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RWBY Book 1: Senior Year
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RWBY Book 1: Senior Year
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#17
And we will Fly
Polydragons
Dec 6, 2015
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No Plagiarism!64sdpRS9E08GjpzKYR4sposted on PENANA

Blake grabbed her scroll before Yang had even left, and had sent her mail to all of her lieutenants a minute later. If Weiss was right it had wider ramifications than just what had happened to her teammates. A group of White Fang that violent and that powerful could end Phoenix before it had really started as the fear of faunus was rekindled.copyright protection66PENANAouSRF6ll0p

Next she called Velvet. "Are you able to come with me to town tonight?" It was time. Time for everything.copyright protection66PENANAC7t5kTWd2B

"Uh, sure. You don't want me to stay up here to act as backup?" She'd completely skipped the question on if Blake was up to going. The only thing holding her back was the doctors and Ozpin. Her determination would force her to keep moving forward.copyright protection66PENANAebiyARjyIn

She knew that Velvet couldn't hear her, but she shook her head anyways. "No. Tonight is special. Trust me, I need you there. I'll explain on the ride down."copyright protection66PENANA16SUXy0jT1

"When should I be there?"copyright protection66PENANAIw9cCu5zH8

Blake quickly calculated travel times, and then gave a half hour cushion. That was an excessive amount but better early than late, especially tonight. "Six should get us there on time and for me to explain what's going on to you." This wasn't going to be fair to Velvet, but it was necessary.copyright protection66PENANAaWjsuTkNs2

She waited impatiently to be released. The doc did one last unnecessary ex-ray then put her arm in a sling that pulled it close to her body immobilizing that entire side. She knew she'd be taking it off as soon as she was out of his sight, but better to just wait it out than argue. At 4:30 she was given license to go so long as she took it easy. She'd at least try to follow doctor's orders, but she doubted it.copyright protection66PENANAbt94o7Coqw

Her first stop upon escape was her room where she unbuckled the sling and threw it in a random direction. She'd been brought to the clinic in her normal clothes. Naturally that's what she left in. Those clothes were not going to work for tonight.copyright protection66PENANAp82ykE2qdK

Her arm was still stiff and sore which made getting undressed and redressed difficult, but she worked through it. The most interesting part of this routine was her hair. After four days stuck in a bed it was already a tangled mess, then she had to style it afterwards. Her shoulder refused to stay up for a prolonged time and it was definitely a two handed job. It was times like this she appreciated how easy it was to put on her silk shirt and that she had a clip-on instead of a noose. Reaching behind to tuck in the shirt was a new experience in pain but she'd worked through worse any number of times. The easiest part was her boots. It had an inside zipper that made it quick and easy.copyright protection66PENANAyoGSRbLbYd

She headed to the bus and was glad she had added a half hour. The delays getting ready had eaten that time up easily. Her arm was bothering her enough that she did contemplate the sling again, but decided against it. It wasn't that she thought Phoenix would turn against her if they saw weakness. It was because it might demoralize them and tonight she was going to rally them for a mission for the first time. Doubt in anyone is something they could not afford.copyright protection66PENANAeaHne5uRuU

Velvet was waiting for her in the bullhead. "I'll save telling you how good you look, and I used to bunk with Coco so I've seen good." Blake suddenly realized this was the first time Velvet had seen her in her new outfit. For a second she was pleased with the complement. It was a high one indeed. But that single second passed and Velvet moved on as well. "Tell me what's going on. We have plenty of time for you to at least give me a brief outline of what's happening.copyright protection66PENANAnU3pso4vPi

"Let's get in the bullhead and get going. No sense wasting time when I can tell you everything while getting there." With a nod and a shrug Velvet headed in with Blake not far behind. Once they were off the ground she would start.copyright protection66PENANAgnHXfy81J7

This is when the unfairness of Blake's decision would become evident. "Two things; First I'm going to name a second in command to handle things when I'm not able, or to become the head should I die. I won't let the Phoenix fall the same way White Fang did when its head was cut off."copyright protection66PENANAfXhXlv3Qmx

"I can see that and I agree," Velvet said in full support. "Who do you have in mind?"copyright protection66PENANAKKrO9Udeq2

