"I am good, but not an angel. I do sin, but I am not the devil.
I am just a small girl in a big world trying to find someone to love." ― Marilyn Monroe
For the next few weeks, Luna had learned to become a really good actor. Metal Beak thought she was completely immersed in being a Pure One; that there was no way she would betray them. But at every waking moment, Luna's analytical mind only thought about how she could safely get Soren and his sister out. And she had to look for Otulissa. She hadn't seen her since the two of them had been captured a few months before.
Speaking of time, it had been good to Luna. Now a young adult, she stood at the full height of a Tyto alba. Her feathers hadn't taken on any more red, so only some of her chest, wing-tips, and back was red. Everything else was white. But around her face and in her eyes, there was still a little golden, which Luna noticed every time she looked at her reflection. She was relieved. It meant that she hadn't become a full cold-blooded killer.
Now, while she had to make a plan to escape, she still had other responsibilities as a Pure One captain. Metal Beak had decided to stretch his reign over the forests, and so Luna would lead raids with over fifty strong to take them over. All of the Western Forests had all been taken. The owls that lived there were moon-blinked and turned into either slaves or soldiers. Luna's skills at combat had also gotten better, as did her strength. Now she could take on two Great-Horned Owls, but no more. Tyson no longer crossed her path, but she did see him flying around, casting looks of hatred at her. Also, a many great number of flecks had been collected, and more and more bats were starting to join the Pure Ones.
The situation for the Guardians was getting more and more hopeless every day that passed. However, with one month of thinking, Luna had a plan, but it was extremely risky. There were all types of things that could go wrong, and in the worst case scenario, someone dies. But it was the only plan that she could come up with, and they were running out of time. The first attack on the Great Tree was just to weaken them. In time, it would be a full out killing of everything there.
Luna sighed. Her plan would have to begin that very morning, when most everyone was asleep.
Luna yawned and tried to shake off the sleepiness that kept clouding her mind. She was in her cave, getting ready to carry out the plan she had created. She put on her battle claws and mask, then, making sure no one was looking, took flight towards the Prisoner Alcoves. There, she found a guard posted outside of the cave that Soren had been in for the past two months.
"You are relieved of duty for now," Luna said. "I wish to talk to the prisoner." The guard dipped his head in respect and took flight, probably to get some rest. Luna entered the cave and the sunlight made it easy for her to penetrate its depths. Soren had his head under his wing, and what Luna saw made her heart break. Soren's feathers were ruffled and unkempt and had bits of debris in it, and had lost its shine. He looked skinnier than the last time she saw him, and smelled like he hadn't come in contact with water for a long time, which she was sure he hadn't.
"Soren?" she whispered. At first, there was no reaction. But to her relief, Soren slowly put his wing down to look at her. His eyes were dull too. "It's me... Luna. Do you remember?"
"Luna?" Soren said. For a moment, he was so happy that he thought he wanted to envelope Luna in his wings, but then that happiness turned to anger. "How could you betray us like that! The Guardians were probably all killed because of you!" Soren yelled this loudly and with a lot of anger lacing each word.
"Quiet Soren! Calm down!" Luna whispered fiercely, "I'm here to help!"
"Help?" Now Soren was whispering, but still angrily. "Why would you help me? You're a traitor to every Tyto that-"
"I'm going to help you and your sister escape! But you need to cooperate with me, OK?" At first, Soren was shocked into silence.
"Of course! I'm not really a Pure One Soren, I still hate them. During the battle at the Great Tree, I do admit that I was under their spell. But when I saw you and the others, I snapped out of it. I realized I didn't want to hurt you guys. So, I decided to be a kind of spy in the Pure One army, and it's paid off because now I'm a general."
"Wow... that's cool," Soren said. Luna smiled.
"Yes. Now, about my plan." For the next few minutes, Luna told Soren about her plan, the ups and the downs, and how they were going to go about it.
"We're going now?" Soren asked.
"Yes. We have to go while most everyone is asleep. Can you make it?"
Soren stretched out his wings to examine the dirty feathers. "I haven't flown in a while. But I'll try."
