This is Chapter 11 of Saving Hibreon, and the story is coming to an end in a few more chapters. If you haven't already, I'd suggest starting with the Prologue and catching up before you read this one. If you're interested in backstory, Ilyana's tale is told in Getting Lost and Wyfrost's story is called They're All Crazy; both available here on Literotica.
I hope you like the story, and thank you for reading!
-Guinevere A. Hart
Kytia followed Ilyana and Wy from behind the heavy equipment they'd used for cover. She'd chosen an odd time to answer Wy's question and get engaged, but she wanted them to know how she felt about them. If something happened to her, she needed them to know before it was too late.
The three of them rejoined the others in camp. Some people gave them funny looks, while others kept their eyes averted. Raeric hid a grin in his teacup, as if the fine veil of steam could cover his mirth. He leaned toward Wy and murmured, "Two? At the same time? Little brother, you know elves are crazy, right?"
Ilyana giggled, and Kytia smirked. "You know we can hear you... right?"
Wy chuckled and explained, "You should start getting used to the crazy now, Raeric. They're going to be your sisters."
Raeric was about to respond when Ilyana impulsively threw her arms around his waist. With pure joy, she announced, "I got a brother!"
Wy's brother looked helpless. He was a frost giant standing there in a daze with a petite, elf-witch clinging to his midsection in affectionate ambush. "Uh... what?"
Kytia decided to help him out. "She's not going to let go until you hug her back."
Regaining his composure, Raeric handed Wy his teacup and embraced his new sister-in-law. He said, "Well then, welcome to our family, Ilyana."
Ilyana stepped back and looked up at Raeric. "Even if we cray-see?"
Raeric laughed. "Ilyana, your crazy is going to fit right in with our crazy."
Bomber approached and interrupted them with, "Wyfrost, Mila wants to talk to you."
Kytia followed Wy with her eyes, not because she didn't trust Wyfrost, but because she didn't know Mila. The two of them seemed be having a serious conversation. Kytia thought Mila stood too close to Wy.
Curious, Raeric asked, "So, is she part of your—"
"No," Kytia cut him off. "No, she's not."
Always helpful, Ilyana offered, "They used to fook."
"Damn, Wy." Raeric whispered. Then he looked at Kytia. "Do you want me to make some excuse and interrupt them?"
"Thanks, Raeric, but it's fine. We trust one another. And yes, it's just the three of us." Then thinking about it, she asked, "Is it weird? For a Norrhim to have more than one spouse, I mean?"
Raeric shrugged. "It's not the average, but it's not uncommon for our people, either. No, Kytia, it's not weird."
When Wy returned, he drew Kytia and Ilyana in for a hug. "It's time to move out. Let's get this done and get home." He kissed the top of Kytia's head. "Mila's good at what she does, but you be careful out there. I don't like you going off without me and Ilyana to have your back."
She stepped back and said, "I don't like it either, but you know why I need to do this."
"Yeah, that's why I'm letting you."
"'Letting me?' Who the fuck do you th—"
Ilyana interrupted with a sharply spoken, "Kytia!"
She had a small jar in her hand, and at first Kytia thought it was glitter. Ilyana held up the jar and looked anxiously at Kytia and Wy. "You need marks," Ilyana demanded. When they hesitated Ilyana pointed to the left side of her face. "Marks for Luma."
It was important to Ilyana, whatever it was. Kytia said, "Explain it to me."
Ilyana nodded and explained in ylf'nim. "These are from Luma. They're marks, like mine, but much smaller. If you get lost, Luma can find you, Kytia."
She turned to interpret for Wy, but he was already dropping to his knees and tugging his collar aside. "Put it here, just under my hair."
Kytia blinked at Wy in confusion. "What?" he asked. "I've been listening to you two for a year now. I'm picking up on what you're saying most of the time. Sit down and let Ilyana do her thing."
Numbly, Kytia sat down. The last thing she wanted was more alien crap under her skin, but Ilyana needed her to have it. She flinched, grossed out, as Ilyana slid what felt like a small, cold, slug onto the back of her neck. She had long enough to think, "If it moves, I'm going to freak out and embarrass the fuck out of myself."
The thing didn't move at all. In seconds, she felt nothing where it had been except for a slowly fading sunburn. Kytia put her hand to her skin and was relieved to feel it smooth, with no remnant of the gross thing left behind. "Hmm," Wy commented while examining at her neck. "It looks nice, actually. How's mine?"