Time to pull the trigger. "You."copyright protection66PENANAxGpeDFMMHw

Poleaxed was the best word for the expression that hit Velvet. This wasn't fair. Blake had purposely waited till she was trapped, unable to leave, or temporize with a 'let me think about it.' She had time to think about it and they both knew the decision already. Velvet was a great woman, a strong fighter, and on level with Weiss when it came to intelligence.copyright protection66PENANATWuaTPGWG3

More important than that, she was from outside the original White Fang so no jealousies could crop up among the wings or talk of favoritism. And there would have been favoritism. She couldn't help it; Thompson had a natural magnetism that not only made him a good leader, but a desirable man. She could temporize that it was a good choice, and it was, but no one would believe that was the reason, including herself.copyright protection66PENANAuqNVfXPsbg

It took Velvet a good minute to come to terms with what Blake had asked. She had run through the same variables that Blake had before she had decided who she wanted. Velvet would come to the same conclusion. The first sign of life was a rapid blinking of her eyes, followed by fear. That was only to be expected. Fearless on the battlefield was easy. You lived or you died, and death was nearly inevitable for a Huntress. It was rare to live long enough to retire or become a professor. If you couldn't come to terms with that you washed out in the academy quickly. Halfway through the third semester is the longest you would make it before you either accept, reject, or die.copyright protection66PENANAuJWUXAAKnh

But this wasn't battle. This was something entirely new. Something she wasn't trained for. Fear of the unknown was the most basic fear there was. "I'm not ready."copyright protection66PENANAggeLr7B74h

On to her finding reasons she couldn't do it. Reasons that Blake already had the answers to, and reasons even Velvet didn't believe. "No one is when they start. You will learn. I'm still learning myself."copyright protection66PENANAbyIYuXVkp7

"But shouldn't it be someone they know? I'm a stranger," she said, looking for anything.copyright protection66PENANAAUQxPN8pyv

Blake shook her head. The flight was half over. Velvet could make excuses to last the other half if Blake let her. "You know the answer to that. We both do. We both know why those reasons are not good enough to outweigh the reasons why you are the natural choice. I can't force it on you, but I know that outside the fear you want this. You are as passionate for the cause as I am. In many ways you are more qualified to lead than me."copyright protection66PENANAHOLVzc3ak7

The expressions on her face was amazing as she worked through every reason not to in her head, then finding why it wasn't good enough, or worse why it wasn't valid at all. She could feel the bullhead coming in for landing when Velvet finally came to the only answer she could have. "Okay."copyright protection66PENANArvGatb7pvx

It hadn't been fair, but it had been expedient. By giving her no way to leave the conversation she had to continue it. The longer it went the more excuses she had would disappear until the only thing left was her answer. Velvet was no fool, she knew what Blake did. "I will get you back for this," Velvet said. Blake smiled her understanding.copyright protection66PENANAx5snDhbLGJ

Having accepted her fate Velvet quickly switched subjects."So what's the second thing?"copyright protection66PENANAgny1i8emjz

"What you expected to hear; the battle plan for tonight," she answered knowing full well that revenge would be coming but not when. "Hopefully that will just be an expression because it could go many ways."copyright protection66PENANAuL4aVyl2YR

She started outlining things before they got to the theater as she worked on her game face. She had an hour before it would start. It was enough time to tell Velvet every aspect of Blake's decisions and got insight from her on repercussions both favorable and negative, and how to minimize the negative.copyright protection66PENANAAvX2SAj4lZ

After that was done she gave Velvet little pieces of advice on how to command she had worked out, the most important being to always look confident. Her Second took the advice seriously and by the time the heads started to arrive only Blake, who had watched her get her expression under control, would know the fear under the surface.copyright protection66PENANAOCnmEGvT2O

This was going to be a long night. She hoped everyone was ready for it. She had arrived twenty minutes early. In the last ten minutes her lieutenants started to show up behind the stage to see what they needed to prepare for. The last time they had been here she'd given them no warnings, just what she needed. This time she told them exactly what she had planned. They nodded their understanding, some looking happy, some confident, others nervous, and then there were the ones stone faced giving no clue as to their emotions at all. They were not bulking though, and that was the important part.copyright protection66PENANAswzwHu53x3

