B2 — 27. Dragoons

Sora sank to her butt with relief.  “Are you really alright, Jin?”

Lifting her head with a skeptical look, she asked, “What did I tell you last time?” Smiling warmly, Sora nodded, but it vanished as Eyia launched between her and Eric.

“What has happened, Sister?”

Remembering what her aunt had said, Sora took a deep breath.  “For right now, Eric isn’t our enemy.  A lot has happened since the last time you saw Eric.  We’re kind of in a bad spot, and he has the answers …  I don’t like it, but I think we need him for now.”

A tired sigh escaped Jin’s lips as her head sank back down to the floor.  “Is that so?  That state is vicious, but it’s far from efficient.  Throwing my energy around so carelessly…  No, it’ll be a bit before I can even walk again, as sad as that is.”  

Vision shifting to look around the area with a lifted brow, she groaned, “What is up with me being out of the loop all the time?  Where are we?”  Her eyes narrowed as she looked up at Fen.  “What about the Vulpes that follows your aunt?”  

“Some people from the government or some other organization captured us.  You’ve been asleep for a few days.  I met with my aunt and learned why most dragons—but not all dragons—hate her.  I’d like to talk to you about it later.  There was… a lot that happened…”  Sora answered, feeling Aiden continue to help Wendy and the others recover from Jin’s spiritual waves.

“Really, all that?”  Jin replied dully.  “How much more pathetic can I get?”

“We must leave this place,” Eyia said, helping Jin to rest against a large pillar fragment, but shot a glare in Eric’s direction.

Concern creased Sora’s lips.  “I highly doubt I can heal Jin effectively enough to walk…   I don’t even know if my magic will work on her.  I’ve healed Jian where his own regeneration will help him recover, but that took a bit of energy.”

Jin glared at Jian.  “So, he has a name.  It was foolish of him to provoke me, but I assume it had something to do with that other woman I heard.”  Examining the small group they had, she shook her head.  “I must have missed quite a bit.”  

She glanced at Sora’s tails and grinned.  “Congratulations on the second tail.  I assume it had something to do with meeting your aunt?  I’ll have to hear the story when we are clear.”

Eric stepped forward, and every eye leveled to him, Eyia raising her spear.  Holding up his hand, he said, “I don’t wish any of you harm.  My spiritual network is bare to prove that.  I want to help you leave this place, but what I can see of fate is clouded at the moment.  I doubt we’ll be able to leave at this moment; there’s something else coming.”

Eyia’s eyes narrowed.  “What do you know of fate?”

“Bits and pieces,” Eric replied.  “I think—” he cut off as he, Jin, Fen, and Sora caught the sound of metal against ground.

They turned their heads to the wide open metal door as the sounds came closer.  Sora closed her eyes and focused on the sounds beyond.  Opening her eyes, she said, “Eighteen people are on their way, but they don’t sound rushed.  Oh, I didn’t notice it, but the alarm stopped as well.”  

Cautious, they all wearily waited for the mysterious party to arrive.  Sora first caught sight of two people walking through the door, a man and a woman.  Clad in similar attire with different colors—the man blue and female red—they wore plate mail that looked draconic in nature.

They held long, twelve-foot bone lances and strapped to their backs were six-foot-long spears, fashioned from white bone excluding the point, which housed a long razor tooth.

Most of their faces were covered by plate helmets that resembled dragon heads with the mouth to chin bare; through the eye slits and open-back design, Sora could see blue eyes and black hair from the male, and brown eyes and blonde hair for the woman.

“Dragoons,” Fen hissed.

Jin lifted an eyebrow.  “Never heard of—” 

She cut herself off, vision narrowing as they locked on the spears and lances.  “European Dragon bones… fashioned into weapons?  Smart.”

The group’s focus shifted to Diane as she walked into view from behind the dragoons.  “We need the red-tailed Vulpes alive—and before the President arrives!”  A large man holding a machine gun stepped out beside Diane, and fourteen heavily armed men stopped behind them.

Jin grumbled lowly for a moment before saying, “It pains me to say it, but I’m out of juice.”  She looked back at the rest of the group.  “The Fenris Wolf seems much weaker, Sora’s got some energy but their armor will likely negate most of your influence with the dragon’s residual energy, and that Bai-Hu’s hanging on by a thread.”  Sizing up Aiden she sniffed and turned to Eyia, “It’s all up to you, Frosty.”

Eyia didn’t take her eyes off the dragoons, but asked, “Frosty?”

Humming a laugh, Jin said, “A bit of humor I picked up from Green.  Thought I’d try out the nickname, but it doesn’t sound right…  Nope, it’s all up to you, Eyia.”  Eyia nodded without hesitation and set her spear at the ready.