Wy's mark was just a small swirl, liked a rolled-up scroll. If hers looked the same, then it really wasn't so bad. There was nothing wrong with the blue tattoos all over Ilyana's face and body, but she couldn't see herself like that. When she thought about all the alien slug-like tentacles it took to decorate Ilyana's skin, Kytia shuddered.
Kytia and Mila walked down a dimly lit corridor, just a few paces ahead of the rest of Mila's team. They were as armed and armored as they could be. Some of them were lost in thought, others joked quietly with each other, and some just checked and rechecked their equipment. Kytia worried about Mila, and the stupidity of it made her loathe herself.
Stupid or not, the only way to stop worrying was to talk about it. "Mila, I think we should talk about Wyfrost."
"What about him?" Mila asked with a shrug.
"I understand the two of you were together before everything happened. I guess I just need to know you're not thinking of rekindling an old flame?" It came out even dumber than it sounded in her head, rattling off her tongue as a question before she could stop it.
It didn't help her feel any better about herself when Mila began to cackle at her. Kytia's comment was so funny that Mila had tears in her eyes and had to catch her breath before she could say anything. "Oh, oh my gods, you're serious. Look, there's no flame. I had sex with Wyfrost, because he's one fine-ass Norrhim. He's my friend, and that's enough for me. I've never in my life been in love until I met Belthiax."
"It's Wings' real name. He tried to buy out my contract, but the Ay'niki wouldn't sell. When he did a little digging to find out why, he discovered they're collecting mage-crafters for some sort of scientific study. So, he helped me bust myself out of my cell, and well... here we are. Anyway, the point is I'm not a threat to you and Ilyana, okay?"
"Yeah, okay." She was relieved to know Mila had moved on to the Tenkaru. The fear of adding yet another complication in their mix was nearly as bad as the fear of losing what she had with Wy and Ilyana. She still felt monumentally stupid for having to ask, so Kytia added, "I'm an idiot."
Mila looked at her and smiled. "I bet he likes that about you. Makes him feel better about himself."
Kytia paused, unsure if she should deck Mila or let the comment go. Then her companion laughed, and Kytia felt herself laughing along with her.
They came to a ladder and climbed out to an alley near the depot. There were plenty of shadows in the black-out. One by one they crawled out of the hole a slinked to their positions to get a good look at what they were dealing with.
Index had been right about security. With the loss of power and a revolt in full swing, the depot swarmed with armed Ay'niki guards. Others in uniform scrambled to set emergency lighting in place.
Mila said, "There's no way we're carting out a bunch of stasis berths. We need to get inside while we keep the guards outside."
Wings offered, "Half of us stay out here and cause trouble. We keep their heads turned our way while the rest of you go in. Mila can spell the doors sealed hopefully long enough to wake everyone up."
Kytia asked, "How do we sneak a couple dozen stasis-sick mages out of there? Can you teleport them out like Ilyana?"
"No," Mila said with a sigh. "Ilyana's... different. You do know she's not a normal mage-crafter, don't you?"
Kytia knew Mila was right. She'd never seen Ilyana draw or speak a rune. There was never a need for components. Sometimes she'd gesture, but Kytia thought that was more for dramatics than anything else. Still, she wasn't about to have her girlfriend's— no, her wife's— alienness pointed out to her. "She's an ylf'nim witch, just like you. Maybe she's just had more time to practice."
"Okay," Mila stated. "I'm not going to argue with you. The simple answer is we'll not be teleporting anybody. They'll have to walk out on their own power."
Kytia shook her head, saying, "They'll be weak and sick getting pulled out of stasis."
Mila smiled. "Now that I've got spells for, and so do they."
Mila and Wings stepped aside for an intimate exchange of whispered words. Meanwhile Bomber gathered a handful of people to discuss their distraction plans. Index tapped Kytia on the shoulder and asked, "You know about these stasis pods and how they work? You know how to release our people without killing them?"
"Well, yeah. The pods are considered an essential part of Ay'niki life support. Each pod has its own backup energy source, so they'll maintain if the main power fails. The emergency override will dump them out quick, and it's a rude awakening, but we don't have time breakfast in bed here."
