Luc flanked to a stack of debris, effectively putting him out of the line of fire. He clutched his gun to his chest, attentively listening for any movement from the other side. Leon came up beside him, his knives dripping with dark blood.

“Just like old times, huh?” he chuckled. Luc flashed him a fanged grin. His purple eyes had taken on the hostile red glow glint; visible like red fireflies to anyone standing far away enough.

Jai tumbled to a blockade next to them, his hulking figure shielded with a piece of the slave trader’s own spaceship.

A bullet ricocheted off a rock close to his foot, but Luc didn’t flinch, responding with a quick head shot. The body of the slave trader collapsed off the overhead platform and fell splat onto the floor below. A distinct exclamation of curses sounded from the opposing  barricades, followed by more shouting as Jai hurled loose boulders of the floor into their defense line.

“The others?” Luc asked.

“Fang and MARS on the cages. Captain and Talon are doing something about our friend’s vehicles,” Leon reported. Luc nodded. As if on comedic cue, an explosion erupted humongous plumes of smoky fire from where the hunters had landed. The battlefield fell silent as the slavers stared in disbelief, realising what was going on, before they themselves erupted in more curses.

Luc and Leon traded hand signals, formulating their next plan of attack. Jai simply waited for the bullet hail to stop, intending to charge and plow the bastards down. Another sting of explosions set off, but this time an especially potent one discharged, sending more debris flying towards the area. Luc and Leon switched to evasive maneuvers, avoiding pelts of flaming pieces of metal shards. Jai simply held up his ‘shield’ above his back, and picked up another piece of ship nearby.

A screaming ball of fire caught Luc’s attention, its flight path slamming it through the ceiling of the warehouse and straight into the stronghold of the confused people. Leon mock-saluted the ‘meteor’ as it passed, grinning.

The slave traders scattered like cockroaches, and the ball of fire crashed so hard a small crater formed. The smell of melting metal and crushed cement filled the air, combined with the trailing scent of fuel that came from the crater.

Leon,Luc and Jai jumped out at the delirious men and women scrambling away, cutting them down and knocking them out, making their way towards the crater.

Covered in sparkling dust from the obliterated fuel crystals, Keona staggered out of the embers of the crater, literally flaming mad. “GIVE, ROYAN, BACK, YOU BITCHES!” she spluttered, her ears, tail and limbs engulfed in her fire.

“Captain,” Leon nodded to Keona, lowering his knives.

“Leeeeon,” Keona mewed, her snarl dropping to a kitty face. “Are you alright, bougie?” Luc asked. She nodded, sparks flying from her ears and hair. A large plate of metal slammed down behind Keona, on the edge of the crater. She stood surprised for a moment, before realising that it was from Jai, shielding her from the bullet hail of newly reloaded guns.

She waved to him in acknowledgement and he grunted in return. “Check on Talon, then rendezvous with MARS and Fang,” she instructed Leon and Luc. She focused her fire to one of her fists, and sent a spit of flame over the shield with a punch, towards the group firing at her.

Leon nodded and retreated almost immediately. Luc followed suit, after crouching down and exchanging a kiss with his beloved. Jai ran alongside the crater, hurling hot rock embers now. Keona scrambled up onto one of his four arms and perched on his topmost shoulder like a demented pet squirrel, hurtling flame and insults at the slave traders.

After clearing out most of the lesser traders, Jai and Keona singled out the head slaver, a weedy man trying to escape with bags of currency at the expense of his business partners.

Crawling into Jai’s outstretched palm, Keona stretched herself out, claws-first and stiffened. Rising to full height, Jai raised Keona above his head and threw her like a javelin towards the coward.

Screams resounded out from the rubble of the warehouse as Keona sunk her claws into the slaver’s back and lashed her fire at his front. The slaver collapsed, his currency spilling out of his bags and getting caught in Keona’s flames.

Jai strode over, fury in his eyes as ferocious as Keona’s fire. She detached herself from the man and, with a swift sweep of her tail and a flick of her ears, canceled out the fire on her body. Jai stood over the man’s charred body and contemplated simply stepping on the man’s head.

Too much had happened for him to feel any remorse towards traffickers and to be faced with the direct act once again pushed him to a rather indifferent point. Why should he care about the lives of those who didn’t?

He looked to Keona, wondering what she was planning to do next. She backed up and perched herself on a barrel, looking up to him. Her brilliant green eyes were calm but glinted thoughtfully. “Your call,” she shrugged. She didn’t, couldn’t fathom what is was like to be a slave. Sure, she had her experiences of being hauled off and locked in some dark dingy compartment, but that was just the tip of the iceberg compared to what he had been through. The scars around his wrists, ankles, neck and down his back said as much.

Jai looked down again at the whimpering man at his feet and made up his mind.


 

Writer’s note: A day early! Reason is I’m going away for the weekend and am purposefully detaching myself from advanced electronics and the internet. My laptop needs more than a day’s break for all the work we got done together throughout the year so far 🙂 Also, I’ll be attending a literary festival as a contestant for a short story entry so here’s hoping a good time for me! Cheers and thanks for reading! 😀 ❤

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