She looked at Velvet. "Are you ready?"copyright protection66PENANAV7yS9rtswP

"If I say no could we just do this tomorrow?" she said with a smile. She was ready.copyright protection66PENANAslrQI5xdYz

Blake smiled back at her friend. "No. Let's get this started."copyright protection66PENANA1r6AYO53RC

Together they walked out, Velvet automatically walking behind and to the right of Blake. It spoke of her importance but did not undercut Blake's authority. Then they were there and all eyes were upon them. Velvet wasn't the only one who wanted to run at that second, but that was why she had been working on her game face for the last hour. Not a single doubt showed on her.copyright protection66PENANA7MJGFT88mE

"I am going to get straight to the point," she told the assembly. "This will affect all of you and I know it will be met with anger by most of you, but it is necessary, just as the birth of Phoenix had been." She hoped that reminder of change that had gone well would get them to think and wait for the full explanation rather than working themselves up.copyright protection66PENANAXOZpFHucVt

"I know that to a man you are all loyal to the cause. I also know that there has been infighting among the groups that have come together. This cannot continue. We will have enough opposition by the rest of the world; we do not need to help them." Some grumbling came from the crowd before her. It was not exactly disagreement. It was more like they were trying to put the blame on others. "I am not concerned with who is causing these problems. I am concerned with fixing them."copyright protection66PENANAMWUSxSHCWz

A hush went over the crowd. They knew her style from past talks. They knew she was going to drop a bomb in the middle of them with the next sentence. They were right. "Today all of the individual cells will be dissolved and six larger ones known as wings will replace it." Besides the problem she had already outlined it was causing trouble with communication with that many heads at the same level. It also would make the Phoenix fall apart again if both Velvet and herself were killed at the same time which was a good possibility. She skipped by them though. There was no reason to explain when the first one had undeniably proven her point. There was no need to bog down what was already going to be a long process.copyright protection66PENANAf3mZJ1SSae

As expected, there were voices of anger but not as many as she had thought. They were learning to trust her decisions. This was encouraging. One clear voice rose among the grumbling, "How?"copyright protection66PENANAw73wwIe1U9

Last time she had waited for the dissenters to tire themselves out, and then continued. She felt this was no longer necessary. She simply raised a hand to indicate silence was needed, and without a word they all listened. This much power could become heady Blake realized. "That is a good question. Your individual leaders have paper for you to vote for who you would wish to lead you. This person cannot be the person under which you follow now."copyright protection66PENANAvG6qzDjggf

A reorganization of this scale did not come easily, rarely quickly, and most certainly not smoothly. At last count there were twenty eight cells ranging from six to fifteen members each. The total number in this room was 238. If they divided into five, which she intended to be the case, that meant forty-seven member teams with three extra. It was past time to do it before they grew any further.copyright protection66PENANAQwjcv3doVn

Her plan had multiple stages and she hoped it was as simple as possible. K.I.S.S. was in play here. There were a few hiccups possible. She would cross those bridges when she came to them. Everyone had seemed to understand so far, so she moved to the next stage. "Your leader will count your votes and the one with the highest number of votes will count as your team's vote. Those votes in turn will be added together and the top five will be leader of the five wings." She paused, letting them absorb that information.copyright protection66PENANADrvGY2od4j

Each leader had been forewarned of this, so they did not break the silence, waiting for the obvious question to come from one of the crowd who didn't. It came after about ten seconds though Blake knew all of them were thinking it. "You mentioned six wings?"copyright protection66PENANAnz0t0A7jQo

She wanted to encourage open communication, and that had been the start. Over time they will come to realize that while Blake was in charge they all had a voice in these meetings. "The sixth wing will be the leadership wing with me as head and my second in command working under me. The rest of the wing will consist of the leaders of the other wings and their chosen second. This is to give a clear order of command and a method to choose a new leader should both me and my second fall."copyright protection66PENANAyHUSTqV7PQ

