Rounding a corner, he practically slammed himself against the wall, gritting his teeth, and clenching his fist
‘Come on, focus! We’ve got a weapon, the entrance is most likely covered, so let’s see if we can find someway to tip off Ma about where we are!’
Pouring over what he had gathered, Lucas hurriedly shuffled off, getting as much distance between himself and the unconscious cultists as was possible. Periodically adjusting his speed to avoid raising suspicion from the other cultists, he kept his eyes open for the telltale markers that indicated what each room was for, making a turn here and there as he followed the indicators. Coming to a halt in front of one door in particular, he looked around before drawing closer to it.
‘This is the room where I saw something shine! Not really getting any bad vibes from it, and I’m still trying to piece together where they keep their radio, if they even have one…’
Making sure noone was around, Lucas opened the door, and looked inside. Struggling a bit to see in front of him with all the dim lighting, his eyes widened...before he gave the contents of the room a completely deadpan expression behind his mask. Moments after entering, two distinctive ‘thumps’ could be heard before Lucas exited, a long iron pole in one hand, closed the door, and resumed his search.
‘Huh. I guess even these psycho’s need to get their exercise in if they want to strongarm other werewolves to join. Still, smallest workout room I’ve ever seen...! Wait a sec!’
Hurrying back to the workout room, Lucas examined the door more carefully, and found an odd marking close to the wall.
‘Knew it! This is the weight room I heard about! That raspy-voiced woman a few chairs down confused a spider-shaped dent on a door downstairs with the one up here while retrieving some ink!”
His expression promptly soured.
“...of course it’s downstairs. Reeeally wish I knew if I was above ground or not.”
Whipping around, Lucas swore as several zealots rounded the corner, a few blunt weapons on hand. Rather alarmingly, none of them were wearing masks, their hoods hiding their identities. The foremost one pointed at him, a familiar vial in hand.
“Remember, we don’t want him dead; Only subdued!”
Dodging the ‘enlightening dust’, Lucas rushed forward, whipping the iron bar in his hand out in front of him, and slammed it into the fanatics, knocking the wind of two of them as they were smacked against the wall. Swiftly pulling the rod back, he was barely able to stop a club from reaching his ribcage, then kicked the assailant. Striking the cultist’s now-vulnerable shin, Lucas grunted as one of the two remaining enemies grabbed the pole and attempted to pry it out of his hands.
“I’ll give you b*stards this much - NGH! You definitely outclass most werewolves I know-”
Noticing the other remaining cultist take out a vial of powder, Lucas grinned as an idea formed.
“-Key word: Most!”
Abruptly letting go of his make-shift weapon, Lucas grabbed the cultist as he stumbled backwards, then used him as a shield as the mixture was thrown at him. Kneeing his temporary shield in the back, Lucas picked up his iron staff, and squared off against the remaining cultist, who had opted for a partial transformation.
Lucas smirked, and gave his opponent a single motion: ‘Bring it on’.
Narrowing his eyes, the cultist charged forward, and the two began to clash. Blow after blow was exchanged, with neither giving ground as the minutes became hours. After what seemed like the fifth hour, Lucas grimaced as a a claw left a long, but shallow, but across his cheek, then grunted as he felt the impact from the claws starting to pushing him back.
‘At least this getting interesting...NGH! I’ve GOTTA stop wasting time, and let Ma know where I am!’
Parrying another attack, Lucas grasped the edge of his cloak and ensnared the next incoming swipe, keeping his opponent wide open before swimming down his metal rod.
More than halfway to the target, the rod came to an abrupt halt, blocked by the other hand of the zealot before him. Grinning wolfishly at Lucas’ surprised expression, the cultist lunged forward with his teeth, intent on tearing into Lucas’ shoulder, and Lucas did the only thing he could:
He kicked, and he kicked HARD.
Flesh met flesh met iron as the cultist’s mouth was snapped shut, and his skull sent flying into his own, clawed fist. Swiftly bringing his staff to front, Lucas delivered two more strikes, causing his foe to crumble to the ground, defeated. Taking a moment to sit down and catch his breath, Lucas glanced in the direction of the stairs.
‘We’re almost there, Vaulen. We’re almost there.’
Quickly checking the bodies for anything useful, Lucas grabbed a shortsword and raced down the hallway, then outright leapt down the stairs to the floor below, rolling forward to decrease the impact. Bolting the instant he finished, he sped through the hallway, pausing only to offer a quick prayer to those who had died in the cells. Continuing his search, Lucas was forced to hide from a few patrolling groups and members before he found the spider once more (It looked more like an octopus, in Lucas’ opinion).
