For all her bluster and optimism in the face of getting past the Void, as well as the fact that she clearly rated the girls' chances higher than Astrelle or the survivors of the control room, Nicole's good cheer did have his limits. Like Dana and Astrelle, she did an anxious double take at the figures of Victoria Glass and another woman fighting. The startled reactions were right; that could only be another Ars Magi, wielding a blade that seemed as close to a forged lightning bolt as anything Nicole had ever seen. Astrelle gave voice to her incredulity.“What is Victoria doing? She’s—It looks like she’s fighting another Ars Magi. That’s absurd. Who’s going to help Penny and Vanna?”Aww, shit, so you do care...
Still, it was hard not to silently agree with her. Nicole had really
banked on the Wing to help bail the girls out of trouble, but seeing, for herself, two Ars Magi dueling to the death...it was impossible for her to wrap her mind around. Maybe they had all died in the crash after all, this was some kind of shared hell where they were all trapped in Penny and Dana's cartoons, and one of them had accidentally conjured up some cruel, sexy rival character who had fallen from grace. Or maybe they were
alive, those conspiracy sites were right, and there were
such things as Ars Magi who acted as mercenaries - or even worse, cabals who were capable of even worse schemes, things that precocious girls like them - well, like Dana, Penny, and Nicole - were capable of imagining. Nicole really didn't give a fuck about the explanation behind the current situation. What mattered was that the girls were back there
, they were stuck here
, and Victoria was out of reach. If staying behind to fight one Void was basically suicide, then going out to help Victoria in their states would be about as helpful as a staring contest with a solar flare."I'm going back for them,"
she volunteered, aiming her smile at Astrelle Lennox - a look with good cheer to rival Penny and Dana, with some cheekiness for flavor and an implicit hint of understanding. "We've done all we can for this guy, and he's in better hands than ours. None of us are gonna turn the tide up there. Dana's put herself through a lot already, and you're probably happy in the control room, right, babe? One trip was probably stressful enough."
What had been an implicit hint grew more pronounced, and she stuck up a peace sign over one eye."If I die, you two were totally my favorite classmates. Back in a sec."
With a wink, and the same grace she had avoided injury with during the ship's descent, Nicole took a small leap behind her, sprung her second foot backwards, and skipped back down the hall like a stone towards her other new friends.