“What a pain,” Alexa said.
“It’s not that bad,” Yuni said. “I bet it’ll be fun.”
“Guarding a helpless girl against an army isn’t my idea of fun,” Alexa said.
“Don’t worry,” Yuni said. “We’ll sneakily grab one of the armoured guys. She’ll take her readings and we’ll go home.”
“You should be the most worried,” Katelyn said.
“Why?” Yuni asked.
“Zhao likes strong women and Alena likes girls with twin-tails,” Katelyn rustled Yuni’s hair “and this mission is going to have them working very closely together.”
“But Zhao has Jenny and Alena has me,” Yuni said.
“Emotions do tend to run high on the battlefield,” Katelyn said. “If the two of them were to end up separated from the rest of us…”
“Stop teasing her,” Sirvanna said.
“Spoilsport,” Katelyn muttered.
“Don’t worry,” Sirvanna said. “It’s not your hair style that Alena likes and it’s not Jenny’s strength that Zhao likes. It’s much more complicated than that.”
“I… I know,” Yuni said. She pressed two of her fingers together. “I was getting just a little worried though.”
The four met up with Alena at Zhao’s lab. Yuni hurried over and took Alena’s hand, carefully linking their arms in the process. Alena glanced at her quizzically. Yuni just gave her a big smile which elicited a faint smile from Alena.
“Good,” Zhao said. “All of Zhao’s escorts are here. They can take Zhao to study the enemy tech.”
“Does she think this is a field trip?” Katelyn asked, noting the backpack Zhao was wearing.
“Just be careful,” Alexa said. “We don’t need you getting in the line of fire.”
“Don’t worry about Zhao,” Zhao said, thumping her chest with her tiny fist. “Zhao has packed equipment for any contingency.” She knelt down to pick up a dufflebag roughly half as big as her. She struggled for a moment, attempting to lift it before giving up and wiping her brow. She looked around. “Alena, carry Zhao’s bag.”
Alena walked over to the bag and tried lifting it. She managed to get it a few centimetres off of the ground before having to drop it.
“Alexa,” Alena said “get all the lights from here to the hangar turned off.”
“Got it,” Alexa said, flying away.
With the lights out Alena was able to easily lift Zhao’s bag and carry it to the transport. The six sat in the back of the craft. Zhao reached into her backpack and pulled out a package of pocky.
“She seriously brought snacks,” Alexa muttered.
“Can I have some?” Yuni asked. Zhao tossed her a couple sticks. Yuni put the tip of one in her mouth. “Hey, Alena. Let’s play the pocky game!”
“Not right now,” Alena said. “We need a plan.”
“Maybe a round robin pocky game,” Katelyn said. “We could draw numbers for the rounds.”
“Zhao has a pen and paper,” Zhao offered.
“Not for that,” Alena said. “For the battlefield.”
“Well, that’s no fun,” Katelyn said.
“The best we can do is keep back and let the regular army do the bulk of the fighting,” Sirvanna said.
“Agreed,” Alena said. “Katelyn and Alexa can go out and capture one armoured soldier. Yuni, Sirvanna and I will guard Zhao in the meantime. It would be a disaster if a contingent broke through and she was unprotected.”
“If that happened then Zhao would beat them up!” Zhao declared. “Zhao is stronger than she looks.”
“Why us?” Alexa asked.
“Because Yuni’s still somewhat drained from the last battle and there’s no telling how much light we’ll encounter,” Alena said. If Sirvanna noticed that she wasn’t mentioned, she gave no indication. She just sat in her seat, staring into space.
“Fair enough,” Alexa said.
“You and me, it’s a date,” Katelyn said.
“You wish,” Alexa said.
“Will they be okay by themselves?” Yuni whispered.
Alena nodded and gently squeezed Yuni’s hand.