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Sera was incredibly pleased with the progress made towards a healthy peace between the Eliksni and Humanity. It was slow going for sure. A little over a year now with only a few minor bumps on the road. But that wasn’t the only thing she was pleased with. In the end it was the dedication she and her mate had to the cause that got the ball this far up the hill so to speak.

Mate. So many meanings. Some people still used it to refer to a good friend in the city but that was not at all the same meaning it held for the two of them. She couldn’t say she would have been happier with anyone else, that was for sure. It was a fated thing she felt.
Now, there were plans to move a group of the House into a sector of particularly welcoming guardians. The original plan had been for them to live in the city but the people had been hesitant. After seeing Sera’s continued optimism though and that there was true intent for peace, Orion was one of the first to offer that the group stay with the guardians, even offering Sera’s room which she happily agreed to. When Auryon concurred this, and the vanguard gave their opinions to the same, other guardians were willing to give it a try. Based mostly on the fact that Orion would never put his children in harms way, the others were very trusting of this arrangement. Thus the plan came to be.

It was just a few for now. Some mothers and pups, a few soldiers so they would feel more secure. They would have complete free reign of the tower as well now. This was a groundbreaking step towards a future for everyone.

Gilbert had himself some reservations about some aspects of the plan however, and as usual he let his guardian know about it with flare.

“All I’m saying is that we need to take more security with us.”

“Gil, I’m not talking about this again.” Sera was attempting to make the bed while being buzzed around by the little machine. “We take down Gods for a living. I think we can handle a simple escort.”

“It isn’t just an escort Sera and you know it. Someone will try something, I just know it.” Had he arms he would have thrown them up.

“Nothing has been picked up on any chatter. Sure, some angry chatter, but if it was silent I would be worried. People are going to be mad about this even if it ends up working. And so unto them I say, ‘get the fuck over it.’” Sera huffed.

“That’s you thinking emotionally and not rationally.” Gilbert accused her.

“Of course I’m emotional about this Gil! There are few who want this to work out more than me! I'm sick of visiting home and people asking me how I’m treated with a group of space pirates. I want…” She sighed and sat on the edge of the bed, rubbing her eyes. If Gilbert hadn’t seen them wet she would likely deny crying about it. “I want people to see that real change is happening. That we have allies and it doesn’t have to be us against the universe. Mostly though I just want them to not look at my husband and think of him like a monster. Because he’s not.”

“Bad blood dies hard Sera, you know that.” Gilbert reminded her gently.

“I’ll fight whoever I have to.”

The door opened and neither of them looked. They knew who it was.

“You are getting emotional about it again.” Typhoriks teased his wife with a deep chuckle, settling in next to her and pulling her onto his lap.

“I can’t help it. I think the old saying is something like ‘People suck.’” Sera pouted, turning into him.

“Not all of them.” He said. “You don’t.”

“Not unless asked.” Sera had a laugh at her lewd joke.

“However I am inclined to agree with Gilbert. You should take more security.”

Ah, somehow she knew they would agree. “Again, I’ve killed Gods. Well, participated. It will be fine.”

“There is no talking her down. I knew she was going to be a stubborn one from the moment we met.” Gilbert shook.

Sera reached up and snatched him from the air and kissed his shell.

“You chose me, not the other way around.”

“Well, even with our differences, I’m still glad it was you.” If Gilbert could blush, he would have.

She let him go and he flew off somewhere to rest.

“Are you two friends again now?” Typhoriks crossed his primary arms.

“Yes. And don’t you go getting any ideas of grandeur either mister. I am perfectly capable of an escort by myself.” Sera poked him right in the chest.

“Then I think I would like to escort you to bed this evening instead.”

She laughed at that and nodded. “Ooh, please do.”

 

It sort of felt like morning came to fast. Somehow it had been a routine that she’d end up wrapped up inside the blankets alone and held between both sets of her lovers arms. But the light was too early. It was the big day and suddenly she didn’t want to leave for some reason. Something gnawing at her subconscious. Maybe it was just Gilbert’s panic from the past week.

