Hey, my wonderful readers!

Actually, this chapter was going to be longer, but I realized if I didn't find a place to stop, it'd be waaaaaay too long. Besides, I wanted to post a new chapter now since I probably won't be updating for the rest of the month. I decided to joing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) so I'm pretty busy with that. (11,077 words so far! Most I've ever written in such as short amount of time!)

So anyway, this chapter's dedicated to all of my readers, especially:

Kitten 2007

Cold-heart-Angel23

Mahou Shoujo Crystalic Katomi (thanks for the advice, by the way, I will definitely try to remember that :D)

kezzywezzy25

SassyGirl104

and CitySlickerMIA

for their reviews, favorites, alerts, etc. I live off of this stuff, guys! ^^

So when we left off, Aerrow and Kaelie had run into a tad bit of trouble (read "OMG they're both gonna die!) Let's see how they get out of this, shall we? Oh, and if anyone has any advice for writing combat scenes, please offer it. I'm not very good at them. :'(

Storm Hawks (c) Nerd Corps

Kaelie and the story (c) ME!

Let's get this party started!


Chapter 3: Who's Rescuing Who?

Aerrow had been in a lot of rough situations in his brief career as a Sky Knight, but he didn't need that kind of experience to know that this was bad. Outnumbered with no back-up, facing off against a small army including the Dark Ace and Master Cyclonis herself. Despite the odds, the Sky Knight knew that he had to protect this girl. Whoever she was, she had the source of the energy spikes they'd been picking up. Besides which, he'd have to be completely heartless to just leave her here. Even if she had pointed a spear at him.

So, ever the hero, he pulled his blades out and stepped in front of the girl. "If you want her, you'll have to go through me first."

Dark Ace chuckled coldly. "How very noble of you, Aerrow. Sacrificing yourself to protect an innocent. Don't worry. I'll be sure to make her death painless. You, on the other hand, won't be so lucky."

The Sky Knight actually had the guts to smirk. "Give it your best shot."

Dark Ace unsheathed his own blade, the crystal that powered it giving it a crimson red glow, and fell into a combat stance. Aerrow mimicked his actions, his own weapons bathed in electric blue. The two warriors stared each other down, each waiting for the other to strike. That was the first rule of battle: Never take your eyes off of your opponent. Let your guard down for a second, and the fight's as good as lost.

As if by some unspoken signal, both shot forward at the very same moment, locking weapons with a burst of blue and red sparks. They pulled away almost immediately, and then the real battle began. The clash of steel on steel echoed in the room, every strike blocked and every block countered. Any attempt by one to take the other by surprise was shot down by his opponent. Second rule: Expect the unexpected. Both the Sky Knight and the Talon commander were known for fighting by instinct, resulting in a number attacks that were anything but predictable. It was all improvisation and following your gut. No one interfered, leaving the two to their private battle. Whether in anticipation, fear, or cold amusement, all eyes were fixed on the fight in front of them.

Aerrow only left himself open for a split second, but that was all his enemy needed to take him down. A missed stab gave the crimson-eyed Talon a chance to grab his arm in a near-iron grip. A sharp tug took him off guard and sent him off balance. A knee to the stomach knocked the air from his lungs. A blast of crystal energy sent him sprawling to the hard marble floor.

It was only when he hit the ground that Aerrow begrudgingly recalled the third rule: Use your opponent's strength against him.

The Sky Knight groaned, opening his eyes to see one of his blades inches from his outspread arm. He was too slow to grab it, though, biting back a yelp as a steel-toed boot stepped down on his wrist and sharpened metal was poised in front of his throat, effectively pinning him. The teen glared up at the Dark Ace, wanting nothing more than to wipe that smug, triumphant grin off of his face.

"I have to say, I'm disappointed. I was hoping for more of a challenge from you, Aerrow. Well, the end result is the same, I supposed." The raven-haired swordsman raised his weapon, ready to deliver the final blow...

And found himself face down on the ground before he could even wonder what had happened.

The red-haired Sky Knight watched in shock as the Talon commander struggled to get up, rubbing his wrist where it had been held down. His chartreuse eyes shot to the girl, who just stood there, completely dumfounded, the glow of the crystal spear tip dying away. "Shoot, did I do that?" She stared at the weapon in her hands before a smile broke across her face. "So that's how this thing works!"

Aerrow heaved a sigh of relief, almost laughing at the other teen's enthusiasm. The moment was short lived, though, as his gazed wandered to Master Cyclonis. The dark violet crystal on her staff now sported a flickering glow, and her normally stoic expression had turned to one of suspicious curiosity. It didn't take a genius to tell that she'd figured it out: The strange girl had something powerful with her.

