Set in Austin’s first year of Doomsday.
They were on a field trip when Cloverleaf was attacked.
Miss Ascha had, after four weeks at school, agreed to take the new class down to the city to see the shops. Austin was sticking close to Sianna and Sweetbriar, because Sianna stuck close to Sweetbriar and Sweetbriar knew the city already.
Everything was okay – the city was a lot bigger than the place Austin had grown up in, but it still had open space and green. No fields, of course – nobody planted crops in the middle of population centers – but it made the walls feel less like a trap.
They were at a clothes shop, Sianna picking out shirts and Sweetbriar rolling her eyes at Austin, when the alarm sounded. Miss Ascha grabbed them, holding Sweetbriar with one hand and Austin with the other – like they would run off, well, all right, they probably would – and steered all eight of them towards what she called a shelter.
“But Miss Ascha,” Austin squirmed in her grip. “That’s a dragon!”
She paused and looked to the sky. “No, that’s a wyvern. See how it only has two legs?”
“Who’s going to fight it?” He didn’t squirm again, because if he squirmed, she’d make them all go underground.
“Well, probably sa’Doomsday and sa’Inazuma and the city guard, with some of the other teachers.” She shrugged her shoulders the way she did when she was giving in. “All right, all of you stay very close, and we’ll go where we can watch it.”
The watchtower on the main street was only a floor taller than everything else, but it was plenty tall enough for them to watch the battle. Miss Ascha spoke a long long long line of Workings, encasing the whole class in some sort of clear bubble.
Austin leaned as far out as Miss Ascha’s grip on the back of his kimono would allow, watching the way Professor Inaauma and Professor Doomsday – and the rest of them, of course – attacked the wyvern. It was like something out of a story, all broad gestures and shouted words, long streaks of lightning and rumbles where the walls themselves seemed to attack the wyvern.
Austin’s nose was pressed to the bubble and, next to him, so was Sweetbriar’s, Miss Ascha’s hand firm on the back of their uniforms. The wyvern went down, and they cheered until their throats were raw.
“I’m gonna be a samurai,” he told Sweetbriar.
“Damn right you are. And I’m gonna be a Valkyrie.”
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