread the mist surrounding them.  “Sister, are you unharmed?”

Sister?

A tremor quaked through Sora’s bones as her words sank in.  “I … I think so?”

Sora’s eye moved over Eyia’s seven-and-a-half-foot spear, loosely held with its point following Eric’s nervous pacing.   The weapon consisted of a glowing white shaft and gold rune-engraved platinum blade; it emanated a yellow and white glimmer.

Eyia flipped the shaft around in another flourishing motion as the werewolves crept forward a bit, leaving silver beams dancing in its path and releasing a dense arctic breeze.  “I sense a foul spiritual energy in this beast, Sister … Can you walk?”

A chill ran down the creatures’ frames, and the blast forced them back several more feet; Eric’s jaw tightened, taking two steps back while raising his hand in front of his face.  “Dammit…”

Sora shakily got to her feet, realizing Eyia was speaking nearly perfect English; her tone was cautious and cold.  “I … My body—leg’s healed … My dad!”

Turning her head, Sora’s ears fell back in confusion; a faint white glow surrounding her father.

“Do not fear,” Eyia said, and Sora followed the Valkyrie’s slow movements to her father’s side; her spear never left Eric.  “Your father will not perish.”

Sora cried out as two werewolves snapped their jaws and darted in from their sides.

Eyia’s spear smoothly twisted around her body, leaving silver threads lacing through the air and weaving around Sora’s frame to strike the advancing beasts.

Both werewolves stiffened as the threads passed through their chests, causing them to trip and tumble across the ground.  The fallen beasts didn’t cry out or move the moment the lines hit their bodies, and Sora couldn’t smell any blood from them; the two laid motionless upon coming to a stop.

This is the power of a Valkyrie?  They were supposed to be like death angels in Norse mythology … Are they dead?  I can’t hear their hearts…

The faint aura around her father grew stronger the closer Eyia came, while Eric and his werewolves circled them, keeping their distance; the chilled air started to rumble with their growls.

“Yo…”  Devin cleared his throat.  “Eh, Eric, this chick is no joke, Man…”

Eric seemed to be sizing Eyia up.  “Shut up.”

Worry fading, Sora puffed out a long, thankful sigh.  “You’re sure he’ll be fine?  I just … I can’t lose him, Eyia!”

Eyia’s assured hum comforted Sora’s racing heart.  “He will live for the time being.”

Concern evaporating, Sora turned to look at Eric and Devin.  They’re scared of Eyia, or maybe it’s the spear?

“Umm … Eyia, how did you find me, and—and why are you helping me?”  Sora asked.  “Don’t get me wrong, I could cry right now, but … but why?”

A genuine smile brightened the Valkyrie’s lips.  “We shared a feast; we are sisters!  Who would deny a sister in need?”

Unable to restrain them, tears slid down Sora’s cheeks as her heart burned.  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, jutting his head toward Eyia.

Eight werewolves broke off from the circle and charged toward them.

The temperature continued to plummet, and Sora’s eyes widened as ice crystals formed around them; snow in Miami.  Eyia twisted her spear around her body; the weapon blurred, its shaft bending slightly as it whipped wind and ice into a flurry around them.

Sora shuddered as the threads danced around her.  The silver lines extend fifteen feet past the spear, causing seven werewolves to drop to the floor just as silently as the first two.

Catching sight of the first, Sora swallowed; they started to frost over, their fur showing ice forming inside their bodies.  The last werewolf stumbled and fell, scrambling to its feet; it ran back to the circle.

Eric looked less frightened, but his tone still held 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 as she kept her blade pointed in his direction.

Losing even more of his nervousness, Eric hummed.  “I am not fool enough to think a Valkyrie isn’t dangerous—especially since you hold such a weapon, and that spiritual shell is … unusual, but you were better staying away from this little skirmish.  I think 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, Valkyrie?  Am I supposed to die this day?”

Eyia returned to silence, yet to Sora’s bewilderment, the girl suddenly relaxed; her glowing sapphire irises were stone-cold, but she rested the butt of the spear to the ground, dropping her guard.  Sora’s gut tightened.

“Do you want to die?!”  On cue, Eric leaped forward, transforming into his brown werewolf form.

What’s Eyia…

Eric was too fast for her to see, but five feet from Eyia, he shifted posture to look right and strike out with a hiss; Jin seemed to have appeared from nowhere.

The small Korean girl casually lifted her left hand with a bemused smirk on her face; Eric’s claws struck her arm, generating a rush of frigid wind that gushed past her cheeks and whipped back her bound black locks.  Jin didn’t appear strained in the least, taking Eric’s full blow.

Sora’s mind was spinning; Eyia and Jin both showed up out of nowhere.  She couldn’t sense their approach at all, and even now, it was difficult to hear their movements.

Eric leaped back as fast as possible, turning into his partial form; now, he gave an extensive berth.  “It—did cross my mind,” Sora hesitantly replied, mostly to herself, knowing Eric was focused on the armored angel.  “How?”

Jin grinned and hopped up to float in the air.  “I flew, of course!”  she said with a wink.

