There was a peculiar girl in the village, who talked about horses that never tired and little boxes that could answer any question, but looked confused at their moons and bread trees.
They found her last year in the forest, asleep and half buried under the snow that almost took her fingers.
“I shouldn’t be here,” she said when she woke up.
So they tried to help her return home, but they recognized none of the places she mentioned. The only familiar word they heard was “London”, but that was an animal, not a place.
Eventually, they turned their focus to making a home for her in the village. She accepted their kindness, but there was always something about her that was a little… different.
One day, she fell ill. They took turns watching over her as she slept the days away. Then, between one blink and another, she vanished.
The indoor thunderstorm came from one source: a little girl no older than twelve. The superpower, despite how destructive it looked, wasn’t actually dangerous, if she could actually control it.
In the past, they would have locked her away for everyone’s safety. Now there were laws against that, so they had to get creative. Considering her age, they decided to lock away her powers and keep it dormant until she was ready.
For years, it was the perfect solution. Then she finished high school, and her parents requested for her powers to be returned so she had some form of self-defence when she moved out for college.
Except, the power wouldn’t wake up.
Lavi took one look at what used to be a lab and demanded, “What happened here?”
Bennett and Benjamin, the only conscious people left, looked helplessly at each other.
How could they explain that the disaster started because someone stepped barefooted on a lollipop and freaked out, which startled the new Fighter they were examining, whose power lashed out and shocked every single equipment into malfunctioning and knocking out almost everyone and most of the lab.
Lavi pointed at Benjamin.
Benjamin cleared his throat.
“Someone dropped a lollipop, sir.”
“It’s the savage again,” they whispered as she passed.
“Look at those scars.”
“She needs to throw that hideous cloak away.”
She held her head as she walked past. Without her, all of them would be dead.
“Why bother? Just let us have them,” the demon said, invisible to all but her kind.
She ignored the words with years of practice. Right now, while the barrier between their worlds were up, they were like mirages on different planes to each other. Come sundown, when the barrier thinned, she would fight like the savage people called her. Not for them, but for her kind.
Genre: fantasy, humour
The cutest dog he had ever seen scampered across the living room.
“She’s cute,” his friend commented.
“Of course she is. As expected of my daughter.”
They watched the dog sniff under the sofa.
“You’re going to turn her back, right?” He had worked hard for her.
His friend laughed the laugh of a man who knew he had Messed Up.
“Yup. Definitely. Leave it all to me.”
Takes place in the Defenders of the Wall universe.
In a world where monsters ruled the wastelands, travelling between cities was risky. That was why he always triple checked everything on his PB before leaving.
So why was he only discovering his second passenger one week into the journey?
“I’m sorry. My little brother snuck in,” said Lucy, his only official passenger, with a helpless shrug as the boy hid behind her.
There was no use turning back. They were already halfway to the next city. The kid would just have to come with them.
“Of course, I’ll pay for all his expenses.”
Rather than that, the bigger problem was the blow to his pride. Obviously, he wasn’t as meticulous as he thought if a little kid could stay undetected on board for so long.
* * *
“You weren’t even here for ten minutes. That’s just sad,” Lucy said once they were safely in her bunk.
“I have super speed. Not super stealth,” Cory grumbled.
“So? What are you doing here? Not that I don’t love you, but this was supposed to be a solo mission,” Lucy continued in a much lower voice.
“Mission update. There are two targets,” Cory reported.
Lucy nodded. “Got it.”
“Great. Then I’ll leave you to it.”
Lucy caught Cory by the arm before he fled.
“Where are you going?” she asked with a too-sweet smile.
“How can I let my little brother disappear?”
“But I’m not supposed to be here.”
“Too bad. They know you’re here now, so you might as well stay and help me.”
Cory’s lips twisted in disapproval. Lucy tightened her hold.
“If you stay and help, I won’t tell anyone you almost blew the mission.”
Put that way, there was really only one option.
PB: Private Bus. Distinct from the public Buses which people can use to travel in between cities.
It started as a little bud.
Shadow had just returned after single-handedly saving the city from a colony of monsters. He wasn’t the only one to develop a crush that day, but as he watched the Fighter, he thought his feelings were more admiration than love.
Then one day, he was caught too close to the wall when a monster unexpectedly broke through. Caught in its claws, he thought he was dead, but a blur of purple killed the monster first and he lived.
The bud blossomed into a flower.
He wasn’t born with super strength of special powers, but Shadow was a Fighter, and becoming a Fighter himself was his best shot at getting close to her. He found someone willing to train him, giving the excuse that he wanted to become stronger so he could protect everyone.
What followed was two years of gruelling training before he broke down and finally told his teacher the real reason behind his decision to become a Fighter. By then, the flower was a monstrous thing that wrapped all around him.
“That’s a stupid reason, but it’s still better than that sorry excuse you gave me last time,” his teacher said.
Three months later, he was accepted into the Fighter program.
“This is only the beginning,” his teacher warned.
But it was still one step closer to Shadow, and he would take all the steps he needed to finally meet her.
Check out the related story Morning Training.
For such a small island, there were a lot of large predators.
His blunt nails and even teeth were no match for the sharp claws and tapered fangs, but he was armed head to toe, and the weapons weren’t just for show.
Some attacked alone, some in groups. He fought them all with practiced efficiency as he advanced into the heart of the island.
A giant flower sat next to a waterfall. He brushed the petals aside to shake the shoulder of the sleeping girl inside.
The petals curled back, trying to cover the girl, but he nudged them aside.
“You can’t hide forever.”
The island faded away.
In the real world, two pairs of eyes opened.