The final choices were Ash and Danielle as two out and out warriors. Leaf won the argument to have two other druids besides herself, Berry and Branch, to make three druids. Geri was probably the best mage, but had no warrior skills and if magic didn't work they wanted someone who could still contribute, so Geri chose her best warrior mage, an elf called Killash. Myra filled us out to seven and was also a high level healer.
There were two things that I hadn't considered that was brought to my attention. It was great to have Ash on Earth, but what about the Ash who was going to be staying here? If Katie came here with me, would she leave Earth Ash behind or would both come with me? How would that work? Besides, that also took two places that could otherwise be used for candidates who needed transformation.
Mum helped me solve that when she brought up the difficulty of dealing with two versions of herself. Her Earth self was going to change her name to Mia and wanted me to call her a different mum name. We went with momma. She wanted me to realize that they were now like identical twins. Their experiences from now on would diverge and since our experiences help shape us, over time they would become slightly different and it would be easier to deal with it if I considered them as two different individuals, both of whom loved me.
I asked her about Ash's concerns and she came up with a brilliant solution. She would ask for an elf ranger to capture an orc or human that was attacking someone. Attacking someone indiscriminately was a death sentence, so when Katie returned she could be copied onto the captured death row prisoner. Then she would leave never to return. That way there would be a Katie and Ash bonded pair both here and on Earth.
I spent most of the week concentrating on improving my fighting ability, leaving the transformations to mum. I did ask her what was different in the process and she said it was mainly in the potion. They drank it willingly enough since they were given the impression that they were getting what they wanted. They were being kept separated and told that it was being done under protest so they would be treated like prisoners.
To train me, after our Taigoa sessions, the sparing got a bit lively. I started facing multiple people. Again they started slowly and then speeded up as I got the hang of it. I needed to use my sense of the space around me that Inda gave me and how it was being challenged by my opponents and integrate that with my Taigoa moves. Since it involved lots of communication with Inda, my relationship with my familiar improved dramatically. I also spent time meditating and working with both Inda and Andi. Andi said she could add lightning to my strikes, but we couldn't practice that as it was potentially deadly. As a consequence of my hard work, I was ready for my third familiar ritual after three days.
I went to the glade with Leaf. There was no guarantee that I would be granted another familiar, but, as they say, if you don't ask, you don't get. We were going through the meditation when my hand that was in the water started getting cold. By the time we had finished my hand was encased in ice, glowing with a light blue colour that reminded me of the colour glaciers sometimes show. I brought it to my forehead and the ice broke apart. An ice familiar who let me know her name was Dani.
Having gotten used to communicating with two familiars already, talking to Dani was easier than it had been when I first started. I don't know what else she could do yet, but she added strength to my blocks and punches. My opponents told me that if they managed to hit me, which was getting rarer, it felt like hitting stone.
The seven days passed quickly and before I knew it I was in my suite with all seven Elven copies. They had arranged extra beds so that we could all sleep in the same room. I had to explain that when they woke they would not be able to see anything as they would be wearing these helmets, and what they would have to do to release them. I asked Inda to help free everyone and then work on my handcuffs. Andi was going to tell Danica to start the attack. I fell asleep holding Momma Mia's hand.
I woke up feeling weird and out of balance, but shrugged it off as I had a job to do. I reached behind my head as Tia had instructed. Before I could touch the fastening, I felt it release, so I just took my strange helmet off and looked around. Such a strange place this Earth was, everything looked so artificial. I sat up to see better and saw Tia, naked and chained to a bed with her legs held open. She hadn't mentioned that they had done that. My anger flared seeing a man standing next to her, casually stroking her leg, coming close to her groin. I was out of the bed in a flash and I wasn't the only one. I think I may have growled.
He turned looking at us a bit puzzled. “It's not your turn yet lads.” He said.
None of us paused and the first to reach him punched him as soon as she/he was within range. I don't remember who it was, since we all were looking like men now and I couldn't remember which Elf I copied onto which body. I was second and manoeuvred around to get my foot into his groin. Then he was on the ground and we all stood around him kicking him viciously. He was finished by a foot to the throat. One thing Lagbit's World teaches you, never give an enemy a second chance to hurt you. Tia is a bit too nice sometimes. I think this whole being captured thing could have been avoided if she had been more willing to hurt others.
I woke up to someone stroking my leg in a far too intimate fashion. I tried to hurry Inda to release my handcuffs. Andi offered to electrocute whoever was touching me, but without being able to see who it was, I wanted visual confirmation. Andi told me it was Mr Smith, but before I could tell her to go for it, the hand left me.
Then I heard “It's not your turn yet lads.” My initial thought was a mild panicky 'Oh no. It didn't work.' I mentally gave Andi permission to defend me. I got my hands and legs free, took off my headset and sat up. I was expecting to see Mr Smith with the seven soldiers attacking me, instead, to my relief, I could see all the men kicking someone on the floor. Three guards were now heading towards this group with cattle prods held out. Only a few seconds had passed and I think they were delayed by shock and confusion.
'Allow me' Andi said to me internally. From the tips of the cattle prods an arc of electricity leap into their chests and they dropped to the floor, dead. The noise of them hitting the floor made the others realize that they had acted like amateurs as they turned around with surprise on their faces. They had concentrated on one threat, ignoring three others. That in itself was strange, what on Earth had Mr Smith done to grab their attention so strongly?
“Whoops.” One of them said.
“I don't know who is who. Danielle, I believe you are in charge.” I said.
One of the men stepped forwards. “Right, three more guards to deal with on this level. Is Davina attacking?”
I queried Andi and responded. “Yes. There were four on patrol outside and they have been taken. They gave the last one a chance to report being under attack to try and encourage the others to go outside. It didn't work, we have four more hostiles downstairs taking positions to prevent entry. Davina is going to wait for our signal.” I asked Andi to inform Davina of our circumstances and got back an almost sarcastic Derrr.
One of the men, took his top off and passed it to me. “Thanks, momma.” I guessed. She smiled at me. I concentrated to try and feel where everyone was, but I am not the only one with a wind familiar and I was the least experienced. By the time I was able to start seeing those spaces and identifying where the guards were, the three on this level were already being engaged and taken down quickly. I moved my wind sense down to the four men guarding the door. I heard Inda say 'my turn' and felt her engage the four soldiers. Nothing appeared to happen initially, but after a few seconds they started staggering about and then slowly dropped to the floor.
I wondered what was happening to them, so Inda told me that she had stopped their air. Andi told Davina they had been taken care of. The front door clicked open, that was Inda again and I could tell people were entering, hopefully that was Davina.
I opened my eyes with a smile on my face. Momma was still with me, the others were elsewhere. I was free, now I just needed to escape this island.
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