Sky was hoisted up to the ship before Vale could protest, his body strapped to a gurney as mechanical arms flew down and wrapped around him. The boy moved to block Vale’s path before she could intercept him. “That won’t be necessary. We have another way for you to get on board.” Before she could protest, the boy grabbed her around her waist and pulled her against his chest. Shooting her a dangerous grin, he smiled. “I’d hold on if I were you.”
A moment later, they shot into the air, Vale letting out a gasp of surprise. She wrapped her arms around the eighteen-year-old boy, hating the smug grin that hit his lips at her sudden closeness. Live now, punch him later, she promised herself.
They landed on the scrapyard looking ship that the boy had called The Ignis, Vale letting go as soon as her feet touched the deck, placing all of her weight on her good leg, ignoring the throbbing pain that snaked up the other. She took two unsteady steps backwards, glaring at him. “Who are you? Where did you take him?”
The boy shot her a grin, tilting his head to the side, amused by her burst of anger. “What him?”
“The boy I was with, who else?” Vale said, rolling her hands into fists. The boy’s grin only made her angrier.
“I think you’ll need to be more specific. Height? Name? Relationship status with you?”
Vale blinked, eyes wide. “Are you seriously trying to find out if we are dating? That’s your goal here?”
The boy took a step towards her. “Can you blame me? Having found such a beautiful girl sitting out on the water, in desperate need of help.” He reached for her hand and before Vale registered she had moved, she had jumped back, her metal arm transforming into a sword, point inches from his throat. She ignored another wave of pain that screamed for her attention.
“I don’t need your help,” she growled.
The boy glanced down at the sword, a look of surprise crossing his jade green eyes and then back up at her face. “That’s a neat trick.”
Vale gave him a hard smile. “I like to think so. Now tell me where he is.”
Suddenly, the boy was behind her, having moved in a flash. He leaned forward, his face inches from her ear. “You may not need help, but he does.” Vale flinched. He had a point, even if she didn’t want to admit it to him.
He was suddenly in front of her again. “Now that we’ve got that cleared up, why don’t you tell me who you are.”
Vale sighed. She had failed to keep her arm tech under control. Hiding her arm behind her back, she transformed it back to its original state. “I think we both know I’m not going to give you my real name-.”
“I’ll give you one then,” he said with a smirk. Running his fingers through his ink-black hair, he appraised her, his bright eyes soaking her in. “Raven.” Vale bit back her protest. She didn’t like the idea of him calling her anything, especially a name that was associated with how Sky saw her. A raven. But she also didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of making her angrier.
“I’m Dash.” Vale raised a brow. “That’s what they call me,” he corrected.
“And why is that?”
Dash was suddenly behind her again. Wrapping his arms around her waist. He leaned in and whispered into her ear. “Because of this.” They were suddenly in the air again. Vale screamed, scrunching her eyes shut. Dash adjusted her until he hooked one arm under her knees. She instantly wrapped her hands around his neck, pulling herself close, terrified. “Don’t close your eyes! You’ll miss all the fun!”
“I’m going to kill you when we land!” Vale bellowed, refusing to open her eyes.
“I better not land then.” He laughed. “Look, just open your eyes, and then I promise I’ll take you back down.” Vale slowly opened her eyes. They hovered in the air above the Ignis, giving her a better view of the junkyard heap of metal. “Don’t look like much does it?”
“It’s a miracle that it’s even flying!” Vale scoffed.
“It’s faster than it looks. People don’t think it’s worth stealing from a trash heap, makes it easy to get around without anyone really caring.”
“Clever,” Vale admitted.
“I like to think so.” They lowered back to the ground. He held her for a moment and when he made no move to let her down, she pushed herself free from his grip. She stumbled back and glared at him, taking in the crazy boy in front of her. It was then that she finally noticed his feet.
He placed his hands on his hips, looking down with pride. “Oh, these?” He wore a pair of steel boots. He lifted one up to give her a better view. A dozen jets poked out of the bottom. “The secret behind my speed.”
She crossed her arms, trying to look unimpressed. But it was a challenge. She had never seen anything like it. She wondered if that is how he saw her arm. Something unique. When she made no move to offer him praise, Dash put his boot back down and shoved his hands into his pockets, looking disappointed.
Vale sighed, thinking of Sky, his pulse weak. It melted her resolve. “You are right, my companion needs your help.”
“And you want us to save him.”
“Yes,” she replied without hesitation.”
“And what do we get in return?”
“I don’t know,” she admitted honestly. “I have nothing worth trading.
His dangerous smile grew. “One step at a time. If I can save his life, then we can haggle.” Vale didn’t like the idea of owing him something, especially owing him something she wasn’t aware of. “Deal?” he asked reaching out his hand.
Vale paused, trying to think through her options. But Sky’s life was on the line and didn’t have time for her to sit on the information she had to work with. Reaching out, she took his hand in hers. “Deal.”