A few weeks have passed since passing the final stage of Laith's induction period.
Today I am back in the field which is great yet i'm anxious. My knees jiggling up and down as I wait in the hall for Will and Varian. Sweat trickles down my back and my thoughts have become a mile a minute. They vary from bumping into entities to how Layla is holding up in the make shift school. Even Varian and his closet love for Will springs in my mind for reasons unknown. But I know all this thinking is deterring me from whats really bothering me.
Am I ready for this? Ready to be in the public eye as a Flighter. Ready to be part of a team again? The outcome of this mission determines if I deserve to go on the rescue mission with Laith and the others, because if i can't handle a simple scout mission I dont deserve to fight. Not like Varian.
Why does he keep popping up? My mind just flicks back his look of adoration for Will, I just cant forget about it. Deep down I know why, deep down where I have buried Peter I know damn well why I understand Varian's pain.
Now I am not some romantic woman, I dont see boys or men as a necessity for my survival. Especially since I have never even thought of having children, I mean why would I? So I can fuck them up like She did to me? Or worse have this world torture them as they have done to plenty of others. I often hear from Lin stories of her husband yet his whereabouts unknown. She explained he was a regular human and because he procreated with her he was labelled a sympathiser, she hasnt seen him since.
So for me love is a nuisance and will cause me greater harm than good. On the other hand, by Jesus Christ himself do I feel love. I feel love for Layla, Insurgo and at a stretch even the friends I have gained here have some affection of mine.
Just observing Varian's feelings had me reflecting on my own which lead to this thought process. If this mission is a success then I am ready, ready to be redeemed by saving Insurgo. Conversely, it means I must face Insurgo. The family I abandoned;Uriel, Grayth, Kyran and last but not least Peter. Peter is complex. He always has been but the one thing he is not difficult to understand is his unwavering stance on loyalty.
Once he is rescued from their hands, he will be free. Therefore I may never see him again for he has always been adventurous and on our many missions would have us sneak away to stand on rooftops to observe a sunset. I can only imagine what he will do with his freedom when he has it.
As I suspected my heart begins to pick up at the mere thought of losing him again but i force a breathe through my nose to regulate my breathing as Laith taught me in training. I ignore the feeling because I know I have no right in the matter. Peter has never been 'mine' and after my betrayal will never be which I have understood since I made it.
I am sixteen and a half years old yet have more wisdom than those twice my age, so I know the way of the world all too well. When Peter is free and I redeemed our connection will be severed which is the correct punishment for the Purple Predator.
However I am not the Purple Predator anymore and I am now choosing my own path as the Purple Streak which is why I must make this mission a success. Luckily Will is with me so Varian wont be too much an ass to begin with, speaking of which the scuffing of boots alerts me to someone walking over.
I lift my head and see Aibek nodding at Will and Varian who approach, I stand ready to go. I quickly wipe my sweaty hands on my worn combat trousers donated to me and zip my hoodie.
'Aw did we break you out of a melt down Erza?' Varian's eyes fill with humour.
'Shut up unless you want a beat down moron.' I level him with a look of equal humour.
Will sighs and zips his wind breaker jacket up.
'You guys have a weird friendship you know.' But Will steps towards the door before me and Varian reply.
Varian follows behind him and I am last, until we are out on the grey streets of London.
Will takes a right and quickly makes down the street, leaving me and Varian elbowing each other sincerely to get in front.
'Where are we heading?' I request gingerly.
'Tower of London.'
'Tower of London? The hell for?' Varian voices.
Will produces half a cigarette he saved and lights it. After a big inhale which I am sure was just for effect, he speaks.
'Laith marked out that entities appear in heavy populated places in London. So he sends out Flighter squads to these areas to scout.' Will states.
Ah well that does make sense.
Varian is obviously satisfied with Will's explanation so just plays with his power in his hand. The blasted thing. He releases it then shapes it into a sphere before dissappating it.
'How did you make your power invisible when you used it on me and Layla.'
Varian doesnt respond so I go to repeat my question when he speaks hurriedly.
