Riwenne and her friends have a new way to sneak past the Empire’s border defenses and into enemy territory. They’re going to transform into birds and fly to save Olona City, another floating city that’s at risk of falling out of the sky. See what happens next.
Fly to Olona
The next morning, after the dawn ceremony, we were ready to start our new mission.
Because the planetary warriors were more experienced with this kind of stealth, Fairuza was in charge. She instructed us to dress in loose-fitting clothing and warned us not to weigh down our pockets with too many things.
“The only things you can bring are the ones you put in your pockets or somewhere else on your person,” she said, pointing to her knife sheath at her belt. “They will transform along with your clothing and be kept safe while you’re in animal form. But everything you carry is going to add to your weight. We want to be light while we fly.”
Janera raised her hand. “Why would the weight matter if we’re transformed? Doesn’t it all just disappear like our clothes?”
Fairuza tapped her temple. “It’s a mental thing. Even if you don’t see the items, you’ll know they’re there, so you will feel the weight.” She pointed at the satchels we’d packed to bring with us. “The bags stay here. Only bring what you absolutely need. We’ll steal anything else when we get there.”
I hated the idea of stealing, even if we were taking things from our enemies, but I’d become resigned to it over time. So I put away everything except my locket with the moonstone. If it came to combat, I could always summon the weapons I needed with magic.
My friends did the same thing. Nexita pulled several notebooks out of her pockets and removed the tools from her belt, but she kept her switching-lens goggles on her face. Deryt also left his notebooks but kept a few smoke bombs for himself, then passed more to Namburo. Janera gave away her giant picnic basket full of food that she’d packed and I watched it go reluctantly. But she handed out a small jar of healing salve to everyone in case of emergencies.
Amena left the room and didn’t let anyone see how many items she took out of various secret pockets and slots on her belt, but I could tell when she was done that she still had her twin daggers and lock picking set.
Vilqa and Kyra didn’t have anything to give up. So after Amena came back, we were ready to go.
Fairuza led us up a tower to the platform used by the hanging cable cars, then took us to the edge. “It’s easier to fly if you’re already in the air.” She held up a finger. “Feel that wind coming off the ocean? We’re going to catch it and let it carry us inland. Remember, albatross for the large wingspan. Glide east and we’ll turn north once we hit the coast.”
She demonstrated for us by stepping off the edge of the platform. Her body transformed into the huge bird in midair and her wings spread far, catching the ocean wind like she’d said. She angled her body to circle overhead.
Your turn, her voice said in my mind.