Sometimes It Just Runs In The Family

Sergeant Major Averia Yun-Farron was a badass. No, scratch that. When it came to young, up-and-coming Guardian Corps officers, she was the badass.

She had graduated at the top of her class at the New Eden Guardian Corps Academy with the highest scores ever recorded. But her accomplishments hadn't been limited to the classroom. No, she'd taken to fieldwork like her little sister, Diana, had taken to live fire exercises. Whether she was on beat patrol or part of a criminal investigation, she'd completed each one of her missions with skill, speed, and unwavering resolve.

Her fellow officers weren't sure what to make of her. On one hand, everyone wanted to be part of her squad. She was notoriously protective of her squad members. Given her success rate, membership meant safety and a quick path to promotion. On the other hand, it was hard to be around her sometimes since most people came off as mediocre in comparison to her. Not everybody could be the daughter of two living legends and actually live up to the family legacy.

But despite Averia's well-earned reputation as a frighteningly gifted and absolutely fearless soldier, there were still a few people who terrified her. She was standing in front of one of them right now. The fact that Diana and Claire were right there beside her didn't help much either. If anything, they were probably more terrified than she was.

"Explain to me, sergeant major, why you thought it would be a good idea to engage ten advanced, heavy combat robots on an open highway."

The general folded her hands together on top of the table and turned the full force of her cold, blue eyes on Averia. There was no room for backchat here, not room for disobedience or lying. If Averia told anything less than the complete and utter truth, she was a dead woman, regulations be damned.

Averia swallowed thickly and took a few moments to regain her composure. On either side of her, Diana and Claire were so quiet and were standing so straight that they might as well have been statues. Most of the time, Averia liked being in charge, but not now. Besides, Diana had always been better at talking her way out of trouble, and they were definitely in trouble now.

"I am waiting, sergeant major." The general's eyes narrowed. One did not keep the head of the Guardian Corps waiting. "Well?"

"My apologies, ma'am." Averia took a deep breath. All she could do was tell the truth and hope for the best. If that didn't work, she might have to use Diana and Claire as human shields and run for it. "I was with Sergeant Villiers and Private First Class Yun-Farron when we received reports of an attack on a research facility. The culprits were identified by witnesses as ten advanced, heavy combat robots, most likely controlled from a mobile command station."

"I am under the impression that these robots were also involved in an attack several days ago on another research facility."

"That is correct, ma'am. I believe they were. I've been told that they are based on a design not unlike the Juggernauts but with an emphasis on speed, mobility, and ranged weaponry as opposed to brute force."

"I am well aware of their combat specification, sergeant major." The general's voice snapped out like a whip, and Averia had to fight to keep from visibly cringing. "Those combat robots were based on a design that was stolen from a weapons manufacturing company roughly six months ago. They are designed for high-mobility urban action with a specialisation in anti-personnel warfare. In other words, sergeant major, they were purpose-built to kill people like you. That is why regulations stipulate that at least one full squad is deployed when engaging two or more of these combat robots. There were ten of them, sergeant major, and only three of you."

"With all due respect, ma'am, those robots weren't built to fight people like me. And they certainly weren't built to fight people like Private First Class Yun-Farron and Sergeant Villiers." Averia was one of the few people in the world who could match the general's glare, at least for a little while. "Given the speed the robots were travelling at, I couldn't afford to wait for reinforcements. And based on previous experience, calling in more officers would only have guaranteed more fatalities. The two women standing on either side of me were my best option for removing the threat without further loss of life."

"Are you certain of that?" The general's voice was quiet but cutting. "What would you have done if one of them was injured or even killed?"

Just thought of losing either Diana or Claire was enough to make Averia feel sick. But the general wasn't giving them enough credit. "I know both of them very well. I knew they could handle it. I wouldn't have asked them to come with me if I wasn't sure of that."

