Novella splashed water in her face, washing the ash and sweat of her face. She proceeded to wash the rest of her body in this fashion, before walking back into the forge. The bowl of water that the pan she’d just made lay in wasn’t steaming anymore. She quickly pulled it out of the water, and studied how the metal had been tempered. If she’d done it right, the metal would be able to stay solid in high temperatures. She examined her handiwork. It seemed that the steel had cooled how she’d wanted it to. Now, to complete it, next time they went down to the village at the bottom of the volcano, they would have to get some rubber to wrap around the handle, so that they didn’t burn themselves when they used it.
Footsteps came from her right. She knew who it was. Don walked up beside her and studied her handwork. He nodded gruffly, then turned and left. It didn’t bother Nova. He rarely said anything.
She left the forge, and was joined by Guy, the Infernape that had always watched over her since she’d be born. Don had given him the task of looking after her, and even though almost 14 years had passed since he’d been given that order, he’d never forgotten it.
“Lady…” He murmured respectfully. “Are you heading up to see the Numel’s today?”
Nova drew herself up regally. “Yes, we have decided that it would please us greatly to visit them after our work. We hope that they will be as pleased as we are to see them.”
Guy nodded, and strode a step behind her, but it was Nova who led, heading up the track she knew so well to a flat part on the side of the volcano. That was where the herd of Numel’s and Camrupts normally grazed upon the tough grass that grew on the side of mountain. But as soon as she passed the two dead trees that hid the clearing from her sight, she froze. The herd lay on the ground, dead. Amongst them walked people in black suits, all walking with a strange deadly air to them. Rage flooded her, and before Guy to grab her to ensure her safety, she stepped out to where she would be visible.
“We demand that you tell us why it is that you have seen it fit to kill our friends!” She cried out, pointing one finger accusingly at them. “We do not feel the need to shelter those who commit such crimes!”
The people looked up, in shock at first, but then distain. A woman, with bright red hair, sneered. “Girl, you would be wise to not interfere with our business. If you actually had the common sense to remain hidden, maybe we would not have seen you and you would be able to return home. But, since you have kindly made your presence known, we shall have to take you with us. We cannot have the authorities having any idea of our plans.” She raised the gun she held in her hand, as did her companions.
Nova reacted without thinking. Her rage fuelled her as she accessed something she held deep inside her, which she normally only used when she was forging an object. Fire burst into life, igniting the grass and forming a ring of fire around the people and the murdered herd. Behind her, Nova heard Guy exclaim in shock. She didn’t take any notice, concentrating on the flames. They quickly spread, capturing the humans and the bodies of the Numel’s within its inferno. The humans screamed, and choked, then fell silent as they ran out of oxygen, and the flames consumed them. Both Nova and Guy bowed their heads, not at the humans but at the slain Numels. It was custom for fire types to be returned to their element once they had died, and so this was their funeral.
“Rest in peace our friends…” Nova murmured. “And let your souls find and send the ones who killed you to hell. We do not believe that murderers deserve mercy.”
With that, she turned around to head back to her home, leaving the fire to burn as a sign to others of what had happened.
Don stood before her, his eyes filled with conflict. “Will you not stay?” He pleaded to her.
Nova shook her head. “We cannot let this go unpunished. Even though those who did the act are dead, those who came up with it are still alive. We are sure of it. We feel the need to help our brethren in our bones. And besides… Even if the herd hadn’t been killed… We have been wanting to leave for a while now. We do not wish to cause you pain, but it is the truth… we want to see if there is anyone else out there like us, able to do what we can do. It calls to us.” She shifted, aware of his eyes drilling a hole in her head.
Don was silent for a long time. Then, “When do you leave?”
There was a shocked silence. Nova had never expected him to accept her leaving.
“I’ve been expecting this for a long time, and I knew it ever since I first saw you that you weren’t human. And, if I recall correctly, several days after, I went down to the village and they were talking about similar natural events occurring. Others like you must exist. You need to go out and find them.” He looked slightly self conscious about having said so much. Nova was slightly amused. This was the most she’d ever heard him say.
He spun away, and gathered her black cloak and a small bag which clinked together. “Take these. I don’t want you to stave, and you look so much different from other humans that I’m sure that some out there will want to take advantage of you.”
Nova accepted them without speaking; she didn’t trust herself to. She loved Don, and leaving him filled her with agony, but she had to. The world called to her. Don seemed to see the pain in her eyes, for he just nodded his head to her, saying ‘goodbye’ before disappearing out the door.
She and Guy stood there in silence for a moment, then Nova walked to her bed and picked up the two sets of spare clothes she had, along with a Fire Stone Don had given her for her 14th birthday. The flames within the stone flared as she touched it. Guy shifted uneasily.
“Lady… I cannot leave Don. He is my trainer and I owe my loyalty to him, and him alone. But… I have cared for you too long to just be able to leave you without any protection. So, when you reach the village could you go to the West Park? There’s a friend of mine there, and I’m sure he would be happy to help you out; He loves to go exploring, and he has sworn no allegiance to any human, so he is free to do as he wishes. His name is Gold.”
“We hear and accept your request. Fare thee well.”
“And to you too, Fire Empress.”
With that, Nova spun around and put on her cloak, heading down to the village, known to others as the Survival Area.