Loxon was furious. At the moment he was glowering into the gloom of the staircase that his prey had fled down. Behind him was a chaotic scene of all the mercenaries dealing with the aftermath of the attack they had suffered. Loxon ground his teeth when he remembered that they had used over half of their total Mittra essence stones just to recover from the damage. Loxon himself had needed four on his own to recover from whatever the hell had slammed him in the chest. Even after healing up he could feel the throbbing pain lingering, and every time he closed his eyes all he could see was the mask and blazing eyes of the person that had taken his possession.
Serena was also in a furious rage, and her Siren Vultures were in bad shape as well, though not as bad as the Sand Sharks. The Flame Scorpions were in comparatively great shape for some reason, and the bastard Doris refused to lead the way down the stairs, choosing instead to sit on his ass.
Loxon wanted nothing more than to get his hands on both of those slippery rats that had escaped, but his men needed to recover first.
"You! Come here!" Loxon roared at one of his men that seemed at least partially functioning. "Scout down the stairs and let me know if you find anything!"
The merc followed his boss's orders and headed down carefully, still a little unsteady from the concussion grenade and tear gas after-effects. Loxon had just turned his attention back to the chaos behind him to give out some more orders when a blood curdling scream sounded from the staircase. He spun around to see his scout only a hundred meters down the stairs writhing on the ground while lightning arced through the air around him.
Of course there were traps Loxon though furiously. He made his way down as fast as he could but stopped short from the now unconscious mercenary when he realized there were hundreds of extremely fine wires blocking the entire five meter wide passage from floor to ceiling! Loxon had the feeling that if he touched one of the wires he would end up fried like his scout, so all he could do is back away in angry frustration. Whoever that person was that had taken Athena from him was dangerous. He would have to make it a priority to find out who it was if they got out of this hellish place.
As he stomped his way back up the stairs Serena approached him to see what happened.
"More traps?" she asked as she glanced at the comatose scout still lying on the staircase.
Loxon grunted in acknowledgement, "We'll need someone with lightning harmonization to get through them."
Serena grimaced when she heard that. Looks like they would have their work cut out for them.
Zoey and Athena on the other hand were in high spirits as they made their way towards the exit portal. They had made it through the dungeon, tired, but unscathed.
"Zoey, what did you end up finding that was making the humming sound? I assume you figured out what it was," Athena asked more than a little curious.
"I'm not sure myself yet," Zoey replied. "It was some kind of boost for my Heritage I think. I haven't had a chance to assess what it is quite yet."
"A boost for your heritage huh?" Athena turned thoughtful. "Was it for your main Heritage? Or your Harmonic Heritage?"
Zoey was startled when she heard the question. Athena knew that she had a Harmonic Heritage?! How had she known?
"Relax hun, only I know about it in Sand Pit, and that's thanks to this little guy!" Athena lifted her hand to show Zoey.
On the back of her hand was a small blue salamander that blinked at Zoey and flicked its toungue at the air, then darted back under Athena's clothing. Zoey looked questioningly at Athena. She had even more questions now!
"In all of Sand Pit there is not a single Seeker Vekt, so there is no way the mercenaries know about your secret. My little buddy, his name is Sammy, he can actually detect a huge number of normally undetectable things. Scent and sight are his specialties, and he can see and smell things no other creature can," Athena said proudly. "He can easily detect a Harmonic Heritage when one is in range."
"So you knew this whole time?" Zoey asked a little apprehensive.
Athena nodded. "Actually it's why I got you that necklace," she pointed to the pine scented charm Zoey had around her neck.
"That is not a perfect cover for the smell of a Harmonic Heritage, but it is strong enough to confuse the senses of a Seeker Vekt. They could still find your general location to within a kilometer or so, but they would not be able to pinpoint you closer than that."
Athena smiled gently when she saw Zoey's uncertainty. "I know you feel like you shouldn't trust so easily, and you are right, you shouldn't. For someone with a Harmonic Heritage every moment you have is a chance someone can discover you. If that happens, the entire world will come after you for what you have." Athena paused as she looked Zoey in the eyes. "But you already knew that. It's why you were in the crater where we met and it's why you have to be careful about who you trust."
In Athena's topaz colored eyes, Zoey could see conviction and compassion. She had the strangest feeling that despite Athena knowing her secret this entire time and even now explaining why she needed to be careful about who to trust, she could still trust this woman. Why was that?
Athena grinned and continued, "But I'm hoping that you can trust me, if only for one reason..." She pulled down the front of her vest to reveal the upper part of the tattoo on her chest. "This tattoo and yours is what links us together as sisters! You may not know yet but Sethrii is kind of like our mother, and there is no way I can let her down by betraying a sister!"
Zoey was once again caught in an over enthusiastic hug by Athena. She couldn't help but laugh when she realized that Athena's words had completely taken her worries away. Having her as family might not be bad at all...
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Their playful embrace was rudely interrupted by an air splitting howl that rose up from behind them. When they abruptly turned to see what it was they were greeted by the sight of a three meter tall blood covered Gnoll with blood red eyes howling at them in rage. This one was far bigger that the others had been and the aura and pressure he gave off was on a whole other level.
Looks like they had one last fight before they could leave.