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Ch. 6.3 – Sara

The battle was raging in the forest, Alex and the newcomer confronting Gray Company at its edge, but Sara could make it all out clearly. Threads of Weaving outlined the six clearly enough that she might as well have been standing in between them. Max was mostly submerged in shadow, but the Weaver could sense both the Reanimate and his Mandate enemies. Molly was only a dim awareness in the Vision, but that was more comfort to Sara than concern. “How much longer, Alice?” she asked.

Alice’s grin was palpable through their bond. “A few minutes,” she said cheerfully, “not that it matters now. Akira’s got ’em.”

Sara blinked and looked at Alice, who was still concentrating as she pounded the bracelet into reality. Alex’s power surged through each hammer blow, adding a few millimeters of substance each time. “Akira?” Sara asked, feeling stupid.

“I’m a Magical Girl. He’s my Mysterious Guardian.” Alice kept forging the Majestech wonder from the Weave. I think it’s actually going faster, Sara thought, watching as the almost-platinum took form. The crystals, initially clear, filled with a violet energy that tinted them physically. “Keep an eye out? This is about to get intense.”

Sara nodded and focused, using Vision to scry ahead. The four Gray Company agents, brought to ground by Alex’s power, were watching Alice’s Anshin friend warily. For once, I can’t blame ’em, Sara thought, almost smiling. Akira was tall, lithe and graceful, with hair flowing to just below his shoulders. The only things in common between his suit and the Mandate thugs’ were the basics: slacks, white shirt, tie and jacket. Where theirs were dark, blunt and commonplace, the angel’s was vivid, sharp and unique. Wings were not evident to mundane sight, but Sara could see his in the Weave. They occasionally caught motes of light, hinting at their presence even to those without majestas. Sara made a fist. He thinks Alex is a Prime. A flicker of Weave felt the bracelet taking form. Huh. He’s probably right. One more thing we have in common, I guess.

“This does not involve you, Warden,” the Gray Company commander said, her hand falling to rest on her Majestech sidearm. At least it’s holstered now, Sara thought, not as relieved as she’d have liked. “All of us are human, even the Reanimate.”

Akira’s only response was to cup his fingers. “You are attempting to enslave a Majestic, Agent Martinez. Your so-called Skeptic has already injured her. These actions are sufficient violations of your understanding with Garden to permit my presence.” No power Sara could sense filled the Anshin’s hand. Martinez took a step back all the same.

“Enslave? That’s not…” she looked down and away. “Damn you, West,” Martinez muttered. A flicker of Vision raced through the essentia. The Gray Agent sighed and looked back up at Akira. “Okay, I get why you’re here, but my orders are to bring her in per standard Company protocol.”

“No offense, boss, but there’s two of them now,” one of the other Agents said warily.

“Not the time, Harkin,” Martinez shot back.

Alex’s armor crackled with renewed power. “It’s exactly the time. You don’t get to drag people off because you don’t like the way they look.”

Martinez glared at Alex. She seems…offended by him, Sara thought. “We keep the Broken and the Majestic from killing each other, you psychotic fanboy,” she half-snarled. “I don’t care if you are a Prime, you can’t fight the Complex.”

“The evidence suggests otherwise,” Akira said dryly. “This battle is over.” He gestured to either side of him. “Your Mandate cohorts are incapacitated, and numbers were your only hope.” Martinez shifted her foot, and a signal tried to escape her flight disc. Akira and Alex squelched it simultaneously, and the device let out a pitiful whine before shutting down completely. “I would prefer this not escalate,” the Anshin said. Sara felt him work not to smile.

Alice’s final hammer fall released a burst of light and majestas. “Yeah!” she exulted. “I do good work.” Sara spun, eyes locking onto the bracelet. Even compared to what she’d seen and expected, it was exquisite, having a faint gold blush to the otherwise gleaming silver-white metal. A purple crystal starburst adorned the center. Alice picked it up, hefted it, and put it on Sara’s wrist.

The Weaver’s eyes bulged. Anima, Blaze, even a trickle of Rift flooded back into her mind. All five Elemental Talents were hers again. She almost wept. Goddess. I feel – whole, for the first time in years. She flexed her hands, and the Weave leaped to command the other Elements at her touch. Her muscles strengthened, tone returning to them in ways the Skeptic’s attack had long denied her. Sara ran her fingers over denser layers of Weaving, feeling the solid reality it defined move to obey her.

The Complex agents vanished. Sara leaped into a defensive stance, and Alex was at her side so fast it could have been mistaken for a Rift working of his own, but their assailants didn’t reappear. “Well,” she said, grinning pointedly at him. “I guess they didn’t want to face us when we didn’t each have a hand tied behind us.”

Alex looked at her, worry melting into relief, armor dissolving back into the Blaze. “Is that what it was like for you?”

“More like a broken arm,” Sara explained. “You get used to being strong, taking care of yourself. Then in an instant, you’re hurt, dependent, vulnerable.” She held up her arm, bracelet glinting in the light. “This beats a cast any day.” The Weaver looked around as Max, Akira, and finally Molly rejoined them. “Thank you. All of you.”

Max smiled. Molly scanned the perimeter. Akira simply nodded. “It was an honor, Weaver Prime,” he said, “but we should also depart for the time being.”

“Okay,” Alex said, holding up his hand as if in class, “new boy’s confused again. I’ve only gotten Anshin name-dropped, and I don’t have any idea what a ‘Prime’ is, since it’s obviously not a giant robot.”

“As soon as we are safe,” Akira said. “Gather close, please.”

Alice practically bounced to the Anshin’s side. “Ooo, this never gets old.” The others moved in.

Sara glanced at Alice. “Where are we going?”

“Oh, I am not spoiling this one,” was all Alice said. Sara barely had time to grimace before the world became golden light.

Written by Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan was born in the Bronx, New York, giving him the right to root for the Yankees while making less than six figures. After a long, largely pleasant interregnum in suburban Connecticut, he moved to the Inland Empire, California to be with his wonderful wife and muse, a stepson, and a crazed feline. An occasionally too-avid player of and writer for tabletop roleplaying games, his other passion is metaphysics, which informs most of his fiction.

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