"Any other questions?" Grumbling met her query, but none spoke up. "Then choose, and choose carefully."copyright protection66PENANAvsi18h3xu7

Blake stepped back, pleased with herself and how well this was going. With this everyone was democratically chosen. No one can claim she had given favoritism to any of the five heads. Of course this was the easy part. Organizing the individuals was going to be the difficult part, and getting them to work together would be a headache of an uncharted scale. It was one of the hiccups she feared.copyright protection66PENANARRHRkHrs1i

Each leader collected the votes, and silently brought them to her to count. "Does everyone trust me to be honest with the final counting?" Everyone she could see nodded and none voiced any objection. Good, she had not lost their trust with this change. She went through each piece of paper and counted the names. She had thought the votes would be fairly even, but she was wrong. Of the twenty eight leaders, four stood out. The last only had two votes which was enough. "The votes have been counted. The five heads will be Isaac, Daniel, Thompson, Simon, and Alice," she announced.copyright protection66PENANAQAZLsTcn01

It took her members some time for them to calm down and get used to the new dynamic. During that time she contemplated each of her heads. Each wing was going to have a specific purpose, much like the leadership wing. Those purposes were going to give the rest direction.copyright protection66PENANAewuwxDNAai

There was a lot of talking among the crowd, and a few laughing. It wasn't good natured, and Blake knew why. Isaac had been the one with the fewest votes. Most thought of him as a coward and weak. He was neither. If anything he was the strongest among them. Pacifists were often misunderstood in this regard. Blake herself had had a low opinion of him until she learned of his ideals. She knew exactly which wing to give him.copyright protection66PENANAI29qUu7mW9

Thompson likewise was easy to choose a wing. He was brash, quick to anger, but a great leader. He had a strong military style of command, and a certain charisma that was undeniable. Simon was the last she knew exactly where to put. His oratory skills made him uniquely suited for it. The other two she did not know well enough to decide. She'd read reports on them but the number of leaders made them all bleed together.copyright protection66PENANAFNJFzbyMzz

She called up the new heads, making a mental note to come up with a name other than heads, and had them sit behind her. The rest were all talking about who they wanted to be under. They seemed to be getting more excited about the possibilities, much like had happened when Phoenix was born.copyright protection66PENANANN5hkCU8c5

Blake nodded to Velvet and headed towards the back to join the rest of her newly formed wings while Velvet headed to take her place. Blake had outlined this if it all went right, which amazingly it had, to Velvet. She was going to describe the five wings purpose and tell them to arrange themselves in the wing they felt they were the most capable with Velvet directing traffic. They were not going to be told who would be in charge of each wing. It was the purpose of the wing that should be the deciding factor for them, not who was leading. Of course one head, at least, was going to be obvious to everyone in the room and that was unfortunate. With any luck they would be evenly distributed. If not the Leadership wing would discuss options because she didn't have any.copyright protection66PENANAqV8zl24to1

Joining the others she looked at each. "Thompson, Isaac, and Simon I know pretty well at this point," she started as all six of them formed a circle to talk. "Daniel and Alice, I haven't had the opportunity to meet with you until today. As you can hear behind me each wing will have a purpose and I know where I would put you three," she indicated Thompson, Isaac, and Simon. "But as unknowns I'm not sure about you two. Let me describe what each wing does, and what you would be expected to do. I'll start with the wings I know who I would put there."copyright protection66PENANAC3PlIoxha6

"First wing is PR. It's something we were missing when we were doing protests as the White Fang. We were easily written off as radicals, nuisances or just outright stupid. This wing's primary job is to prevent that. There is also some information I want to be circulated so those who are apathetic or on the fence to our cause will see us more favorably." She looked directly at Simon. "I think that is something you are uniquely qualified for."copyright protection66PENANAQYUVgexbnK

Simon smiled as professionally as the best newscaster. "It is as if I was trained for the job. I think I can be more than effective. Thank you."copyright protection66PENANAhNFpn0sruQ

"Second wing is demonstrations and rallies. It will not be done as it has in the past. As I said before we were never taken seriously. We cannot allow that to happen again." This time she looked at Isaac. "As a pacifist you not only are qualified to make sure our demonstrations are peaceful, but you also have experience on how to be effective against harsh resistance. I also respect your ingenuity to come up with unique ways to get our message across."copyright protection66PENANAs6UirDGZUR

