Author's Second Note: ^^;;; Please don't guess on who the strangers are. PLEASE DON'T! I don't want to ruin the surprise for anyone . . . Although Jackie already knows. So keep your mouth shut, Jackie~ =P Lol.
Throughout all my life, I have been hard to get close to, before and after my enlightenment. I cannot explain why I was, and am, this way. It has always been that way. And it will always probably be that way.
For the longest time, I was afraid that I would never truly 'belong' with any of my people. Perhaps I was afraid that people would always believe me to be the spiteful boy I was before I saw the greater good. Before I had purpose. Before I knew my true nature.
I am afraid of being alone no longer, for I am no longer alone. I am one of the team, one with the team, and belong with the team. I live with the team, I play with the team, I dream with the team. I am a Mighty Duck. I am part of something much greater.
How can I explain, even to myself, how it happened? One day, I was just another member on a strike team against the Saurians, and the next...The next I was part of a family. It was a long time before I realized that the transition had even occurred. Finally I had what I'd always wanted, and I didn't even realize it.
Another reason why I was a loner is because I was afraid that no one would ever understand me and that no one would ever truly care for me. My parents didn't, so why would anyone else? Even after Master Tai Quack Do had educated me, I still believed that I'd always be alone, although enlightened. I was even planning to lead the life of a hermit at one point in my life.
I shall never think of being a hermit again. How can I, now that I am so integrated with the others? They are even beginning to understand my sayings, which even surprises me. We've just been together for that long, it seems. We saw Nosedive's birthday soon after we landed on earth. He's seventeen years by human standards. Nearly an adult by their standards as well. And yet, still a child in many ways.
We were reminded of how young he really is when Wildwing was thrown into his coma only a few weeks ago. He was terrified without his brother there to tell him everything would be okay. Without Wildwing he was lost, and we could do very little to help him. He only became more lost within himself when Wildwing nearly died. Wildwing had been with him all his life and the mere idea that he could lose Wildwing forever . . . It was too much. He forgot to eat, to drink, to live . . . It was as if his soul had been taken away, and it hurt to watch him lie there day after day, night after night . . . .
It was only when Wildwing returned to us did Nosedive return to himself and become Nosedive once more. His brother completed him in a way even I cannot fully comprehend. Without Wildwing he was a mere husk of his former self. It was horrible to watch him waste away as he kept his vigil. Even worse because I, and the others, could not help him. Only Duke managed to get him to listen.
But in many ways, he's taken on the role of an adult. He's as much a part of the team as the rest of us, and he's routinely thrown into life or death situations, where his split second actions have prevented his untimely death. Nosedive knows when to get serious, and when to withhold his wise cracks. His teammates, especially his brother, come before he does. When he's in battle, a fierce battle, his innocence drops away and is replaced by a sort of . . . Acceptance?
Nosedive is at the brink of the ending of childhood and the beginning of adulthood. At times, he strays more into one stage of life than the other. He's more childish when he pulls a prank on Mallory or argues with me about Bernie the Bear, who is not bear, and more adult-like whenever his brother's life, or the life of any of us, is on the line and is up to him to save. Sometimes, like during games, he's a bit of both.
Perhaps Nosedive's situation is why Wildwing and Nosedive are so close. He's still young enough that he doesn't mind showing his emotions to his brother, but at the same time he's old enough for Wildwing to trust in his abilities. They can fight side by side, help each other through the battles, and cover for the other's weakness. Nosedive is there to keep Wildwing from getting depressed and serves as a constant reminder of why he continues living. Without his brother by his side, Wildwing couldn't have become the leader he is now. He needs Nosedive as much as Nosedive needs him.
And yet, at times, Nosedive still needs Wildwing's protection, despite how much he's grown into adulthood. The second his brother begins to scream from a nightmare, Wildwing is there, comforting him. If he gets into a situation he can't get out of by himself, Wildwing is there, saving him. If he needs a boost, Wildwing is there, supporting him. And the reverse goes for when Wildwing needs a helping hand.
