"Light!" That was what they needed to rid the infiltrating Shades, but how could they find light in such a dark place?
"Emergency flashlights!" Jaxon suggested.
"Good idea," Zaya ran to the flashlight storage, smashing into walls and people. Finally, with a flashlight in each hand, she clicked them on, waving them in the darkness.
Everyone else followed her example, grabbing lights and lamps. With a screech, the Shades were no longer around.
The sun shined through the clouds. Things were starting to be visible again. Aidan ran up to Zaya.
"That was intelligent, Zaya. You are really living up to be like your mother," Hearing this, Zaya smiled. It was the best compliment she had ever heard.
"In fact," Aidan continued, "you are old enough to take part of the next big mission,"
"but...I can barely shape shift.." Zaya said.
"Your strategy is just as skilful as a shift,"
She couldn't believe she was hearing this. Her first mission!
"When do I start?" She asked casually, trying not to blow this opportunity.
* * *
The gear was heavy, but it was tolerable considering the fact that her dream was becoming a reality. They were in the arena choosing weapons when Aidan walked up to them.
"This is Dustin, a professional combater who will be in your team. His mother was a very good friend of Sasha," he pointed to a boy with a neutral smile, dyed blue hair, and green eyes.
He didn't look too happy to be part of the team with inexperienced spies. She and Jax had only ever fought in combat, while he had tons of knowledge about the Shades' base.
"Well, welcome to the team," Jaxon said ecstatically.
"It's good to be here," Dustin replied.
"Woah, hold on, you won't be going on this mission Jaxon, you have other missions to attend. But don't worry, someone will be taking your place."
Out of the other room came Ravana.
"She will be the SoothSayer in the team. The rules for these types of missions are to have one type of Ivor in a trio" Aidan spoke with enthusiasm.
Jaxon didn't know what to say, he looked around blankly and agreed.
Zaya sighed. She had never taken on any difficult task without her most trusted partner. This was going to be quite a challenge.
Aidan turned to Jaxon, "you, your sister and Damon will be useful for another mission. Get your team ready Zaya, you'll be leaving at dawn." He led Jax out of the room.
* * *
"Woah!" Zaya said as she almost fell off her hoverboard. As the leader of the group, it seemed ironic that she was the only one that could not ride a hoverboard properly.
"Get ahold of yourself," said Dustin. Even though Zaya wasn't a SoothSayer, she could tell everyone was judging her at that moment.
"Here we are," Ravana interrupted.
There was a small shed in between two large cottonwood trees. It looked rickety and old. Vines and other vegetation grew all over. Dustin tried the rusty handle.
"Let's just kick the door down," Ravana suggested.
"But we don't want to make too much of a disturbance. We need to sneak into the base." Zaya said.
"Hey, we're wasting time deciding what to do. Let's just kick the door down. I don't think the Shades will hear us." Dustin said.
And with that, he took a few steps back and knocked the door down. The broken wood pieces fell into the deep hole inside the shed, followed by a loud clatter that echoed through the forest.
"Dustin! Why would you do that?! You know I was just joking around. Now the Shades will attack us in a matter of seconds!" Ravana scolded.
"Oh, uh sorry?"
Just then, a shrill noise came from the hole. A cold gush of air blew past Zaya. She fell backwards, as did Ravana and Dustin.
Just about a million Slaythers shot out of the hole and landed in front of them. Not again, Zaya thought. She had figured she had a little more time before fighting another Slayther.
It seemed too early to face another, especially without Jaxon.
Ravana was the first to move, her fist smacking into the head of a Slayther. Dustin got up after a few seconds of shock, ducking from the Slaythers swooping over him.
One Slayther spotted Zaya, still on the ground. The evil society knew about Sasha and assumed her daughter would be just as dangerous.
The Slaythers were hesitant, but they still attacked Zaya. She took out her blade and started thrashing at them. Many at once. It took the energy right out of her, but she kept her guard up.
The others were doing fine. It was Zaya who needed backup. Since Jax wasn't here, no one knew when to jump in and help her.
"Zaya! To your right!" Ravana yelled. Before Zaya could react, a Slayther collided into her, getting her to tumble towards the hole.
As soon as she was about to fall in, a hand grabbed her by the arm. It was Ravana. She didn't look like she could hold her for very long.
The instant they started to slip, Dustin got a hold of Ravana's foot.
"I got you!" Dustin exclaimed. He started pulling them up, but before he could get them to the surface a Slayther ran straight into him.
"Ah!" he bellowed as he was pushed into the shed pit along with Zaya and Ravana. The way down was a definite free-fall. Zaya was the first to land flat on the ground.
Then came Ravana, right on top of her.
"Incoming!" Dustin yelled from above.
Shoot, he's going to land on us! Zaya thought. Ravana must have been thinking the same thing because both girls rolled to the sides just as Dustin hit the empty ground.
"Ow!" He said while getting up, "You couldn't catch me?"
Zaya shot him a look. The silence was disrupted by a loud screech from up top. The Slaythers were flying down to finish them.
"Quick, hide behind those big rocks!" Ravana ordered.
With a small dive, all three were behind, trying to stay silent and invisible. The Slaythers looked confused as all of them flew to the next tunnel. When they all cleared out, Zaya sneezed.
Ravana and Dustin looked over at her.
"Are you crazy?!" Ravana whisper-scolded, "We're going to get caught if you keep up those allergies!"
"They're not aller-"
"Shh!" Dustin put his hand over her mouth, "Do you want to get caught?"
"We have to get to the main base. Come on!" Ravana demanded.
They all agreed and Zaya led them through the twisted tunnels of the cave, expecting to reach the base. They wandered around for a while.
"I think we're lost," Dustin complained.
"Never doubt my senses. My gut tells me to go... this way!" Zaya led them to another tunnel.
"Didn't we pass this rock like five times already?" Ravana observed, "Maybe I should lead."
Zaya had no intention to embarrass herself like this, but she knew she couldn't lead on her own. "Alright," she said, "I'm not great in leading... maybe in combat?"
She caught Ravana giving her a worried look and followed them as they went through a hidden cave she had never noticed. It was dark at first.
Zaya stumbled over a rock but managed to catch herself. She felt so useless. Her first mission and she was screwing it up.
As she walked, she thought back to those days, when it was just her and Jaxon, freely fighting. screeches roamed the caves, making her feel insecure. They could jump out at any moment. Attack.
"Look," Dustin said softly. Up ahead, a light shone into the cave. They were close to the surface, however, it didn't make sense.
Shadows were clever enough to find a hideout without any light to disturb them. It was a trap.
Snap. She whisked her head around. Dustin was gone.
"It's a trap!" Too late, Ravana dodged the net but tripped over the wiring below her feet. She too was gone a minute later.
Zaya could feel the eyes of the Shades locked on her. She could sense their presence mocking her. She couldn't move, her body stiff, paralyzed. Run.
Her mind told her, before it's too late! She didn't know what happened next, but it got darker. Darker than it was back in the cave.