Author's Note: I started another one! This is going to be shorter than usual (just four chapters, and the chapters themselves may be shorter than usual). In fact, this is going to be more drabble-like than anything else. I got the idea, and it was just bugging me, and I couldn't write anything else. Well, I hope you like it! A new chapter will be added each day until it is complete (which won't take long at all).
Disclaimer: I don't own the Storm Hawks.
Ace of Spades
The ace of spades (also known as the spadille) is traditionally speaking the highest card in the deck of playing cards, although the actual value of the card varies from game to game. In popular myth and folklore, it is also known as the "death card." –Wikipedia, the Free Online Encyclopedia
Master Cyclonis was rambling again. She had told herself not to speak of the future, not to long for the might-have-beens, but she just couldn't help it. Her glorious Storm Engine stood nearly complete, missing only the Aurora Stone, and then it would be over for the Atmosians who had defied their rule for too long. It was a future so captivating and a past so infuriating that she couldn't help but speak of it, even if her subordinates could not understand the beauty and the irony.
"Once upon a time," she said coolly, not even bothering to turn from her great contraption, "Cyclonia controlled the entire Atmos. Then along came the Sky Knights, and all that got messed up." Her hands clenched, knuckles white. She did not like to think of failure. Better to ponder the glorious future that awaited them. "I want things back the way they used to be. And as soon as my Talon squadrons clip the wings of those Sky Knights, they will."
"That would be my pleasure, Master."
Someone new had entered the room; a man who was feared and respected as much as Cyclonis herself. He had been one of her mother's most trusted commanders. He had been her mentor, her advisor, her surrogate father, her…friend? Was she even allowed to have friends?
He was the only person she trusted. She visibly relaxed.
"Dark Ace. So glad you could join us." I was worried that you weren't coming. Her doubts, of course, she would not voice. Still, logic and reason meant everything to her, and she did not know his reason of betraying his original squadron. She did not see his reason for staying in Cyclonia, with her.
What happened next mattered little to her. She threatened the idiot Raptor, she listen patiently as they reported Carver's failure. She knew that the traitorous Sky Knight would fail to bring her the stone; she never expected him to. He had done his real job, though: take out his own squadron and leave Terra Atmosia defenseless.
And so the Dark Ace was sent off to fetch her crystal for her. She did not turn to watch him leave. That would be showing weakness, and she was not weak.
The Dark Ace entered her throne room, bowing, holding out the crystal to her. Despite the fact that he was eight years her elder, he stilled showed her as much if not more respect than the other Talons. After all, it was not as if she trusted him for no reason. Ten years of training, protection, and even apprehensive friendship had forged a bond between them.
"And our guests?" She didn't need to ask, but she wanted to, anyway. She knew that he would not brag if she did not give him the chance. Besides, all their hard labor was finally paying off. They deserved the chance to brag.
"I've never seen such power," he replied, his voice echoing the awe he felt. He respectfully offered her the crystal.
She grinned. It transformed her face completely. Her eyes were alight with excitement, and she looked beautiful, in a wild, very dangerous way. "That, Dark Ace, was nothing. We're about to see the full power of the Aurora Stone unleashed! Imagine…"
He was not listening to the rest of what she said. He only saw her, with her excitement oozing from every pore. She seemed more alive then usual, in a strange way. She was lit up from within with a fierce, inhuman beauty. Suddenly, she turned to him, and he realized what was expected of him. He saluted again, bowing his head and placing a fist over his heart, while offering the crystal up to her.
Still grinning, she picked it up. Their hands brushed, and he felt like a jolt of electricity went down his spine. All too soon, she turned away, placing her crystal in her machine.
He smiled, watching her back. He didn't really care if her little science project with this strange machine worked or not. She was happy, and that was all that mattered.
He watched in shock as the Aurora Stone exploded, sending out waves of purple energy. One struck her straight on, and she was thrown back. The storm raged above them, and the ceiling was collapsing.
Their enemies were escaping! But his Master lay on the ground, helpless! For a moment he was confused, and he froze up. What would she want him to do?
His instincts took over, and he rushed over to her side. The beams of the ceiling were collapsing, and there wasn't enough time to drag her down to a safer, more secure area of the palace. He had a split second to make a decision before it would be too late for both of them.
He threw himself on top of her, shielding her with his own body. A great metal beam groaned, then collapsed under the pressure of the raging winds. It slammed into him, and pain exploded in his side. Blackness circled, closing in. He felt himself drifting away.
Is this death? I'm sorry, Master, for I have failed you. I'm sorry…
Red light was the next thing he saw. He knew at once that he was not dead, for two reasons: first, he did not believe in the afterlife, and second, he felt pain.
So he had survived.
His Master stood before him, not a scratch on her. At once he found the strength to stand up, despite the pain in his ribs. "You win some, you lose some. Apparently the same goes for you, too, now, Dark Ace."
If he was surprised by her amazingly cool composure, he did not show it. After all, he did know her well. She never grew angry as a child if her plans were foiled; she silently learned from her mistakes. In the end, the result was still the same: she always got what she wanted. He was just glad she did not blame him, for no punishment would be worse than a fall from her good graces.
She was still little more than a child, but he knew better. She had never really been a child. The responsibility of running an empire had turned her into an adult before she reached the double digits.
She turned away from him, surveying the extent of destruction on her home. She would have to rebuild, and regroup. It would take a while, but Cyclonia would rise from the ashes, stronger than ever before.
Luckily, the Cyclonian palace itself had not been harmed. It was one of the most structurally sound buildings in the entire Atmos; after all, it was a fortress which had survived centuries of war. One little broken crystal wasn't going to take it down.
Cyclonis did not feel lucky. She just felt tired. All the fighting, the action, and the rebuilding had taken its toll on her. It had been a long day, and she was ready to sleep.
Drop-dead tired or not, she was still extremely observant. Something was off in her room. On her desk sat a single card, a playing card.
What did it mean? She did not play cards. She turned it over, and a smile crept onto her face.
The Ace of Spades. She could guess who left it.
A card of highest value. A card used in some games to determine who goes first. Sometimes known as the "death card."
Just a friendly reminder from her Talon Commander who she held in highest value that he would face death for her.
Despite the fact that the day could be considered a setback, she felt her mood lighten. She tightened her hand around the card, then placed it back down, and still smiling, got into bed.
I sort of like the way it turned out.
Because I'm writing this as a "I have MC/DA fever and I need to get this out" and not for any feedback or reviews, I'm not going to say "tell me if I should continue or not." I'm continuing whether you like it or not! (Though if you did like it, I'd love to hear from you!!!)
Next chapter, "Ace of Clubs," is up tomorrow!