Author's Note: Doom and gloom. I'm doomed. Why, you ask? Firstly, I am starting yet another story (a bad habit of mine, but my stories are all such different moods, and depending on what mood I'm in…well, I guess you can tell I'm in a rather morbid mood here.) Secondly, I'm doomed. I have mindworms. They will eat my brain and I will die a slow and painful death. Because there's no other explanation than mindworms why I would write another Cyclonis/Stork romance pairing, and this one is a real one, not a one-shot.
So lock me up in a mental hospital. But read my story.
Disclaimer: I don't own the Storm Hawks.
Doom and gloom. She's on my ship.
As in she—the witch, evil incarnate—is on my precious ship, my precious Condor.
She's our prisoner. How ironic. Last time, we were her prisoners.
Ha, ha. I'll appreciate how funny it is when I get over the fact that she was on my ship!
It was Aerrow's plan: let ourselves be captured by Cyclonia, spread dissent among any Talons who would listen, and, of course, the main objective, free as many prisoners as we could. From the very dungeons of Terra Cyclonia.
I had once wondered how they decorated the dungeons. Well, now I knew.
I had to say, it wasn't bad, wasn't bad at all. The walls were clean, and completely smooth, hewn from marble. They glistened. The cells were fairly accommodating, maybe half as large as my room on the Condor was, and bare except for a small bed. The bed was pretty comfortable, covered in warm blankets, way better than one would expect. We were all separated, kept in solitary confinement, but our bodily needs were taken care of. We were clean, we were well fed, we had a lot of rest, and no one approached us at all to torture us.
I also had no idea how Aerrow planned to go on with his plan if none of them let us see anyone.
It was boring here. I knew they were playing mind-games with me, but I wasn't going to crack. Merbs can go into a deep form of meditation, completely suspending their consciousness, almost like a coma. It's called the healing sleep. So when the Cyclonians waited for me to go crazy, my mind rested and became stronger.
Actually, the dungeons weren't too bad. With the thick walls and all the guards, they were fairly safe. Like the only other place I felt safe…
No. I was not going to think about the Condor. That only made me upset. That disrupted my zen.
I barely heard the call from the guard, followed by a rap against the bars lining the cell. Then again, I wasn't that far gone, so I was lucky I heard him at all.
"Prisoner! Get up!"
I kept my eyes closed, hoping whoever wanted to see me would leave me alone. They weren't going to torture me now that they saw their mind games weren't working, were they?
"Stork of the Storm Hawks." This time it was a cool female voice.
Oh, no. Not her voice. Surely she didn't want anything with me.
I glanced up. Yep, it was Master Cyclonis herself. Did I mention I was doomed?
With a flick of her hand, she unlatched the cell door, and stepped inside, before closing it and locking it again with her crystal powers. I had no doubt that she had various crystals hidden all over her person, and she was not as unarmed as she seemed. Besides, I wouldn't dare attack her in a palace full of her Talons. That would be suicide.
She turned to the cell guard. "Leave us," she commanded.
Okay, now I was really nervous.
I fiddled with my thumbs, ready to try to read whatever expression she had in her violet eyes when she turned to me.
Piper insisted that we all take turns carrying her food. She is a prisoner, but we're treating her like a guest. I want to complain that I would like to have breakfast in bed, but I don't. I'm more mature than that. I'll let Finn do the complaining.
So I unlocked the door to the room we were using as her cell and pushed the tray of food inside, trying not to look at her.
I still made eye contact.
Those violet eyes were devoid of emotion. It was the scariest thing I had ever seen.
Her violet eyes were devoid of emotion. It was the scariest thing I had ever seen.
I'm perceptive. I can tell when someone is angry, or scared, or happy, but more importantly, when they're relaxing or when they're about to attack. It's a Merb thing, from centuries of everything attacking us. We got good at recognizing the danger signs.
With her, everything screams 'DANGER,' and yet her body language is…controlled. It is neither tense nor relaxed. She has a complete and perfect grip on every single one of her muscles, and so I can't tell anything about what her next move might be.
For a second, I'm jealous. Control like that…
Then my fear returns.
At least she doesn't have mindworms. You start to lose control over your body when you have mindworms. Just small things, like twitches…
She said nothing, so I decided to start the conversation. "Why are you here?" I snarled. "To torture me?"
Her lip curled up into a sneer. "No," she replied, throwing as much sarcasm and hate into her words as she could. "I just like to chat with my prisoners, because I get lonely."
But I'm a Merb. I'm perceptive. And I see something in her eyes that tells me that maybe it's not too far from the truth.
"Well, chat away," I found myself saying amiably. "Do you have any new fun crystal projects you're working on?"
She stared at me in surprise, but quickly covered up her shock. "Chat we will," she replied. "I answer your questions, you answer mine, deal?"
I glanced at her carefully. "I can't promise that."
She shrugged. "I'll keep going until you stop. Or vice verse. I'll even let you go first."
I should have said no, but I couldn't. Before I could stop myself, "How is she?" burst out of my lips.
"Piper?" the dark young empress snorted. "You want to know where you precious navigator is. Well, she's—"
"Not Piper!" I growled in frustration. "The Condor! You didn't hurt her, did you?"
Cyclonis's eyes widened slightly, a very small movement but yet again it did not escape my notice. So she was surprised, by me. My question. "You care for your ship more than for your team member?" she snorted.
"You said you'd answer my question first."
"Very well," the queen of Cyclonia replied. "We have her in a storage bay. Tried to do some maintenance, but the casualties from traps became too much. No one was killed, but we decided why waste effort on it? So we locked your precious ship up. Don't worry, it—"
"She, then, hasn't been harmed."
Relief flowed through me. The Condor was okay.
Abruptly, Cyclonis rose to leave. Confusion washed through me.
"Where are you going?"
She leaned in, close to me, too close, and the alarms in my head went off again. Danger, danger, danger! they screamed.
"I'm Master here. I come and go as I please, Stork. Never forget that."
Then she left me, sitting there on my tiny, but not cramped, bed, feeling confused and wondering why.
I was doomed.
Somehow, I always expected it would feel good to capture her. Like discovering the cure for Azarian Laughing Fever, I thought it would bring more safety into my own personal world. I liked feeling safe.
But we had brought her onto the Condor, and my happy safeness had shattered like a thin bubble of hope that had been popped.
I was surprised at how easy it was. It was almost like she wanted to be captured. Still, we had destroyed her home. Terra Cyclonia was gone, wiped off the face of the Atmos. It wasn't like she had anywhere left to go.
Why we took her in, now that was a bigger question. Just like we had destroyed her home, she had destroyed countless others. She had destroyed Terra Atmosia, wiped it off the face of the Atmos. We couldn't take her to the Sky Knight Council for trial, because they were gone.
We had no where left to take her.
So she stayed with us.
And I had my biggest nightmare, my greatest fear, sleeping in the same ship that I was.
They were crazy if they thought mere metal walls were going to restrain her. We were all doomed.
That was fun. Needed to get it out of my system…hopefully, I'll be able to sleep now.