Previously, in “Of Thorns and Lightning”
Suddenly, Maize had four Order of the Black Rose agents storm her from all sides that she couldn’t all get at once, and she would be ambushed by the others if she tried going at them one by one. In a panic, with nobody seeming to notice what was happening because they were fighting their own battle, Maize had an out of body experience. Her powers seemed to take over and she didn’t have to think, it was as if she transcended into a completely different state where she wasn’t in control, her body was devoting all of its powers to one resource: her skin became electrified and her body shot out hot white lighting from her hands and arms, coursing through her veins.
Before she knew it, the Order of the Black Rose agents was taken out. They dropped dead to the ground with a thud.
There was a moments’ pause after the last lightning bolt fizzled away and the next round of The Order of the Black Rose agents came out to play. They knew the battle wasn’t over yet. All the Gods breathed heavily, looking at each other in stunned awe. Maize was knelt down, sitting back on her knees recovering because that took a lot out of her. Her hair was a bit frazzled from the static electricity, and everyone’s hair in the room was standing on end. It was truly something incredible.
“That was fucking terrifying!” Diana exclaimed, still feeling the electric buzz in the air, similar to just after a thunderstorm. “And none of you seem to think that’s crazy?!”
“We’ve seen her do it before.” Dike shrugged. “Not as big as that, but like, she’s done it.”
“You guys are something else.” He said in disbelief.
“Maize!” They called to her. She looked up, and they noticed her eyes were still glowing and blue, what was left of her major lightning attack. She gave them a thumbs up and got to her feet, knowing she had to continue to fight.
Before she could fully regain her composure, a grenade went flying over her head that was obviously aimed at her, but she dodged the projectile and it broke through the window behind her. It fell down through the roof of the empty warehouse and exploded there, and Maize could feel the shaking of the ground when it went off. It triggered a fire to start that everyone was hoping didn’t spread because then they’d really be in trouble.
Maize reacted quickly to the follow-up attack against her and did a backflip to avoid an attack at her feet meant to sweep her off and get her down on the ground, but when she landed she didn’t avoid anything. She was face to face with a The Order of the Black Rose agent who shoved her as hard as he could, pushing her through the window behind her and she took a free fall through the air off the top of the building, crashing through the roof of the burning warehouse. A piece of the metal scaffolding punctured her skin on her way down, but it pushed through her body when she landed on the ground. She got caught in the one place her armor was weakest, right at her waist.
Every kind of pain she had felt over the course of her entire life didn’t nearly add up to what she was feeling in those excruciating moments she spent curled up on the cold and cracked cement.
Her long blonde hair was grouped in clumps of dried blood from a wound she couldn’t and could feel at the same time.
Every breath felt like knives piercing her lungs, her rib cage felt like it was caving in and crushing her and exploding outward with an immense amount of force when she breathed in and out.
Her whole body was weak and cold and shaking. If this is what it felt like to die, she could only hope it would be over quickly.
Each minuscule movement that altered the ground around her was like it was a heavy impact, radiating through the ground and making her want to scream in pain, but she couldn’t. She had nothing left in her for her to defend herself. She let the pain consume her and kept her eyes squeezed shut in an attempt to make it go away faster or hurt any less, to no avail.
They all saw her fall out the window, but nobody knew what to do. Jason had told William inside the suit that they had taken care of everyone in the building and all the Gods were eager to leave. Artemis found a file room and took every important book and document she could, broke whatever machines she could see to make sure that whoever was left wouldn’t be able to do anything. She wanted to multiply their losses not by manpower, but by intelligence. Anything she could do to hinder them, she would do.
“We have got to get out of here, now!” She called.
“I don’t want to stick around either, but the kids-” Diana began.
“They came here on their own and they can leave on their own! We can’t wait any longer to go. The Order of the Black Rose knows we’re here and won’t hesitate to tear us apart if we wait here like bait!”
“If she’s still alive, that’s a BIG IF, she won’t make it home. We have to go!" She emphasized.
Dike supported Meaghan on the way downstairs since she had a through and through gunshot wound, and Dike grabbed the motorcycle.
“Dike we have to go get Maize!” She said breathlessly as she limped away from her in her direction.
“No. You have a chance. She doesn’t. We have to go.” Dike said, grabbing her arm.
“I’m going to get her with or without you.” She said, exasperated, tugging on Dike’s grip.
“I’m never going to command you like this again, but the answer is no. You are going to get on the back of that motorcycle, and you are going to leave with me, without her. I did it with Arawn.”
“But you got him back! I’m not that lucky, Dike!”
She clenched his jaw at the mention of the situation with Arawn.
“Fine! Go ahead into the burning building to save the friend you don’t even know if they’re dead or alive. Go ahead, risk your life against an ambush or booby traps laced on the ground or in the building. Do you think you can drag her out? Do you think you can help her?! I’m not losing the both of you in there. I’m not risking you. You’re bleeding out, you’re in no condition to save someone else when you’re not even in a position to save yourself.” Dike said, letting go of her arm, and Meaghan noticed all the splashes of red on the snow that had fallen just in that time period. She was starting to feel the pain and the blood was becoming thicker, seeping through her hands.
“Getting her is the right thing to do!”
“But sacrificing yourself isn’t.”
She knew he was right. She looked back at the warehouse and back at Dike, who had gotten on the motorcycle and started the engine. Reluctantly, she got on the back and wrapped her arms around Dike’s waist, and they went speeding off.
Both Jets were getting ready for takeoff. They were loaded up all except for two, but they were ready to take that chance. If they didn’t leave soon they just put themselves at a greater risk of another attack. They tried getting in contact with William, but he wasn’t answering.
“William! William, where are you?! We’re leaving in two minutes and that’s final! Talk to us!” Artemis spoke. She got nothing.
“William, I don’t want to leave without you, but I will.” She warned, trying to coax him out to the Jet. They had to assume the worst if he didn’t respond at all, and eventually, it came to that.
“He was right behind me, I swear,” Diana said, mentioning William’s last location to Artemis who was looking out into the snowy woods for a figure that never came.
“Let’s go.” She said, and her say was final.
A god had fallen.