Sorry for the wait guys. Things have been hectic in real life and I'm trying to alternate between two stories at once. Anyway, hope that you read and enjoy this chapter! And please please please review! It's frustrating when you have about 20 views and only two reviews. That reminds me: thank yous' to both HextheDaydreamer and Taeniaea for reviewing!
Disclaimer: I do not own G.I. Joe, only my OCs and the plot.
Sasha poked her head out from the hut door, looking around to make sure that no one was watching.
"Hear anything, Grif?" she asked, moving away so that Griffin would take her spot by the edge of the door. Her twin listened quietly for a few seconds before pulling her head back in.
"There are a few guards walking around the perimeter of the camp, probably watching for wild animals. We'll be fine as long as we don't make any loud noises. Everyone else is pretty much asleep," Griffin answered.
Sasha gave a satisfied nod of her head, readjusting the strap of her black backpack. "I guess this is it then," she said, her voice dropping in volume. Griffin smiled softly and reached out to touch her sister's shoulder.
"We'll find them," she promised. "The only thing I'm worried about is not making it out of the camp."
Both girls giggled softly before slipping out of their hut, sticking to the shadows. Their plan was to sneak out of the camp and head to the stables. Quick Breeze would be waiting for them there with their horses and their protectors, along with some supplies that he had collected. After that, they would head towards the old Cobra compound that the villagers and the Joes had fought at almost thirteen years ago; the same battle that had almost killed their mother. They hoped that there might be some clue that would give them the answer as to where Cobra was now. If they couldn't...well, that was an issue that they would figure out when they got there.
Sasha and Griffin were only a few yards away from the stables when what they feared most to happen, happened.
"And just where are you two going?" asked a horribly familiar voice.
The twins froze in their tracks before turning around to face...
The tribal leader had a laughing smile on his face as he relaxed his stiff stance and walked over to them; the scars on his chest and arms were ghastly white in the moonlight, contrasting greatly with his dark skin.
"I take it that my nephew found you and informed you of what I said," he stated, making the sentence into a statement instead of a question. When the girls nodded, Jungle Cat continued.
"Then here are my parting gifts," he said, reaching a hand inside of the bag that hung at his side. He pulled out a thick, leather arm cuff and another smaller piece of leather that looked more like a ring. These he handed to Sasha. "Use the cuff and the thumb guard when you are using your bow. They will protect your flesh from the string."
Sasha took the gifts and gave a grateful nod of her head, slipping the arm cuff onto her left forearm and the leather ring onto her thumb. She was soon startled to notice how well they fit and was even more startled at the small engraving she found in the leather. It was a viper.
"This was Mom's when she was Viper, wasn't it?" she asked, disbelief in her voice.
Jungle Cat nodded. "That it was. She, like you, trained with the bow when she was here. I'm sorry that I haven't taught you all that you need to know for this journey. But I know your mother very well, and your father for that matter. Both are great warriors and I know that their traits have passed onto their children." He smiled fondly at them before turning to Griffin. "And for you, Flying Fox, I have something special."
Griffin held out her hands and felt the two bags that Jungle Cat had placed into them. The first bag she reached her hand into, she felt smooth, small round pebbles that were nestled in some kind of soft grass.
"These are smoke bombs. There are twenty in there and each will last for just over five minutes once they hit the ground. Your enemies will be unable to spot you through the smoke, but that shouldn't bother you," Jungle Cat explained with a sly gleam in his dark eyes. "In the other bag are herbal potions."
Griffin reached her hand into the other bag, feeling the three inch tall vials that laid there. Each had a different symbol etched into them, ones that Griffin recognized.
"These are tribal symbols," she said, running a finger over each engraving. "'Sleep', 'Peace', 'Healing', 'Pain Relief', 'Sickness', 'Poison' and..." She hesitated, feeling the symbol again to make sure she wasn't mistaken. "'Death'?"
"That vial should only be used in extreme emergencies. It is filled with hemlock and belladona, better known as deadly nightshade. It is smaller than the other vials because it only takes two drops to kill a fully grown man," Jungle Cat said, his voice darkening slightly. "I was reluctant to give this one to you, but I had the feeling that you might have to use it sometime in your future. Though I pray that you will never even have to touch it."
Griffin nodded grimly and sealed the bag before placing both bags into her backpack, making sure to place them so that they wouldn't become damaged.
"I have one last thing for you both, though I wish we had a little more time," Jungle Cat said, bringing out a small brush and a small pot of dye. Sasha's eyes lit up at the sight and she quickly told Griffin, who's expression took on a gleeful look. "Your mother was thirteen when she received her tribal tattoo. You two are almost of age, so I believe this to be a good parting gift. These tattoos are temporary, for now, and will last for a couple of months. I will give you your permanent ones when you return." He gave them a small wink. "I just don't want your mother being cross with me if I give you permanent ones without her being here."
