This chapter does not correspond with any of the chapters from WTWFTD.
Characters appearing in this chapter:
Kagome (angel) & Tsubaki (white tiger Guardian) ~ Lexi
Veradis (amarok Guardian) ~ HeartTaunter
"They're only humans," Tsubaki commented. "Really not much to worry about."
Kagome turned to the Guardian, sighing. "Reading my thoughts again?" She should be used to it by now, after all the long years of comradeship, friendship, sisterhood. And besides, Tsubaki's comments were helpful - and she was right, of course - they were only a small group of humans and they had nothing to fear. But still, there were always the dangers.
"Of course," Tsubaki grinned. "How else would I ever get you to stop freaking out?"
A tiny hint of a smile found its way to Tsubaki's face. "I suppose," she replied. On the sound of footsteps outside, Tsubaki quickly stood back, and Kagome could feel the waves of irritation rolling from her body as their leader entered the weapons tent.
"Ready?" he asked.
Kagome nodded. "Yes, sir. We are ready to fight."
The second he left, content with Kagome's answer, Tsubaki's lips twisted into a snarl. Her fists were clenched; her posture tense with bristling anger. It hurt to see her like this. It wasn't right that she had to pretend to be inferior every time another angel came near them. And still, Tsubaki insisted on staying. Because without Tsubaki, Kagome would be alone.
"Maybe one day, we can be friends without the threat of death hanging above us," Kagome said gently. More to persuade herself than Tsubaki.
"And on that day, I'll enjoy ripping his throat out," the Guardian added, gesturing loosely after their leader. "Now, let's go. I feel in the mood for a good fight."
Tsubaki's legendary form was a force to be reckoned with. In the form of a white tiger, she tore through the humans' ranks, her claws tearing enemies to shreds before her as her fangs dealt with any who remained. Kagome could see her wrecking havoc on the battlefield below as she swept above the fight, her arrows piercing down into the chinks between the humans' armour, each blow fatally decisive. Even in the midst of battle, she couldn't help but notice the freedom with which Tsubaki fought; the wild, almost feral side to her as she swept through the masses of soldiers.
It was almost beautiful to watch, but saddening, too - she should have liberty outside the war. When her life did not hang in the balance of both skill and luck.
Kagome tore herself from her thoughts, refocusing herself on the battle. With practised fluency, she drew another arrow from her quiver, stringing it and drawing back in a single sweeping flex of her muscles. She released, her arrow piercing into the skin of a powerful soldier who was getting too close to Tsubaki.
Within seconds, there was another arrow notched to her bow, and another foe was falling, and then another and another and another.
She was out of arrows.
Plunging downwards, Kagome unsheathed her knives. Just before she hit the ground beside Tsubaki, she slammed her blades into the necks of two nearby soldiers.
Brave, she'd been called by their leader. Brave - and yet with such a kind spirit and innocent soul of youth.
Tsubaki emitted what seemed to be a deep-throated purr to acknowledge her presence, and her jaws opened as she lunged for another warrior. The familiarity of their fighting styles was natural as they moved together - the Guardian clearing a path; the angel picking off stragglers or survivors.
That was what it had always been, and Kagome wouldn't have it any other way.
Veradis watched the battle unfold with eyes like coal. They dared to fight on her territory - and yet to step in would be suicide, because she could never fight that many away, as furiously as her blood boiled at the mere sight of them.
They had no right to enslave the Guardians. They had no right to trample every last shred of dignity they possessed. But they did, and they would do so to her if she was so much as spotted.
One Guardian in particular caught her attention: the white tiger with its angel master. They fought together with practised skill - there was no way for a Guardian to fight so well beside its master without years of torturous training, during which the tiger would have been forced through hours of seemingly eternal pain. But there was something else about them. Something almost natural, as though they were not forced together, but had come together and woven their skills.
Veradis snarled to herself, her fangs gritting together. Her claws dug into the snow-dusted ground, scratching against the rock beneath. Such thoughts were foolish. The Alpha races were foolish. They were loathsome. They would never spare a Guardian pain - not ever.
And yet there was something about watching them fight. As the remaining human soldiers signalled their retreat, and the angel leant ever so slightly against the Guardian, Veradis made up her mind and succumbed to her curiosity.
She had always worked alone. Trust could only ever get you killed, she'd come to realise, but sometimes, inquisitive had to take reign. Now was such a time.
Tonight. Tonight, she would find the Guardian and she would ask: What could ever win trust for an Alpha?
When she found the opportunity to sneak into their camp, it was nightfall. The silvery light of the moon caught her snowy fur and gave her an almost spectral look - an intimidating appearance Veradis hoped would help her.
She had been watching the camp for hours. For the afternoon, angels had feasted and celebrated, as though their small victory over the lesser side had won them the war. It had been painful to endure - so much celebration as their Guardians were left forgotten, reduced simply to sentinels at the sides of those 'fortunate' enough to own one. She had to fight everything within her conscience to stop herself from tearing into the camp and destroying the angels.
But that would be stupidity, because that would get her nothing but a chain around her throat and her liberty snatched from her jaws.
There was one redeeming trait, however. The snow tiger sat in humanoid form with her master, a distance away from the others, and when none of the other angels were looking, they would share a smile, and the angel would pass her Guardian food.
Veradis's curiosity grew slowly from that. What sort of a tactic was it? Was it some form of strengthening the rate at which the Guardian's will succumbed? She'd never seen it before, but then again, she made a point to evade the Alpha races. This was an exception, nothing more, nothing less.
When the angels finally retreated to their separate quarters to sleep, the white tiger Guardian and her master entered the most isolated tent, and Veradis took the chance to go. She had to be quick, and silent.
Any mistakes could get her killed, but she could not subdue her desire for knowledge.
Veradis darted silently towards the tent and pushed her way through the flap.
She was greeted with weapons.