The dragoons eyed the group for a moment before the male said, “Leave, you’ll only be in the way.”  All of the men and Diane looked at them questioningly but moved back into the hall as the female turned to glare at them.

Sora watched the steel door shut with bated breath.  Eyia already battled Jin, and she even said she needed to conserve her strength for offense.  Attacking is so much easier than defending…  Can we make it out of this or should I try and reason with them?

She swallowed as the two dragoons began walking forward, Eyia advancing to the center of the room to meet them; the Valkyrie held a defensive position, spear pointed at the red armored dragoon.  A moment later, her blade shifted to the man as they stopped, gauging her opponents a good thirty feet from her.

They stood stationary for less than a second before the blue dragoon took a single step, bent his knees, pulled his elbow slowly back, and vanished.

Sora calmed her spiritual network and focused; watching in disbelief as the dragoon darted forward—she was no match for his speed—if Eyia couldn’t stop the dragoons, they were done for.

Her body felt sluggish, focused spiritual perception growing sharper as the fight went on and she grew more accustomed to following its flow.

The sound of bone striking metal rang throughout the room as the man struck two meters from Eyia; Gungnir’s elegant movements deflecting the stab with apparent ease as frost appeared where her spear passed, the blade sliding down the lance’s length.

Before her weapon reached three feet from the blue dragoon, he bent his legs and jumped; the motion was so quick that Sora could barely follow his climb.  Eyia leaped back as he pushed off the ceiling, darting back at the Valkyrie for his lance to bite into the floor and sink to its grip.

The lance missed Eyia’s breastplate by inches, the girl spinning in a circle as she landed, Gungnir twirling in an arch to redirect the woman’s lance as she launched from her stationary position.

They’re double teaming her!  C’mon!  Still, Eyia’s holding her ground…  Impressive, considering they’re covering each other’s openings.

Sora couldn’t even open her mouth to warn Eyia that the blue dragoon had already taken his spear off his back and was about to stab her, the blade reached an inch from her armor before Eyia dispersed in a cloud of vapor.

The mist moved swiftly over the man’s armor, ice creeping across it, yet even as she rematerialized three feet behind the man, his spear was meeting her own, shrugging off the ice for it to scatter across the floor.

Gungnir smoothly rotated the toothed blade away with a ring of noise, and in the next instant Eyia sidestepped, as the woman’s lance shot between the red dragoon’s side and elbow for a surprise attack; the shaft slid across her armored stomach, but the Valkyrie’s cold eyes never left the man.

Flipping her shaft in a tight circle, Eyia chained off her previous deflection to shove the pair together, throwing both off-balance and elegantly using the momentum to bring Gungnir’s glowing edge to strike the man’s unguarded throat.

It missed as he leaped to the side; off balance, he didn’t reach his full speed, allowing Eyia’s thin line of arctic energy to slide through his foot, possibly the Valkyrie’s target the entire time.

The red dragoon righted herself, crouching and jumping to put distance between them; feet landing on the domed ceiling, she launched back.

Eyia didn’t waste a movement, Gungnir rotating to point down as her opponent tried to impale her, and, in utter awe of the Asgardian’s skill, the woman’s deadly point met the butt of Gungnir’s shaft; the force bent the pole slightly, yet the force only made Eyia’s spear drop half an inch.

Twisting a hand to grasp the shaft, Eyia’s spear twirled around her back and the woman’s suspended weapon, leaving the red dragoon unprotected midair, yet Sora cursed, as instead of going for the death blow, the Valkyrie was forced to generate a sharp gale, ice crystals glistening off the remaining lights to blow the woman away.

Eyes instinctively closing at the ferocious current and pelting ice that washed over her, Sora lifted her arms to defend herself; luckily, Wendy and the rest of the humans were still taking shelter behind Jian’s body.

Chills breaking out across her skin from the flurry, Sora skipped back a little, realizing some kind of unusual energy laced in within the element as she squinted beyond the snow to find a colossal jagged wall of ice branching out of the wall.

The blue dragoon appeared to have used his lance as a stepping stone to jump away from the freezing attack, spear out while running left to reposition, yet Sora’s attention was snatched by the sound of fracturing ice, the man retracting his spear from the wall; she hadn’t noticed when he’d thrown it, realizing it was likely why the Valkyrie didn’t pursue the woman.

Eyia doesn’t miss a move…  How can she know everything that’s happening around her?  Even with my enhanced senses, I’m having so much trouble following this fight!  C’mon… refine my spirit and focus on sight…

Figuring this was the perfect time to keep training, she swallowed as Eyia slammed the butt of Gungnir against the red dragoon’s lance after gaining the fraction of a second to recover; ice splintered down its length before it broke into pieces, taking the weapon out of the fight.

Lungs filling with the frigid air, Sora shouted, “C’mon, Eyia; you’ve got this!”