There is something about their relationship that brought the rest of the team together. They are the glue that binds is together as a team, and as a family. I feel as if I have to protect them, and I know the others feel the same. A relationship as special as theirs only happens once in a life time. Their love for one another has survived through everything that they've gone through, and . . . It is like hope, watching the two of them. They symbolize the spirit of our people, a spirit that is still alive. As long as that spirit is alive, there is hope. And through this hope, we can prevail against any and all evils that threaten us.
A groan escaped the mallard's throat as he finally regained consciousness. He didn't open his eyes, but he could tell he was in a different cell because there was a lesser stench of death. Letting out another groan, he tried to sit up, but none of his muscles would respond, and he remained lying in the same position as before.
-C'mon Wildwing, get up!- he yelled at himself mentally, unable to find the strength to say it out loud.
But he still couldn't move. Wildwing tried to sit up a few more times before realizing that it was useless -- his body was too weak to even sit up at the moment. He sighed, giving in to his weakness and allowing himself to lie there.
-I'm lucky I'm even alive.- Wildwing concluded after a moment's thought, before finding the energy to smile grimly. -And lucky that I fainted before I broke. How many hours did he have me in there? How much more could I have survived?-
His thoughts fell silent for a few minutes after that question, as he tried to relax his tense muscles. Wildwing's entire body was sore, and many places were alive with pain. But the pain didn't seem to hurt as much as it should have. It was dull, hardly noticeable, and growing more and more distant with each passing second.
At that realization, his heart nearly stopped and his eyes flashed open. Everything was blurry, and his vision was quickly growing dimmer. No . . . He struggled to move, trying to fight back a fear that suddenly gripped him by the heart.
He was dying and leaving his baby brother behind. He was going to die. He was going to leave Nosedive all alone . . . .
-No! Damn it, I can't die like this!- Wildwing shouted to himself, but was surprised to find that even his thoughts seemed more distant than before, barely able to hear himself think. -I can't die! I can't leave Nosedive behind! He needs me . . . Someone, please! Anyone!-
"He's dying! If he dies, he can't help us!" a voice, so far away . . . .
"Do you have enough energy to heal him and still be able to create the portal with my help?" came another, a bit older, sounding worried.
"I-I think so . . . We'll need all the energy reserves of MoDD, though," replied the first.
"That's fine. We just need him alive," the second stated. "Hurry and heal him, I can feel his soul slipping away from us!"
Wildwing, no longer able to see, felt hands gently touch his chest. Then, his chest suddenly felt as if it had exploded with energy and he gasped in surprise. A power he did not recognize flowed through his veins and smoothed over his pain, relaxing his muscles, and giving him the strength to take in breath. His weariness faded as he eyesight began to return.
A figure, a Puckworlder, was kneeled next to him, although it was hard to exactly make them out, as his vision was still blurry with fading death. Wildwing could tell, however, that both him and the figure were bathed in a soft glow. For some reason, he felt unafraid, somehow knowing that the light belonged to something good, something that would help instead of hurt. So unlike the glow of the beam in the torture chamber. . . .
He could make out colors now, although just barely. And there was another figure right behind him, also kneeling. Both of their feathers were tanner than Wildwing, and both had light brown hair, although the figure . . . healing him, he couldn't describe it any other way, had his hair pulled back in a pony tail.
"That's enough," the other stated gently as he placed a hand on the shoulder that had to belong to his younger brother. "Anymore and the Saurians will become suspicious."
The figure, still blurry, removed his hands from Wildwing's chest and stood up. Immediately Wildwing's vision began to fade again, but he felt no panic this time. This time he knew he wasn't dying.
"He's a fighter," stated the younger brother, shaking his head. "But do you think he can really help us?"
"He's the mask-bearer, of course he can help us," the other replied. "He'll know what to do."
"But how can we be sure?" The smaller figure answered, glancing to Wildwing.
"We'll test him," the answer seemed simple to the other.
"Will the others be able to find him?" a worried edge to his voice.
"Not in time, but that's where we'll come in. Help me contact his brother," it was neither a request or a command.
Wildwing struggled to stay awake, confused by the two strange Puckworlders in front of him. He wanted to know more about them. Why were they helping him? What was going on? Why wasn't he dead?
