PART FOURTEEN: THE MISSION AFTERBURN
Ada felt a familiar stiffness in her body even before her eyes opened and she looked around the room. She could tell that she was in the Defense department’s Infirmary almost immediately, judging from the uncomfortable stiff bed provided and the curtains concealing her bed from the other beds in the ward.
Ada sighed as she sat up and rubbed her sore muscles noticing then that she felt a persistent dull ache in her back where wings should have been. She also noticed that no matter how much she anticipated feeling the cool, cement floor tiles beneath her bare feet, her feet seemed to hover above the ground, not quite touching the surface, thus compelling her to look down. Ada gasped upon being hit with the realization that she was indeed slightly hovering above the ground. She panicked, wondering how she could move to the curtains to part them and ask for assistance.
However, Ada would not need panic for much longer because just then, she heard the footsteps of the Infirmary nurse dutifully doing her rounds in the ward. The nurse started with the first resident patient in the ward and Ada could hear her greet him. Ada was even able to overhear everything the nurse did- from her setting up the medical machine to take the patient’s vitals, to the drone’s subtle humming as it performed its task. She even heard the light scribbling the nurse made to the C-pad attached to the end of the patient bed.
In fact, when Ada paid enough attention to it, she could hear the patient’s heartbeat, hear the unsteady rhythm to his breathing and even hear what he was saying though he was whispering to the nurse. If she paid close enough attention, Ada realized, she was even able to make out the light humming and droning of insects close to the window pane and hear the sounds of the gentle breeze passing through the room.
Ada was astonished that her senses could pick up on so many things. Since she was part faerie, Ada had always been able to pick up more subtle things her witch colleagues could not but it appeared that her perception abilities had significantly increased. Before she had a chance to really wrap her head around her sudden power-up, the curtains were drawn and she instinctively sought to defend herself, releasing a fire blast that soon caught onto the curtains. Luckily, the curtains’ fire was extinguished almost immediately as Ada screamed in horror at realizing that she had somehow conjured fire.
“Ada, are you okay?” Charlie asked her worriedly.
“Charlie?” Ada asked surprised to see her husband standing right in front of her.
“Hey, yeah, it’s me. How are you feeling?”
“I don’t understand what is happening to me. I feel like an alien in my own body,”
“Everything’s going to be alright, darling, okay. Just focus on me. Focus on your breathing okay, you can focus on my breathing and try to match it okay?” Charlie asked her.
Ada shook her head dismissively but when Charlie grasped both of her hands, she drowned out every other perception and focused on his calm, steady, heart rhythm finding it easy to match. Ada then managed to plant her feet firmly on the ground.
“There you go. Don’t you feel better?” Charlie asked her gently.
Ada nodded. “Thanks,”
Charlie beamed at her and she looked away, blushing.
Once she had gathered herself, she asked Charlie what had happened after their mission had been completed.
“The targets were all safely retrieved and are currently recovering in another ward. Turns out the Red Veiled Empress had a couple of nasty surprises in store for them so they had to have a team of the best Curse Breakers helping them. It was really complicated spell-work too since they’re Moon faeries and all but… well, things have been looking up and they have been recovering really well,”
“Do you have any idea what happened to me?” Ada asked Charlie. However, just as he was about to begin explaining, the nurse came in and took Ada’s vitals scribbling away in the virtual notepad.
“Finally awake, I see, good. How are you feeling?”
Ada shook her head. “Like an alien in my own body. I feel this burst of energy I have never felt before and everything is so… intense… for lack of a better word. I also feel this weird ache in my back, almost as if there’s something stuck there,”
The nurse nodded, noting everything Ada said precisely.
“Thank you, Protector Alison. I’ll be sure to let the Healers know everything you’ve described,”
“Thank you,” Ada stated. The nurse smiled and nodded before moving onto her next patient.
“Charlie, what is really going on with me?” Ada asked him worriedly.