“You’re very bad at pretending to sleep.” Typhoriks prodded her side, making her jolt.

“Mmmmnnnn. Just a little longer. I suddenly want to just stay here all day.” Sera grumbled and rolled more into him.

He had not known her to be an early riser as of yet. At this point he was sure it was an impossible idea for the Warlock. But duty did call.

“You were ready to it all day yesterday. Why do you suddenly wish to stay so adamantly?” He asked, tucking some hair behind her ear.

“I don’t know. I just...” Sera pursed her lips and thought about it a moment. “Mmm. Maybe I’ll just miss you.”

“It won’t be long, like you keep saying.” He bumped his forehead with hers. “But I will miss you too.”

She smiled at that. Of course, he didn’t have to say it. She knew he would miss her. They were practically an invincible, inseparable force at this point. However this had been asked of her alone. It wasn’t strange, there were still things they did themselves to further the cause.

“Sera you’re going to be late.” Gilbert reminded her.

Sera grumbled about it being too early before working to unravel herself from her blanket. Gilbert kindly just transmitted the robes she would need to her and she yanked them on, falling over once in the process. They felt heavier than normal. Had it been so long since she had worn them that she had forgotten the weight?

“Is something wrong?” Gilbert asked.

Sera was startled from her thoughts. “No! No, I was just—“ she was flustered trying to quickly come up with a response. “T-the color! I haven’t worn this shade in a while is all.”

They both knew she was lying but neither ghost or eliskni called her on it. Sera was grateful for it. It wasn’t something she wanted to broach just then.

Dressed finally and with her weapons in their holsters, she stopped and stood in a heroic pose for a moment. It was her confidence booster, a little good luck ritual. So far, nothing bad had happened after performing it.

“Okay. I’m going to go make sure everyone’s got their things in order, and then I’ll see you both before we head out.” She smiled at her two favorite people and wandered out the door.

Gilbert turned half tilted to Typhoriks when she left. “Your heart rate is telling me you’re worried. Why didn’t you tell her?”

“I’ve never tried to stop her from doing something before but I’m sure I would not be successful.” He shrugged. “Besides that it is not my place to question orders given directly to her from my Kell.”

“True, but she could politely request that someone else do it.” Gilbert grumped. “Well...no. I guess she couldn’t.”

“Now you understand.” Typhoriks was holding his solar luck charm in one hand, not yet having gotten up from bed. “It will be fine.”

“I hope you’re both right.” Gilbert sighed and went after his guardian.

 

Sera was standing by while the skiff was being loaded with items her companions wanted and needed in their new homes. A pup had come over to her and started clinging to her like she was a little lost. Sera picked her up and tickled her little tummy and made her chirp with laughter.

“Where is your mommy, hmm? Or your daddy? Someone who generally looks after you. What am I doing, asking what is essentially a baby these questions in the first place?” Sera sighed, rolling her eyes at herself.

Even if she wasn’t essentially a toddler only a few higher ranking people spoke her language and she spoke no eliksni whatsoever. Well, that wasn’t totally true. She could string some small words together but Typhoriks was always telling her in jest that her accent was horrible. It didn’t dampen her efforts but it was likely true.

“Her name is Ezren.”

Speaking of him, there he was. When she looked over he had this strangely soft look to his gaze. Sera raised a brow at him.

“What’s with that doe eyed look?” She asked, tickling the pup again just to hear her laughter.

“Nothing. I was just thinking that you look good holding a pup.” Typhoriks shook his head.

“I’m afraid it’s all her. She’s the star here.” Sera kissed Ezren’s head and gave her to the approaching caretaker. She was smiling, somehow hiding the tinge of pink in her cheeks.

It was a topic they’d spoke of before, as most couples would. Gilbert had brought up her minor problem then. It was the first time she had learned about it and it was particularly upsetting to the Warlock because more than anything she wanted a little clan of children. Knowing it would be especially difficult but not impossible left her with hope on the matter but it was easy to stay distracted with all that was happening.