Sora’s brow lifted, utterly overwhelmed by everything happening around her.  “Wow—you can fly…”

Jin nodded and did a few flips in the air before landing.  “Yup,” she added a frown as she examined their surroundings.   “So, what was that huge spiritual discharge?  I’ve never felt anything that powerful—ever.”

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.

Shifting nervously and not knowing how the girl would react after initially wanting to rip her heart out, Sora cleared her throat.  “That … was me.”

Jin’s eyebrow lifting questioningly.  “Uh-huh … 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 before pausing and shaking her head.  “Just summarize everything for me.”

Throat clogged, Sora cleared it.  “That’s my father and … 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, hurt my dad, and 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 tight lips.  “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?”

“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!

“Eh-mmh,” the Dragon’s left eyebrow creased thoughtfully, “maybe friend is a bit much … Acquaintances?”

“She is my sister,” Eyia grunted in return.

“Eyia…”  Jin chuckled.  “Fine.  Fine.  I get ya.”

Eric’s gaze fixated on 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.”

“And who’s pretentious?”  Eric snorted, gilding his confidence.

The Korean’s face darkened; the wind burst around them in a torrent as a sharp edge of danger enveloped Sora, her hair standing on end.

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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.”

“Y-You’re fine,” Sora shook her head, managing to choke past her gagged throat and wipe her wet cheeks.

Eric’s swagger returned, walking forward again.  “I think not—you’re playing a Dragon.  You won’t be using that arm for at least a day.”

Jin breathed an exasperated laugh while turning to face Eric with a testing grin.  “Alright, if the mutt wants to bite, come and spread your jaws!”

Eric’s expression faltered with his steps as he licked his lips.

Jin spread her arms wide, beckoning him on.  “I’m right here, Cowering Pooch; come flavor a Dragon.”

Jin’s goading Eric on; can she really deal with him?

Sora backed closer to Eyia, sharp prickles running across her tail and spine as Jin’s threatening aura deepened.  The blonde put her hand on Sora’s shoulder, nodding that it would be alright.

Eric snarled, working himself up.  “Have a high opinion of yourself with a damaged arm.”

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.

The eight-foot-tall wolf jumped into striking distance, and Jin’s feet blurred while casually spinning 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.  Blocking her face with an arm, she tentatively opened her eyes as the pressure passed to witness Eric strike the concrete ramp, breaking it.  Massive pieces of concrete and dirt, all manner of debris, shattered iron, and steel bars were sent spraying across the area.

She examined the shocking crater in disbelief as dust flowed around them, carried by the sharp air currents whistling through the area.

Eric broke away from the mess in a tangled heap; he twitched once and fell limp.

The man’s arms and legs were clearly shattered from the impact, and Sora didn’t have to imagine his ribs must have been turned to shards from the strike, embedding into his internal organs since she’d heard it, and gashes covered all his visible skin while blood pooled off him.

Her vision turned to Jin as a slight gasp escaped her lips.  The Korean fell to her butt, black jeans showing wet patches as blood soaked into them.

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“Jin!”  Sora cried, running to her side.  “Are you alright?  What should we do?”

Eyia didn’t seem worried but took a defensive stance as the werewolves restlessly stirred, unsure what to do without their leader.

Ashen-faced, Devin raced to the crater, screaming, “Eric!  Yo, Dude!”

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—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 of 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?  Jin even 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!

Puffing out a long breath, Sora decided that she had to at least attempt to heal her father.

I feel entirely topped off on energy; I should be able to fully heal him.

Concentrating on her desires, her tail showed the sapphire aura of healing.  Jin followed her actions with interest, but Eyia focused on the werewolves, 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!  What happened?  It’s like there’s a bottomless pit in him!  

She sagged to the ground beside her father, feeling exhausted, and used her elbow as support to look up at Eyia, who looked slightly confused.

“Your father … he 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, too.  Fascinating.”

Nodding before trying to steady herself, Sora rubbed her forehead.  “From what I understand, it’s because my mother is Mia, the nine-tailed fox.”

Understanding dawned on Jin’s features.  “You’re a Founder!  It finally makes sense,” she exclaimed, and sudden confusion struck her features.  “Yet—that doesn’t make sense.”

Shrugging with a low hum, the Korean shook her head.  “Whatever—if you’re Mia’s daughter, then we should be great friends!”  she grinned.  “Your mother 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 in a volcano of raw power.  Jin and Eyia froze in the same way, likely overwhelmed themselves.

It was beyond Sora’s understanding; she couldn’t feel anything but hopelessness.  There was no escape or fighting against this entity.

Then, in an instant, it vanished; it didn’t feel real, for something that endless to disappear and without warning leave her completely defenseless.

Eyia’s spear blurred into motion as she darted left, deflecting several objects that appeared around her, and Sora suddenly realized projectiles 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 contact points and 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, her 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 atmosphere, 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?”

“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.

[Volume 1’s End]

Volume 2 can get a bit heavy, but there are rays of light within; other PoVs will be used to better illustrate points unavailable to Sora.  Be warned, as the world building expands and more players enter the scene, we will see why this series is titled A Tail’s Misfortune.

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