“It seems that what your Aunt Avery theorizes might be true. During the mission, your connection to your Aunt through channeling was abruptly severed and your body was possessed by a powerful entity which caused your whole body to be suddenly filled with a burst of energy. This energy supercharged your natural senses and abilities particularly those magical attributes connected with your fire faerie side and it caused you to activate latent abilities,”
“You even developed wings which might be why you feel that dull ache in your back- its where the wings suddenly burst through from. I found you hovering a few inches off the ground and you were able to produce a powerful fire blast. You had also developed heterochromia on the D-day although that has since disappeared. Therefore, it is your Aunt’s belief that the powerful entity that possessed you was none other than the Lunar-Titania herself,”
Ada gasped on hearing that. “That’s- that cannot be true! The Lunar-Titania couldn’t have possessed me. I mean, how would she even do it we couldn’t sense her presence-“
“Think about it. The Lunar-Titania is the most powerful faerie in existence and she possesses a special connection to Moon Faeries. For all we know, she might have been among the targets we rescued that night,”
“If she was, I and anyone else who is part faerie would have been able to recognize it right away,”
“Then somehow, she was able to use her connection to the targets to somehow get to you. She has access to the Grand Grimoire and certainly has the sheer magical power required to pull it off,”
Ada thought about it and then it dawned on her that when they retrieved the first Moon faerie target, she had felt a strange presence within him that had been watching her, that presence had unsettled her.
“The first target we rescued… Where is he?”
“In the special ward I spoke about earlier, recovering…”
“I think the Titania might have been possessing him. I felt a presence earlier within me and it chilled me to the core,”
“That seems plausible. I will notify Avery immediately,”
“That will not be necessary, Protector Charlie Alison,” spoke a clear, collected voice. Both Ada and Charlie turned to see Director Pheonix Port standing before them.
“Sir,” they both coming to attention immediately.
“At ease, Protectors. I am glad to see you have made a swift recovery, Protector Alison,”
“Thank you, sir,” Ada responded relaxing her posture. She caught herself before a groan escaped her lips as her body adjusted to the swift changes she had just made in acknowledging the sudden appearance of the Director of the Defense Department.
“Regarding your suspicions, the first Moon Faerie target you retrieved is indeed special even among his kind. His abilities are particularly potent and I suspect that is why the Red Veiled Empress had a hard time letting him go. Actually, all nine of the targets are powerful but he is exceptional all on his own with the others not even coming close. That can only mean one thing…”
“Could it be that he is the Lunar-Titania’s protector?” Ada guessed.
“Correct deduction, Protector,” Director Port stated nodding appreciatively.
“Wow… Who would have thought? It might also explain why the Lunar-Titania seemed so angry at the Empress,”
“Indeed. From all recorded statements, it seemed that the Maeve was ready to kill the Empress that night but was impended by a mysterious dark force,”
“A dark force, sir?” Ada asked surprised.
Director Port nodded. “Yes, indeed. We picked up signs of powerful, previously undetected malevolent energy of unknown origin suddenly appearing and disappearing shortly after the Maeve attacked the Empress after she possessed you. This is our working theory at least, but knowing Avery, it is most likely an accurate account of what transpired,”
Charlie nodded appreciatively at what the Director stated.
“Do we have confirmation on the whereabouts of the Empress, sir?”
“I’m afraid not, Protector Alison. You see, the Empress seemingly disappeared from all Existence following the Maeve’s attacks…”
“It is something that has stumped us too, Protector Alison but right now, I want you to focus on healing completely. We shall resume discussions once we can safely ascertain what the Maeve’s possession really meant for you,”
Ada did eventually make a full recovery and was back to work faster than anticipated.
TO BE CONTINUED…
What happened to Empress Weylyn following the Maeve’s attacks? Who is the mysterious Lunar-Titania (Maeve)? Stay tuned to find out. Links to previous installment in this series is linked below. Enjoy: