Riwenne and her friends are learning how to work with their new allies, the planetary warriors. It will take time for them to get used to each others’ skill sets and to cooperate instead of operating as two separate teams. Tika sets up a training exercise for them, but Riwenne doesn’t like the rules. Find out what happens next.
Making a New Team
The others were stretching in the training field for our final exercise. I could see Janera wince when she put weight on her left leg, Amena looked less flexible than that morning, and even Namburo seemed a little worn down. It had been a long day for all of us.
Our students were arranged in a circle around us, behind a line that had been painted on the stony ground. They watched us during this training so they could study our advanced techniques. I knew it was an important part of their learning, but today, I just hoped that I didn’t screw up too bad in front of an audience. No doubt Tika would be pushing me even harder now.
Sure enough, Tika looked right at me from her perch. “Riwenne,” she said with a sharp cheep. “You will team up with the planetary warriors this time, on the attack. The industrial warriors will be defending my position.”
That split us into even numbers, six against six, but it was far from fair. I was the strongest single fighter, and the planetary warriors were the stronger team. My friends had been a team longer, but they were used to following my lead. I couldn’t understand why Tika had chosen to switch us around like this.
But before I could ask her what she expected us to do, Tika let out a sharp whistle. “Don’t think, just fight!” she cried.
Kyra and Janera joined hands and an enormous dome of energy sprang up fully formed around them, shielding their team and Tika in a single move. Just in time, because a gunshot echoed through the training field. The bullet hit the dome of energy and fell harmlessly to the ground.
I spun around and found Ixi holding a pistol. “What are you doing? This is a training exercise, not a death match!”
Ixi shrugged and put the pistol back into her holster. “She didn’t give any rules, just said we should attack. It was the fastest weapon that I had.”
“No lethal weapons!” Tika snapped.
Fairuza’s hands flashed to her belt, too quick for me to see what she was putting away. “Nam!” she shouted.
I turned to see what Namburo was doing and caught him throwing something that exploded in mid-air. A cloud of smoke spread through the arena, making me cough.
I couldn’t see what was happening through the thick smokescreen. I doubled over, eyes watering and lungs gasping for breath. It smelled like one of Deryt’s smoke bombs, but there was something extra mixed in that resisted my magic when I tried to overcome it.
Something bumped into my side. I could just glimpse someone’s hand holding out a gas mask. Snatching it, I struggled to pull it over my head and secure the straps.
The gas mask had goggles and a tank of fresh air attached to it. When I finally had it in place, relief flooded through me. There was a faint herbal scent to the air which soothed my injured lungs and cleared my vision. I straightened up for a better look.
Fairuza stood next to me, also wearing a mask. She gave me a thumbs-up, then pointed at my mask.