Chapter 5.5: The Light in the Dark
Ash popped open a can of DD while sitting on a park bench. Apparently, it was the same place where he had first met Tuvira, but Ash was already unconscious by the time she revealed herself. It was funny how she saved his life that day, yet he only paid her back with rejection.
It had been 5 days since Tuvira challenged Squad S to a battle because what she wanted from it was more than just honor and an ego boost. She wanted to dismantle an entire Squad which the Academy surprisingly allowed because Lissandra—that prideful woman—wouldn’t back down. Not when the entire class was looking at a Princess of Water challenging a Princess of Fire.
Ash thought it was ridiculous to bet everything on the line like that. Sure, the Academy promised no lasting injuries would come from the school-sanctioned event. Still, the future of five students were placed on the line for something so small. Though maybe he shouldn’t be the one to talk. Hadn’t he always rushed out with his first mind giving little thought to consequence? What made now any different—
Going for another sip from his drink, Ash noticed the black stain on his hand. It was a burn mark from Alexis, who had hit him accidentally hours prior. From the moment they were challenged on Monday to Friday night, they trained. The battle would be held on Saturday on the first wyvern’s screech in the morning, and even after that, their teamwork was abysmal. Like the worst in the entire first-year class.
Where they were each a powerhouse, there was a constant clash of ideas. Scott couldn’t fly high enough to scout, nor did he have the experience to find favorable angles for his crossbow no matter how many times Ms. Sparkfang tried to get him to understand. In the heat of battle, he was much too slow.
Alexis would treat everyone like they were Baron and could tank her flames. She was out of her mind! Lissandra’s orders were all over the place, sure she had tactics in mind, but she expected even Ash to pull them off. What the hell was a Crane formation? And how was that supposed to improve their defense?
Baron was the only one who appeased everyone’s whims but having one person who could work in a team was like having one functioning limb while the rest fumbled about. And sure, knowing Tuvira, her teamwork would suck, but Lissandra admitted that she didn’t need to work with them. Which was the only thing Ash agreed with her since she could quite literally control their movement if she wanted to.
Wyvernshit! How is this fair? Ash threw away his drink. He didn’t even finish it. The sun would be coming up soon, and he barely got any sleep. They were going to lose, and it would be his fault. At least if he had said yes to Tuvira, the rest of Squad S had a chance of finding a replacement—albeit slim—it was better than nothing.
“Just when I found it….” Ash reached out towards the fading night sky. “I’m going to lose it again….”
Ash stared past the stars that were losing their vibrance. Looking at the void of space that were his parents. Tuvira said he was crazy for believing that his parents’ Stars were ones that bore no light. A Darkstar that blended in with space. That even if that was the case, a Star that shed no light was dead. But just because the lights were off, it didn’t mean no one was home.
“Lose it again? You never lost us, to begin with.”
Ash blinked and turned around only to find himself lost in the abyss. No longer was he at the park with growing light. All around was the suffocating darkness that wished to smother him in a manner that brought forth warmth as he once again heard the feminine voice.
“You’ve been calling for so long, yet you’re already drowning.” She giggled. “Sorry, I’m a terrible mother for laughing. But you never used to be so childish.”
“Mo—” Ash choked on the word as his throat filled with night, so instead of speaking, he chose to grin. Though he couldn’t see her, the fact that he heard her. The fact that she answered. The fact that she didn’t abandon him. He couldn’t help but smile.
“Even now, it looks so painful. Unbearable. And yet you smile as if you’re having the time of your life.” She giggled once more. “I should let you go now. You have a battle to enjoy with your friends. Man, how time flies. I still get goosebumps thinking of your fight with that Princesss. Reminds me of when I met your father. It was so much fun kicking the crap out of him.”
If Ash wasn’t both overjoyed and dying, he probably would’ve given his mother a few choice words. The first being that Lissandra did not kick the crap out of him! And second, if she’s been watching him the whole time. She was the stalker! Not him! He’d have to tell Tuvira when this was all over—
Ash felt lips press against his forehead as the darkness began to fade, being washed away by a violet light.
“Yes, tell her. Whether you win or lose. My little light in the dark.” She giggled one more time before leaving with the parting words of: “You’re not a stalking masochist.”
Ash stared up at the morning light and heard the first wyvern’s screech, letting out a chuckle as he wiped the blood from his eyes.
“You got it all wrong, mom. I’m not a stalking masochistic lolicon. Get your facts straight.” Ash gripped onto Royal Rose with a smile at the sound of her purr. “Man, I’m just surrounded by overbearing women.”
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