Day 1 ◈ Time: Night ◈ Weather: Thunder, Lighting, and Light Seraphi ◈ Location: Harold's Academy, Main Ballroom ◈ Participants: Arthur Everwood, Sylvia Copeland @LuckyBlackCat
Arthur watched from far above as the other students got into action with a retreat to the hallway. He assumed that the more senior students would fly out to fight the Ni-Seraphi. After all, many had been training to deal with that threat.
But the seconds went by with no one flying up to join him. Those were precious seconds in a situation where time was scarce.
Arthur hadn’t paid much attention to the safety presentation of ESP. In truth, he had little idea of what it was supposed to look like. Too many possibilities were playing out in his head. Are they all just retreating? Or are the senior students out there in need of help? he thought. He didn’t remember seeing them leave. But maybe there was a different way that was out of his sight.
The uncertainties played over in his head. While an obvious choice to someone familiar with the protocol, Arthur wasted seconds deciding what to do. And seconds were precious.
"Let's go!" Sylvia called from below, snapping the teen out of his turmoil. The situation became clear. There was no front assault, no flying out to fight these monsters, and the only thing to do was run and survive. But by this point, he was the furthest from the hallway by strides.
Arthur began to notice the horrific shrieking coming from above him. It was reminiscent of a wounded owlette, but coming from a cluster of larger bodies gave it a far more frightening quality. Arthur could see the pupa already coming in from above. They readied to attack. Some were far too close for comfort.
An ordinary student may have frozen up in fear. But an odd calm and certainty washed over Arthur. He had been in this situation before. Sure, the pursuers were different, but he had needed to break into a quick getaway plenty of times over. If anything, the creatures’ visible bloodlust and disregard for self-preservation could work in his favour.
Arthur committed his entire force to flying downward head first. A combination of his will, winds, and gravity helped him pick up speed quickly. As he checked back, he saw that he was creating some distance between himself and the pursuing pupa. He slowed to maintain the current gap. If he went too far from the pupa, they may lose interest.
With a twirl of the wrist, the napkins orbiting the teen began to peel off. With a larger surface subject to air resistance, they shifted back behind him and suddenly sped up again to maintain a small distance behind. As commanded, they swirled into a circular formation behind him and created a shroud.
The pupa could no longer see him clearly, but he couldn’t see them either. The next move depended entirely on faith.
Like a well-practised move, Arthur made a sharp turn away from the quickly approaching ballroom floor. The turn was so close that the sides of his unbuttoned jacket scraped the ground before he pulled up to a safe distance.
Behind him, many of the pupa were not so fast to react. Many of his pursuers plummeted straight into the ground. He could only hope that they would stay there. There wasn’t any time to slow down and check.
Moments later ◈ Location: Academy Hallways ◈ Participants: Arthur Everwood, Sylvia Copeland @LuckyBlackCat, Leah Clearwater @vietmyke
As Arthur approached the entrance to the hallway, he was still flying far too fast. It would be a collision course with the other students if he didn’t act now. He pulled up into a standing position, letting the drag pull him back with his suit and mask. The latter finally gave in and flew off his head to be left in his wake.
It should have been as easy as placing his feet down and transitioning into a final sprint through the door. But he was going too fast; he had done too little to slow down. When his feet hit the ground, Arthur tumbled instead. He fell forward into a clumsy roll that ended with his back thudding against the floor, barely inside the hallway.
The doorway sealed behind him almost immediately after. The smile of relief spreading across his face soothed the pain shooting up Arthur’s back. He was just happy to be alive. None other than Leah Clearwater had saved him. It almost made him feel bad about the trouble he caused in House Eusebia last year.
“Thanks, I owe you one.”
“And you too.” Looking over toward Sylvia.