I remembered the sparring match, and turned to watch. Diana had just dodged a punch from Zeta. She rolled out of the way, and kicked him in the back of the knee. His knees buckled, but he rolled with the fall, and grabbed Diana’s foot. He pulled her down, and she fell flat on her face. She quickly spun onto her back, and jumped up. She feinted a kick, and as Zeta fell for it, she punched him in the jaw. He fell backwards, right on his ass, still reeling from the punch. He regained his bearings, and kicked her legs out from under her. She landed on her back, and instantly leapt up using only her feet. He was still on the ground, so she tried to kick him, but when she wound up for the kick, he grabbed her foot and threw her across the room. She hit the wall. Hard.
I vaguely remember hearing Exile say, “Oh shit,” behind me. Everyone froze. She staggered to her feet, but it was clear she was going to collapse. Zeta rushed over to help her, but she waved him off. He was apologizing profusely.
“I’m so sorry! Are you ok?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. Honest.”
“Are you sure? I feel so bad are you ok?”
“Yes! I’m fine! No hard feelings.” She moved to give him a hug. He didn’t know what to do, so he just hugged her back. “See?” she said, “No hard feelings.”
Before anyone could move, I was on my feet, bow drawn. I shot an arrow into Zeta’s arm. He shoved away from Diana, and pulled it out. I drew another arrow from my quiver, and got ready to shoot him again, but Exile saw what I was doing, and before I could take another step a seven-foot wall of fire shot up in front of me. I tried to go around it, but she changed it into a circle, surrounding me. Through the flames I could see Exile pull Diana up off the ground. Zeta grimaced, and pulled the arrow out of his arm, inspecting the wound closely, then shrugging. I couldn’t hear what was happening.
Exile started yelling at me, but I couldn’t hear her over the flames. She must have been mad, because the flames around me pressed higher. Zeta, on the other hand, was furious. He started running at me, fire burning from behind his goggles. Exile saw his charge, and suddenly disappeared, reappearing closer to me. She threw out an arm, clotheslining Zeta. He fell to the ground, clutching his nose. That made him angry, but it sure as hell made me feel better. What made me feel even better was that Exile’s attention slipped, and the flames went down enough for me to jump over and join the fight.
Before Zeta could hit her back, she blasted him in the face with a fireball. She yelled to Everest, and he grabbed Zeta from behind. Luna started yelling at Exile, who turned around, and set a circle of fire around my sister, too. Zeta bent down, then jumped up to the ceiling and flipped, leaving Everest to fall to the ground. He slammed down, landing on top of him hard enough to drive the density-changer’s body another foot into the ground. I, just reaching the fight, drove one of my arrows into his wounded arm, narrowly avoiding his riposte. He started swinging wildly at me, acting as if he hadn’t just gotten stabbed. I grabbed one of his fists, trying to initiate a grab, but the bastard was sandbagging. He twisted out of my grip and grabbed my arm, flipping me over his back and into the wall. To add insult to injury, he surrounded me in another wall of fire.
Zeta hit Exile in the back with a fireball, which set her shirt on fire. She waved her hand and put it out. She turned around and yelled, “ENOUGH,” loud enough for even me to hear. Everyone stopped. Well, I was trapped in fire, and Everest was almost unconscious on the floor, so really just Zeta and Luna. The flames lowered just the smallest amount.
“Leave. I’m going to try to fix this, but right now, you need to go.”
“But–” Zeta started to say, but Exile cut him off.
“Go.” She pointed to the door. He stalked out of the room, anger rolling off him in waves. My sister glanced back at me, then ran after him. Exile waved her hand, and the fires surrounding me went out. She stumbled over to the bleachers, clearly drained from the fight. I ran past her to find Zeta.
I caught up to him just as he was reaching our bunk.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” I asked as I shoved him, and he stumbled a few steps. He spun around, and shoved me back.
“What, mad your sister is an actual person?”
“Fuck you!” I pulled my sword out of its sheath.
“No!” Diana came running out of the girl’s bunk. She stood between us, and put a hand on each of our chests, separating us. “Stop!”
“Why? Your super, special big brother wants to fight me. Let him.”
“Move out of the way, Diana. Now.” She wouldn’t budge.
Suddenly, Rune appeared. “The two of you. Come. Now.” We followed him into the main building, and he sat us down at a table. He was seething with anger. He turned to Zeta.
“Zeta, watch yourself. You’re supposed to be the bad boy of the team, but nearly killing your own subordinates is shit that not even Hacksaw does.” He pouted.
“I wasn’t trying to kill them. I only used two powers.” Rune just looked at him.
“You should probably go. Make sure Exile is okay.” He shrugged, and walked out of the room.
Once Zeta was gone, he turned to me. “You’re supposed to be the voice of reason. You’ve been on a team before. You of all people should know what happens when teammates fight. It gets people killed. You of all people should know,” he said again, with greater emphasis. I refused to look him in the eye. “Hey. I know you want to protect your sister, but you can’t. She’s not a little kid anymore.” I still refused to look at him. He sighed, shook his head, and with that, he disappeared.
I sat there, still brooding, when I heard the door open. A shadowy figure slipped in. It was Crane, using his stealth powers.
“Where were you during all of this?” I asked, not moving my head. He sat down in front of me.
“Watching,” he hissed, “As I always am.” I looked up at him in surprise. His mask was on, and his eyes glittered like obsidian.