Running from the guards was nothing new to Elisa. She could easily manoeuvre her way out of the Academy while she was being chased by the Red Cardinals. They were, after all, just one rank above her. Most of the members of the Red Cardinals were not formidable when alone or in small groups. Now, for example, Elisa could easily slip from their grasp given her astonishing speed. However, something was different.
She could feel it when a dagger flashed by her ear, cutting a few strands in its path before it sank its teeth in one of the stones. Blue eyes widened when a Red Cardinal managed to catch up to her. Elisa quickened her pace only to have more daggers swinging her way. She was lucky that they were not trying to kill her otherwise she would have turned into a pool of blood by now. With widened eyes and accelerated heart rate Elisa realised one terrifying fact - the people that were chasing her were not Red Cardinals. They were Black Hawks disguised as them.
Why the elite would be wasting their time by pursuing someone who had violated the dress code Elisa did not know. She could only continue dogging the daggers until one of the two scenarios became a reality – she was either captured or managed to escape. Her grandmother would undoubtedly punish her severely if the former were to happen.
Elisa bit her lip. With clench fists she closed her eyes and focused on her breathing. She could heart her heart thudding in her ears as daggers flew by. Her body was still wounded from the previous punishment, Elisa noted. With a curse she concluded that she could not use her new technique and risk losing a limb. She would have to fight back somehow. However, Elisa was no match for a Black Hawk. A prey would never be able to defeat its predator in the monster’s natural habitat.
Elisa felt a sudden pulse in one of her calves. She cried out. They had hit her. An arrow had pierced her skin. As she fell to her knees and wrapped her arms around the protrusion another arrow flew by her. Elisa’s eyes widened. Before her a figure in a dark red cloak had appeared. Elisa could only see a pale pair of lips pulled into a smirk which grew once cries of agony could be heard. The patch of pale skin that was visible had only one scar – it was a small one right across the right cheekbone. The arms which were holding the bow were covered in armour. Elisa nearly choked on her spit. That shade of red was ominously close to that of the higanbana.
Soon another arrow was pulled from the holster. A second after it was angled perfectly it was sent sizzling through the air with such precision that it caused goose bumps to appear on Elisa’s heated skin. Another Black Hawk cried out and fell to the ground. Elisa had just enough time to turn around and see that two of her three pursuers were on the ground, bleeding. Her eyes widened. The arrows had pierced the skin and bones in the left shoulders of both soldiers. The edge was sticking out from their backs, its peak shining with fresh drops of blood.
“Run.” The figure in red uttered as another arrow was shot. The Black Hawk managed to avoid it. A grunt could be heard from the red cloak as they intensified the number and speed with which they were shooting.
Elisa was about to stop and question the reason behind the red figure’s actions when someone suddenly appeared and grabbed her by the waist. Elisa was shocked by the speed the man possessed. He was not wearing a cloak. His face was visible to everyone and Elisa immediately recognized him – Allister Walker. He was the heir to the Walker familia and was supposed to salvage what was left of the greatness and dignity of one of the Greats. He had, however, shocked everyone when one day he had abandoned everything he had been taught to believe in and disappeared. Two years after he came back. This time, however, he was on the opposing side and it became clear that he had sided with the rebels.
Elisa tried to run. She stepped back and turned around. However, her movements were sloppy and as a result a pair of cold hands snatched her wrists. She struggled. Elisa managed to break one of her arms free by kicking the man in the shin. She then elbowed him in the gut and bolted. Allister cursed his luck and heard a grunt of disapproval from Kelly who was currently engaged in combat with the leader of the small patrol of Black Hawks.
Allister wasted no time. He immediately went after Elisa, confident that Kelly would do fine without him. After all, his partner had yet to use her trump card. This was why he increased his speed, pumping energy into his legs. Allister had started to pant by the time he managed to catch up to Elisa. They were nearing the edge of the wall. She would have to jump or risk returning to the Academy where she would undoubtedly be pursued by other members of the military. Allister was confident that she would jump, despite her current state. She was, after all, a survivor. While doing so, she would create an opening which Allister would immediately utilise. He would simply shoot a few arrows her way. He would distract her and then knock her out. It was fairly simple.
Of course, there were always times when his plans did not work. This was one of those dreadful occasions when the cornered prey decided to fight. Allister watched the girl before him unsheathe a rusty knife. Allister’s eyes narrowed. This weapon did not belong in such delicate hands. His eyes widened once they met the girl’s gaze – there was no fear in them; only blatant refusal to die here or be captured. He cursed internally before he smirked. This would definitely prove to be an interesting challenge. Allister could not wait to see what the descendant of a Carling and Gail was capable of.