“The ship is ready.” Gilbert settled on her head.

“Ah, good.” She turned back to Typhoriks and floated up to give him a smooch. “I love you. I’ll be home soon.”

He smiled. “I love you. Be safe.”

“Don’t you worry, I’ve got this.” Sera struck her heroic pose again before running off into the skiff.

Both of them were thinking about the same thing as they watched her jog off.

“You should have told her.” Gilbert said.

“I know. You should have too.” Typhoriks frowned a little, crossing his primary arms.

“I may yet have the time.” Gilbert rolled and went after his guardian.

 

The trip had been a quiet one so far. Sera sang songs to keep the pups entertained. They didn’t know what she was saying but they seemed to enjoy the sound of her voice all the same. Gilbert could now translate between her and whoever she needed to talk to thankfully, so that made it easier when someone would ask her how much longer.

“Well, you see that mountain range up ahead? It’s passed there and we’re home free.” Sera responded, Gilbert relaying the message again after.

They were all visibly relieved to hear it. Moving was stressful enough, let alone to an unknown place with unfamiliar and potential hostile people. Whatever she could do to ease them Sera would in a heartbeat.

A little tired still the Warlock found her seat and leaned her head against the wall. Gilbert settled on her shoulder.

“So, Sera,” He started.

“Oh no. It’s never good news when you start that way.” She chuckled, not opening her eyes.

“I, Well, it might be.” Gilbert didn’t know what words to use for once.

“Ooh exciting.” Sera grinned.

Before he could respond the entire skiff lurched, tossing her from her seat to the floor.

“The hell was that?” Sera asked.

“I don’t know. Something bad.” Gilbert said.

Sera scrambled to her feet and made way for the cockpit only to find the worst possible thing. Their pilot was dead in his chair and they were going down fast.

“For the love of shit!” Sera yelled, unceremoniously moving the body so she could attempt to stop their downward spiral.

It was a no go. The sensors were indicating a loss of an entire engine so the only hope was to try and brace everyone for a bumpy landing. She tried to discern what had happened. The window was very smell to see out of, and from the looks of it the pilot had been shot in the head. That was a one in a million shot fired from the ground and someone had taken it.

“Ooohhhh no.” Gilbert was beside her, assessing the damage.

“We have an engine out and we’re going down hard. Tell everyone to strap in because it’s about to get bumpy. Then get Orion and Ryo out here to our coordinates with the calvary because someone tried something.” Sera spoke quickly but Gilbert was used to that. “Don’t you dare say it.” She added.

“I wouldn’t!” Gilbert shook, going out the door. He returned a moment later. “I told you so!” Before leaving again. She was to busy to throw something at him but boy did she want to.

Sera used all her strength to pull the steering mechanism where she needed it to go so their landing would be a little softer. It was still going to be disastrous. The last thing she remembered before impact was just closing her eyes and letting go. She had died many times before at this point. Once more wouldn’t be an issue. She did worry about her passengers however. They weren’t so lucky. So she took a moment before the crash to pray.

 

Everything. Hurt. That’s how she knew this wasn’t revival. There was a warm comfortableness when Gilbert brought her back. No matter. He could heal her up just as easy. Sera opened her eyes. Good, she could still see. Her helmet was busted though. She managed to sit up so she still had movement even though it hurt like hell. She removed her helmet finally and it felt more like she could breathe again.

Okay. Now to stand. Sera realized quickly that she had a massive shard of shrapnel in her leg. Because of course. She yanked it out with a solid scream. It didn’t spurt blood so she just ripped her robes even more for a tourniquet just to be safe. Her light was connected, but it felt weak. She could conjure a ball of fire into her hand but not a healing rift. Which was a shame since she needed the rift more at the moment. Something had happened to Gilbert.