A worried look crossed Simon's face. "It isn't that I don't think I can do it. I'm worried that those under me won't respect me enough to follow my lead."copyright protection66PENANA5KQ0G7feiC

"That's valid," Blake agreed. "It's also one reason that they don't know who will head which department. Those who choose your wing will also have peaceful natures. Probably not as peaceful as you, but enough to relate."copyright protection66PENANAYApE0MFse9

He shrugged apathetically. "Then I wouldn't mind the chance to try." He lacked confidence, and Blake didn't blame him. She also had faith in him to rise to the challenge and success breeds confidence. She was going to keep an eye on him though.copyright protection66PENANAjHfeZHRGGL

"The last wing I've decided on is defense," she said, taking a deep breath. "We are not an army. We will not go after anyone, ever, regardless of their crimes against us. We don't need to make Simon's job any harder than it already is. What this wing will be doing is helping faunus who are being shaken down; especially businesses. There are too many humans who are doing the protection racket and seek out faunus run businesses first. It's causing those businesses to fail. They have also gone after faunus friendly businesses with the same effect." She looked at Thompson, who was already grinning like a madman. "By process of elimination you already know I want you for this job, but not because of your aggression. I want you there because of the military precision that you have shown with your men. This job will get heated and I'll need that control to make sure that everyone stays cool headed."copyright protection66PENANAyMwoMcv1rO

He was chuckling. "What about me? You've already seen my temper."copyright protection66PENANAEpp33pQIS5

At least he was honest. "I have, and I saw you bring it back under control. I think you will do well. Don't prove me wrong."copyright protection66PENANASbM7qMPhsv

She turned and looked at the remaining two. "That leaves you two, and two wings. Let me describe both and I want your thoughts on which you want. That includes the ones already assigned if you think you can do a better job."copyright protection66PENANA30hAp4NU6e

"Heh. I wouldn't want any of those jobs. It would be a nightmare," Alice said. "Good luck you three."copyright protection66PENANAJKD8OHyFqq

"I agree, but the last two are just as difficult, just in different ways," Blake said with a smile. She liked Alice's spunk already. "First will be finances. By that I do not mean taking care of our money. I have a friend who says she thinks we could put financial pressure against the businesses that are unwilling to serve us or are using us in jobs that are at best dangerous. Often time they are deadly and the worst offender has a sixty-eight percent fatality rate for some of their positions." She really wished that last statistic wasn't true. The problem was the operations that did it were doing it outside of the jurisdiction of any of the four kingdoms. The areas where grimm were the thickest. The places where dust crystals were the most numerous and purest.copyright protection66PENANAKiCxq3kfkM

Blake didn't think Weiss ever knew how despicable her father was; only knowing what was visible above the water. It put the violence by the White Fang towards her family into a whole new light.copyright protection66PENANALoN3Yc7L7d

"The other is what I like to think of as the dirty tricks department. You are the ones that will go unseen, gathering information or making life difficult for those who are treating us as slave labor. You'll have to remain unseen at all times and at all costs. This is the 'We'll disavow your existence' type of job, so take this seriously. I never want to have to do that."copyright protection66PENANAZQYDZMkyrL

Alice was actually laughing by the end of her description. "What's so funny?" Blake asked.copyright protection66PENANAZc3CKuF4JZ

"Well, I was honestly going to hide it cause I didn't want to be judged, but yeah, I'll take the dirty tricks wing. I'm a master thief. Haven't ever been caught and I know the ins and outs of most of Vale. What are the odds?" and again the deep laugh. "If I die at least this way it'll be for a cause not a wallet."copyright protection66PENANARuoExmQF7Y

Turning to Daniel she asked, "that leaves finances, or do you want to make an argument for one of the other positions?"copyright protection66PENANAS7PRKPD5n5