Slipping inside, he grinned as he saw something familiar gleam in the darkness of the room.
Immediately locking the door, he hurried over, readied the short message he had planned, activated the radio, hit the ‘send’ button…
And nothing happened.
“I must admit, your acting prowess is quite impressive, Brother Vaulen.”
His heart grinded to a halt instantly, and Lucas slowly turned his head to the room entrance, hoping that he was imagining things.
Staring at him through the doors barred window was Maxwell’s masked face, flanked by what Lucas could only assume to be dozens of other zealots.
“I am fairly curious; how WERE you able to resist the effects of enlightenment?”
Lucas simply glared, taking on a defensive position as a shiver ran down his spine.
“For you to be able to deceive us in the state you were in...perhaps you are more trouble than you are worth?”
A grin and a taunt were Lucas’ only reply.
Before Maxwell could reply, one of the other cultists seemed to realize something and began quietly communicating something with him.
“...The girl? She was disposed of; How is she relevant to his ambush-?!”
At that moment, an explosion shook the facility.
And Lucas had to resist the surprised smile of realization that was creeping onto his face.
“But how?? Brother Alain witnessed her being REPEATEDLY sta-!”
Hearing Maxwell panic for the first time since being brought to the cults mercy brought a smile to Lucas, one that widened into an enormous grin of audacity when Maxwell whipped around to face him, glaring intently behind the mask.
During that ‘second test’, Lucas had stabbed something, alright, just not the captive. Internally thanking Nick for the apprenticeship and subsequent medical knowledge, he had, instead, stabbed the least-worrisome part of his arm, and ensured the dagger was covered in blood. Stabbing as ‘violently’ as was possible, he made rips into the hostages clothes, the bloody dagger ensuring the appearance of continued mutilation. Keeping the stunned captive informed through whispers, he had learned a bit about the guard’s routine, how many had been captured, and that the weapons were likely stores upstairs somewhere. The act had been good enough to fool Alain, fortunately, and he had simply escorted Lucas to the burial room without inspecting the ‘body’. After all, why bother to check for a pulse when you think you’ve witnessed someone being killed as brutally as possible?
The captive sticking around and finding a way to signal for help, instead of escaping, though; Lucas had not expected that.
“...What are you all standing around for? Someone get up there before we are exposed!!”
More than a dozen cultists immediately rushed towards the stairs, but one fanatic actually seemed to have rushed down from upstairs, racing over to Maxwell before skidding to a halt.
“Arch-Brother! I’m not entirely sure who, but someone has blown up the second floor kitchen - The roof’s on fire!”
‘Finally! So, we’ve got ourselves a two-story complex with a basement. Explains the lack of windows down here.’ Lucas thought, reaching into his robes for the short-sword.
“How far has it spread?? Have the Patrol arrived?!”
“When I left, it was already spreading to the surrounding trees; Sister Lyle and Brother Alvare are directing half of us upstairs to put out the fires, and Sisters Munez and Carsel are ensuring we remain undetected if anyone arrives!”
“Good. Report back to Sister Munez, and bring Brother Alain down here at once - Thanks to his oversight, one of the Unawakened was left unattended, and the fire is a direct result. A mistake that shall soon be corrected, Brother Vaul-”
Turning to glare at Lucas mid-sentence, Maxwell’s eyes had a fraction of a second to register the fact that Lucas was no longer on guard behind the door.
He was, in fact, charging it.
And he was a split-second away from impact
The door getting thrown off it’s hinges, Maxwell was barely able to jump out of the way in time. The same, however, could not be said for a few of the zealots near him, who were smashed against the wall. Jumping back, his eyes widened slightly in fury, scowling behind his mask as Lucas leapt into view, short-sword in one hand, and an iron staff in the other.
Throwing off his hood, Lucas eyed the cultists around him, taking stock of their numbers, before grinning audaciously, and sending Maxwell a challenging look.
“I’m really tempted to just beat the everloving cr*p out of you b*stards for sullying Girelds name and brainwashing Fall-Girelites, but, because I’m a nice guy, I’ll give you one chance: Stand. Down.”
Their response was to immediately surround him.
‘Eh, it was worth a shot. Still, I think I can take most of these chumps out by the time Ma gets here.’
