Vaughn started coughing as I landed next to him on the roof.
“Got a big breath of hot air and smoke,” he said.
“You think you’ll be okay?”
“Yeah. It’s my own fault, anyway.”
It wasn’t really his fault, but when you depend on wind to fly, it’s not much of a surprise if the wind carries smoke along too.
Past Vaughn, Daniel and Lucas hovered over the far end of the house. Lightning arced from Lucas’ hands toward the ground, flashing again and again.
A gun fired from below and bullets hit Lucas in the chest, driving him backward in the air. The lightning stopped for a second as he looked down toward his chest.
Then he laughed, and dove downward.
I guessed he must have discovered that bullets did bounce off his chest.
Too bad though that Lucas hadn’t decided to help Vaughn and I out. What were we going to do about those guys? I thought a little more, and then said, “Hey Storm King –”
Too late. Vaughn had stopped coughing and was already flying down toward the burning side of the house.
I gave the rocketpack some fuel and followed him.
The upper half of that side of the house hadn’t just caught fire, but really started to burn. I tried to get Vaughn’s attention, but I didn’t need to. A big gust of wind blew at the house, snuffing out most of the fire. A few flames licked the eaves.
Another gust of wind made all of those disappear too.
It almost made it worth getting off the roof to find the guys we’d been fighting — except not quite. They weren’t there anymore.
I swung around to the backyard, realizing that Shannon must have let the darkness go, and saw the people we’d fought as they ran toward the other side of the house.
Vaughn and I rounded the corner, finding the fight that everyone else had been drawn into.
Jaclyn and Cassie had described one of the people they’d fought as being a big guy, and they’d been right. He stood around seven feet high, and his muscles would have been the envy of bodybuilders. Unlike the rest of his group, he didn’t wear any kind of armor, just a ripped, black t-shirt revealing a heavily muscled chest.
He stood, trading blows with Jaclyn, in the side yard of the house they’d been renting, and behind the backyard of the house on the corner.
The truly scary thing about the fight for me was that Jaclyn didn’t seem to be holding back. Jaclyn had legs strong enough to push her along at the speed of sound when she wanted to, and her arms weren’t any weaker. She delivered every blow at a blur, and every hit made a solid thumping noise.
The particularly hard blows caused him to back up, and even drove his leg a few inches into the ground.
Jaclyn mostly managed to dodge the man’s punches, but his seemed to be at least as hard as hers.
Only a few feet past Jaclyn, Cassie lay on the ground near her motorcycle. Her left forearm had been broken, and hung at a disquieting angle. As I noticed her, she used her other hand to straighten the limb out on the ground.
I had a few moments to wonder why no one seemed to be helping Jaclyn out, when the question answered itself.
+++Daniel: Nick, on your left…+++
Everything worth looking at was on my left, but then I noticed another person. Two, actually. A black haired woman with paper white skin stood next to the house’s brick chimney (which unlike the rest of the house hadn’t been painted purple). She stood as tall as the big guy, but seemed to be all spindly limbs, excessively skinny even with the armored jacket bulking up her torso.
I might have worried less about her if it weren’t for Red Legacy’s legs. They stuck out of the side of the chimney. The rest of him had presumably been pushed through it.
She jumped at me, moving twenty feet upward through the air. She seemed just about to grab my leg when she hit an invisible wall. As she stopped, and began to fall, a gust of wind came up and blew her into the parking lot behind the house.
She hit the van.
I mentally thanked Daniel and Vaughn for the assist. They’d done it to me a couple times in practice. It was nice to see it could be useful against someone not on our team.
Daniel: Vaughn, Nick. Cassie wants you to stop the guys you were fighting from reaching Jaclyn.
Me: Right. Vaughn, I’ll take the energy absorber. You take burning hands guy.
Vaughn: Got it. This is going to be easy.
Burning hands guy, and pudgy guy had reached Jaclyn.
She stepped to the left of the big guy, flanking him on the left, while dodging a blast of heat that melted the chain length fence between the yards.
Jaclyn landed a good punch. I could hear bones break, and see the left side of his chest cave in. He gasped, but the moment didn’t last. The bones knit themselves back together as I watched.
His left hand blurred in a punch that swung around his body, hitting Jaclyn and throwing her into the air.
She flew over the fence, through the back wall of the house next door, and possibly out the front of the house too, because I heard a second crash, the screeching of brakes, and then cars beeping.
A gust of wind sent burning hands guy into the side of the house. He hit and stopped moving.
I flew in, landing directly in front of the pudgy guy, and punched him in the face.
He fell to the ground. I’d been right in guessing that he absorbed energy better than mechanical force.
Unfortunately, that put me within arms reach of the big guy, who turned and punched me in the face, triggering internal warnings that another punch like that could crack the helmet.
Needless to say, it hurt.
I fell on my back.
He raised his foot to stomp on my leg, and I was just about to trigger the rocketpack to shoot me across the lawn, toward the parking lot, except two things happened.
A globe of pitch-black darkness appeared around the guy’s head, allowing me time to twist away.
The other was that Cassie came from behind, and, with quick swipe of her sword, chopped off his left leg just above the knee.