And if there was one thing Cyclonis was known to have a hunger for, it was power.

The boy snapped out of his musings as his apparent savior grabbed him by the arm and hauled him to his feet. "Hope you're not looking for a rematch. Let's go!" Not needing to be told twice, Aerrow took her by the hand once more as they made a run for it, leading the way through the dark labyrinth that was Terra Cyclonia. Behind them, he could hear Cyclonis yelling orders to her soldiers.

"Get them! Kill the Sky Knight if you have to, but I want the girl alive!"

Things were about to get much more interesting.

oooo

This was progressively becoming the most messed-up day of Kaelie Radshaw's teenaged life. Besides not knowing where the hell she was, so far she's broken out of jail, almost skewered a guy with a spear, and blasted a dude with an energy burst from a weapon she'd never used before. And now she was running for her life from someone who obviously didn't want her for anything good. Well, she certainly couldn't say this wasn't an adventure.

"This is insane!" The two teens had stopped for a moment, having outrun the soldiers chasing them, and the girl was having a minor panic attack while trying to catch her breath. "Who was that, what does she want with me?"

"Master Cyclonis. Basically the one person you never want to mess with." Aerrow seemed surprisingly calm for being in this situation, as if it was completely ordinary for him. "And apparently you have something that she wants."

"What? What could I possibly have that she wants?" she snapped, semi-hysterical. Was it really so hard for her to get a straight answer out of this guy? "I don't even know what I'm doing here in the first-!" Her frantic rant was cut off as more guards appeared from one direction and Aerrow yanked her in another, practically dragging her until she was able to start moving under her own force. "Can you at least tell me what the escape plan is?"

"Well..."

"You don't have a plan!"

"No, but I'm good at improvising. Just bear with me and keep running."

"Um, duh!" It probably wasn't the best time for her to have an attitude, but this wasn't exactly a situation she was used to. After all the chaos and confusion of the past few hours (at least, she assumed it had been a few hours), Kaelie figured she deserved to know what the hell was going on here. She held her tongue, though, deciding that her questions were better left for a time when people weren't trying to kill them. Once they were out of this place and out of harm's way, she'd be able to grill the so-called Sky Knight for information as much as she wanted.

Unfortunately, it seemed achieving that was easier said than done. Cyclonia, as it was apparently called, was built like a labyrinth, a network of winding hallways with larger chambers scattered throughout. It didn't help that guards were waiting for them at almost every turn, forcing them to back track and try to lose them in the maze. At least Aerrow seemed to have an idea of where they were going. He probably didn't, but he at least acted like he did.

The only thing Kaelie had to judge how long they'd been running through this nightmare of a building was the fact that her sides were aching and her lungs felt like they were about ready to shrivel up and die. Nick was the athlete in her family, not her. She was the daydreamer who sucked at all sports and had the worst coordination ever. Being chased by armed psychos, however, tended to be a really great motivator when it came to finding a reason to keep running through exhaustion.

In all honesty, Kaelie hadn't been paying much attention to where they'd been going, just as long as her feet were moving fast enough to keep up with the other teen. So she was more than a little surprised when they finally stopped again and she found herself outside. And on the edge of a sheer drop. Swallowing in terror, she quickly backed away from the edge, unable to stop staring at the oblivion below. When she turned back to find at least twenty soldiers, plus the now-seriously-ticked-off guy she'd inadvertently blasted, blocking any escape route, it was pretty clear that they were between a rock and a hard place on this one. It was either get captured by a purely evil teenage girl (and not the kind she usually dealt with) or fall God only knew how many miles before splattering across the ground.

She was having trouble deciding which one sounded more fun.

Making a last-ditch effort fight back, the girl raised her spear, only to have it shot out of her hands by an energy burst. Weaponless and freaking out, she shot Aerrow a hopeful look, praying the Sky Knight had finally "improvised" a decent plan. To her eternal shock and confusion, she saw him stare back at the army... smirking. He actually had the guts to smirk in this situation. Kaelie resisted the urge to slap a palm to her forehead. Of course she'd end up rescued by the guy with a death wish.

A classic evil laugh drew her attention back to the red-eyed leader. "Looks like you've hit the end of the line, Storm Hawk. Nowhere to run now."

Aerrow's smirk only seemed to widen, a gesture that made Kaelie think she really wouldn't like what he was planning. "Yeah, that's where you'd be wrong." With those words, he hooked his arms around Kaelie, stepped back...

And sent them plummeting off the cliff.