He looked more timid than Isaac at that moment. "I don't think I'm qualified for any of the wings you described." He was starting to fidget. "I'm just a run of the mill house cleaner." Of the five he was going to be the one that needed the most help Blake decided. Luckily she knew just the person to give it. It was interesting that he had been voted to the top five, and strongly. Blake decided he had more qualities than he knew about and others had picked up on.copyright protection66PENANAQniTZ2oE67

"Well, you got two choices, and you're free to do either," Blake said as gently as she could. "You can step aside and let the next in line step in. If you can tough it out I can get the person who recommended this department to come and act as an advisor until you are comfortable. She's very good and competent. I trust her above myself in this field."copyright protection66PENANAEYC2CaptPw

Right before her eyes she saw the transformation; from scared and undecided to calm and ready. He was still unsure, but he was resolute. He would give this position his all and that quality is what others had seen. "If you can provide that help then I accept."copyright protection66PENANArIDgzn6dst

"A couple of things then and you can all meet your people. To save time and obfuscate each wing's purpose I'm assigning each a color. Defense is red, Demonstrations is brown, PR will be yellow, Finance is green, Dirty Tricks is black, and Leadership is White. I tried to make each color have some connection to the wing's purpose. I wasn't always successfully."copyright protection66PENANAijQAcQDAuK

She moved on to the next point quickly. "Each wing is going to be organized however you think is best. I will intrude minimally unless the job isn't getting done, or done right. The only thing I ask is for you to have a second in command. I want structure and fall-backs should the chain of command ever get targeted," she told them with no room for disagreement. "Lets go see your people."copyright protection66PENANAI9IlclvBOl

All six of them approached the front, Velvet still standing and trying to keep the groupings calm. "How is it going?"copyright protection66PENANA8g4LxE9DSC

"It's a mess, but we're there," she said with a small amount of stress showing. "I'm not you, so it took a bit of convincing."copyright protection66PENANA7bWXL9OpKi

"It will get better once they know you. You still managed to be effective. That's all I need."copyright protection66PENANA9ssSOFdkh2

She looked out at the seats to see how they had organized. The groups were not even, as she had dreaded.copyright protection66PENANAFpjKbQpluh

"Okay. It is more uneven than I had feared," She pointed to the smallest group. "That group is Finance."copyright protection66PENANAYBsUze3nDN

Moving her finger she indicated the next smallest. "That is PR."copyright protection66PENANAGNf9F4OTo5

She continued pointing them out from smallest to biggest; Demonstrations, Dirty Tricks, and, unsurprisingly, Defense.copyright protection66PENANAW3vfOG6d1A

"My question is do you have enough men for your needs," Blake asked steadily. They were in charge; it was for them to decide what they needed. Delegating responsibility was a wonderful thing. Suddenly she felt lighter.copyright protection66PENANAuZcXUMbXaP

"That's more than I need," Simon said. "PR Isn't about numbers, it's about talking to the right people."copyright protection66PENANAKRC00i4Pcs

"Same for me," Thompson said, which surprised Blake. "Too large a force and we'll be viewed as an army. We should keep it small and help only the major trouble spots." He paused and looked at Simon. "Would it help you if one of my guys tapes what we're doing?"copyright protection66PENANAV8wqnk7ty9

Simon nodded. "Definitely."copyright protection66PENANA438h023b0d

Moving on she looked at Isaac. "And what about you?"copyright protection66PENANA0K5DK6VPV7

He shrugged showing that he wasn't happy with the numbers. "We can never have too many people but I can work with what I got here."copyright protection66PENANAhRgNiD8p7G

"Alice?"copyright protection66PENANAybJHsJKvVK

"That's tricky. It depends on the skill level and how well they take to training. What we're doing is subtle work." She looked them over one more time. "How about I find out what I'm working with and those who wash out can be sent over to either Isaac or Daniel depending on who needs them." Smiles all around, happy with the idea.copyright protection66PENANAJWuPzfVv4Q

"I'll do the same," Thompson added, "for much the same reason. Though we don't really need the subtlety we do need more than brute strength if we don't want to destroy what we're trying to protect. I also don't want hot heads and I'll weed them out quickly."copyright protection66PENANADmIT90wipD