'Once I release it from my hand its goes transparent as it reacts with the chemicals in the air, it makes it easier to have other inhale it, if I dont release too high amounts to make visible.'
Varian doesnt say much for a while and just carries on walking.
Will clears his throat capturing my attention.
'Erza how do you transform into animals?'
The question takes me back since Will never asks intrusive questions, but I deem him trustworthy so I answer.
'Visualisation is the first step. I have see the creature and their details how their fur is and how their legs are shaped or its a bad result. Once the Visualisation is handled I call on my power to transform. First I think of the shape so a fox for instance is small some my spine has crack and shift in size. After that the limbs and producing a tail, last but not least the skull. The skull is the worst bit for me as I feel my jaw and eyes being pulled to pieces. From that point onwards its feeling itchy until whatever fur or feathers grow through my skin. Although on the first transformation it takes me longer to set the form in the bones or my bones may just snap back to normal.' After the long ass explanation I take a breath.
Varian speaks first.
'So you break yourself to be something else?' Varian looks considerably appalled.
'Yea you could say that.' I shove my hands in my pocket willing this conversation to end.
'How much pain do you have to go through?' Will asks as his cigarette finishes.
'The fox form is a crack of bones then I am fine. The hawk form is annoying cause of the wings but fine. However the tiger form takes it out of me because of the size and muscle it takes to change.'
'Sounds like a torture method.' Varian suggests.
I dont respond.
Will shakes his curls out of his face and his blue green eyes are pinned on me as if giving me the once over.
'Im fine Will.' That stops Will's eyes travelling.
Will cracks a smile before commenting 'I am the mind reader yanoe?'
The walks takes a couple of hours from the warehouse yet its enjoyable. Will leads and discusses the mission with us, which basically means hanging around to scout. If anything pops up shoot a signal in the air to meet up and leave it to the fighters to see it and meet the entity head on.
After official business has been discussed Will ventures into a tangent about London museums and which he wants to go to. Varian helpfully comments he could just put them all to sleep so Will could go for which Will laughs. I mean I generally think Varian would do it for Will in a heart beat which makes Varian's glum expression even more depressing. How could Will be so dense?
We cross London Bridge and walk until we see the Tower of London in its glory ahead. The grey of the medieval stone matches the cloud in the sky and the crowds are as thick as the smoke of London.
London never changes. I think of the Medieval time and if they were the same as now with people's attitudes. Could we have been free in those times? Probably not we would of been burned at the stake for witch craft or in my case a silver dagger in me for being a werewolf. Normal people never change their discrimination for those whose origins differ, that much has always been true.
Will stops and ushers to a quiet area away from crowds. He hands me a signal burner and one to Varian too.
'Incase you get split up you both have one. Now you are to shadow Varian Erza okay? If tells you to transform and scout while he gathers intel do it. An entity appears signal okay? Good luck and see you back here in three or so hours.' Will nods and with a flick of his hair is off in the crowds heading towards Tower Bridge.
Varian turns to me his eyes slighted as a serious look becomes him.
'Right Erza. I am going to gather intel from some guards. I would transform now out of sight and blitz round the area okay?'
I have no idea how he will gather intel but the smirk on his face and the metallic object protruding from his boot stops me asking.
'Alright see you here.'
Varian shoots off towards the Tower itself leaving me alone in the shadowed slipway.
I call upon my power and it responds instantly. First I will try hawk form as it will be easier to see from a birds eye view.
In mere minutes my hawk form is completed with only the faint throb in my limbs reminding me of the transformation.
I stretch my feather wings and observe the lilac colour they reflect due to the light shining down from a thin cloud. In a quick flap of the wings I lift off and carry the signal burner between my claws. I stretch my wings and shudder in pleasure at the force of the wind lifting me higher in the air. I look down and find myself directly above the roof of the Tower of London and the tourists surrounding look like mere ants from up here.
I flutter down and circle around the Tower checking all areas for any sign of disruption yet nothing is amiss.
