The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)
From inside the private viewing booth, Kitten jumped with joy, and Scarlet held hands over her mouth in surprise. In the seats, Batty could do nothing but let his mouth hang open.
Dia slowly began to push herself up from the ground. She had quickly broken out of her unconscious state, but it was not fast enough to prevent a declaration of her loss. The space slowly began to flatten into a plain arena as Dia stood up.
Harlan stood with her arms crossed. Upon seeing it, Fiona followed suit.
“I suppose that’s a loss….” Dia said once she was sure their voices would no longer be amplified to the crowd. She smiled and walked to the duo. They flinched as she pulled them in for a hug. “Fortunately, this match was unofficial. So, I remain undefeated technically. That being said, it was wonderful to have some opponents take me seriously!”
Harlan and Fiona squirmed at their opponent’s unexpected hug.
“We made a deal before the match….” Harlan managed to say. Dia released them from her hold and stepped back. She winked and held a finger to her lips.
“Such things are best spoken about in private quarters! Why don’t we go back to my room!” The winged beauideal spun and waved to the crowd. They cheered and wept for their star. “We can also discuss the details of our next match! Now that I know your tricks, I won’t be trounced next time!” she added as she turned back to the duo.
Fiona, unsure of what to think about Dia, looked to Harlan. The Zenotote scientist shook her head.
“Very well,” she replied. Dia made a smile that was somewhere between friendly and dangerous and waved for the others to follow. She took several steps, then suddenly was thrust back from a blow to the stomach. Anyone familiar with sniping instantly knew the winged beauideal had been shot. As Dia fell to the ground, the crowd gasped.
“Fiona–“ Harlan shouted as she tried to move, but she was cut short as another shot ran through her leg. The green Zenotote fell to her knees and held her wound. Fiona gasped and zapped before the next shot could hit her.
From the seats, Batty leaped into action. He quickly ran through the bleachers as Fiona zapped Harlan back into the tunnel they had entered from. The beauideal who had waited at the start with them had a look of horror as Fiona set Harlan next to her.
“Look… look after her…” she said as she turned back to Dia. Batty began applying pressure to the wound as the green star looked at the sky in a daze. Fiona tried to extend her ability to the two in the field but found she was prevented from teleporting them.
“Get out of here… she’s going to attack again… can’t have a fan get hurt,” she hazily said to Batty without looking at him.
The guard gritted his teeth as he gently scooped Dia up. Another shot hit him in his right shoulder from the back. Batty smiled.
“Fool, now I know where you’re attacking from!” he grunted as he turned his back to the sniper and began to walk Dia from the center of the arena.
Another shot hit him in the leg, but the guard kept going. Dia began to weakly wave to her fans as if to tell them she was alright.
Batty kept walking but could feel his strength failing. He looked ahead to where Fiona stood in the tunnel, and their eyes met. He swallowed his pride and nodded to the princess, indicating she should support them. Several flashes of light moved them across the arena, and to the surprised—that her ability began to work—blue princess’s side. Batty fell to his knees as he gently set Dia on the ground. She had fallen unconscious and was breathing unsteadily.
Several more guards rushed from inside the tunnel to their aid as Batty finally collapsed.
From atop a building far outside the arena, Sabia sighed. She was laid out on the roof with her long Needaimus pointed to the arena. A scope sat in front of her left eye, and her nonbonded hand sat next to a bag full of what looked like metal thorns wrapped into a small sphere.
She had overheard Dia’s plan to reveal their secrets, which was something that could not be allowed. As soon as the trio of fighters left, Sabia emerged from her hiding place. She quickly left the arena to the best vantage point and set up to watch the match. Had Dia won, the Aqueenian sniper would have done nothing.
The loss meant that the beauideals usefulness had simply run out.
Sabia stood up and sent out a message to her teammates with her Needaimus.
‘Dia has been taken down. I suspect she will end up in the hospital.’
A reply came in an instant from their leader. The words flashed in her vision.
‘A shame, but no matter of concern. I suspected we would need to do that much for the next phase. All agents are to return to base at once. We will discuss our next steps immediately.’
Sabia packed up her supplies and quickly left the roof. The rest of the beauideal matches were canceled for the day, and a political battle rose to keep the news of what happened from spreading too far and too fast.