"Okay, that's settled then, unless someone has something I missed?" Blake asked. All indicated they were okay with things. "Then I have your first assignment Alice and Thompson. I know none of you have your teams in order yet so I am sorry to throw this at you so soon, but this is important. Everyone listen in. I want all wings to know what the other is doing so you don't get in each others ways, or possibly help if you think of something." They all nodded.copyright protection66PENANAYYOIFhsqNn

Unlike last time when both of her lives, the huntress and the Phoenix leader, had been in conflict they were in perfect harmony tonight. "There is a portion of White Fang out there that we haven't accounted for yet. This group was strong enough to take down two Huntresses." It was an overstatement, but not by much. It was more than cautionary advice. It was a sledgehammer hint that this group was not to be taken lightly. "We have to find them. If word of them gets out our cause will be all the harder to get through as fear of us once again takes hold." She looked at Alice. "This would normally fall under just your department Alice, but since you haven't settled and shaken free the ones who shouldn't be there I'm adding some muscle. Does that sound okay to both of you?"copyright protection66PENANAaxjFmSVhoZ

"Do you have anything more to go on besides 'bad-ass as hell?'" Thompson asked.copyright protection66PENANA81mQUwQqOg

Unfortunately she didn't. "The attack used a lot of dust, powerful dust, and they seemed to be making it move on its own somehow. Not sure how helpful that is. It's all I got though. I know it is not much."copyright protection66PENANA3NfSvV9YlW

Thompson gave it some thought. "How about we take the obvious routes, and your wing does the sneak thing? That way we won't get in each other's hair." Alice nodded her agreement.copyright protection66PENANAlvtFbQy67W

"When you find them do not engage. Remember we are not an army." She didn't think she could stress that point enough. "Let me or Velvet know so we can bring in some heavy guns."copyright protection66PENANA6fXt6RZWhN

That caught everyone's attention. "Heavy guns? That sounds like more than just the cops," Isaac asked.copyright protection66PENANAdlBse7no5J

Blake gave a toothy smile. "No, it won't be the cops. This group has gone after Huntsmen and Huntresses. We are family as much as you are family. We will bring them down."copyright protection66PENANAlrfO6qEExM

With everyone seeming to be in agreement she threw in one last wrinkle. "Simon, we aren't going to be able to stay hidden for much longer. If this goes badly it could be as soon as tomorrow. Start getting ready for it. If possible I want us to come first before we're discovered."copyright protection66PENANAAE2x78p65G

"I'll see what I can do," he replied. "I agree with us coming out before they find us. It will reduce their suspicion and give a better first impression."copyright protection66PENANAUi2vLgC9EI

The last meeting with all of them together had resulted in her assigning Phoenix a higher priority than her best friends. It had torn at her. Now she would be able to use Phoenix to find the ones who had caused that situation, and she could do that knowing that it was something that was needed for both of her families.copyright protection66PENANASZ97OfytU5

"Any further questions before I go?" She got five 'no's' of various types. "Do what you need to for your wing and let me know if you need any help," Blake told them in parting. "Tonight was a major shakeup for Phoenix. They're going to need help adjusting and above all your wings will need structure. Don't make the mistake I did and go without it for too long."copyright protection66PENANAgvKi3RqsXv

Velvet noticed her leaving and fell into step behind her. "You've changed," she said over Blake's shoulder.copyright protection66PENANA9SOcnAs0J7

"How so?"copyright protection66PENANAIC7SKW8iq2

There was a pause. "I don't know how to put it. It's not charisma. It's a kind of confidence I think. You don't act like you're trying to be a leader. You are The Leader. Just look at me. I wasn't told to fall into step like this, it just felt right. Only other person I would follow faster is Coco." Another long pause. "I may be more qualified on paper, but I lack that and without it people won't respect my authority the way they automatically do yours."copyright protection66PENANAoGy8ZBZp4X

Blake was both flattered and disturbed. The reason she was flattered was obvious. She had no doubt that Velvet had meant every word. She was disturbed because she wasn't sure what she was changing into.copyright protection66PENANAVdPKpdkSe4

Change is always scary, She rationalized. I will still be me when it's done.70Please respect copyright.PENANA08cygcagBe
copyright protection66PENANA0XG8Pr5XJv

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