The general leaned back in her chair and folded her arms over her chest. She was no longer a young woman, but her refined features were as regal as ever. There were still times when Averia thought the general looked more like a queen, stately and proud, than a military officer. But no queen could fight the way the general could. And only someone baptised in the fire of a thousand battles could have an aura like the general, an aura of sheer, indisputable, and overwhelming authority.

"I see. Continue, sergeant major. Tell me what happened next."

"Together with Private First Class Yun-Farron and Sergeant Villiers, I attempted to intercept the robots before they could reach the highway."

"You failed. They reached the highway."

"Yes, ma'am, they did, and I considered calling off the pursuit. However, I was then informed by the commanding officers of several other squads that the highway ahead had been evacuated and sealed to regular traffic. That was when I made the final decision to engage the enemy."

"I will need the names of those commanding officers along with a full transcript of any and all communications relevant to the battle. The fact that they were able to evacuate and seal off the highway so quickly is commendable. However, their inability to provide reinforcements in a more timely manner is unacceptable."

"I will be sure to forward those details to you, ma'am."

"See that you do. Now continue. I want a complete breakdown of the engagement. Leave nothing out." The general's full lips firmed into a thin line of displeasure as she pinned all three of the young women in place with her infamous glare. "If I even think that you're withholding information, I will bust all of you back down to private, and you will be scrubbing toilets for the next twenty years. Am I clear?"

"Most definitely, ma'am." Averia shuddered. She'd already scrubbed enough toilets to last a lifetime. "Here is what happened…"

X X X

Averia growled as one of the combat robots spun and opened fire. Thanks to advances in the same technology that powered her velocycle, the combat robots had attainted unprecedented levels of speed and agility. Each of them hovered a few inches above the surface of the road and could turn, spin, and rotate almost freely while still moving forward along the road at high speed. It would have been almost beautiful if the robots weren't currently doing their best to kill her, Diana, and Claire.

She jerked her velocycle sharply to one side as a hail of bullets ripped up the road in front of her. The laser mounted on the robot's shoulder hummed, and she reversed direction just in time to see the road where she'd been evaporate in a cloud of super-heated concrete. These things were packing some heat, all right. If she wanted to take them out, she needed to get closer. She dodged another round of gunfire and gestured at Diana and Claire with one hand. Then she revved her velocycle up to full speed.

The wind tore past as Averia leaned lower, pressed almost flat against her velocycle. Her eyes darted back and forth from the road ahead to the weapons mounted on the robot. The robot's right fist twitched before it transformed into a plasma cannon. Interesting. The weapon gave a low whine before a ball of searing plasma rippled toward her. She leaned sideways to avoid the attack, the velocycle almost completely horizontal for a split-second, before she reached for the folded-up spear slung across her hip.

Her weapon was a product of her Aunt Vanille's genius – a spear that could fold into something about a third of its usual size for easy transport while still being able to transform into a gun. The spear unfolded to its full length, and she scowled as another one of the robots turned to offer supporting fire.

The robot fired its laser and when that missed, and Averia closed the gap, it heaved one enormous fist down to try and crush her. Her eyes narrowed. She wasn't that easy to kill. She swung her velocycle into the narrow gap between the robot's oncoming arm and its body. As the robot's fist smashed into the highway, she drove her spear up and into its armpit.

There was a hideous shriek as the point of her spear hit home, and her velocycle's engines gave a howl of protest as she braced herself and shoved upward. The robot's arm came loose in a shower of sparks and severed metal, and she spun wildly and somehow ended up in front of the machine as it rounded on her, its laser already angling for another shot as it brought its remaining arm up for another attack.

With her velocycle still spinning, Averia tossed one glance back at the robot and then leapt up and off her vehicle. Under normal circumstances, jumping off a velocycle spinning around at high speed would have been suicide. But these weren't normal circumstances, and she'd come prepared. Averia had a Grav-Con Unit. And while using a Grav-Con unit was more art than science, it was an art her mother had spent years beating into her on the sparring courts, all for moments like these.