Ten minutes later, Lucas was forced to admit he had only been half right.
Ripping off part of his cloak to quickly wrap it around a fresh wound on his arm, he leapt back to avoid getting his chest ripped to shreds by overreaching claws. Evidently, the cultists he had fought with outside the weight room had NOT been good indicators about the strength of the average Bound cultist.
Gritting his teeth from the pain, Lucas made a grand sweep around him with the short sword he had picked up, scattering the zealots surrounding him; shortly into the fight, he had discovered a wind-based veil on it, giving it the reach of a longsword. Unfortunately, given that it still had the weight of a short-sword, he still found himself swinging too fast here and there.
Like now, for instance.
“Aw, come on!” he shouted in exasperation as he narrowly missed an oncoming mace. Forced to roll out of the way instead, he blocked the claws of another zealot, then widened his eyes in alarm as he saw the barrel of a hunting rifle poking out of the shadows behind his enemy. Ducking under his foes arm, Lucas delivered a swift kick to the lycanthropes stomach, then bolted to a wall for cover before the gunner could get a better shot.
“Of course they have firearms; why wouldn’t they have firearms?!”
Peeking out from behind the wall, he took a quick head count.
‘Good, good, I managed to take out a good chunk of the weaklings, and some of their higher ups. I’ve got a chipped tooth, a more than a few ribs are damaged, I know I’ve torn some muscles in my left arm, and I now know what a scratching post feels like. Add the fact that they probably know I can’t kill...’
Freezing at the faint sound of a gun cocking, he frantically dove to the right, and widened his eyes as he saw a blue cloud smash against the spot he had been hiding at.
‘Either they still think they can brainwash me before Ma gets here (HA!), or they’re really keen on the idea of a hostage who won’t fight back.”
Attacking the cultist who had taken the shot, Lucas swore as he misjudged his aim, barely missing the attackers rifle, and left himself wide open for a crushing blow to the shin.
Immediately grabbed at the injured leg and hissing in pain, a tear streaming down an eye, Lucas was at the mercy of his opponent, who swiftly brought the barrel of his rifle to Lucas’ head. Before his opponent could pull the trigger, however, Lucas used the iron pole he still had, and subdued him with a hard jab to the stomach. Decking the cultist as he knelt in pain, Lucas rested for a bit, panting, before practically hopping away from the sound of the kitchen fire, and hopefully as far from the smoke as possible.
Keeping close to the ground, he slipped into the first vacant room he could find, what appeared to be one of the cult’s closets. Immediately locking the door, he sat down and tended to his wounds with more care, before opening the door a crack and surveying where he was.
‘Alright, I think the small supply closet is supposed to be in a hallway parallel to the weight room. Taking into account the hallways I’ve already been down...just two more options left!’
Waiting until the coast was clear, Lucas stole down the hallway, pausing only once to confirm his location. He hurried past the place where he had knocked out the other cultists, this time continuing straight past the intersection, and taking a right at a corner...and running into a small group of fanatics. Letting out a curse, Lucas prepared for another brawl, only for all of them to charge forward with shields instead. Whipping his sword into a defensive position, Lucas let out a breath of air as the impact almost sent him tumbling to the ground. Cringing as he struggled to push against them, he glanced around, trying to find a flaw in their defense. As he saw the shadows of their feet, however, it suddenly dawned on him.
They weren’t just trying to subdue him anymore: They were trying to block his path.
With a grin, Lucas switched to pushing back with his shoulder, and swung the veiled weapon towards the ground behind him, and activated the veil.
It was like being shot out of a cannon.
Bowling through them all thanks to the intense burst of wind, Lucas crashed through a door behind them, and found hints of daylight slipping through what he could only assume were windows.
Unfortunately, he also found at least four transformed werewolves in front of the door to the outside. Judging by their bulk, he was facing the elites. Grimacing from some splinters now puncturing his exhausted body, Lucas struggled to get up, glanced around at the only obstacles between him and the outside. His options few, he let out a few pants before taking a deep breath, and prepared to reach deep inside of him and unleash his lycanthropic blood.
The instant that voice boomed outside the exit, everything seemed to grind to a halt, and Lucas’ heart skipped a beat.
With only the slightest idea of what she could mean, he was barely able to avert his gaze from the entrance before every door and window was blown open.
And with a great flash, all were blinded.
‘AGH!! My eyes-! What in Girelds Moon are they doing??’