The darkness crept up on him still. Slowly at first, but then faster and faster. Wildwing struggled briefly, but was no match against the blackness as it took him.
"We need to find Wildwing before it's too late!" Duke stated, sitting with the others, minus Nosedive, in the main room.
"Bright idea. Now how the hell are we going to find him?!" Mallory shot back, glaring at the gray duck.
"Arguing will not save Wildwing," Grin stated, causing Mallory to blink before she blushed in shame.
"S-Sorry, it's just that I'm worried about him . . ." Mallory sighed, her anger fading, replaced by a more uncomfortable emotion to her.
"We all are," Tanya placed a hand on one of Mallory's. "But you must remember how hard this must be on Nosedive. Wildwing only just recovered from being hit by that truck, you know . . . ."
"Yeah, I know," Mallory looked away, down the hall towards the quarters where they slept. "I'd rather him be annoying than have him be so quiet."
"It is unnatural. His universe has been disturbed by the kidnapping of his brother. He will only return to himself when Wildwing is safe with him," Grin added, sitting on a small mat he had placed on the floor to meditate.
"How are we going to find Wildwing?" Mallory demanded after a minute's silence.
"Well, we can't use his tracking signal, because they destroyed his comm, and we can't use the mask because it's on the fritz," Tanya shook her head. "We really don't have too many options. At least, none that I can think of."
"Are you sure you can't think of anything, Tanya? Isn't there something?" Duke asked, and Tanya thought for a moment.
"Well, there's my new energy-frequency scanner, but it scans each individual building for about three minutes to determine if it's the Raptor," Tanya offered, and Mallory blinked.
"We could use that to find Wildwing!" Mallory exclaimed, but Tanya shook her head.
"The ray I use to create the energy-pulse used in the scan can only be used once every two hours, or it'll get over-heated and explode. It's still a prototype," Tanya explained and Mallory groaned in defeat.
"This is hopeless! We'll never find Wildwing before the Saurians kill him at this rate!" Mallory snarled and Tanya looked away.
"What we need is a miracle," Duke stated.
It was then that Nosedive ran into the room, eyes wide. They stared at him in shock and worry, wondering what he was so excited over. They quickly got their answer.
"I know where Wildwing is!" Nosedive exclaimed, and their eyes widened further in shock.
They fell silent, not knowing what to say for many minutes, but Duke finally spoke up, "Kid, that's impossible . . . ."
"No, I really know where he is! D-Down to the cell Dragaunus put him in!" Nosedive replied urgently, and Mallory shook her head in disgust.
"You've gone nuts! There's no way you can know where he is!" Mallory interjected, but Nosedive shook his head quickly.
"I swear I know where he is! Please, you have to believe me!" Nosedive begged desperately, and Tanya stood, placing a hand on his shoulder. "Tanya, please!"
Why didn't they believe him? He knew, he really knew! Couldn't they tell by the look in his eyes that he was telling the truth? How could they even be skeptical? Didn't they know he would never lie about such a thing?
"It won't hurt to test out where he thinks it is.. It's not like my scanner's going to be any use to us anyways," Tanya replied and Nosedive smiled a thanks to her.
"Where's this scanner of yours?" He asked, eager to show that he was telling the truth.
"It's connected to Drake One --WHOA!" Tanya interrupted herself as Nosedive grabbed her wrist and drug her over to the computer. "Geez, calm down!"
"I can't! Wildwing's in danger!" Nosedive replied, suddenly looking anxious. "Just bring up a map of Anaheim."
She did and he immediately pointed to a spot on the map, "There. That's where 'Wing is."
Sighing, Tanya scanned the building he had indicated. After the scan was complete, Tanya sighed and looked over to Nosedive, shaking her head in disbelief.
Really, what was Nosedive thinking? They weren't going to find him by guessing randomly! She wished she had used her new scanner for a more likely spot. Why was she bothering to amuse him? He couldn't have gotten the location of Wildwing from some strange dream! It was scientifically impossible!
"You know we're not going to find-"
"Cloaked ship detected," a computerized voice surprised Tanya.