Sasha and Griffin both noted how Jungle Cat had said 'when you return' not 'if you return'. Sasha quickly shoved the thought from her mind and shook with anticipation as Jungle Cat approached her before signaling for her to turn around, which she did quickly. Jungle Cat knelt and lifted her shirt slightly to reveal the skin on her hip. He dipped the pointed brush into the dye before going to work. Sasha winced slightly when the pointed tip first pierced her skin before relaxing. As he worked quickly, Jungle Cat spoke.
"You probably already know that your mother's tribal name was Silent Wildcat. Her tattoo was on the back of her neck in the shape of a paw print. When I was about to start the tattoo, I was to put it on her ankle. She refused and asked to have it where it is now. When I asked her why, she just said that telling wouldn't make it as mysterious as it was." He chuckled. "The bravest woman I have ever known was your mother. And I know that you will both follow in her footsteps, my godchildren."
Sasha smiled happily and stepped away once Jungle Cat was finished and moved onto Griffin. While he did her sister, Sasha examined the temporary tattoo that was now etched onto her hip; a surprisingly detailed wolf's eye, the eye slanted slightly forward to make it look like it was guarding something. Or someone. Sasha smiled, happy with the results. Minutes later, Jungle Cat moved away from Griffin and put his things away.
"You must go now if you wish to make it before anyone else awakens," he told them hurriedly. "I have held you up for long enough as it is. Now go! And good luck!"
Sasha watched him go before taking her sister's arm and running towards the stables. She gave a breath of relief when she saw Quick Breeze already there, waiting with their saddled horses.
"What took you so long?" Quick Breeze hissed quietly, handing Peace's reins to Sasha and Sparrow's to Griffin.
Sasha ran a hand down the chestnut paint's neck and kissed her nose in greeting before swinging herself up into the saddle. She caught sight of Shadow as he moved away from the gloomy stables and took up his regular place at her right side.
"Jungle Cat caught us and wanted to give us some parting gifts," Sasha said slyly, a wicked gleam touching her bicolored eyes.
Griffin got up onto Sparrow, the dark brown stallion pawing anxiously at the ground, ready to go, as Sasha told Quick Breeze what they had been given. Queen, like Shadow, came up on her right side once she was mounted and ready. Griffin reached a hand around to her back, touching the small of her back where she knew her own tattoo laid. Jungle Cat told her that he had given her the tattoo of an outline of a flying fox with its wings outstretched like it was actually flying. Griffin couldn't be any happier.
"You ready, Grif?" Sasha asked her twin, holding back an apprehensive Peace, who was tossing her head and pawing at the ground.
"Yeah, I'm ready," Griffin answered, nudging Sparrow forward to stand next to Peace. Quick Breeze trotted over on his tall, leggy buckskin stallion, Arrow.
"Let's go," he said, keeping his voice low. Unlike the girls, he was riding bareback, only using a woven blanket to protect his backside from his stallion's bony back. A few of their supplies rested along Arrow's back, sitting just in front of Quick Breeze so they wouldn't slide off.
Griffin and Sasha nodded as one before slipping out of the stables, their horses' hooves quieted by the soft dirt that laid underfoot. Quick Breeze lead the way, since he knew the quickest way out of the village and to the old Cobra compound. They managed to get almost out of camp before the guards spotted them.
"Where do you three think you're going?" one of the guards called, making his way over to them.
Sasha and Griffin looked over at Quick Breeze, panicked looks on both of their faces. Quick Breeze just gave the guard a sympathetic look before leaning forward over Arrow's neck and nudging the stallion's sides with his heels. The buckskin bolted forward, like an arrow being released from the bow; hence his namesake. Sasha nudged Peace forward and the paint galloped after Arrow, Sparrow close behind with Griffin.
"Hey!" the guard yelled in surprise and anger. "Come back!"
Lights appeared throughout the village at the shout, Duke and Ripcord the first to arrive. They could only watch as the trio galloped off into the plains.
"Damn their mother's blood," Duke said, mostly to himself.
"Hey, Snakes has a part in it, too," Ripcord added, not being able to resist.
Jungle Cat watched from the shadows of his own hut, a grim smile touching his lips.
"Good luck, my godchildren. Good luck, my nephew. May you have strength on your journey," he whispered quietly.
No one noticed another man, also hidden in the shadow of a hut, by the edges of the village. Nor did anyone notice when he raised a radio to his mouth and spoke into it.
"The children have left. They are on their way to the old compound as we speak," he said.
"Excellent. Turns out my daughter gave her children some of her...less than lovely characteristics. Like her rashness," a raspy voice answered. "Follow them and make sure that they stay straight. Don't let them catch you. You know the consequences if you fail."
And then there was a click and static to show that the other person had left before the man in the village was able to say, "Of course, Commander."