“yes sir, very clear”
Aayla stated gently as she listened to the man’s plan. She took a deep breath, attempting to steel her thoughts and prepare herself for what was going to happen… He would be the one to serve as a distraction, and hopefully that would distract enough of the bandits to give her a clear path to their leader… which she still had to find.
Whenever he took off to do his part of the mission, Aayla took off as well, wasting no time as she bolted towards the river, allowing herself to sink down into depths and let her bod fade from view as her water body seemed to merge with the water of the river to a degree.
The water dragon slayer took a couple of sniffs into the water, taking in the nearby scents and hoping that her nose along with instinct would take her to the one in charge… She swam forward into the water, always careful not to create any disturbance to the waters surface to avoid detection, however, as she turned around the first bend in the river, she was forced to stop. The river was littered with dormant lightning lacrimas, the small orbs scattered in a mess to make it impossible for anyone to get though.
She grumbled softly as her yes scanned each lacrima, scanned the space between each of them and how she could best get around it safely. She closed her eyes for a moment, taking another deep breath before taking in another sniff of the surrounding waters, opening her eyes only to look up at the sky and what scenery she could make out around her. She was still no where near the opposite end of the village, if she got out of the water now, she didn’t doubt that she would be detected. Finally gathering up her courage, she let herself sink to the bottom of the lake, her feet touching the ground as she began to walk towards the lacrima. She took her time slipping between each lacrima, contorting herself in ways she never thought she would need too. She would crawl against the bottom of the lake, then rise up to slither passed another set of lacrima that were extremely close together. She knew that no adult would have been able to get passed these… for once she was lucky to have such a small size.
She finally began to reach an area where the lacrima seemed to thin out, however she could feel a light current of power passing through the water, as if an electric eel had gone by, or as if one of the lacrima had been set off a long time ago. Suddenly, her nose was greeted with a putrid smell… the smell of death, of a decaying corpse. She scrunched up her nose, and finally found the source of the danger, and the smell. There was a pile of what looked like four bodies piled one on top of the other, each body had a rope tied around their waists with a heavy stone that kept them at the bottom of the river. Above them, the lightning lacrima had thinned out drastically, no doubt having been set off when these people were thrown into the river. Aayla couldn’t help but ball her hand into a fist, gritting her teeth tightly as she looked at the corpses, then back up to the river bend with a furious look crossing her features. How could they do this to those poor villagers? What did they have to defend themselves? What warranted such a painful death! If tears could be visible underwater, then they would be quickly falling from her eyes.
To her surprise, she could see two people make their way over to the river bed just a little way up, where the lightning lacrima were a little more concentrated. One of the people standing at the river’s bend was crying, their hands tied behind their backs and a rope around their waist. She could smell the woman’s tears, and hear her pleading with the man who was no doubt her captor. She watched and listened at the exchange of words, frowning heavily as she walked passed the corpses of the villagers, slowly and quietly making her way up to a safe spot just beneath the river’s surface. Apparently, this man was accusing her of making contact with a legal guild, begging for help, and of course, this would ruin whatever grand plan they had. She had hoped to hear more of the story, but the man stopped speaking, and shoved the woman down into the river.
Aayla was quick to act, easily dodging the few lacrima that stood between her and the falling villager. She took a deep breath and once the woman broke the waters surface into the river, Aayla cast her water lock on the woman, holding her in place, just inches above the lacrima she was about to touch. She swam closer to the lock, her hands always ahead of her to maintain it. When she got close enough to the other woman, she slipped her hands into the waterlock and gripped the rope around her waist. She manipulated the water around them to her hands, creating water claws as she cut through the rope. The rock and the rope fell to the bottom of her water lock, threatening to crash into the lacrima below them the instant the water lock was released.
“Stay calm… listen. As soon as I break this spell, that rock is going to hit the lightning lacrima… You’ll never make it to the surface in time… I can launch a spell that will throw you out of the water and back on land… it’s going to hurt but you won’t die… trust me… okay?”
She asked of the woman who seemed absolutely panic stricken. She didn’t understand how she could hear the girl underwater, or what was really happening, however when she looked down at the rock, her eyes widened and she could easily see what the young girl meant. She was going to die without her help…
Aayla look another deep breath, readying her water dragon’s roar. She let go of the water lock and released her spell on the woman. The force of the spell knocking the girl straight back out of the water where she was roughly flung back on land. Aayla on the other hand, wouldn’t have enough time to et away from the lightning lacrima as the rock crashed down into it, shattering the lacrima one at a time until it reached the bottom of the river. The young dragon slayer barely had time to make it to the rivers surface before the current of electricity began to course through the river, and in turn her body. She screamed and writhed in pain and agony as the lightning stuck her. She could barely move an inch as her body was tortured by her opposing element. She cried and cried, screamed and shout as the current surged through her. She truly didn’t think she would make it out until she felt a hand close around her wrist and pull her up and out from under the water. The woman she had just rescued… she had come back for her, pulling her to safety though not without suffering the pain the lightning inflicted while being carried by the water. The woman’s arm was red and swollen from the affliction, however, Ayala now lie on her back, still writhing in agony until the electrical current within her body would die down.