A small smile touched the Valkyrie’s lips as she took a single, deep breath with the two dragoons circling her, allowing it to stream out in a slow hiss; her sight hadn’t left the man.

Sora saw the frustration in the red dragoon’s eyes burn behind her helmet—Eyia didn’t consider her the threat, and it was getting to her; she launched forward, movements becoming more visible as she refined her internal spiritual network.

The woman shot forward only to meet a flurry of black raven feathers, Eyia vanishing in the haze; losing track of her with the dragoons, Sora’s eyes scanned with her spiritual tuning spiritual radar to find her at the man’s back, once again ignoring the red dragoon.

Eyia’s edge slid across his chest piece, biting into the bone as he barely managed to avoid getting impaled; he retreated, trying to block her dancing jabs and slashes, yet again, she had to go one the defensive, parrying the woman’s entry into the frenzy.

In the next second, Svalinn shimmered into existence, the Valkyrie sending it spinning toward Jin for the man’s spear to slam into the crystal clear dome that exploded into being to protect the dragon.

His jaw tightened as the blade only sunk two inches through, lodging it in place for Eyia to throw the woman back and vanish to meet him; Jin looked totally at ease, sitting back and waving at the growling dragoon.

“Nice try; cheeky, but you won’t catch Eyia off guard that easily.”

Unable to retrieve his weapon, he held out his hand to snatch the woman’s thrown spear to retreat, being mindful of his feet from the Valkyrie’s pushing swipes.  Svalinn’s dome shattered for the shield to shimmer back into Eyia’s free left hand as she advanced on the man with blurred jabs, focused eyes not showing a hint of stress.

The man’s mouth opened as Eyia’s thrusting point passed between his teeth, twisting to rip into mouth, yet he managed to find enough power to jump away just in time for the blade to leave a line up the nose-guard; it didn’t stop the ice from spreading.

The red dragoon caught the man’s thrown spear as he returned her weapon, charging in to give her partner time to recover; she followed Eyia’s fluid movements, the Valkyrie treating her more as a mild annoyance as she threw Svalinn at the blue dragoon to dodge the woman’s jab and grab the shaft.

Sora could practically feel the anxiety in her spirit as she tried to do the same for Eyia to outmaneuver her, pivoting and throwing out her leg to trip the woman, almost collapsing on her spear.

Crystal shell expanding to imprison the man, the Valkyrie spun to kick the hidden knife the woman pulled out from somewhere out of her hands while throwing her Gungnir at her own barrier; it shattered just before the blade touched the dome, grazing the man’s side and shaving off more of his armor.

He blurred in a swift turn to try and evade, jumping up to ping-pong to his original spear, Jin not bothering to do anything to help the Valkyrie as she followed his leaps with a thoughtful smile.

Eyia vanished in feathers to meet his trajectory midair, Gungnir back in hand and throwing him off-balance; a curse came from the red dragoon as she tried to recover, noticing part of her spear frozen over before launching back into the fight to help her partner. 

She’s so awesome…

Sora’s breath caught as her focus went to Eyia instead of the dragoon’s movements; there wasn’t a single scratch on her immaculate skin, even the previous strike across her stomach hadn’t caused any damage to her armor.

Vision returning to the dragoons as Eyia ducked under a stab attempt by the man; Sora’s fingers tightened in anticipation as the Valkyrie kept perfect balance, gradually freezing the floor and forcing the dragoons to be careful where they took the battle.

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Managing to feint a swing at the blue dragoon, Eyia launched a counter-attack at the man’s left left, aiming in-between the armor grooves; teeth showing.  He slammed his spear’s butt into the ground to block the strike for the Valkyrie to twist the blade and use the rebounding momentum to flip it in the opposite direction, parrying the woman’s lunge.

Gungnir shimmering to reappear in an entirely new position to the dragoon’s shock and the battle picked up rapidly for split moments; unable to follow the three blurs, Sora hissed.


A low hum rumbled in Jin’s throat.  “They’re good, these dragoons…  Heh, nowhere near Eyia’s level, and if she hadn’t had to deal with me, it would have been over in a snap, but that’s to be expected.”

“Eh-heh,” Sora forced a laugh at the dragon hyping herself up so much.  “Yeah… you almost killed me.”

“Aww, c’mon!  What’s a little fear of death every now and again, haha!”

“Says the super powerful dragon…  Uh, is Eyia okay?”

“Meh, she’s holding back,” Jin mumbled, rolling her eyes.  “Sure, the woman tries her hardest to compliment the guy, but Eyia feels like she’d be picking on her too much if she got a bit serious with her.”

“How long until…”

“She turns them into popsicles?  Hehe… Eyia landing a death blow with Gungnir alone…  Yeah, she dismissed Svalinn… stupid prideful woman…  Uh, about… mmh… forty seconds if not sooner if it goes how I think, unless…  Oof, bad luck, Bro.”

