She was completely visible.
“It’s hard for me to believe that an agent of the Order of Sunaru would fall for such basic tricks,” the commander gloated as he strutted forward. There was no glimmer of recognition on his face, which meant at least one thing was going right. Despite her abilities, Alessandra had still taken the precaution of disguising herself, so she looked nothing like she had the first time she’d broken into the manor. She had not wanted to risk the Storm Corps tracing her back to the Clan Mekoval if she’d been caught. “Perhaps our traps are better than I thought.”
Alessandra stayed silent. She didn’t know if the commander would recognize her voice, but she didn’t want to take the risk. She didn’t have any plans to stick around have a chat with this guy anyway. Tensing her muscles, she prepared to charge at the commander and his men, but as soon as she did so, he smiled and shook his head.
“You needn’t bother,” he said in a cocky voice. “This hallway is equipped with a magic-dampening field. Your powers are quite useless here.” A feeling of horror gripped Alessandra’s heart as he said this. She attempted to teleport away, something she hadn’t tried until now since she wasn’t sure she could carry the box with her, but nothing happened. It wasn’t even as if her powers had failed. It felt like she didn’t have any powers at all.
“Now, put the box on the floor, and then put your hands up, and back away slowly,” the commander said. Alessandra hesitated for a moment, and then she decided to comply. The jig was up now. If her powers really were neutralized, then she was definitely no match for ten inoval soldiers. Then again, she realized as she started to bend over and put the box on the ground, the commander was still acting as if she were a threat. Thinking quickly, she decided to gamble.
“And what will you do if I don’t?” Alessandra asked, making her voice huskier than usual in an attempt to disguise it.
“You are in no position to negotiate here,” the commander said with a sneer, but Alessandra could tell there was a hint of worry in his voice.
“Okay,” Alessandra said with a shrug, and then suddenly she raised the box over head and made like she was going to smash it into the ground.
“Wait!” the commander screamed, flinging out a hand as if to catch the box before it hit the ground. Alessandra froze, and then she slowly brought the box down again, a smile creeping across her lips.
“So, it seems we’re at an impasse,” Alessandra said.
“So it seems,” the commander said with a grimace.
“How shall we resolve this, then?” Alessandra asked.
“How about you put the box down, and then we’ll let you leave?” the commander said hopefully.
“I don’t think so,” Alessandra said, shaking her head. “Instead, I am going to take this box with me, and you and your men can follow me at a distance. Once I get outside, I will leave the box in the alley across from the manor’s front door, and you can retrieve it there.”
“That’s not going to work either,” the commander said, shaking his head in turn. “As soon as you leave this hallway, you’ll be able to use your powers again, and you’ll disappear with the box in tow. I’d rather kill you now and risk you destroying the box then let you leave here with it.”
“Guess I’ll just have to destroy it then,” Alessandra said with a shrug, and once again she raised the box over her head to smash it into the ground, but as she did so, several things happened at once.
The first thing that happened was that her powers returned. Even though she hadn’t noticed when she lost them, she definitely noticed when they returned. It was like a rush of energy swept into her body and she could suddenly do anything. The second thing that happened was two pairs of figures crashed into the inoval soldiers on either side of the hallway. And the third thing that happened was that someone crashed into Alessandra before she could react to what was going on, knocking her to the ground.
As she fell, the box flew out of her hands and went skidding across the floor. She immediately threw off the person who had tackled her, who turned out to be the Storm Corps commander. As soon as he hit the ground, he scampered across the hallway toward the box, wrenched it open, and put on a ring that was inside. As soon as he did so, he disappeared in a flash of purple and green light. Alessandra’s mouth dropped open, but before she could react further, she became aware of somebody standing over her. Immediately she scrambled to her feet and sized up the man standing in front of her.
The first thing she noticed was that he was the most handsome man she had ever laid eyes on. Alessandra wasn’t generally one to get twitterpated over a pretty face, but she had to admit that this man took her breath away. He had long, wavy brown hair, dark, brown eyes, and a face that looked like it had been carved by a master sculptor. He was tall and muscular, and was wearing the same black, sleeveless bodysuit trimmed with gold that she had seen Ilimay Ladron wear.
“Looks like we got here in the nick of time,” the man said with a winning smile, and Alessandra suddenly became aware of three other figures wearing black bodysuits. One was male, and the other two were female.
“More like too late, Shalor,” one of the women said with a grimace. She was short, with pale skin and long, straight blond hair. “I saw Commander Valgosz escape with the Receptor. This whole raid was a bust.”
“Not a complete bust, Mayla,” Shalor said with a shrug. “We managed to save this young woman from the attentions of the Storm Corps. I would say that was a deed worth doing.”
To be continued…