I spot Varian as he has a worker pinned to a wall with a gleam of metal shining. Oh shit. He actually uses weapons, they are not just for show. I reckon he getting as much information on the whereabouts of his father. Although I dont see how some random guard of a tower will know but it isnt my business so I continue my scout with a flap of my wings.
My hawk eyes see everything clearly. They see the multitude of people, the intricate dents in the roof of the Tower and even the different colours of shade the old stone has. Wow. This is how the bird of a predator sees the world, as if everything is at its disposal.
A few hours have passed by the time my wings tire so I flutter and sit on the Turret of the tower on the left side of the building. The signal burner in my claws is a pain so I grasp it in my beak so I can rest carefully perched.
No sign of Will or Varian at this point. My stomach rumbles and I spot a hot dog stand on the path alongside the Tower. Before I can decide other wise I am swooping down and extending my claws before landing two hot dogs in bread for myself. I flap my wings quickly and chirp at the owner's dismay. Hehe. Who says you cant have fun on duty?
Reaching the Tower of London walls I transform back with the crack of my bones, twinge of muscles and to my annoyance, blood on my toes from where the talons retracted. I sit on the edge of the wall and my feet dangle down, people below point and yell at my appearance but I dont care. I am too content with my hot dogs to give them a thought.
A raucous guttural scream erupts. The smell of blood clogs my air ways. The taste of blood stains my tongue. Within miliseconds the crowds have dispersed in every direction possible and I promptly light the signal burner. Red fills the roof of the Tower of London much like the red that is staining the ground below.
I promptly transform into hawk form and hop off the ledge, abandoning fear as I swoop to the ground. I land hard and wince at my poor talons. But I dont have time to check my feet right now because in front of me is what one would only call a monster.
The entity in front of me has eight legs slick with what looks black mucus. Instead of arms pinchers the size of a fox snap towards everything in its path. But the head was a revolting sight to behold. The head was swivelling in an unnatural manner snapping a large beak like mouth at whatever it could reach, the eyes were that of a shark. Dead. Black.
Hairs stand up on the back of my neck. I quiver in fear. Yet I command my power to me and change form. I change into my new form. Cheetah. My spine twists and cracks until it is long. My wings lose their feathers and thicken until they are straight with paws. My tallons retract and legs grow until they too are full of muscle with paws. Last but not least fur grows through my skin causing an unbearable itch all over. Yet my transformation has been successful.
The spider entity hears the noise and rushes over at a speed I couldnt hope to match if I wasnt in this form. So I do what a cheetah does best. I run. I circle the entity garnering its attention of any other person before leading it towards the path. People who are stood in my way in fear I growl at, wishing to scare them into some run.
They need to get away from this area; the idiots.
The crowd sprints towards London and Tower bridges giving me enough space to attempt to distract the entity. In desperation I look for Will and Varian but I cannot see them. Shit. I dont know how to handle this thing until the fighters come.
A gargle and heavy treads shake me out of my daze. The entity is within meter of me and his pinchers are lurching forward to grab me, I need to speed up. My paws hit the concrete in beats that match my fast heart. A pant pushes out of me as my legs ache. I cant keep this speed up much longer.
Black mucus splashes at my feet and I jump in fear. Crap. I take a hard left making sure I angle my tail because if I lose my speed now I am dead.
The entity climbs up on a wall and speeds alongside me. Now its beak is dangerously close to my head keeping me ducking low as it snaps and yaps just above me. For fuck sake. The advantage it has right now is not good. I cant climb walks and run along the side like that, I have gravity to concern myself with.
My only option now is to draw it near the water, surely it cant swim. But my path is running out I have 200m until I reach the entrance to Tower Bridge and I cant take it.to the crowded area. FUCK.
So despite my instinct urging me to carry on running straight, I dont. I stop and angle right leaving me facing the water. I must be mad. But with a glance behind me I dont have a choice I have to get it out of here.
My plan is delayed when I notice gargle of its beak is further away. The entity is now scurrying to a young boy hiding under a wooden bench. Oh God no. The boy's blonde blue eyes are filled tears as he sobs holding his ears in his hands. The entity is peering down at him from the wall with its pincers at the ready. One more second and the boy is a goner.