"- . . . Anything. What?! That's impossible!" Tanya looked quickly to the screen, gawking.
"You found the Raptor??" Duke blinked, standing up fast and running over to them, Mallory and Grin at his heels. "You really found the Raptor?!"
Tanya nodded mutely and Duke blinked.
"You have to be kidding me!" Mallory looked to Tanya.
"I'm not. W-We've found the Raptor," Tanya managed to say.
"Then what are we waiting for? Let's go save my brother!" Nosedive ran towards the hangar, and the others followed.
Chameleon sighed, watching over the control console. Monitor duty, he hated it. Especially when it would be so much more fun to torment Wildwing. But nooooo . . . Dragaunus had to go and nearly kill him! Which, of course, meant that no one could bother the duck until he had recovered because Dragaunus wanted him alive. Which also spoiled Chameleon's fun. The others then found it amusing to stick him on monitor duty.
He hated monitor duty. It was a fact that he felt was necessary to repeat to himself. He hated monitor duty, he hated monitor duty, he hated monitor duty, he hated-
-Alarms went off and he jumped in shock. He didn't know what to do! They were never under attack before when he was on monitor duty! What was he supposed to do, what was he supposed to do?!
"U-Uhm boss?" Chameleon tapped on his comm, whimpering softly. "We have p-problems!"
He prayed that Dragaunus wouldn't kill him as the overlord's face shimmered over the communicator. "What kind of problems, Chameleon?!"
"I-I don't know! The a..alarms are going crazy!" The little green lizard squirmed as Dragaunus' face grew very, very impatient and angry.
"You blubbering fool, what have you done now?!" Dragaunus shouted, and Chameleon cowered.
"I didn't d-do nothin'! I w-wasn't touching it or anything! I-It just started making noise! S-Something about intruders!" He replied, shying away from the face above his communicator.
Dragaunus slapped his forehead, letting out a growl of aggravation as he shut the connection. A minute later, he teleported next to his minion and shoved the poor Saurian off the chair so he could see better. Chameleon fell to the floor with a shout, and got up rubbing his side.
"What in the blazes?!" Dragaunus stared hard at the screen for a moment, then fisted the computer keyboard in an effort to fix the computer.
But the readings remained the same, despite how hard he pounded the machine. It was impossible; how could they be suffering so many glitches? The entire security network was down!
Dragaunus gritted his teeth in rage, smoke curling out of his nostrils as he snarled. The power supply had suffered a meltdown, according to the computer. How could it suffer a meltdown?! It was proofed against it!
"Chameleon, get Siege and find out what is going on with that system's power source and report back to me, in person!" Dragaunus ordered, before flipping on his communicator. "Wraith, go and guard the mallard! We may have intruders."
"Yes, my lord," replied Wraith, before the connection was closed.
Chameleon left the room muttering obscenities about the Saurian Overlord under his breath, limping slightly. Why'd he put up with the constant abuse anyways? The only one that didn't hit him was Wraith, and that was probably because he was too old to do much other than cast spells, being frail enough that hitting Chameleon might break a bone.
He then remembered why he went along with them. If they won, he was promised slaves and land. And he was treated better hear than he was at home, sadly enough. At least here he had his own quarters and had an unique talent that made him irreplaceable. Back home, he was one of many children in his family, all having the ability to shape shift. And he had been the runt of the family, so he was lower than mud in their eyes, barely higher than a slave. His brothers and sisters were all about twice as tall as he was, and three times as good with their powers. Chameleon had more use than just a punching bag here.
His thoughts were interrupted as he bumped into Siege and fell to the ground on his backside, letting out a small cry of pain. Siege turned around and glared at him. Chameleon gulped.
"D-Dragaunus said for us to check the power source for the security system. The entire thing went down!"
"Well then let's go see what the problem is, you meat head!" Siege growled, smacking Chameleon upside the head when he didn't get up fast enough. "C'mon, get moving!"
Frowning deeply, Chameleon rubbed his head as he got up and walked after Siege. What he went through to get a piece of victory. It better be worth the trouble. And once he got his slaves and his land, he could flaunt his family with his riches. He smirked at the thought. That would be the ultimate reward.
