Part 2: Chapter 10
Mir and I waited for everyone to meet us by the river. I stayed away from the water, as I didn’t want to be wet right now. Although, Mir was frolicking in the water with Darson in his jaguar form. Several students prowled up to meet us. I noticed that Kelsy’s lioness form had a tint of red in her coat. She apparently felt excited to be near me in her animal form. It was radiating through to me and everyone else across the shared Shaper link.
I bounded away from her and the pack of lions and hurled myself across the river. I got myself wet a little bit and grumbled about it. Mir stopped playing and turned to glance at me.
Just keep Kelsy away from me. That’s all I need is her literally pouncing onto me in animal form. She apparently didn’t understand my brush off earlier.
Mir laughed from our link. We’ll sneak up in cloaked form. Are you ready? They’re about to launch.
I nodded. I bounded back across the river and landed next to her. We cloaked ourselves and began to prowl towards the Shrine. Everyone followed suit.
I could feel the pressure and excitement of the hunt radiating through the Shaper link. It was different from earlier this week when I reestablished the link for the Lake Shrine attack. I had felt the excitement, but didn’t feel involved. Now I could feel it taking over my body as I tensed up in expectation.
We were out on the grassland now, in open view of the Guardians. I paused when I saw Aralisa. She was standing straight and tall on the western end of the gazebo that was the Shrine. Mir was annoyed through our link. I crept back up to where she was. We waited for the signal from the air to attack.
Suddenly, I didn’t want to attack the Shrine. These were her friends and I didn’t want to harm her like that.
Nola pushed her head towards mine from the outskirts of my sight. I turned to stare at her. She winked a golden eye at me. See, you can’t hurt her. She pounced off behind me again. I sighed inwardly. I knew it was true. This was going to be a new experience.
Asper flew out of the forest with his flock and began to lead the attack. They flew swiftly like a flock of birds. I glanced at each of the Night students to see their reactions but they had none. Everyone thought they were just birds.
Asper laughed in the Circle link. I flew over the Shrine earlier, and they didn’t budge. Seems like they think we are just birds again.
It was a neat trick, but Aralisa wasn’t fooled. She saw through their disguise and got the archer girl to start firing arrows. Asper swerved as he missed two arrows aimed at his wings. Two of the birds behind him caught them into their wings and they turned around headed for the forest where help was nearby.
Prie, you got two headed in your direction. They’re wounded, Hasten spoke through the link. He suddenly appeared on the northern end and began to battle the Guardian that was positioned there. He overwhelmed him, and soon Trayen, who was on Guard as well, ran to help him out. Hasten was a beast in bear form. I was amazed by how the two students fought his attacks off.
Mir glanced at me. Our turn.
The pack of lions behind us broke their cover and began to run towards the Shrine. The Guardian Instructor that was present spoke something to Aralisa before he ran out to fend off Panter and the lions. The whole pack was occupied by this new Guardian, as he was powerful, like a mountain.
Mir was grinning; I could see it through our link. We shed our cloaks and bounded up towards the gazebo. The archer girl turned to fire an arrow at Mir, but I ran up and pounced on her before she could notch the arrow. I didn’t mean to come down hard on her, but I did. Her weapons were tossed aside, and the girl was knocked unconscious.
Guardian student is unconscious, I reported to Hasten and Prie who were both listening along the link.
Suddenly, my focus shifted as Aralisa was staring straight at me and Mir. She looked over at me like the day on the river bank. I wanted to protect her, to come closer to her and shield her from the attacks of the Shapers, but suddenly there were air currents around me. They lifted me up off my feet and carried me away from the Shrine. I was hurling towards the school in the air at a fast pace.
I had never flown before; I never liked shaping into a bird. It felt weird. It was exhilarating but scary at the same time. I was meant to be on the ground, not in the air. Plus, I began to panic as I was now no longer near Aralisa; I couldn’t see what was going on.
I turned my head to see where I would end up. The windows were open in the dorm again. I flew through them and landed in the middle of the meeting room in the Night class dorm. I froze and then activated my cloak when I saw the students.
They all saw me come in. They froze in the middle of their activities. Even after I cloaked myself, they still stared at the spot where I was last seen. They all came closer to me in a circle, trying to pen me in. This wasn’t good. I couldn’t shift and explain.
Aralisa sent me into the Night dorm. I sent it across the circle. I also sent a picture of what was happening around me.
I could feel Mir through my family link as it opened suddenly. She was mad, because I had been put in danger by accident.
I am coming. Don’t do anything, Branella spoke out across the link.
I just stayed put and watched as the Night students encircled me. I opened the circle link and watched some of the battle through the emotions of the others. I was waiting patiently for Branella to appear when it happened.
Mir was suddenly really angry at Aralisa for putting me in danger of several Guardians in the school. She was pouring her anger through the circle link. We all felt it. She crouched low, getting ready for an attack.
Mir, stop. I’m alright, Branella is coming.
She didn’t stop preparing for her attack.
Mirabella, don’t attack her, Darson yelled through the link again. You’ll regret it.
She didn’t pay any attention to the pleas. She suddenly leapt towards Aralisa. I was afraid that she would be harmed, that both of them would be harmed. But it was Aralisa that I was more concerned about. She was lying face down on the ground, looking slightly disoriented, as Mir launched herself.
And then Mir’s eyes widened in surprise, and I saw it all happen from Mir’s point of view. Aralisa rose up swiftly and picked up her comrade’s fallen bow. She notched an arrow and fired it straight at Mir.
I felt, more than I saw, Mir take an arrow to her chest. I felt the pain pour into me from our shared link. My cloak fell off and I howled in pain. I had to get to where she was quickly. I leapt past several students, hurling myself towards the closed doors that led to the main hallway.
The Night students reacted as they scrambled towards me, trying to stop or catch me. I didn’t care; Mir was hurt badly. I needed to get to her. I needed to make sure that she and Aralisa were both safe. I could feel the fury and outrage of the Shapers through the class link. It was only a matter of time before they struck Aralisa.
Mir! I called out to her, but she didn’t answer.
Darson! Hasten! Someone! Mir’s been shot, she’s not answering! I sent out frantic cries for help. I was closer to the door when I realized I couldn’t open it. I was just going to have to break it down.
It opened as Branella stormed into the room. I bounded away from her and growled. She stopped and turned towards me.
Go outside and wait for me. You’ll hear me explain.
She turned back to the Night students who were pausing to wait for her orders. “There’s a Day student in here, Branella,” a girl shouted. “That black panther over there…”
“I know,” she cut off the girl. “There’s been an incident at the Moon Shrine. Mallie sent the black panther here on a current of Air by accident.”
“But he just attacked us. He pushed past Harvee and Novin headed towards the door as he growled at us.”
They stopped talking all at once and waited for Branella to speak. “It’s because there’s been an attack. Mallie landed an arrow into the chest of one of the Shapers. She’s been critically wounded and is headed towards the hospital ward right now. Go back to your activities.”
Several awed gasps followed her short explanation. Branella appeared back at the doorway and stared at me. Go to the Healer’s ward. They’re bringing her.
I paused as I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to see Mir. I wanted to see Aralisa.
Caiden, go to the ward. Aralisa will be detained at the Shrine, her thoughts intruded on mine again.
I took off towards the medical area of the Academy in a run.
Mir, please be alright, I pleaded to her. There was no answer.