Averia twisted through the air. She dodged the robot's laser by a hair's breadth and drove her spear deep into its chest. Sparks flew, and she heard something inside the robot screech to a halt. Whatever armour her opponent had, her spear had been crafted according to the finest Yun traditions. The robot brought its arm down to knock her off, and she dropped, grabbing hold of her spear and then kicking off the robot's arm for added momentum as she swung herself up and over her spear.

She swung around with enough force to yank her spear free and throw herself up over the robot's head. It tracked her, firing bullet after bullet, until she came down and rammed her spear right through the top of its head. A savage twist of her wrist was enough to rip the head off entirely. The robot gave a low whine and tumbled out of the air. It hit the surface of the road and sent up a shower of debris. Averia tapped a button on her spear, and her velocycle angled back toward her. She leapt off the downed robot and landed on her velocycle just in time to dodge another wave of gunfire.

Averia scowled. What was taking Diana and Claire so long? They needed to move now if they wanted to take these robots down.

Almost as though she could read her mind, Diana blazed past. There was a maniacal grin on her lips as she launched herself up off her velocycle, right at the robot in front of her. She landed on its outstretched arm and hacked down into the limb with her gunblade. There wasn't enough force behind the blow to sever the limb completely, but she'd aimed for the elbow joint. The robot did the rest when it yanked its arm up to try and throw her off. The arm snapped at the elbow, and Diana used the upward momentum of the robot's sudden movement to hurtle over its head. She transformed her gunblade in mid-air and peppered the top of the robot's head with bullets until the armour cracked.

A laser beam lanced through the air, but Diana was already moving. She let herself fall back off the robot as she gestured with one hand.

"Firaga."

Diana's manadrive pulsed and a cloud of fire enveloped the top of the robot. It went down, burnt from the inside out, and Diana landed back on her velocycle. She grinned and then swept backward, away from a stream of bullets, to join Averia.

More of the robots turned, and Averia felt a stab of worry. She forced it back. Diana could handle it. She knew she could. Without a word, she closed the gap on the robots again, willing Diana to follow her lead. At this speed, she didn't have time to explain her plan. She needed Diana to anticipate her and keep up, and Diana didn't disappoint. The younger woman slipped seamlessly into the space behind Averia as, up ahead, Claire worked to buy them a little more time.

The oldest of the Villiers children had taken after her father in more ways than one. Apart from being taller than both Averia and Diana – a fact neither woman appreciated in the least, especially Diana – she had also developed a, perhaps unhealthy, love of hand-to-hand combat. Along with a modified gunblade – another gift from their beloved Aunt Vanille – Claire sported a pair of specially modified gloves.

Claire's gloves were designed to act much like the emblems on her father's coat, enhancing her strength and channelling magic. She angled around a plasma blast and drew her gunblade. In many ways it was more similar to her mother's bow than the standard Guardian Corps weapon. It couldn't fire nearly as fast, but it packed a much bigger punch. Her first shot cracked the chest armour of the robot in front of her, and her second shot took out its laser cannon.

The robot reeled, and Claire threw herself up and forward. She grabbed hold of the arrow-like bolt her gunblade had left imbedded in its chest and drew back her right arm. Then she punched. The robot's chest armour cracked open, revealing its core, and she put another bolt right in the middle of it. The machine groaned and tumbled back, its limp body forcing Averia and Diana to split apart as Claire jumped back onto her velocycle.

That was three down… and seven more to go.

Averia gunned her velocycle back to top speed, glad that there weren't any civilians around. She wouldn't have to worry about holding back. The feeling didn't last long. A plethora of signs loomed up ahead: roadwork. Perfect. The combat robots sped along, heedless of the danger, and Averia cursed as the usable width of the highway all but halved.