A few minutes later they arrived at the center of their problem and both their mouths gaped open. The computer's report that the power source of the security system had suffered a meltdown was an understatement. The entire wall that had housed the power source was nothing more than a flaming puddle of components, more liquid than solid. In fact, they were lucky it hadn't burned down the entire ship! How could a fire get so hot that it melted metal?!
"Oh boy, Dragaunus is not going to like this!" Siege muttered, shaking his head.
"Guess it's not the ducks, then, huh?" Chameleon asked and Siege rolled his eyes.
"Does any duck you know have the ability to melt a heat-resistant power source?!" Siege shot back, and Chameleon cringed away from him.
"G-Good point," he admitted, slowly relaxing when Siege didn't hit him. "We'd better go tell the boss, then. He said for us to report back to him in person."
The two Saurians left silently, only making a comment every once in a while to each other. They failed to notice a figure watching them from around the corner. The younger Puckworlder brother pulled his head back, nodding to his older brother.
"They fell for it," he stated, grinning.
"Of course they fell for it. They never met anyone who could use fire-magic to such an extent before." his brother replied, grinning back to him. "I think they'll be able to rescue their leader much easier now, don't you think? Hunter Drones and Saurians are easier to defeat than their security system."
His brother paused a minute and closed his eyes, sensing out their location before he opened his eyes up again and responded "They're already on their way."
"Good. Dragaunus won't have time to get any of his defenses up." a smirk spread over the elder Puckworlder's bill. "They should get him back without a problem."
"Hopefully. And then we'll be able to. . . " He paused as he heard a sound, then looked behind them, down the hall. "Hunter drones, incoming!"
"We can't be discovered; they mustn't know we're alive! Hurry, follow me!" he urgently whispered and took off at a silent run, his brother following.
Gunfire suddenly erupted under their feet and they dived behind a wall. The younger brother glanced around the corner, then cursed as he ducked away from more gunfire. Hunter drones were incoming, and fast.
"Damn, they've spotted us! Can you take them out?" he asked and the other nodded.
"With pleasure, just shield me!" his older brother replied, grinning mischievously, jumping out from behind the wall and into the intersection of the two parallel corridors.
"At least give me a warning next time!" the younger brother called back, signing quickly in the air.
The Hunter Drones fired at the unarmed Puckworlder and his brother cursed, signing faster. Nothing like a head-strong older brother to get you moving! But there wasn't time for him to think about anything besides the spell he was weaving, and a few seconds later it was done. A light exploded in front of his brother just in time for the lasers to slam into it. The next second, the lasers disappeared.
"Hold it up for a few seconds!" the older brother cried, closing his eyes as he reached into himself and drew forth his powers.
Fire exploded around him, swirling, and he grinned as he felt the flames dance around him invitingly. They swirled higher and higher, faster and faster, until they surrounded him completely and blurred his image. The Hunter Drones kept firing in vain, their shots continuing to be absorbed by the shield. A minute, two minutes, and the fire became glowing white.
"Drop it!" he shouted, and his younger brother obliged.
At the same second, the older forced his arms forwards, palms facing the drones blocking their path. The fire condensed in a flash, swirling around his arms before shooting forward and expanding tenfold once more. Finding the light too strong for even his eyes, he squinted them shut, letting out a yell as the fire blasted through the Hunter Drones, then past them. It hit the wall, only remaining trapped for a second before bursting through, curving onwards towards the sky.
"What in the name of the Great Mother of Ducks was that?!" Duke yelled, shielding his eyes from the bright fire as it erupted out of a building in front of them, arching towards the sky.
"I don't know, but I don't like the looks of it!" Tanya winced away from the light as well. "It's coming from the building that's the Raptor!"
"What could have made that blast?" Nosedive shouted, slamming on the breaks and spinning out in front of the building it was coming from.
"No matter what it is, we need to check it out!" Mallory replied, wincing as well.
The bright fire vanished into space as quickly as it had appeared, leaving the Mighty Ducks trying to blink the after-image from their eyes. Nosedive unbuckled his restraints and jumped out of his seat, heading towards the door.
