A Blast of Dragon Numbness

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 She let out a familiar shrill, blood curdling shriek. Even with the heavy wood door and their ears blocking it, Kai could still feel his bones rattle. He heard ringing after he had pulled his fingers out.

He leapt up the stairs in two bounds, Tyson on his tail. He pushed open the door right as Ayah pulled, and he came within inches of her face. Without a word, she turned and started across a deck that looked to be only a fraction of the size of the freight they had come off. Two metal sailing masts rose from the center, though they were small for sails, and the cabin at the other end rose two stories above deck level.

A dozen or so bodies hunched over, variating between rain coats and some dark uniform not unlike the two men who had trapped them. Several held weapons looking far too much like shotguns for comfort.

Just as they sprinted past the second mast, a smack of gunshot split the air. Something hard whizzed past his shoulder. Before his next step had landed, Kai had a hold of the back of Ayah's shirt. The next, they were both behind a large, wooden crate, which Tyson slid behind a moment later, when two more gunshots cracked.

Tyson let out a snarled explicit.

"Move," Kai growled, all but throwing Kai besides Ayah in order to get to the edge of the crate, which he cautiously leaned out from. He jerked back as a small explosion sprayed wood chips towards his face. A thin, metallic dart stuck into the underside of the guardrail of the ship, feather quivering.

"Well, at least they're not trying to kill us," said Tyson.

"We don't know that yet," said Kai harshly, pulling his bey launcher up. He only had a fraction of a second to take aim before tearing the silver beyblade loose. Then he jerked back and concentrated. His efforts were rewarded by a scream of pain and the thump of a body hitting deck. Just one body.

Kai cursed and his beyblade zipped back behind the crate, along with much nearer sounding gunshots. Another silver dart appeared in the railing. If he stood up to breathe fire, they'd hit him. If Ayah tried anything, it would affect Tyson and Kai too.

Perhaps, if they were just intent on throwing darts...there was no telling how they'd escape even once they had a boat. They could be shot then. Perhaps they should wait until land?

"Just the girl," shouted a voice, as though in answer to Kai's thoughts.

"But, the fire—"

"We only need sound! Kill the boys!"

"Well, there goes that thought," said Tyson, the visibly paling.

Kai didn't waste time responding. He leaned out, spied the closing targets, and let loose. A dart dug itself into his shoulder just as he jerked back, hissing. In a flash Ayah was on him, tearing it out.

"Oh no you don't," Tyson muttered, leaning out as well and letting Dragoon loose. Wood shrapnel showered overhead.

"No!" Kai tore him back, just as three new holes appeared in the siding besides them. He could see the ocean's waves through them.

Tyson had his eyes clenched shut, probably micmicking Kai. "Go, Dragoon! Save us!"

Kai swore again. It had taken him months to perfect blind blading, and that had been with Dranzer to help. But just as he thought to lean out again, despite the growing numbness spreading from his shoulder, he heard another man give a pained shout.

"Screw this," Tyson suddenly spat, and rolled to his feet.

Kai nearly choked. For a frozen moment in time, he looked up at Tyson, his black hair and features highlighted in white-blue from the ship's deck lights. A dark, starless sky stared down on him.

And then Kai was up, throwing himself before Tyson just as several guns fired. Three mirroring punches of pain nailed into Kai's chest and side, just as he brought his own beyblade around and Tyson let out a roar. Brilliant blue flooded the deck, bleeding through the artificial white spotlights. Several let out shouts of alarm.

The silver Dranzer zipped out at half strength, and Kai landed in a half curl on his side. His arm hit the silver darts out from his rib cage, but he could already feel that lung seizing up and numbess prickling up to his neck.

Ayah opened her mouth, and he expected her to call his name, but instead a stranger sound came out, like a violin's strings warbling on the brink of snapping. She tugged the last dart from his chest and pulled him closer, arms wrapping tight about his head.

The dark sky above grew bluer. Dragoon's familiar roar filled the brine-heavy air. Thuds echoed through Kai's skull, sounding ever more distant. Everything was spinning, blackening, vanishing. He was vanishing.

Tyson let out one last roar cry before an irresistible darkness swallowed Kai whole.

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