Behind her, Averia saw Diana wave one fist at a pair of robots as they got within inches of putting a hole in her skull. A little further off, Claire managed to get alongside one of the other robots and blow out its engines. It went down in a cloud of smoke and fire before it smashed into a guardrail, pin-wheeled, and then exploded against a hillside.

Her eyes narrowed. She really, really didn't like it when anybody but her shot at her little sister. She looked ahead. Good, there was a ramp there. It was only half-finished, but it would do. She just hoped that Diana would figure out what she was doing before it was too late. Averia swung out onto the ramp, and Diana gave a startled yelp as the pink haired soldier went airborne, her velocycle aimed right at the robot that had shot at Diana.

BOOM.

The velocycle hit the combat robot right in the head. It jittered in the air, its head a smoking ruin, before it crashed into a wall alongside the road. Arcing through the air, Averia angled herself toward another one of the robots. But it had learned from the others. It sent a stream of bullets toward her. She deflected a few with a sweep of her spear, but she had no choice but to dive when it fired its laser. She landed on its back – right between two of its engines. She drove her spear into one and then transformed her spear into a gun to take out the other. The robot shuddered but managed to remain aloft, and she hissed as one of its hands almost closed around her head. This was bad. If she stayed on its back it would eventually manage to grab her. With a growl, she leapt upward.

"Thundaga."

The spell stunned her opponent, and she regained her footing up on its shoulder. Metal screeched as she shoved her spear into its head and twisted. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Diana swing her velocycle around like a knight out of a storybook, wheeling the vehicle around to dodge a crushing blow from one of the robots. The younger woman cut right through the robot's wrist and then raced around to fire at the robot's back. A combination of spells and bullets blew out her opponent's engines before a blizzaga sent it off the road and into a river. Then Diana was headed right for Averia. She knew exactly what her older sister was about to do.

Beneath Averia, the robot continued to thrash and flail until one final twist of her spear took out its central processor. It slammed into the ground, and they skidded toward the edge of the road. Wonderful.

"Jump!" Diana stretched out one hand as she pulled alongside, somehow managing to keep the velocycle clear of the out-of-control robot. "Come on!"

Averia didn't have to think twice. She jumped, her hand closing around her sister's as Diana, finally taller and stronger if a little bit slower, pulled Averia into place behind her.

Diana chuckled. "Heh… mother's going to kill you when she finds out you totalled your velocycle. Do you even know how much one of those things costs?"

Rather than reply, Averia chose to tighten her grip around her sister's middle until Diana gave a little yelp. "I blew it up to save you from getting shot, you little brat. You could at least show some gratitude."

Diana glanced back and smirked. "Little? In case you've forgotten, I'm taller than you now, 'big' sister." She laughed and reached down to loosen Averia's hold. Averia had always accused her of being a crazy driver, but it wasn't like she could talk. "There are still three of those things left, but I've got an idea. Care to go for a flight?"

Averia's eyes widened as the last three robots fell into formation ahead of them and opened fire. Claire was alongside them, grinning from ear-to-ear as she wove back and forth through the streams of gunfire and the occasional laser beam or plasma blast.

"Are you two thinking what I'm thinking?" Claire shouted. "Because if you are, I'm definitely in."

Diana cackled. "It's not everyday I get to throw my sister around and not get punched for it."

"Enjoy it while it lasts." Averia leaned over her sister's shoulder. "Now!"

As Claire blazed forward, firing her heavily modified gunblade, Diana threw her velocycle into a spin. Averia shifted in her seat, and as they came out of the spin, she let Diana grab her by the wrist and fling her right at the lead robot. She led with her spear, and the weapon went right through the robot's head.

Beside her, Claire and Diana double-teamed one of the other robots. The pair wove back and forth on either side of it. Claire smashed its legs out from under it, and then Diana swung by, leaning sharply to one side as she cut off its head. The last robot unleashed a storm of bullets, but Diana was far, far too good on a velocycle to be hit. She duked back and forth, and her gunblade jerked hard against her as she took out the robot's plasma cannon and laser to clear a path for Claire. The pink haired soldier jumped off her velocycle and smashed the robot's head in with one fist before another pair of blows cracked open its chest and broke its core.