'NO.' I shout before launching into a full on sprint at the entity. Once I am a meter away I launch off my hind legs and outstretch my claws ready to slash at its face.
I fly onto the bench and swipe my claw at its eye, just distracting the entity enough to hop off the bench and grab the boy's shirt in my jaw.
I sprint towards the entrance of Tower Bridge before stopping and briefly placing the boy in front of some pedestrians. The boy is stunned and screams a 'tanks!' before I bolt back to the entity.
Tanks I will translate as Thanks yet I smile. I saved a kid man. Thank god he is alright.
But before I can celebrate, the entity is scurrying at me with a grievous intent. As a result I back towards the edge of the path where the filthy water resides, its now or never. Admittedly this is not a sound proof plan and I can guarantee Varian will lecture me like hell nevertheless its all I have.
I release my claws and scratch the gravel attracting its attention. The entity now caught in a predatory rage,scurries before launching itself off its eight legs with its pincher's pointed at me.
My instincts are screaming. They tell me to 'MOVE.' But I dont I stand there until the entity is half a metre above me in the air before scrambling under it. The entity flies over the barrier to the river and grasps the pole with his two legs dying to survive. Thereupon is its issue, this thing wants to survive like all those people it torn apart did. As a rule nature does not care beings want it just wants to see who is stronger.
I stroll to the entity as it dangles and gargles in stress, I take my damn time. Particularly to make it suffer for all those lives it took today.
I come face to face with it and I lift my paw into the air swapping the cheetah claws for the tiger form ones. At the expense of my hand as it blisters and bleeds from the unnatural form but I dont care. In a instant I bring my claw and slash the entities remaining limbs.
The entity screeches as the two back legs are detached from its body and with a splash it burrows into the murky depths of the Thames.
I rest against the pole as I turn back. My bones crack and reform. The muscles reattaching send sharp pain through my body and finally my skull reforms. I am back to my human form.
Blood covers my hands. Sweat mixed with dirty covers my body. But I feel elevated. I won.
I cling to the pole and pull myself into a standing position. Blood covers the ground mixed with black mucus. The people who escaped are in panic on the bridges and beeping surrounds the air, signalling a need for me to leave. No authorities wanted here.
I walk with care as my breath comes in gasps, running at that speed is seriously tiring.
I make my way back to the slip way where I last saw Varian and Will. I refuse to look at the Tower of London. I do not wish to see the grey stone stained with blood. I do not find the mutilated body parts splayed out everywhere amusing. This is just a waste of life.
Ahead of me Will is pacing as Varian sits on the floor clasping his hands.
'Hey guys, a little support would of been nice.' I half yell.
Will stops abruptly and rushes over.
'Shit. We couldnt find you. Are you okay?' Will's eyes are wide with worry.
I outstretch my hand and mess his hair up, much to Varian's annoyance it seems.
'Im okay. Its in the water and I have no clue if its dead.'
Will visibly slags in relief.
'Whether its dead or not I dont give a crap. This wasnt even our job and you got dragged in the fight.' Will frowns deeply.
'Where were the fighters?' I murmur.
Varian stands and walks over.
'They are en route. Listen I am sorry you had to fight that alone. I got caught in the running crowd.' Varian hands are shaking. His black hair wet on his forehead. His eyes are heavy with tiredness.
'Dont worry about it. Tell those fighters they need to be here to fight, not wait until kids are killed.'
'Most of those fighters may say those people deserve since they are the ones denying their rights.' Varian shrugs at the knowledge.
I groan sick of this shit by now.
'What happened to you guys?'
Will sits on the floor and gestures me to also.
'I went to gather intel from guards about the institutions to see if the royal family have anything to do with it. They knew very little but I can hazard at least some of the establishment know about it.'
'Seriously? After we save their asses.' I comment in disgust.
Will looks frustrated before he agrees. He must be thinking of his parents.