“Why would you do that for me… you risked your life… for a stranger…”
The young woman stated as she knelt down next to Aayla, cradling her injured hand as she hoped the small girl would quickly recover. Her recovery was not quick, but soon you could see that the current hurt much less than it had while sub-merged.
“S…stranger o…or not… I couldn’t l…let you die… won’t let a…anyone else d…die because of m…my weakness…”
Aayla began, sitting up finally and taking one deep breath after another to steady herself.
“Well… thank you miss… you saved me… thank you…”
The woman said with small tears of joy in her eyes as she quickly hugged Aayla as a thank you, then quickly letting the girl go as she heard the footsteps of someone approaching.
“Do you have a place to hide?”
Aayla asked the woman who nodded quickly.
“Then go, hurry… I’m going to find their leader and put an end to this.”
She stated, getting up to get going when the woman grabbed her arm again.
“Up on the cliff, there’s a small cabin. They built that not long ago… I’m sure that’s where he is… good luck.”
The woman instructed before darting away from Aayla. She opened up a dumpster and quickly jumped inside. The dragon slayer supposed that was as good a spot as any, not lingering to think on it before darting away from the scene and running down the river’s edge until she needed to hide behind a house. She peered around the corner, watching the man from earlier who was looking back down into the river as if admiring his handy work. The lacrima had indeed been struck, he had heard the familiar sound of the lightning and the struggle. A crooked smirk crossed his face as he stepped away from the spot, walking back into the vllage. She could hear cries and shouts suddenly being let out. A warning, someone was attacking the village and they needed all available mages to the front. Aayla smirked at this as she stepped out from behind the house and continued to run along the river bend as fast as her little legs could take her.
How was she supposed to get up on top of that cliff without Zinnath? There seemed to be absolutely no way up unless you could fly, or had a teleportation crystal… well she didn’t have time to go looking for one… it could be absolutely anywhere! What she could do though… was fly… at least she could try too… She looked up at the cliffs edge and followed along the shadow it cast, trying to judge the angle, and the power she would need to make it up.
“Okay Aayla… this is stupid… but you have to do this… you have to save these villagers…”
She told herself, riling herself up as she turned her back to the cliff, looking at the village it overlooked, before looking down at the shadows edge. She took a deep breath and brought her hands up to her lips. A magic circle appeared there as she cast a familiar spell.
“Water Dragon’s Roar!”
She channeled as much magical energy as she thought was needed into the spell, unleashing her breath attack against the ground. At such a close proximity to herself, the spell launched Aayla up into the air at such an angle, that the girl would be able to land on top of the cliff. However, as Aayla got a certain distance away from her initial target, the spell lost momentum and began to die down. She quickly twisted her body in the air, pushing against the last remnants of her water spell and just barely managing to grip the edge of the cliff, her body hanging dangerously from it’s edge as the earth slowly began to grumble away from under her hands.
She gulped loudly as she channeled her water dragon’s claws, digging them into the dirt, and bit by bit, dragging herself over the cliffs edge. Once she was on top, she crawled a safe distance away from the ledge, panting heavily as she lay flat against her back for a moment, looking up into the bright blue sky as she attempted to regain her breath.
Her rest was short lived however, as she could smell, and hear heavy boots walking towards her location. She quickly jumped up to her feet, bracing herself, shifting her steps into a fighting stance much like her many teachers had taught her. She brought up her arms, showing off her talons as the form of the booted person came into view. Aayla was surprised to find a woman… she was a tall, tanned skin adult with dark down hair tied back into a low ponytail. She wore what could have been a pirates hat on her head and a long jacket that was adorned with furr on it’s ends. The boots she had heard were magnificently crafted, with a celtic design adorning it’s leather.
“Well well… what do we have hear… a kid? You don’t look like any of the kids from the village… in fact I don’t think I’ve seen any adults who could have a child like you. Tell me brat, who are you? “
She asked, her accent was heavy, and almost difficult to understand. Aayla’s eyes narrowed on the womans form, though she didn’t budge.
“All you need to know is that I’m here to free these villagers from your tyranny. It’s over, you lost. I’ll give you one chance to surrender.”
The woman broke out into laughter, reaching into her coat she retrieved a whip which she unravelled and snapped against the ground. Lightning began to dance around the weapon in a terrifying display. Aayla wanted nothing more than to run from this woman… she was able to use lightning… something she was utterly terrified of… something she just didn’t want to face… the only thing that stopped her however… was the thought of letting the villagers down. If she left, no doubt they would die… these bandits had been found out, therefore she didn’t doubt they would kill all of those in the village and try again somewhere else. She had to take the girl down. Aayla took in another deep breath before dropping her water dragons claws.