"Good. Let's go." Luna took to the air and turned to make sure Soren could come. Thankfully, he still had his flying skills, and was able to keep up with her throughout the flight. Some soldiers eyed them suspiciously as they flew, but they weren't confronted. If it was something serious, they didn't want to have to deal with the general.
Luna and Soren landed near the outskirts of St. Aggies. "OK," she said. "No one's looking. Hide here in these rocks, and I'll try and come back with you sister. OK?"
"OK?" Soren said. "Be careful." Luna nodded and flew to the Pelletorium, which was where she had last seen Eglantine. She landed amongst the moon-blinked owls to talk to one of the guards. The moon-blinked owls didn't pay any attention to them, and continued to pick the pellets.
"I need owl 44367," she said to the guard. He eyed her suspiciously through his mask.
"Why?" The guard regretted asking a second later, because he suddenly found himself in the air with Luna's talons around his throat, choking him.
"Do not question your orders," she said. "Find owl 44367 and bring it to me. Now." To further prove her point, she threw the owl to the ground, who hurriedly got to his feet and flew away to find the owl. While he was doing that, Luna walked across the aisles of the owls, looking at them as they stared into space blankly. There was no recognition, no anything. They just worked like zombies. Luna shivered. She was glad she avoided being moon-blinked.
A few minutes later, the guard brought back Eglantine in his talons. She was moon-blinked, her gray eyes staring straight ahead. Without another word, Luna took her in her talons and flew her off to where Soren was. However, what she saw nearly made her go yeep. There were two guards there who were looking around, dangerously close to the cliff where Soren was hiding. Luna cursed.
"Hey! What are you doing?" she yelled. The two soldiers stood alert, and turned to face her.
"General, we saw a lone owl snooping around here," one said.
"We are here to find him and take him back," said the second one. Luna narrowed her eyes and set down Eglantine.
"I see no owl here. Get back to your posts."
"Yes General." The two owls flapped their wings and flew away towards the large cave that was where Metal Beak resided. By now, the sun was high in the sky, shining a harsh light down and illuminating everything. She went to the crevice in the rock and was relieved to find Soren there.
"I was scared stiff," he said. "I thought I was going to go yeep right there."
"They're gone now, but we should hurry," Luna said. "I don't think we'll be able to get Otulissa. She'll have to survive on her own here."
"Is that Eglantine?" Soren looked shocked and saddened all at once. He slowly went to his sister, who stared blankly ahead. "Eglantine?" She didn't make a reaction, and Luna thought she saw a tear go down Soren's feathers.
"We'll fix her Soren," she said. "When we get to the Great Tree. I don't think everyone there was killed in the attack."
"But... but what about-"
"You're going to have to carry her." Luna went to Soren and put a wing around him. "I know that you're heart-broken, but if you want to help her, you need to go with the plan and get out of here now before someone sees."
"Wait, what about you?"
"I need to stay here. If I disappear, then I won't be of use to anybody. We need someone on the inside, someone that knows everything about the Pure Ones. When the time comes, I'm hoping to get close to Metal Beak to influence his orders, so that when the Guardians return, they can take him out. I'll also try to cure the moon-blinked owls here, and train them to be on our side. Do you understand Soren?"
"But... I've just only seen you. After so long, I..."
"Soren, I... I just want you to know, that I care about you. I want you to be safe. Can you get to the Great Tree on your own?"
Soren took a deep breath, and sighed. "Yes."
"Then go. Hurry." Soren looked like he wanted to say something more, but he nodded and picked up Eglantine in her talons. It was extremely hard to carry her because she had grown so much. Soren couldn't help but think that if only she weren't moon-blinked, she could fly herself. With a final farewell to Luna, Soren flapped his wings to get off the ground, and rode on the air currents away from St. Aggies. The sun made him stand out like white at night, but he managed to get among the clouds despite the weight he was carrying. "Be careful," Luna whispered. Then she flew away to her cave. She needed some sleep.
Xyloto: Yeah I know, really short, but it's better than nothing right?