Varian seems shaken. I look at his hands to see them soaked with blood.
'Hey what happened to you V?'...I feel concerned despite his attitude.
Varian pulls a face at the nickname but responds all the same.
'I tried to help those injured. None made it. At least I gave them a good illusion to die to though.' Varian chokes before the end of sentence.
Will pulls Varian into a one arm hug as Varian cries silently.
Varian pulls away but continues to cry.
'If thats the destruction they can cause. My dad cant be alive. I mean how can he be?' Varian has his face in his hands and before I can stop myself I am speaking.
'Hey V. Listen. We dont know that they are alive or dead. But if we believe they are and that we can get the people we love out of their clutches then we fight. Thats all we have.'
Varian stares into my eyes as if memorising every word. He wipes his tears and stands offering me his hand.
I take it and wobbly stand up. Will follows our lead.
'Thanks Erza.' Varian states with no smirk present.
I dont have a chance to reply as we hear running foot steps towards the Tower.
Will pulls us against a wall and covers our mouths as he leans around the wall.
My breath hitches as voices echo near us.
'Where is it.' A melodic voice asks.
'In the Thames sir.'
'Who put it there?'
'A purple cheetah is being reported sir.' A new voice sounds.
'Ah the infamous Purple Predator. She's back is she?'
'It is suggested sir.' Another voice sounds.
'Brilliant. Bring me Peter.'
Peter? What?...He is here? No. Shit. This guy knows about me too.
Wills hand stays pressed over my mouth tightly as he raises his eyebrows in alarm at my quickening breath.
Wind sounds around us along with foot steps. Thats Peter alright probably hovering as we speak.
'Ah Peter. Go and observe the scene tell me if your special friend was here will you?'
'If you wish it.' A deep husky voice states.
I push Will's hand off me and stick my head around the corner. Will tries to pull me back but I wrestle him off.
Before me at a distance is a group of heavy armed men. One in a slick suit and the other in combat trousers surrounded by wind. Peter.
Peter struts to the railing where I sliced the entities legs off and analyses the scene. His red hair floats as he raises into the air and peers over the edge. He crosses his arms and with a tiny smirk made, he turns around. He lifts himself in the air and flies back to the man in the suit. His arms spread like wings and his legs stretched fully to keep his flight balanced.
'Yep its her.' Peter states the smirk long gone. His emerald eyes are unreadable. He crosses him arms over his chest, body language full of defiance as usual. That's the Peter I know. He has changed in stature his shoulders broader and his muscles more defined. He is growing from boy to man. Pain pangs in my chest and without thinking I take a step forward. But Will tugs me back to safety just in time.
The man in the suit turns around and looks in our direction before chuckling. Peter's emerald eyes also look our way but they are expressionless. No spark there at all.
'Ah. Seems your traitorous girlfriend has found some enemies of ours and joined up.'
Peter doesnt react. The only tell of his annoyance is the wind around him has quickened.
The man in the suit smiles sickeningly.
'Oh this is going to be fun. I get to dispose of all my problems in one swoop when the time comes.' The man in the suit swings his hands in twisted joy.
'Guards clean up the mess. Peter be a good boy and get in the van or you know what will happen to the rest of your team mates.' The man gives Peter a pointed look.
Peter's emerald eyes go from expressionless to blazing in seconds. The wind picks up around the man in the suit, cutting off his breath before releasing him.
The man in the suit is no longer smiling. The prick. He coughs and wipes his face with a hanker chief before signalling the guards to take Peter away. The guards surround Peter and bludgeon him with batons causing him to land on the floor harshly.
I grab at Will's arm and even claw to try get to Peter but Varian is now holding me too. Tears stream down my face and I even scream into Varian's hand which now covers my mouth. But they refuse to let go.
The man in a suit is now composed and he walks to his car parked next to a van. An Aldi TT of granite colour. A smug car for a smug bastard.
He hops in his car slamming the door but before he drives off I catch the license plate.
The plate has the name Collings.
As he speeds away there is one thought in my mind.
That bastard is going to fucking pay.