Index nodded. "They'll be fine with it once they know they're going home. Let the others deal with any Ay'niki that are inside. You, me, and Mila are going to get right on those tubes."
"Whoa, I'm not the people-skills type. I'm an ass kicker, not a boo-boo kisser."
"You know the pods, and we don't have time for me to figure them out. So, you're it."
Before Kytia could argue further, Mila rejoined them. "Wings says there's an opened bay door at the back. They'd already started loading some of the pods onto a shuttle before we hit their power."
Kytia said, "We're not going to leave anybody behind, and I'll be damned if I let those assholes fly off with our people. The Eloua suit offers some stealth tech, so I'm going to check out the shuttle first. Just don't seal the door shut until I get inside."
Mila agreed, "We'll meet you in the depot."
Index grinned at Kytia. "No people skills, huh?"
"Fuck off," Kytia quipped.
Kytia kept to the deepest shadows, slinking around the building towards the shuttle. She waited until she heard gunfire as Bomber's crew opened up on the guards from an adjacent building. They had turned on all the shuttle's lights, creating a patch of false daylight in the back bay. A guard stood by while a uniformed Ay'niki rolled a loaded hand-truck up the ramp.
She watched the guard turn to make a patrolling circuit around the shuttle, and Kytia silently crossed into the lighted area. Squatting down, she slipped under the fuselage to crouch near the landing gear. Observing the Ay'niki's boots, she got a feel for his pacing. Kytia stayed where she was until after the worker returned to the warehouse for another pod, then she maneuvered towards the cargo door.
Kytia slipped up onto the ramp and crept inside the ship. There were five stasis pods already locked into their positions for travel, with plenty of room for more. Keeping count of the guard's pacing in her head, she judged how much time she had to work with. She paused within an inner doorway and checked the corridor beyond before making her way to the helm.
She might not have Wy's knack for alien technology, but she was very skilled at breaking things. Using her knife to pry open a panel in the control console, Kytia then cut every wire she could see. She even used the pommel to crack the fine crystal plates inside, ensuring the Ay'niki wouldn't be going anywhere in this vessel.
After disabling the shuttle, Kytia hurried back to the cargo bay. The guard was close enough that she could hear the thump-thump of his massive boots. She slid her helmet off and set it on the floor directly in the open doorway. Ducking into a shadowed corner near the door, she braced her back against the wall beneath the door's control mechanism.
He came around just to the edge of the ramp, and Kytia heard him stop there. After a second, he muttered, "The fuck is that?"
Kytia grinned while listening to her prey take her bait and thump up the ramp. Her muscles tensed as she waited for the right moment. His attention focused solely on Kytia's helmet; he entered the cargo hold just in front of her. When he bent to retrieve the object, Kytia launched both feet at his back. The Ay'niki fell forward.
She had only a second before he'd recover and be upright again. In smooth succession, Kytia pulled the lever to shut and lock the door, then she jammed her blade into the mechanism. By the time any Ay'niki on the outside figured out they had to open the door the hard way, she'd have the guard down and a handful of mages at her back.
The addled guard had gotten to his knees, before Kytia leapt onto him. They both reached for his lightning wand at the same time, but Kytia was faster. She held on to his armor with one hand and tried to wedge the business end of the wand into the cowl between his helmet and shoulder plate. She depressed the button.
Nothing happened, but there was little time to chide herself for not turning the thing on first. The best she could do was yell, "Shitshithsit!" as the guard threw himself backwards.
Her back slammed against the solid bulkhead door, still she managed to hold on to both the guard and her weapon. For what felt like longer than it was, Kytia went for a wild ride. Her armor took a beating, not to mention a few new lumps added to the back of her skull. Through it all, she finally got the wand activated.
He reached up and back, trying to grab her off him. He took hold of her hair and pulled. Kytia still clung to him, screeching, "Ow! Gods damn it, you fucking asshole!" She jammed the end of the wand in a soft spot at the guard's armpit and pressed the button again. This time lightning exploded all around them both.
The white-hot agony of the alien lightning was not unknown to Kytia. Consciously, she understood her Eloua suit would absorb a lot of the energy, and she knew the pain would pass, but she hadn't been wearing her helmet. As she slowly regained motor control and peeled herself off the floor, she could already feel the micro-bots under her skin go to work on the burns she'd sustained.