A shift in the Valkyrie’s movements and features caused an arctic breeze to kiss Sora’s skin, her expression going from focused to ice; stomach swirling, Sora watched all light in her area freeze, Eyia vanishing for a blood-chilling sensation washed over Sora’s senses.

“There it is…” Jin muttered with a dark chuckle.

Both dragoons hesitated only for a flash and vanished, jumping away at full speed, their feet digging into the walls to fracture the concrete, yet it was too late.  Ice shot out of the blue dragoon’s body from the inside out, instantly overtaking him.

Sora’s lungs stopped as a strange energy pulsated from within the blue dragoon, and a thirty-foot sphere appeared around him, temporally locking it; everything within its domain had a colorless tint—concrete fragments, sound, and even light—trapped; Sora didn’t know how she could see what happened within but doing so was draining her spiritual energy in spades.

Eyia emerged from nowhere before the time-locked man, a cloak of raven feathers at her back and a wicked black long sword in her left hand; the blade slightly curved, emitting a dark mist that discharged death with every pulse.

The Valkyrie lifted the blade, displaying its downsloping crescent guard, ink black leather grip, and three-pronged hilt; everything about it put off a menacing, bloodthirsty presence.

“No…”  the red dragoon cried, vanishing to be ensnared at the edge of the temporal zone. 

Time stretching, Eyia drew back her ravenous sword and thrust it into the man’s heart without hesitation, causing Sora’s throat and chest to seize as her hyper-sensitive spiritual senses returned the results.

In horror, she felt the man’s body completely turn into glowing white spiritual energy to be compressed and flow into Eyia’s radiant necklace, leaving his clothing, armor, and weapon behind.

What Sora just experienced left her numb.

Eyia gradually pulled back the edge to reveal not a single mark on the armor’s breast as her attention turned to the red dragoon, still utterly paralyzed in space.

A shiver ran through Sora’s bones upon seeing her friend’s eyes—they weren’t who she knew—the kind, curious, and fervent sister was absent.  Hollow vessels had taken their place, devoid of thought or emotion.

The Valkyrie appeared in front of the woman, and Sora got the impression she was staring at the very threads of fate.

Jin’s voice sounded distant but mildly interested.  “Maiden’s Call…  Solely invoked by the Valkyrie; if a Valkyrie takes you, you’re bound to serve either Óðinn or Freyja.  Heh, of course, since Óðinn is dead, the only master is Freyja.  However…”  Dark fascination touched the dragon’s tone, “That sword is something else entirely.  Would you know, Wolfboy?”

Still unable to take her eyes off Eyia, Sora listened for answers.

“Yes—she has an arsenal of legendary Norse weaponry,” Eric stated wearily.  “She’s holding Dáinsleif—also known as Dáinn’s legacy or King Högni’s sword—at this point, I’m beginning to draw up my own speculations on it.

“I’ve heard you can’t draw it without a complete resolution to kill.  It also cannot be withdrawn unless it’s taken a life, but in effect, it can never fail in a stroke… or so the legend goes.”

“Hmm-hmm…”  Jin mused.

Sora didn’t know what to think as she replayed what she’d felt moments before; his soul was compressed into a tight ball of spiritual mass, and then absorbed by Eyia’s necklace.

That didn’t feel like something moving… more like he was being converted.

Lips dry, Sora asked, “What about her necklace?”

Jin popped her tongue.  “Huh… now that you mention it…  Nope, I got no idea.  Eyia’s had it since…”  She trailed off as the sphere broke and physics returned, the Valkyrie smoothly dropping to the ground to nimbly landing on her feet.

The red dragoon fell to the ground, beside her, yet Eyia seemed uninterested in the woman as she instantly leaped back to the edge of the arena.

Half frozen spear held at the ready, the woman worked around her mouth a few times, seemingly unable to speak for a second.  “What…  What did you do to him?”

Vision returned to the Eyia Sora knew, her gaze drifted down with disdain at the black sword in her grip before sighing and looking at the red dragoon’s shakes of rage and fear; there was sympathy in the Valkyrie’s sapphire eyes.  “It was fated…  As is your death tonight, but it is not to be taken by my hand.”

Hair standing on end, Sora’s focus darted to the ceiling as Jin’s easy nature broke into shock, head snapping up and jaw locking for half a second before yelling, “Daēva!”

The room’s lights flickered and died.

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Sora’s vision instantly compensated, a new evil pressure entered filling Sora’s mind—similar to Dáinsleif—every eye fixating on three mistborn shadows that hazed out of the solid domed ceiling, targeting Eyia.

Partially shapeless masses that had a human-like figure, the hazy figures extended baleful black wings, obscur dual sickles forming in their blurred hands as they lifted them to rake the Valkyrie.

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