I woke up as I usually do – with nightmares. But unlike usual I wasn’t alone. In front of me sitting by the still burning fire was Michaela. She was watching me. I think I caught a glint of a smile when I sat up and ran my fingers through the camo hair tips. She waggled a finger at me and turned to face the fire.
She whispered, “I was wondering if you still woke early.”
“Still do.” I agreed. “Did you sleep?”
She nodded. “I did. I set an alarm.”
I chuckled, “Why didn’t you just wait for Dylan to wake? Or ya know ask him since he’s up before me most days.”
“We didn’t spend the night together.
“Why the fuck not?” I asked.
“You sleeping with him too?”
Mick snorted. “Not on his life.”
I gave her a wry smile. “He is kinda … balding.” I said to be polite. He wasn’t the most attracktive man I’d ever seen. He wasn’t ugly but he wasn’t either of our type.
Mick giggled, “He’s strict by the books. No relations. He said as we hiked up here.”
I rolled my eyes. “What did you want to talk about?” There was no way Mick was up with me just to catch up.
“Tell me what you want to do?” She asked.
“I don’t want to do anything. I think you can talk with Darwynn. He didn’t seem to think I was joking when he left and I suggested it.”
“You’ve spoken to him?”
“Not really. I spoke at him, he was in lion form.”
“You think peace is an option?”
I shrugged. “I don’t know. He just wants to be left alone by everyone. I don’t think it’s too much to ask as long as he abides by the Clandestine Providence. It won’t hurt to talk. We can always kill him afterwards.”
“If he doen’st kill you first.”
I smiled. “Do you think that little of my abilities Michaela?”
She sighed. “No, Nox. I know what you are capable of, but a gun to your head is still dead.”
“If he can get through my shields. Do you think I haven’t perfected that?”
I laughed, “You want to shoot a gun at me in the middle of the night?”
She chuckled, “It would do them a lot of good to be startled awake like that. But no, you are right. Crossbow?”
She stared at me in disbelief, “Really?”
I nodded. “I trust my ability even if you don’t.”
“Okay.” She said and stood up and walked to her gear and grabbed her cross bow and several bolts.
We went off into the woods a little distance away from camp. Michaela had me stand in the middle of a clearing and she went off into the middle of the trees and found a good spot to shoot from. She hid in bushes and thought I couldn’t see her. I shot a fireball at her just above her head the embers fell down on top of her and she sighed. “I forget you can see me even though you can’t do anything about it.”
I grinned but said nothing. She always underestimated my abilities as a Venatori.
I wrapped myself in an air bubble laced with fibers of earth to make it stronger. I charged it slightly with fire and electricity that would diable any electronics in the device around me. I turned my phone off and put it in my pocket so I didn’t fry it.
I saw Mick do the same thing. She knew me well enough to understand if I did something I did it for a reason.
She took aim and fired a bolt at my head and I just stood there. She fired a second bold as quickly a she could reload it and aimed iat at the same spot. It was faster then I could reload it, but not faster than a gun could fire, but it was fast enough, that both bolts ricocheted off into the trees after shattering against my air shield. Tiny ripples shown against my shield.
I heard a gasp from a safe distance away. Dylan and Matt were both watching. Matt was still on his bedroll but Dylan was coming from the creek. “Damn. That could come in handy.”
“It does.”I said blandly.
Matt walked over and put his hand on the shield. It sparked a little then cut out completely. Mick saw the falling shield and shot a bolt at me and I smiled as I pulled up a wall around me and Matt and flung a blast of air at her.
Matt grinned at me, “I didn’t think that would work.”
I smiled, “You are a ground. You can counter anything I throw at you. You just need training.”
Matt asked, “Can you train me?”
I shrugged. “We can work on it. But I’m not a ground. I don’t know if there has ever been a ground who could counter all the elements before.”
Dylan walked over to us and I dropped the wall of air. “He could be useful too if you ever went up against rogue Magnus.”
“Or dragons, probably vampires too.” I shrugged. “He could be a null. No one has ever actually done any testing.”
Michaela added, “Null don’t exist, Nox.”
“Neither do grounds, or Cesari until they do.” I shrugged.
“I guess you are right.” Michaela kissed Dylan on the lips and smiled at him fondly. “We are going to do it Nox’s way first.”
Dylan nodded, “That’s the orders aren’t they.”
Michaela nodded, “Handed down from Gary. But I didn’t want anyone to know that so I listened first.”
I smiled. “It’s always good to have a back up plan. Because free will and all that.”