Nearby, the guard grunted while trying to extricate himself from his armor which was now nothing more than an inert cage. His own helm was off now, and he'd made it to his knees, where he'd stopped to pry his chest piece loose. He was still somewhat stunned, and clearly didn't expect her get up so quickly. He had no time to react, as Kytia snatched up his helmet and swung it at his head.
With a snarling, "Fucker," Kytia tossed the helm and shoved the unconscious Ay'niki over.
She turned her attention to the pods. In the first one, a male ylf'nim rested in what seemed a peaceful repose. Kytia shrugged and winced on his behalf when she hit the emergency release valve. "Wake up time, sleepy head."
In a sickening splash of thick fluid, he fell straight to his hands and knees. Then he immediately purged the stasis gel from his body. Though he groaned pitifully through teeth which had already begun to chatter, Kytia didn't have time to waste on a bedside manner. She ignored him and moved on to the next one.
As soon as he could talk, the mage croaked, "Who are you?"
She barked back, "I'm the one who's saving your ass." She glanced at him, a naked, shivering, mess of an ylf'nim. In a rare instant of empathy, Kytia remembered how it felt and took some pity. "Look, I know you're cold. I know your head hurts like you're going to die. But you're not, okay? Now, get those crates open and see if you can find something to wear. And if you've got any spell power, I suggest you get it ready, because we'll need it for your friends still in the depot."
By the time she had the others free, Kytia could hear someone outside on the ramp. They were attempting to manually crank the door open. Behind her, a mage asked, "What do we do now?"
Kytia grabbed the fallen guard's firearm. She gave instructions while she loaded the weapon. "The warehouse door is thirty feet straight across the yard. I'm on point. Combat magic is up front with me. Support keep close behind us. Try not to get killed."
She was encouraged when two of the ylf'nim came forward to stand beside her. The other three completed a triangle formation. Behind her, the noncom mages began a soft chanting. A shimmering field surrounded their group, while at the same time, Kytia felt infused with an extra well of kinetic energy.
The first guy she'd released, one of the two who could fight, wrenched her blade out the door lock. He asked, "Can I borrow this?"
Kytia nodded, then she watched bemused as her knife became a longsword in his hands. The shining blade crackled and sparked with radiating shards of lightning. "Nice," she commented.
He shrugged and grinned. "It'll short their armor if they get too close, anyway."
Another went up to the door and drew a quick rune on it with the tip of her finger. She took her place again beside Kytia, then she shouted a spell word towards the rune she'd drawn. The door flew open, startling the depot worker and the two guards behind him. Kytia wasted no time and opened fire.
The six of them pushed across the yard, aided by Mila and her crew who waited for them just inside the depot. They had already started to lower the heavy warehouse door, but the manual mechanism was slow. When they were close, Kytia ordered the support mages inside. She fired into the oncoming guards until she ran out of ammo, then the gun became a cudgel.
An eerie calm came over her, and she was blind to everything but the nearest enemy. She didn't feel the hits she took, as her mind and soul detached from her body. She wasn't aware of anything outside of the violence she doled out until Mila's voice broke through. "Kytia! Kytia, gods damn it, come on!"
On autopilot, Kytia's body had carried her further from the others than she would've liked. She sprinted back toward the nearly closed warehouse and slid under the lip of the door. She lay on the floor for a minute, catching her breath as pain finally began to assert itself. Mila laid a hand on Kytia's chest and spoke some magic over her. Between a healing spell and the alien tech under her own skin, the hurt quickly subsided.
A handful of people went to work on the door, sealing it shut with magic runes. Kytia sat up and looked around. The emergency lighting gave the large space a sickly yellow cast. Lined up in neat rows were around forty stasis tubes, their lights winking brightly against the otherwise dim glow. Outside, the Ay'niki were already pounding on the door.
Once it was clear Kytia was all right, Mila asked her, "Are you crazy?"
Kytia answered, "So I've been told."
Mila grinned. "Good. Now show us how to get our people out of these tubes, so we can get the hells off this damned planet."
Kytia showed Index and the others how to dump the stasis pods. When he saw how simple it was, Index rolled his eyes. "Seriously? That's it?"
"Yeah. The thing's on a timer. The only nice way out is to let it run its course. Wy might know how to reset it, but this is all I got."
"It's good enough." Index turned and made the announcement. "Get 'em out and get 'em up! Today we're introducing the Ay'niki to the Infernal Tempest."