A panicky Red Cardinal (one of the lowest branches in the military) burst into the dictator’s headquarters. Effa Carling paid the panting boy no attention. Her gaze was fixated on the battle that was ensuing. One of the rebels was fighting a Crow. The Crows were a subdivision of the Black Hawks and consisted of warriors who were masters of illusions. Most of them were descendants of the Kraft familia. Effa smirked once she saw the familiar golden spheres blaze into the dark depths of her student’s. She watched as the rebel’s figure went slack. The intruder’s head tilted downward and the red hood covered their entire face.
“M-Milady…” The Red Cardinal choked out, but was immediately silenced when furious pale blue orbs pierced his fearful green ones. He staggered back and fell to the ground, his knees shaking. The corners of the woman’s lips tilted upward. She then returned her gaze to the fight only to freeze. Her eyes were as big as saucers. Her hands which had been carefully tucked behind her back were now by her sides. They were shaking as she breathed heavily. She could not believe it. There was no possibility the gruesome scene that had just unfolded right before her eyes could be true. There was no way a Kraft older than fifteen or sixteen could be alive. She had made certain of it.
One of her best puppets was lying on the ground, blood oozing from every pore in his body and pooling on the pristine layers of steel that were supposed to guard the Academy from such beasts. The monster had somehow escaped and Effa had no way of confirming her suspicions. With a hiss and internal curse she whirled around and locked gazes with the trembling boy. With a calm voice she asked:
“What seems to be the problem?”
The boy’s mouth opened only to close abruptly. His eyes had shifted slightly and were currently watching two spinning spheres by the window. His green irises suddenly became clouded and a blissful expression appeared on his face. Effa immediately turned around, but saw no one. She briskly walked to the window and opened it. The dictator looked to the left and then to the right. She carefully checked her surrounding for any abnormal energy traces. There were none. It seemed as though no one was there or had been there and these two students had not fallen victim to a monster.
For the first time since the Kraft massacre a Carling was trembling from just thinking about the capabilities of the formidable familia whose members had been sacrificed in favour of preserving the order of the current regime.
Allister was sweating and panting as he dodged a hook, followed by an uppercut. Blood dropped to the ground from the cut on Elisa’s cheek and the gash in her leg as she aimed a fist at Allister’s neck. The boy dodged it just in time, but had not planted his leg with enough stability. As a result, his ankle gave out from the pressure and he ended up stumbling. Elisa used the opening she had been given and kicked Allister in the stomach. The boy fell to the ground in a coughing fit. He cursed once Elisa managed to recover her twin knives. Before any of them could make a move, however, two arrows flew by and grazed the skin of Elisa’s knuckles. The girl cried out and dropped the weapons.
“Tsk, tsk, I thought you would have finished her by now.” The figure in red cloak uttered.
Allister scrambled up and smirked before replying, “I underestimated her.”
Elisa did not wait for their conversation to continue. She immediately began running in the opposite direction. She did not get far before Allister appeared in front of her. Her eyes widened. Elisa stopped and backpedaled only to crash into a female chest.
“Goodnight, Blue Jay.” Kelly whispered before she brought Elisa to the ground. Kelly then wrapped her legs around Elisa, putting her insteps roughly on the insides of the girl’s thighs. Simultaneously, Kelly reached one arm over Elisa’s neck and toward the center of the girl’s chest. Kelly tried not to roll her eyes at the lack of proper armour. Her arrows could easily pierce the rusty steel.
Kelly ignored the wince and attempt to escape from Elisa. She simply used her free hand to stick a dagger into the open wound on Elisa’s calf. The girl screamed and immediately surrendered. Kelly’s next moves were like lighting. She quickly reached her free arm in from under Elisa’s arm and clasped them together over the girl’s chest in a tight grip.
Kelly then released the tight hold she had on Elisa’s chest and looped one arm on her opponent’s neck. Kelly aligned her elbow with the Blue Jay’s chin, so that Elisa’s throat was basically caught in the crook of Kelly’s elbow. Using the arm around Elisa’s neck, Kelly grabbed the bicep of her other arm. They way she held her arms reminded one of the number four.
Making sure to keep her grip intact, Kelly placed her unoccupied off-hand against the back of Elisa’s neck. She aligned it roughly with the arm that was looped around Elisa’s neck. Kelly made a fist with this hand because she would not be grabbing anything for the remainder of the hold.
Next she squeezed. Kelly flexed the choking arm as much as she could muster, while she pushed her off-hand into Elisa’s neck from behind. Fortunately, it was done right. As a result, the blood flow to Elisa’s brain was cut off. After four seconds Elisa passed out, unable to do anything because of the numbing pain and Kelly’s grip of steel.