Sera got herself to her feet, the natural adrenaline kicking in finally. It was a mess. The skiff was in several pieces and already she saw the first casualties. Making her way through the wreckage wasn’t showing any signs of life. But help would be there soon, she was sure of it.

Whimpering. Crying. Life. Sera made way into a bit of the ship and found three survivors; a soldier, the caretaker, and Ezren. Ezren was the first to come up to her, outstretching her arms and hugging onto Sera. It was no use trying to speak to them, they wouldn’t understand without Gilbert.

Sera gestured for them to follow her. It was a moment but the soldier was the first to follow. A dreg, who urged the caretaker to come along. None of them looked too injured thankfully, all limbs attached and that they were walking boded well.

Help did not come soon enough though. A sniper shot rang out. Sera recognized it because somewhere in this rubble was her own. The only weapon she currently had on her was the dagger Typhoriks had given her the day they met. And only then because it was strapped to her waist. But the shot hit true, taking out their only other armed escort. The other two panicked naturally. Sera grabbed them both by the arm and yanked them behind a large bit of the ship.

Damn it. How could she have forgotten about the sniper? A lot had happened since learning of them but still it was reckless. Where the hell was her ghost? Sera signed for them to stay put. The caretaker picked up Ezren and did her best to comfort her. Sera hadn’t seen fear like that in someone’s eyes since...she shook her head.

She planned on sneaking through the rubble and getting behind whoever it was but fate had other plans. She moved to go around the shard they were behind and took the butt of a gun to the forehead. Had she been at Full it would have hardly dazed her but that was unfortunately not the case and she went down. Sera slashed at her attacker with her blade but honestly she was no Hunter. It was easy for them to subdue her with a kick to her injured leg.

Sera wasn’t even concerned for herself. She heard little Ezren screech when she was yanked away from her caretaker.

“Let...them go!” She demanded.

Sera was yanked up to her feet by two people. They were extremely strong to just pull her up like that in full armor themselves.

“Oh honey, that’s against the rules.” A woman’s voice said to her. She came out into view dressed in what looked to be city armor. And she wore a hunter cloak.

“You’re from the city?” Sera asked.

“No, I just wear this when I’m out and about so I don’t get shot on sight.” She chuckled, removing her own helmet.

She had short ebony locks and piercing hazel eyes. Sera recognized her from a wanted poster.

“Lorelei Oreton.”

“Fancy that! I didn’t even need to introduce myself!” She lit up excitedly. “At least you know who’s going to kill the bunch of you.”

“A renegade for hire.” Sera shook her head. “Who hired you? I gotta know so I can kill them myself.”

“Well I don’t see that happening love. Your ghost is missing but I’ll find it before I go and destroy it. You won’t be getting s revive.” Lorelei smiled pleasantly.

Her own ghost flew up to her as she finished speaking. “Sorry, I haven’t found it yet. I’ll look again before we have to go.”

“Shame, I was hoping she would get to see me crush it.” Lorelei sighed, gesturing for her men to bring the caretaker and the pup before Sera. “These two will do.”

“No!” Sera shook her head. “Did they pay you? I can double it.”

“Some things are more fun than money. I just disrupted a peace movement that not one, not two, but four entire parties oppose. Do you know how hot that makes me?” Lorelei had a gleam of absolute joy in her eyes.

The caretaker said something to them that they couldn’t possibly understand. Sera thought it a plea for hers, or maybe Ezren’s life. But it wasn’t that at all.

“What was that she said Cupcake?” Lorelei looked to her ghost.

“Interesting.” Cupcake spun. “She says you can’t kill Sera.”

“Uh, I’m about to. Why can’t I?”

“Hold on,” Cupcake went around Sera, scanning her. No one was more confused than the redhead. “Ahhhh. She’s got a monster baby. Surprised the wreck didn’t kill it. Resilient little bastards.”

It felt like she couldn’t breathe all of the sudden. Sound left her senses completely. She didn’t hardly recognize Lorelei in her space, pressing a hand gently to her lower abdomen. How had she not noticed? How long had it been? Sera didn’t have time to process this because Lorelei punched her so hard she vomited.