Even shielding his eyes as best he could, the sheer intensity of the light shining through the windows almost paralyzed him on the spot
All around him, the cultists were in similar positions, trying to block out the overwhelming brightness by whatever means possible, voicing their distress in moans and whimpering.
“Let’s move, let’s move!”
With the sounds of the cultists surrounding him being grappled to submission, he struggled to the exit.
“Luke! Keep looking down, hun! We’re here for you!”
Still squinting as he struggled to adjust to the light, Lucas was picked up by barely distinguishable Enforcers, and rushed outside to safety, where he felt a pair of arms embrace him, and a single tear of relieved joy wet his cheek as Nora kissed his forehead.
Nora smiled, pulling away to wipe away her tear.
As with all races that inhabited the planet, werewolves were not invincible. In addition to the heightened aggression that most carried when they transformed, silver had a special property that had only ever affected werewolves.
It blinded them. Even a single sliver could cripple a werewolf, reducing them to a whimpering mess from the sheer intensity of the light itself. For the stronger, though, its effects were somewhat lessened. It was for this reason that the Enforcers were given special permission to use it to incapacitate any roque lycanthrope, under the most dire circumstances.
Taking one last look behind him, Lucas grinned slightly as he saw Maxwell being thrown to the ground, his mask already taken by the enforcers.
“And with all this, I think I’m gonna have a little break.”
“Mind if I join you?”
Glancing over his shoulder, Lucas saw his mother emerge from the fortress door.
After things had settled down, he had learned, much to his frustration, that some of the cultists had escaped, and Maxwell had proven to be very devoted to his cause. Just opening the hidden tunnel in the cells had taken them far longer than expected any trace of the cultists had simply vanished.
“Be my guest.”
Looking up at the night sky, Nora lit a cigarette, and inhaled.
“Quite a fiasco, huh?”
“All things considered, I’d say things could’ve been worse. Definitely not a fan of almost freezing to death, though; gonna try and avoid that in the future.”
Nora chuckled, the cigarette held in between her fingers, then grinned heartedly at Lucas.
“You escaped the clutches of a batshi*t insane cult, and you’re already making wise-cracks. Not sure WHAT I did to get these results out of my kid, but I’m glad as all h*ll that I made them!”
Nora laughed out loud, the stars of the night sky twinkling above her. Chuckling himself, Lucas gave Nora a cocky grin, arms folded in front of him.
“I’ll try to pass on the legacy! Wouldn’t want the well to run dry!”
Mother and son shared a laugh, wiping away tears from their eyes.
“Excuse me, Ms. Vaulen? I’m here to collect a repor-”
They turned their attention to the door. A patrolman had poked his head out the door and was staring at them with a bemused expression.
“What?” Nora and Lucas asked simultaneously.
Neither of them were aware of the fact that they were leaning against the Fort’s wall in the exact same manner.
“...I’ll just collect it when you’re done here, then!”
Wordlessly, the patrolman closed the door shut.
After a moment of awkward silence, Nora gave a small huff.
“Hmm, someone’s getting a write up; Luke?”
“That reminds me: I got a notice the other day. From your boss.”
An uneasy knot formed in Lucas’ stomach, making the left corner of his mouth twitch.
“Something about using an INFERNAL CORE to pull a fast one on him.”
Lucas gulped, letting out a nervous laugh.
“May I ask WHY you felt the need to do that?”
“C-c’mon, Ma, it was just a little joke! It’s not like there was any REAL dang--GAH!”
Nora had cuffed his ears.
“A Searing Core?? SERIOUSLY?! Where in Zorin’s Horizon do you get off, pulling a stunt like that?! I’ll admit I laughed the first few times I heard about you messing with the guy, but this is really pushing the envelope!”
“Alright, alright, I’m sorry! I’ll try to keep things to a lower scale-”
“No! I don’t wanna hear a PEEP, understand?! Not for a good, long time, Luke!”
With his mother jabbing a finger at him with a harsh glare, Lucas stiffened, shoved his hands in his pockets, and cast his gaze downwards, causing Nora to drop her arms and slouch in exasperation, letting out a long sigh. Straightening herself up, she massaged her forehead as she tried to sort out her thoughts, and placed a hand on her hip, cigarette in between her fingers.
“Listen, Hun; the man’s been through...He’s had a tough life, I shouldn’t need to elaborate. I don’t want you adding to that….just try to be a better person around him; that’s all I’m asking. Do it for me...please?”