Any thoughts of how crazy this guy was and how horrible her luck was disappeared immediately, replaced by pure, suffocating terror. The worst part was that she couldn't even scream. It was like the very first drop on a roller coaster, the one where you go down so fast that your heart gets lodged in your vocal cords and leaves unable to make a sound. Of course, this was ten times worse because there was no track, no cars, and you weren't absolutely positive you'd get out alive. All she could really do was hold onto the other teen for dear life, squeeze her eyes shut, and pray that it'd be over quickly.

The last thing she was expecting was for them to suddenly stop falling. All she felt was a sharp jerk, and suddenly they weren't freefalling to their deaths anymore. Curiosity overrode fear as she dared to open her eyes, one at a time, and look up. She was fairly certain the hang glider-like contraption hadn't been there before, but at the moment, she was far too relieved to care. Her gaze shifted from the artificial wings to Aerrow, who was looking at her with an eyebrow cocked and a lopsided grin on his face. "Wow, you'd think you've never done this before."

"Shut up!" she immediately snapped back, adrenaline still coursing through her system after the terror she'd just been victim to. "You could've warned me!"

"Well, it was kinda spur-of-the-moment." Kaelie glared at him, but kept holding on, not really caring if her nails digging into his skin were hurting him. Yes, he was holding onto her, and she had a pretty good feeling she could trust the Sky Knight not to drop her, but that didn't make her hate this situation any less. "Besides, we're safe now."

The girl scoffed. "Oh, this is what you call safe!" She'd have felt safer walking through a dark alley. In New York City. At night. While wearing the Hope Diamond and a very skimpy outfit.

"Will you relax? I've got everything under-" His assurance was cut off and effectively disproven when an energy blast shot past them, nearly grazing one of the glider wings. Both teens looked up, only to see the already overcast sky further blotted by the flying machines she'd seen earlier. There had to be like fifty of them! And the bolts of red lightning didn't make them look any less intimidating.

"You were saying?" Aerrow seemed to ignore the comment, quickly twisting his body to maneuver them out of the way of another blast. The girl in his arms could help but yell out, holding onto him even tighter. "Now what, genius? We're sitting ducks out here!"

"Give me a second!" It didn't take a detective to point out the slight tinge of worry in his voice. The fact that her "hero" was panicking too didn't reassure her at all. When the Sky Knight's gaze shifted downward, though, she could visible see his eyes light up. "Looks like the cavalry's here."

"Wait, what?"

"Hold on!"

"Don't you dare-!"

Her warning wasn't heeded, however, as the redhead's glider wings retracted to whatever hidden compartment they'd come from, leaving them to the mercy of gravity once more. This time, though, the fall was much shorter. Plus, they actually hit something. Kaelie's knees buckled as her feet came in contact with something metal and none too stable judging by the way it shifted ever so slightly when they landed, forcing her to lean against the Aerrow for support. Opening her eyes, not entirely sure when she'd closed them again, the last place she expected to find herself was on the wing of one of the flying motorbikes. This one was obviously not the same the ones chasing them though; different structure, different paintjob, different insignia.

And she was pretty sure the bad guys' rides didn't have blue monkey-rabbits driving them.

The girl didn't take a huge amount of time to consider this oddity, opting instead to scramble into the seat behind Aerrow before she lost her balance and plummeted to her death. The creature hopped into the sidecar, leaving the Sky Knight to take the wheel. Handlebars. Whatever. "Nice catch, Radarr!" he called back over his shoulder, presumably to the animal that apparently wasn't a hallucination. Seeming to understand what the other teen was saying, the monkey-rabbit gave him a thumbs-up, chirping with enthusiasm. Kaelie just stared at it for a moment before turning forward, wondering why this didn't surprise her more than it did. Maybe she'd just accepted the fact that she was going insane.

"Okay. Once again, a little warning would've been terrific." Honestly, though, it was reassuring to know that they were on a relatively more even playing field with the guys chasing them. Although the bad guys clearly had an advantage at this point, since the odds were still about twenty to one. It took all of her self control to keep the yell from escaping her throat as the vehicle jerked suddenly, rolling out of the line of fire. "So, where's this cavalry you mentioned?" No sooner had the question left her lips than three more similar machines appeared from the very direction they were headed in. Well... two of them were similar. The third looked like the cross between a helicopter and a moped.

While the girl stared at the three machines, Aerrow just smiled, obviously knowing something she didn't. "That would be them."


Here they come to save the daaaaaayy! (Cue awesome Storm Hawks theme music)

Once again, any advice for writing a fight scene. I might need it.

Reviews are love. Flames will be acknowledged. Favorites and alerts will be worshipped.

Laterz!