The three robots toppled to the ground, and Averia flipped off, landing behind Claire. The other woman smirked as Diana pulled up alongside with a playful scowl.

"Give back my sister!"

Claire grinned. "Not a chance, shorty."

And then they skidded to a stop, so they could turn to survey the damage. They hadn't done half bad for only three people.

X X X

There was a long moment of silence in which the general said nothing and did nothing except for stare at Averia. To her disgust, Averia found herself fidgeting beneath the older woman's scrutiny. No matter how old or experienced she was, she'd never been able to stand this look from the general.

"So, I am to understand that your version of tactics involved throwing yourself at the robots multiple times while dodging copious amounts of gunfire along with laser beams and plasma blasts. I am also to understand that both Private First Class Yun-Farron and Sergeant Villiers came close to death on multiple occasions, and that you used your velocycle as a projectile weapon. Is that correct, Sergeant Major Yun-Farron?"

Admitting the truth had never been so terrifying. "Yes, ma'am."

"And what convinced you that doing any of those things was a good idea?"

"I simply asked myself what you would have done, ma'am."

The general sighed. "I see." Then her lips twitched up ever so slightly at the edges. "I can't say that you're wrong. I probably would have handled things in a similar manner." She tapped her desk with one finger. "But there will have to be an investigation. A non-negligible amount of damage was done to the highway and its surroundings. However, it may please you to know that the controllers were apprehended shortly after you dealt with the last of the robots."

"That's good to know, ma'am."

The general stood and walked out from behind her desk. Despite the fact that she was the same height as Averia and actually shorter than both Diana and Claire, all three of the young women cringed at her approach. She stopped in front of them and let her eyes wander over each of them. She was taking their measure. The only question now was whether she would find any of them wanting.

Finally, she spoke. "You should be proud of yourselves. Most people would have died in your situation." She paused. "However, you are right. You are not most people. But even so, if you ever do something that reckless and stupid again, if you ever put yourselves in that much danger without personally informing me beforehand, I will strangle you myself."

"Uh… ma'am?"

The general pulled Diana and Averia into her arms. "If you ever frighten me like that again, I'll kill you and ground you for life? Is that understood?"

Claire snickered. How exactly could the general ground them after they were dead? However, her amusement was short-lived when the general hugged her too.

"That goes for you, as well, Claire."

General Lightning Yun-Farron allowed herself another moment to hold her daughters and niece before she cleared her throat and walked back to her seat behind her desk. "That will be all for now. You are dismissed, but I want you to see the medics on base before you go anywhere." Her eyes narrowed. "And Averia, you, Diana and Claire will all be coming over for dinner tomorrow, and I expect you to bring your girlfriend. It's about time you introduced her."

"My girlfriend?" Averia squawked. All of her composure fled at the realisation that her mother knew, which meant that her mom knew, which meant that her Aunt Vanille knew, which meant that her Aunt Serah knew, which meant… and was that Diana trying to sneak out the door? She turned and grabbed her little sister. "You told!"

So much for being a refined, mature member of the Guardian Corps.

"I couldn't help it." Despite being taller and stronger, the younger woman couldn't seem to break her older sister's grip. "Mother did that glaring thing and then there was pouting and a guilt trip and…"

Lightning chuckled softly. "Don't blame your sister. When I want to find out about something, I find out. It's that simple."

"Fine." Averia ran one hand through her hair. Could this day get any worse? "I can bring her to dinner. But please, please, don't scare her away."

"I can't make any promises." Lightning waved at the door. "You can go."

Diana made a face. "I don't think you have to worry about them scaring her off, Averia. I remember walking in on you two and – oh crap."

"Oh?" Lightning's smile was terrifying. "So it's that serious then?"

