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The Mortal Mantis (OLD)

By @Nay

The Mortal Mantis

Bao wasn’t a wupa, well, not a propper wupa. But she was about to become one. Cowering in the darkness, she peered out the barred window of her cell, into a dingy hallway. On the other side, two guards stood beside a cell, a boy about her age lay cowering on the floor. Failing at her task, Bao honed in on their conversation.

“This guy’s the Mortal Mantis. You didn’t hear then?” One said, banging on the metal door. “I can’t believe this guy’s here, in our prison. The warden must be so proud.”

“I didn’t hear, actually. But now we’ve got him, he’s going to pay for what he did to me.” The guard smoothed the scar etched into his arm.

“You don’t have much time, they could be executing him very soon. Like that rice farmer in the opposite cell.”

“Why’s she in here anyway?”

“She’s a wupa, like him, apparently. Hasn’t used her powers yet though.”

“So she knows the facility rules then.”

Yes, and I can’t wait to break them.

Deepening her breath, she tried to remember everything her brother had taught her, before… she didn’t want to dwell on it. Going back to all those memories of practicing with her twin, she stretched.

Bao! You can’t go around fighting with that stance, you’ll topple over like a pile of cards. Widen your stance and…

A great dragon burst through the wall. That was easy. It lunged at the guards, silver pelt gleaming, it roared, and, from its mouth, great metal shards erupted out, lunging at the guards. They ducked, and twirled off. Bao burst through the door and leapt onto the dragon. Then she looked closer. 

It wasn’t hers. 

It slammed into the opposite wall, bursting through the cell. The man inside too lept onto the serpentine spirit as it darted into the clouds.

“Sorry for coming along on your dragon. I, I thought it was mine!”

The boy, the Mortal Mantis looked her in the eyes. He smiled, and beneath the scar, Bao thought she recognised that face, and those enchanting eyes.

But, he’s dead…

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