The room itself was deadly quiet. All that could be heard was the faint murmuring from the other side of the door. It was cold, and the floor was severely uncomfortable, especially in the position she was in.
The door opened then, and a few moments later, she felt something press against her neck. A hand, most likely, from how it felt.
“It’s faint, but she’s alive,” a male voice murmured to someone. The voice sounded like it belonged to her cousin, Asa.
Wake up, a voice said in her head. She recognized it as her mother’s voice.
Bubbles, you’ve gotta wake up! This time, it was Ladon’s voice. For us! Please! Wake up.
They’ve taken Colton! You’ve got to save him! Agent chimed in.
The next voice that spoke in her head was her father’s, more gentle than she’d ever heard it before.
We’ll be with you like we’ve always been. Now wake up and save tuo amore.
Her eyes shot open and she took a large intake of air. She bolted upright, eyes darting around the room. A moment later, she forced herself to her feet, looking down at her arms, examining her skin.
She was her normal, coffee-colored self - she no longer had her fair skin. She felt more alive, and taking off her gloves only proved why she was feeling that way.
Her condition was cured.
The vow worked.
She’d taken the vow with-
Her eyes narrowed as her gaze slowly lifted and felt a powerful surge of energy around her. She wrapped her hand around the cold ring hanging from her neck.
Ersa used a poison dust on her: Argentum Illusio, or Silver Illusion. A dust that provided false images of what was happening around her based on her worst fear. Ersa also had Colton. She was taking him to Equinox D. She had to get him back, no matter the cost.
Ersa was about to be no more than a distant nightmare.
“Audra, no. We’ve- We’ve gotta run some tests on you. You need to rest-” Asa started, rising to his feet.
Audra sharply turned her head to look at him, and he took a few steps back when he saw the intensity in them. She tossed the gloves at him, then started out of the room.
Once she’d left the room, she heard everyone gasp and take a few steps away from her. A smirk grew on her face, but that faded quickly as she turned to Mark, one of her’s and Colton’s friends.
She took a small step towards him, and noticed a mixture of fear, confusion and relief on his face.
“Mark, where is Colton?” she asked, her voice calm and quiet.
His response was quiet, and she noticed there was a worried tone to it. “I- We don’t know. He was taken.” His brows furrowed slightly. “What’s surrounding you?”
She ignored his question and turned her attention to Ethan and Dalton, who had the same looks on their faces. “Where?”
They didn’t speak, their eyes disbelieving.
“Where is Colton?” she asked them again, raising her voice a little.
They flinched and pointed behind them, to a pair of exit doors.
She nodded, and she felt the energy surrounding her grow. She didn’t need to look around to see what was happening: dozens of Hydra heads swarming around her, too many to count, and her hair acting as if gravity had no affect on it.
A chuckle escaped her lips as she started towards the exit. “Ersa’s got another thing coming if she thinks she can nearly kill me, take Colton and get away with it.” She reached the doors and said a simple, “She’s dead,” before yanking the doors open.
Once outside, she broke off into a full on sprint, her rage fueling her energy. She felt the presence of her family and friends around her in the Hydra heads, guiding her as she sped down the streets, avoiding cars and whatever else got in her way.
She followed the feeling in her chest as she ran, knowing it would lead her to Colton. That’s part of how the vow worked - you could find each other, no matter how far apart.
She was running for nearly ten minutes before she saw the grey van. Two of the Hydra heads shot forward and latched on to each side of the van, pulling it to a complete stop. Another two heads reached forward and tore the back doors open, and she was launched into the van.
Almost immediately, she saw Colton, chained to the wall and passed out. Beside him was Ersa, standing against the wall with her black Equinox D. uniform, black high heels, and a pair of black shades covering her eyes.
Her lips turned up into a smirk. “Still alive and breathing, yes?”
Audra snorted, turning her hands so her palms were showing at her sides. She tilted her head a little to the side. “Isn’t it obvious? And I’m kicking, too.” Her fists clenched. “Now give me back Colton. I will not be so kind if you decide not to take the easy way out of this.”
Ersa laughed. “What makes you think I’ll give you the sol cithara? It’s a half-breed! We’re bringing it to headquarters for testing.”
"He’s not a thing!" she shouted, two of the Hydra heads shooting forward and pinning her arms to the wall behind her, morphing into the person they represented.
The messy hair and single ear piercing told her it was her brother Agent, glowing the same blue that the other Hydra heads were glowing.
Ersa laughed. “The girls are all here now! Alya’s come to join us!”
Audra saw Agent’s nostrils flare, a spark of anger in his eyes.
She took a threatening step towards them as a smaller head started to undo the bonds holding Colton captive.
“Agent is my brother! How dare you call him by another name!”
“Once a girl, always a girl. She’s just a cross-dresser!” Ersa sneered.
Agent let her go as Audra stepped closer, slapping Ersa before she grabbed her, spun her around, and pinned her to the wall, hands held behind her.
“Agent was realigned,” she growled. ”He has been happy ever since!”
There was a burst of bronze light, and Audra went flying out of the van, pulling Ersa with her. The Hydra heads helped her land without so much as a scratch on her. Ersa was rolling along the ground. Cars everywhere had stopped the moment they’d seen the blue light. The van had stopped, too, once they’d seen something happening in the back.
The men who were driving stepped out of the van and pointed their guns at her.
Ersa forced herself to her feet and fashioned a sword out of the bronze light surrounding her. “This is going to be one of my twelve labors all over again.”
“I bet Hercules didn’t fight a Hydra with as many heads as me.” Audra took slow steps towards her, placing one foot in front of the other and cocking her head to the side as she walked. “You were dumb enough to kill them without iron. You see… the thing about Hydra is-” The Hydra heads grew angry, swirling around her in a deadly pattern- “When one head is cut off… another two heads grow in its place. Meaning… I’ve got dozens of heads.” A sick smile grew on her face as she leaned her head to the other side. “It’s one to a million, Ersa. You’re nowhere near as strong as Hercules was.”
Ersa slashed her sword through the air as she became clad in armor. “We’ll just have to see about that!”
And the two of them raced towards each other.