"Nosedive, where are you going?!" Tanya cried, and Nosedive shook his head, loading his Puckblaster.
"We need to hurry and save Wildwing! If that blast wasn't from them, they'll probably try and kill him before we have a chance to save him!" Nosedive answered, slamming his hand into the button to open the Migrator's side door, hopping out even before the ramp was to the ground.
The others looked at one another, before scrambling out of their seats as well and following Nosedive as he ran within distance of the Raptor's cloaking field. They gasped in unison, along with Nosedive, as the regarded the Raptor. It was easy to tell that the fire they had seen wasn't from the Raptor.
No blast from the Raptor would have left a gaping, melted hole in the side of it. Nosedive only gaped for a moment, before running forward, climbing up the Raptor the few feet it took to get there. Tanya shouted a warning.
"Nosedive, no! It's too hot to touch!" She ran towards him, trying to grab his ankle as he reached a hand towards the melted section, but he lifted it out of reach as her hands started to grasp it.
"It's not!" Nosedive shouted back, and she blinked in surprise.
"It isn't?! That's . . . That's impossible!" Tanya gasped, as she and the others ran forward and climbed up the ship, after their youngest team member, who had already entered the Raptor.
"Now where do we go?" Duke asked the inevitable question, and Nosedive pointed down an adjacent hall.
"Down that corridor, then to the left."
"Glad one of us knows where we're going," Mallory stated sarcastically as she and the others began to follow Nosedive at a jog.
"Well, at least that solves the problem of how they're going to get into the Raptor," the younger brother stated, snickering to the other.
"Oh ha. So I made a miscalculation.. Really, I didn't think that it would punch through the wall so neatly." replied the elder with a slight flush.
"I guess they just don't build things like they used to," his brother laughed, and he glared.
"Hush. Save your wisecracks for later. We need to follow them and make sure they get out of this alive." He started off at a jog after the other Puckworlders, only once he decided they were far enough away not to hear or see them.
"Without using up all of our energy," his brother pointed out, quickly following the taller mallard.
"What the hell was that?!" Dragaunus roared in fury, picking himself off of the floor in front of his throne as Chameleon frantically typed into the computer.
"There was some sort of explosion in Deck 5! Somehow, a giant hole was punched into one of the sides!" Chameleon whimpered after he read the report.
The status system was still operational for the time being, although that could quickly change depending on Dragaunus' reaction.
"WHAT?!" his underling made himself small as Dragaunus raged his fury. "How did that happen?!"
"It must be the ducks, my lord! It's the only explanation." Siege replied and the Overlord sent him a withering glare.
"Even they do not have that much power!" Dragaunus snarled, starting to pace. "What we have is another intruder. An intruder with incredible power."
"Who?" Chameleon dared to ask and Dragaunus swatted him to the ground.
"If I knew who, I would have exterminated them already! Now shut up and follow me! The ducks, if they decide to attack now, will be after their leader. We must beat them to the pass!"
The Mighty Ducks had been trekking in the Raptor for about an hour, before Nosedive finally slowed down and stopped. "He's just two halls down from us."
"Then why are we stopping?" Mallory asked, and he shook his head.
"He's most likely guarded," Tanya answered for Nosedive, and Mallory nodded after a moment.
"Point. If we charge in, guns blazing without a plan, we're most likely to get him killed." Mallory agreed.
"Duke, any suggestions?" Nosedive turned to the thief, only to see the eldest Puckworlder looking away. "Duke, what is it?"
"I feel like we're being followed, but whatever it is stays just out of my sight. But I don't think it means any harm . . . Either way, we should watch our back." Duke replied, turning to Nosedive. "Our best bet would be for us to go as a team until just before where Wildwing is, and then I can sneak around to check it out."
"Then that's what we should do," Mallory commented, earning nods from the others. "Duke, Nosedive, take the lead. Me and Grin will keep an eye on our back. Tanya, check out for traps and the sort."
"No problem, sweetheart," he walked out in front of the others, next to Nosedive, glancing into the darkness. "We're close, kid?"