Averia sputtered. If looks could kill, Diana would have been a mangled corpse. It didn't help one bit that Claire was grinning like her mother now. "I… uh…"

"Should I be expecting grandchildren, Averia?"

Averia waited until she was out of her mother's office before trying to strangle her sister. It took Claire and five other officers to restrain her. Diana winced. It might be better if she spent the night over at her Uncle Hope and Aunt Vanille's house rather than at the apartment that she, Averia, and Claire shared. Her little cousin Raine would definitely be happy to see her, and she wouldn't have to worry about Averia murdering her in her sleep.

Well, that was probably an exaggeration. Probably. Diana knew how much Averia loved her, but she did look pretty angry. Once Averia calmed down a little though, Diana would definitely go back to teasing her again. By the looks of it, her mom and mother would be only too happy to join in too.

X X X

Lightning waited until the girls were all out of her office before she let loose a deep sigh and sank back into her chair. She'd received word about the attack on the research facility during a budget meeting and had immediately postponed it so that she could go to the operations centre to observe the pursuit. Several other squads had already sealed off the highway, but to her frustration, none of them were in a good position to provide reinforcements in a timely manner. She'd been forced to set aside the part of her that was a mother and an aunt so that the general in her could observe.

She'd lied to Averia. She hadn't needed to know what had happened because she'd seen all of it unfold courtesy of the Guardian Corps' surveillance aircraft and the aircraft of several prominent news channels. If the girls weren't already famous, they would be after this. Tomorrow, after dinner, she'd discuss it with them. Tonight, they needed to rest.

But watching the battle had been one of the hardest experiences of her life. It had been an amazing fight, and each success had made her heart swell with pride. But she'd been close to having a heart attack several times over. Only her faith in the girls and the training she and the others had given them over the years had kept her from charging out there herself. It reminded her of how she'd felt watching Hope in action for the first time.

Even now, Lightning wasn't sure if she wanted to congratulate them, kill them, or never let them go. They might be grown women, but Diana and Averia would always be her daughters, and Claire would always be her niece. Part of her would always see them as that ragtag trio causing mischief around the house.

With another sigh, she dialled a number and looked over at her computer screen.

"Hey, beautiful." Fang grinned back at her from the screen. "How are you?"

Lightning rolled her eyes and bit back a smile. "Fang."

"What? You are beautiful." Fang's smile faded, and her voice took on a more serious tone. "How are the girls, Lightning? And how are you?"

"They're fine, thank the Maker, all of them. But… I'm not sure how I feel. I'm proud, but… you know. They're our girls." Lightning paused. "How are the ones you caught?"

"There were about a dozen of them in that mobile command centre. The girls bought us a lot of time – we were able to track the transmissions back and catch them off guard. They're in our custody now. It looks like an inside job – some of them are employees at the weapons manufacturing company."

Fang's voice was calm, but Lightning knew her wife better than anyone. And she hadn't missed the blood on Fang's knuckles. "Should I send some medics over?"

"I'm fine."

"I wasn't talking about you. They need to be alive to stand trial."

"Oh, they're alive." Fang's voice hardened. "But their leader might have fallen down a few flights of stairs after confessing."

"I see. How unfortunate." Lightning smiled. "By the way, Averia will be bringing her girlfriend over for dinner tomorrow. I'm under the impression it's quite serious. Diana walked in on them. She's probably scarred for life."

"I doubt it." Fang laughed. "Remember us? Vanille and Serah must have walked in on us heaps of time and –"

"Fang!"

"Fine, fine." Fang chuckled some more. "We can put her girlfriend through the grinder tomorrow, but there's still tonight to think about. How about I come pick you up from your office?" Fang's gaze warmed. "The girls have their own apartment now, so we have the whole house to ourselves. We can go out to dinner, have a nice bath, and then… well, you know."

