“What’s the situation?” asked Lieutenant (soon to be Major) Corvus as he flexed his newly regenerated hand.
Epione Felidae, who had her back turned to him at the moment, replied, “It’s quite unclear at the moment. Our information is seriously deficient. Depending on how prepared the Shogunate is and how far they are willing to commit to the offensive, the result can be entirely different.”
Turning around with a splint and a roll of bandages in her arm, her eyes widened as she saw Lieutenant Corvus making complicated movements with his hand to test its range of motion. He looked up at her with respect. “I can’t believe how perfectly it healed. I think it might even be nimbler than my original hand.”
“Nimble my head!” exclaimed Epione causing Corvus to shrink his neck in bewilderment. “How many times must I tell you martial idiots not to abuse your healed appendages before it gets into your thick skulls. I bet you knock your head against iron boards to thicken your skulls! I’m right, aren’t I?”
Corvus opened his mouth to refute her but she ran roughshod over him.
“The body is extremely delicate and at the same time extremely adaptable. You lost your hand and made do without it for nearly a week. That’s more than enough time for your body to adapt to the situation. For it, currently, you still have only one hand. I regrew your hand for you but your body actually sees it as a foreign entity. The more you perform your parlour tricks with it, the more your body is likely to reject it.
“If it doesn’t start rotting on your stump, it might not accept your mana anymore and then what will you do with such a blatant weakness for your enemies to exploit.”
Over the course of her tirade, Lieutenant Corvus had shrunk further and further into himself, until he had almost hidden himself within his quivering wings. Sensing a pause, he immediately seized the opportunity to apologize. “I’m sorry! It won’t happen again.”
“Of course it won’t. I’ll make sure of it!”
Grabbing his recently healed hand, Epione made true on her words by immobilizing his hand with splints and bandages. Finally satisfied that he couldn’t even twitch it, she let him go with a warning to keep his hand bound for at least three days before visiting her again for a check-up.
The Lieutenant breathed a sigh of relief only after he had put a few blocks between himself and the medical region. ‘Spitfire,’ he appraised the Felidae matriarch in his mind.
Limbering his wings, he beat down with them hard, propelling himself up into the air, causing a circle of dust to proliferate with him as the centre beneath him. With a few more strenuous wing-beats, he gained enough altitude to catch a thermal (easily available due to the constant presence of the ant legion so close to the walls). Adjusting his tail-feathers, he spiralled upwards, switching from one thermal to another as he rose.
The world shrank and the clouds enlarged in his eyes as the thermals slowly began to tail off. Shadows spilled out of his body, enveloping him and giving him another form. The dark raven exuded a silent cry and dipped into a shallow dive.
He felt the windstream filling his wings, shaped by his wings and tail into a force that allowed him to traverse the skies. This feeling. Corvus could never have enough of it. He didn’t know how the landlocked members of his race ever managed to live without experiencing the sheer giddy joy that was flight.
His sharp eyes mapped out the tactical situation as he managed to allot a part of his mind to duty even while enjoying his leisure.
‘Can I carry Zoya into the air,” he wondered. He resolved to at least give it a try. A landlocked life wasn’t a full life in his opinion and he’d do his utmost to ensure that his wife led a substantial life.
Wife. He tasted the unfamiliar word. He couldn’t help but smile within his Domain as the memory of Zoya accepting his proposal appeared in his mind. Well, they weren’t formally married yet but they would be as soon as he managed to… contact his… parents.
His good mood dissipated as he remembered his deadbeat dad and his late mother. Was the man still alive in his cell? He didn’t know. And he didn’t care.
His eyes grew icy. He’d get the marriage validated by one of the Tamers – they served as notary officials for mortal marriages if the parents were absent even if they couldn’t actually bond the couple together. He’d talk to Mars about it later in the day.
He hesitated a bit. Should he go and seek out his father. If not for the marriage but just for some closure? He shook his head once more. He was a Corvus now. Not a Pavone, and that suited him just fine.
Still, his mood had been ruined and he couldn’t derive the same euphoric joy from flight that he usually did. Sighing, he decided to descend, only for the wind in his wings to suddenly disappear causing him to stall in the air, then tumble out of the skies in an uncontrolled manner.
Stabilizing himself with great difficulty, he looked up towards the skies. A giant gap had been blown in the cloud layer, affording him a view of the battle raging above it.
Apparently one of the two queens laying siege to Firang, the one that could fly, had tried to mount a sneak attack by flying above the cloud layer. Thankfully, General Felidae had been on guard duty and intercepted it leading to the current war that had broken out between the two magical behemoths.
Wait a moment! Why was there another figure embroiled in the fighting? When had another mage capable of meddling in a fight between Tier 5s joined them? Wasn’t the highest rank of the mages that had arrived as reinforcements only Tier 4.
He didn’t recall any of the three Majors being a wind mage. Then…
His eyes widened as the sun flashed off characteristic red hair.
‘Damn!’ he cursed as he flapped his wings, trying to approach the fight, the faint sounds of klaxons drifting up to his ear from the ground as the ant legion suddenly mounted its attack. ‘That guy sure has the worst luck.’