"Yeah, real close . . . I just hope they haven't hurt Wildwing." Nosedive sighed, shaking his head. ". . . But I know they already have. He needs Tanya or he'll-"
"Nosedive, we'll save him, don't worry," Duke whispered gently, putting his hand on Nosedive's shoulder as they resumed walking. "Just believe in yourself."
"I guess . . . " Nosedive sighed once more, voice unsure as they began walking once more. "He's in pain . . . ."
Duke didn't question how Nosedive knew, but it had something to do with the dream he had just experienced. It was the only explanation he could think of. Whomever talked to Nosedive in that dream was still helping them. Maybe they had even punched that hole in the Raptor. And maybe they were the ones following them.
At that thought, Duke was sure they meant no harm. Whomever they were, they wanted the Ducks to save their leader, and that was enough for him at the moment. He would ask questions later, when Wildwing was safe with them. Right now it mattered little.
When Nosedive paused the next time, Duke crept up to the corner, peering around it. He immediately frowned and stiffened, quickly drawing his head back before he could be spotted. At the questioning glances of the others, he shook his head.
"Drones and all four Saurians. They obviously expected us." He stated.
"Damn it! How are we going to get past them?!" Mallory hissed, and Tanya immediately wracked her brain for an answer.
"I, uhm, have no clue . . . But we need a distraction!" Tanya replied, but she shook her head. "There's not much we can do without them threatening to kill Wildwing. If only there was something . . ."
The two brothers listened in from a distance, ignoring Duke as he stared at their hidden forms.
"We need to help! There's no way they'll be able to save him!" the younger stated, looking to his brother for advice. "And we can't do anything more, or our cover will be blown."
"It already is blown. With that blast, I'm sure they've figured out they're probably dealing with high magic." the elder replied at length. "You can help them. I saw the specs on those drones. They aren't water-proof. Go down this hall and turn right, then forward until you see the Saurians. That way, we won't have to pass by the other Puckworlders and have further risk of them seeing us."
A grin crossed his brother's beak. "Then I'm going to enjoy this."
"I'm sure you will. Now hurry!"
"There's got to be something we can do! We can't just leave my brother to his fate!" Nosedive desperately begged the others. "Can't you think of anything??"
"Just about anything we do will get Wildwing killed . . ." Tanya stated, sighing sadly. "It's hopeless."
"Don't say that! This is my brother we're talking about! We have to save him!" Nosedive's eyes only became more pleading, his voice nearly breaking with repressed sobs of panic. "W-We can't let them kill him!"
"Guys?" Duke was glancing behind them again.
"Yeah?" Nosedive looked back, frowning slightly. "You got an idea?"
"No, but the people that were following us are gone now," Duke replied.
"And?" Mallory prompted.
"And I think all we have to do is sit back and wait," Duke grinned softly. "I think they'll handle most of our problem for us."
"How can you be so sure?"
Shouts erupted from around the corner, as the shorting of circuits could be heard, followed by explosions of the droids. The Saurians shouted some more and then Chameleon and Wraith both cried out in shock before two dull thuds were made against the metal. Chameleon and Wraith made no further noise. They stared at the corner, unable to believe their ears.
"Oh, just call it ex-thief's intuition," Duke smirked, then ran forward. "C'mon, while they're down!"
Without hesitation, the others followed him, drawing out their weapons as they raced down the short stretch of hall and made the corner, nearly slipping on the water that now covered the floor of the cell block. Their mysterious helper was gone, and only Siege and Dragaunus moved, with Wraith, Chameleon, and the drones out of commission.
"Seems like your plan's all washed up, Dragaunus! I'm taking back my brother!" Nosedive shouted, firing as the Overlord and the others followed suit.
"Siege, grab the others and retreat! We're outnumbered!" Dragaunus ordered before hitting his teleporter and disappearing into a flash of light.
Not bothering to reply, Siege stepped near his fallen comrades, before hitting his teleporter and disappearing as well.
Mallory sighed, lowering her weapon. "Well, that was anti-climatic. Whomever was helping us took all the fun out of it."