Slowly, Lucas relaxed, looking upwards once more his eyes, and nodded gently.
At this, Nora sighed, and gave her son a tired, but grateful smile.
“That’s all to hear, Luke.”
Not another word was spoken between the two as they enjoyed each other’s company, bathing in the moon’s light.
“So, on that topic, Arthur also told me that you’ve got an escorting job coming up.”
, Noting that her cigarette was little more than a stub, Nora lit another, her eyes becoming half-lidded as she used her free hand to protect the flame of her lighter from the night’s wind.
“And, ah...just where exactly, ah, might you be ‘headed’?”
Lucas narrowed his eyes at his mother’s suddenly clipped tone, then closed them with a scowl when he connected the dots.
“For Gireld’s sake...I’m NOT going to Russel Haven, Ma! Trust me; We wouldn’t be having this conversation if THAT was the case. Dolson knows all about the situation; we may like ticking each other off, but he KNOWS that it’s the LAST place I should ever be sent to.”
“Good! Just thought I’d make sure!” Nora grinned at Lucas, eyes closed.
“Just for the record, ma, the jobs for to Bloom Haven.”
“Bloom?? That’s FANTASTIC! Make sure to check up on Clarisse for me while you’re there-and give her a kiss for me! Aphyr’s GALE, it’s hard to believe it’s only been three years since she moved!”
Nora quickly started off on a tangent, and Lucas simply rolled his eyes, a knowing smile spreading on his lips.
“Don’t worry about it, of course I’m gonna visit her. That’s what big brothers do, right?”
Lucas quickly found his hair being ravaged, courtesy of Nora’s free hand.
“Aaaah, look at you, being such a softie about your sis!”
Placing both hands on her son’s shoulders, Nora felt a tear welling up in her right eye as she looked at him dead on, gaze softened.
“You sure do a mother proud, Luke.”
After a few moments had passed, Nora turned her attention back to the fort.
“Well, I gotta go and look over the case file, make sure everything’s in order. You already turned over your statement and the evidence you snagged from that pit?”
“Soon as I got here, Ma.”
“Good. Be sure to tell everyone at W.I.S.S. I said ‘hi’. And remember: Enough with antagonizing Arthur, alright? Last thing I want is to hear about him dying of a heart attack.”
Giving Nora a kiss on the cheek, Lucas gave her an assuring nod.
“I’ll do my best, ma.”
Smiling, Nora tilted Lucas’ head down, and kissed his forehead.
“Love you, hun.”
“You too, ma.”
With a wave, Lucas began walking towards the stairs on the opposite side of the fort.
“Oh, one last thing, Luke.”
Nora grinned teasingly as she entered the fort, already halfway through.
“Millie’s not gonna wait around forever, so quit wasting time and go for it! I’m reeeeeally itching to having her as a daughter-in-law!”
Laughing out loud at Lucas’ rapid loss of composure, Nora quickly shut the door behind her, his exasperated exclamation of ‘Maaa!” immediately muffled.
“I just don’t know, Eve.”
Eve placed her hand on Charlie’s shoulder.
“I know it’s hard, but the Stalker opened my eyes; she NEEDS to start training soon, dear. Otherwise, she might not live long enough to get the training she needs!”
“But I swore when she was born that she’d never have to get involved in all this! That...she would always be safe. Both of you, you mean so much to me-”
“Yes, but sometimes, we have to face reality; we can’t always be there to protect her, and if she died because we didn’t prepare her...It’s time, Charlie.”
Staring deeply into his wife’s eyes, Charlie sighed.
“A-Alright...but give me a tic to find my old axe; If we’re gonna do this, then it should be like I was when I was her age.”
Placing her hands on her husband’s shoulders, Eve smiled, and kissed him.
After the Stalker incident, they had managed to secure temporary housing thanks to Tory’s employer, planning to wait things things out a bit until they felt it was safe to return home. At the moment, they were taking up residence at a nearby inn, with Aishi sleeping in a small room connected to the main bedroom
Gently knocking on Aishi’s door, Eve waited for her daughter’s muffled approval before entering. Aishi herself was reading a book in her bed, her head still wrapped up in bandages, some medication on a small table next to her, and a few plush dogs here and there.
“Feeling alright, Hun?”
Immediately looking away from her book, Aishi seemed to ponder the question before giving her father the best puppy-eyes she could muster under her condition .
“Hnn...I still feel a little dizzy...Maybe some more ice cream would help?”
Chuckling slightly, Eve walked over to the bed, knelt down, and looked her daughter in the eyes.
“Maybe some other time, hun. There’s something we need to talk about right now. You’re father will be here in a minute.”
Pouting slightly from the denial of sacred ice cream, Aishi reluctantly closed her book.
“Now, where to begin...All that’s happened this week has got all our nerves standing on end, mostly because of that monster….at the same time, though, awful as it was, I suppose that was a bit of a wakeup call, for both your father and I.”
Aishi tilted her head in confusion.
“...Listen; Your father and I have told you about our time on the Redwood Patrol, but there’s more to it than that. You see, before they go join up, most kids are taught a bit of self-defense by their parents. It’s basically a tradition, one that’s been going on for ages, some say dating back to when High Beacon was first founded.”
At this point, Charlie entered the small room, an axe in hand. For a few minutes, he simply stared at the scene in front of him, conflicting emotions dancing behind his eyes. Clenching his free fist, he inhaled, and let out a sigh. Nodding to Eve, he sat down on the end, and held the axe before Aishi, and continued where she had left off, resigned to what he was about to do.
“...This axe...belonged to my father. It was handed down to me when I was about your age, and I was trained in it’s usage until I joined up with the Patrol. And now, I’m handing it down to you. Your mother and I...as much as I hate saying this...we’re not always going to be around, and we want you to be safe, no matter what. So, as soon as you get better...do you think you’ll be up for it?”
Aishi’s eyes slowly drifted between her father and the axe as she processed what her parents were saying.
“So...I’ll be more of a grown-up?”
Blinking once, Charlie put a hand to his chin.
“...I suppose that’s one way of looking at it.”
Smiling as best she could given her injury, Aishi took the axe from her father’s hands, and examined it, noting how different, and light, it looked compared to the axes she had seen the Patrolmen carry; it reminded her of a coat hanger. To her surprise, the grip seemed to glow as she held it.
“Daddy, why is it glowing? And why does it look different from the other axes I’ve seen??”
As Aishi held the axe up to point out the veil, he heard them.
He saw them.
He heard the cries of a broken child, newly-orphaned within High Beacon.
He saw the faces of kind foreigners, saving him from his fate as he entered his new home; His new sister, Aishi, greeting him with a smile, and becoming his idol as the years went by.
...And he heard her, commanding him, Eve, and their newborn daughter, to find shelter, as she and the remaining Patrolmen faced off against the rampaging Incarnation
...and finally, he saw himself reflected in his daughter, asking his adoptive father the exact same question she was.
“Daddy, is something wrong?”
Feeling Eve place comforting hands on his shoulder, Charlie snapped out of his daze, turned his head, and looked Eve in the eyes. Holding her gaze for a bit in silently communication, he smiled and turned back to Aishi, brushing tears away from his eyes.
“I-It’s nothing. (Ahem). My father - well, my adoptive father - wasn’t from around here. Not many people come to live in High Beacon, as they’d rather not risk their lives on the patrol. Most who do already know how to fight, and your grandfather was one such person; This axe was his, originally, and that ‘glow’ is a veil that stops anyone who’s not a member of the family from using it.”
“So, it’s like a sword from those stories? The ones that Mum’s started reading every night??” With each word she spoke, her eyes started glistening with more and more wonder, her smile rapidly expanding...until she flinched, and reached up to massage her irritated trauma.
“I got it, hun.” Eve assured her, leaning forward, and giving her sore spot a small kiss. Lightly resting her nose on Aishi’s, she smiled softly, and rubbed against it.
“Of course; it’s gonna be just like those stories, Aishi.”
Recovering a bit of her smile, Aishi waited until her mother had stopped before looking down at the axe resting on the bed.
“Mmmm...Okay! So, after I’m better, will we practice a lot? Can I show it to my friends?”
Feeling his shoulders finally beginning to relax at Aishi’s acceptance, Charlie took the axe, and rested against the wall
“Y….yeah. Both your mother and I are going to spend as much time as we can teaching you how to protect yourself. But, don’t show your friends yet, Sweet Pea. Let’s wait until you’re good at using it.”
Nodding to Eve, Charlie leaned forward and gave Aishi a hug, followed by a kiss on the cheek. Leaving Aishi to her rest, Charlie and Eve exited the room, giving her a final wish goodnight. Laying her head down on the pillow, Aishi happily hummed herself to sleep.
In just a month or so, she was going to be more of a grown-up.