Lightning most certainly did know. Some things never changed. "You are quite good at getting my attention. How far are you? I can go home and change first –"

"Nah." Fang grinned. "I like you in uniform. Plus, we're guaranteed to get the best seats in the house. Besides, I can always get you out of that uniform later."

X X X

Perhaps it was fate that brought Lightning and Fang together.

Lightning liked to think it was.

But it may also have been fate that Fang and Lightning had chosen the exact same restaurant as Averia. The young woman was in the middle of explaining the upcoming dinner to her girlfriend – and stealing a kiss or two – when her parents walked in. And being a general had its perks. Fang took one look at the amorous young couple and whispered in Lightning's ear. Lightning called the maître d over, and it wasn't long before they had a table right next to Averia and her girlfriend. They could make it a double date.

X X X

Author's Notes

As always, I neither own Final Fantasy, nor am I making any money off of this.

I had originally planned for the next chapter of Ordinary Heroes to involve camping. In fact, I am around 4500 words into that particular chapter although things are a bit complicated since I'm trying to incorporate material from about four different versions of it (some of the earlier versions had good ideas but just didn't work out, others worked out but weren't very interesting at all).

In any case, this chapter was originally supposed to be part of a collection of three glimpses into the future that would have constituted the next chapter for The Cookie Jar. However, as I was writing this chapter, it quickly became evident that it was too long to go in The Cookie Jar, and it could actually stand on its own. So here we are. For those who are curious, I do have drafts of the other two parts lying around, one focusing on Diana, and the other focusing on Claire in much the same way that this part focused on Averia. I'll get around to them eventually. But I'm not sure they can stand on their own the way this chapter could.

A lot of people have asked what exactly the girls get up to when they're older. I gave an answer of sorts in an earlier chapter, but this chapter is set even further into the future than that one. Here, the girls are young women in their own right. They have, as I mentioned in the chapter, moved into their own apartment. They are all members of the Guardian Corps with Averia the most senior member and Diana the least senior.

There are a few other important things to note here, apart from all three of the girls following in the badass footsteps of their parents. First, Diana actually did get taller – a lot taller. In fact, she's taller than Averia is (Averia is the same height as Lightning whereas Diana is the same height as Fang). Somewhat, humorously, Claire is taller than them both since she took more after Snow than Serah in terms of height. She also isn't an only child anymore (she is the oldest of the Villiers children, implying there are others). Hope and Vanille are also married and have at least one child, Raine, who is particularly close to Diana (not surprising, all things considered).

Averia also has a girlfriend. Now, you might be wondering why she kept that a secret (and how given that she's sharing an apartment with Diana and Claire). Let's just say that Lightning and Fang are very overprotective. Averia knows exactly what kind of grinder they'll put her girlfriend through, which is why she's been trying to put off introducing her. Well, she's out of luck now. But who is her girlfriend? I have a few ideas, but I'll let you guys speculate about who it might be. And as for Diana and Claire's relationship statuses… that's a story for another day.

Also, if you are interested in my original fiction, do check out the links in my profile. If you've enjoyed Whispers of the Gods, you're likely to enjoy The Last Huntress and its sequel, The Lord of Dark Waters. If you like a bit of zombie killing action spiced with a Western flavour, check out The Gunslinger and the Necromancer. And speaking of my original fiction, I now have a preview of my upcoming fantasy short story The Burning Mountains available. Here is the blurb:

The Burning Mountains have belonged to dragons since the Old Days when gods still walked the earth. They are a place of fire and ruin where no man dares walk and no elf dares linger long. Only the strong can survive there and only the ruthless can prosper.

Amidst the smoke, the ash, and the flame, an exiled elven princess will meet an outcast dragon. Alone, they have little hope of survival. But together, they might do more than survive – they might conquer. For the dragon has a realm to claim and the princess has a realm to take back.

There are some lessons that only fire can teach and some wisdom that only a dragon can impart.

As always, I appreciate feedback. Reviews and comments are welcome.