"Let's just get Wildwing and get out of here," Nosedive stated, walking over to the cell-block his brother was in, before freezing stiff. "By the stars, Wildwing! No!"
"Kid, what is it?!" Duke ran up next to him, gasping in shock. "Shit! Tanya, get over here!"
As she ran towards them, he opened the panel next to the cell and started fiddling with the controls, attempting to open the barred door. When Tanya joined them, she let out a short scream, hands flying up to cover her beak as her eyes widened in shock. Duke ignored her, succeeding in opening the locking mechanism a minute later before he rushed inside and started to undo Wildwing's shackles.
"W-Wing.. Wildwing, Wildwing!" panicked, Nosedive ran forward and kneeled by his brother's side, Tanya at his heals as he began to shake his brother roughly. "Wildwing, wake up, wake up! C-C'mon, you're okay, wake up! Tanya!"
"Stop it, you'll hurt him!" She hissed and he reluctantly let go of his brother while she turned to look Wildwing up and down to judge the extent of his injuries. "He's already in bad enough shape as it is . . . You don't need to make it any worse."
Nosedive couldn't stand the sight of his brother's battered, cut, and bruised body, and he looked away, swallowing back a sob. Wildwing needed him to be strong now; he couldn't cry. He just couldn't . . . But the Saurians tortured him! He could even . . . NO! NO! NO!
"He can't die!" Nosedive stated, shaking his head frantically, a beginning of a sob escaping from his throat. "I-I nearly lost him already! H-He can't do this to me a-again!"
"Wildwing's not going to die, Nosedive. He's going to be just fine. We only need to get him back to the pond," Tanya stated. "His injuries are much less than before. He's only suffering from cuts and bruises, no broken bones. And he's not suffering from a concussion, either."
"S-So he'll be okay?" Nosedive asked hopefully and she smiled.
"Yes, he's going to be just fine, although he'll probably be jumpy for a little while. And he'll sleep a lot, like last time," she elaborated a little more on her explanation and he gave her a relieved smile, looking at his brother's still form in relief.
"Thank the stars . . . " he whispered softly, crawling over to his brother's side and holding him up as Duke undid the last restraint.
Nosedive felt his brother stir in his arms. "Wildwing?"
"H-Hey," Wildwing replied weakly, his smile barely there. "T-took you long e-enough to . . . to save m-me."
"Shh, don't talk," Tanya ordered gently, and Wildwing reluctantly obeyed her.
"Sorry . . . We did as best as we could, though. We're going to take you home and you'll be better soon. Tanya says that your wounds aren't as bad as last time," Nosedive told his brother, still cradling him softly, despite the fact that Wildwing was heavier than him. "You'll be able to move around again shortly, if you stay in bed this time."
Wildwing chuckled softly, then winced at the movement. He offered his brother a small smile, but he could already feel himself slipping away again. However, he decided to disobey Tanya's orders against his better judgement and spoke once more.
"L-Love ya, baby b-bro'," Wildwing whispered softly, as his eyes slowly slid closed.
"I l-love you too, Wildwing," Nosedive replied softly, even though he knew that Wildwing couldn't hear them.
"He'll be okay," Tanya reassured him, a gentle expression on her face.
"I-I know. L-Let's just . . . just take him home," Nosedive stared down at his brother's still form, thanking the stars and the mysterious strangers that his brother was safe.
He handed Wildwing to Grin, and they walked out of the Raptor, failing to encounter anymore drones or Saurians. Not wanting to test their luck, Duke drove as fast as he dared the second Wildwing was secure.
Then, the wait began all over again for Nosedive. But at least this time Nosedive knew the outcome. And for that, he was grateful.
*End of Chapter 5*
Author's End-note: Ouch, this chapter was a bit longer than the last two, lol. And here I thought it was actually short . . . Silly me. Nothing like a good anime movie to get you in the mood to write. You can thank Metropolis for this chapter, because I had writer's block at "It was proofed against it!" So the last part of the chapter was written at one time, lol. I'm just glad I finally finished it. One more chapter after this, although it's just really wrapping things up. And remember, no guessing about who the mysterious characters are! =P~