“Not anymore.” She smiled, turning on her heel and shooting the caretaker in the head.

Sera couldn’t yell if she tried. The men holding her dropped her and she landed hard on her injured leg. Ezren was crying at her level, shaken and terrified. Sera couldn’t even reach out and comfort her in her condition.

Lorelei dropped down to the pup’s level and spoke softly. Like a mother would to comfort her child.

“It’s okay sweetheart. Everything’s gonna be okay. I’m not going to hurt you.”

It was a long moment but Ezren calmed down a little and gave the woman a trusting nod. Which was a mistake. One of them men who had been holding Sera took a shot at the pup in her torso.

Sera did manage to scream then, unable to stop herself until Lorelei slapped her.

“Listen here.” The hunter spoke grumpily. “I have direct orders not to kill you. I’m only allowed to make you suffer. That makes this marginally less fun for me. For now at least. But you go back home to that nasty monster nest and tell them the next time they send a ship our way it’ll be even worse for them than this. Toodles!”

She smiled like she hadn’t done some heinous things and got up to leave. “Let’s go boys! No time to find the ghost so maybe we’ll get lucky next time.”

It all settled in some time after the band of outlaws left the scene of the crime. About the same time as the blocked pain set back in. Sera dragged herself the few feet to Ezren and shook her.

“Hey. Hey! Don’t you be dead. You can’t die on me.”

Sera pulled her onto her lap. Her eyes were half lidded, like she were falling asleep. One of her hands came up any touched Sera’s face and she blinked at the Warlock for the last time.

“No, no no! No! Don’t do that.” Sera was frantically trying to conjure a healing rift but nothing was happening. “Not like this. It’s all my fault. I’m so sorry. This was all my fault.”

It was to late. There was nothing that could be done. Deep down she knew that. Sera looked around at all her shambles hopes and the weight really crashed down on her. This was just like when she was wandering the wilderness alone and afraid when she came across the group that the Cabal had slaughtered. She hadn’t cried so hard since then. She didn’t even hear anyone approach while she was rocking the pup in her arms.

Her eyes were blinded by her tears but the arms that went around her were incredibly familiar. Not Ryo or Orion, but her husband. Did Gilbert not have time to send out a distress signal? She couldn’t wrap her mind around it. Someone tried to take Ezren from her and she held on tighter. In the end she had to be forcibly taken from the Warlock.

“It’s all my fault. I should have listened to you.” She managed to gasp finally.

“This is not your fault. This would have happened even if we had sent more security.”

Typhoriks had never seen her cry like this before. It was a wild, unhinged sort of cry. Unpredictable. He wasn’t entirely sure how to console her other than to hold her. He didn’t really want anyone to see her like this and he knew she would appreciate it later. She deserved that dignity if nothing else. But he also knew they couldn’t stay here. It was as he lifted her that he noticed that she was bleeding from both her leg and...no. No on top of this horrific event that couldn’t be happening as well.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t know.” Sera realized he had taken notice.

“Sera!” Auryon skidded to a stop beside them, closely followed by her brother. “Oh fuck.”

“Netty, patch up our Warlock. Boo and I will go find Gilbert and see if anyone else survived.” Orion wasted no time jogging off.

“It’s gonna be okay. Soon as Netty patches you up I’m going after who did this.” Auryon promised. “Got some volunteers.”

“Lorelei Oreton.” Sera said quietly. She was extra tired now from blood loss and trauma.

“Okay. I’ll get her.” Auryon nodded, looking up the distance to Typhoriks. “You got her?”

“Of course.” He was mildly offended that she would ask that but he did also understand. The twins would always be like Sera’s elder siblings and no matter who she chose they would always be like that.

“I thought so. Just making sure.” The hunter nodded.

While they were speaking Sera had fallen asleep. She was all patched up except for what couldn’t be. The event would be known for both peoples as a great tragedy. It would be a long time before anything like that would be attempted again.