2.16: Drill

“I hope you had fun,” Drill said, sparing a glance to Panther, who only smiled. “We could have saved so much effort if you were a flying Panther…”

Drill thought he saw her laugh, but he couldn’t be sure as they dodged the debris in the forest outside of Ikalga. They ran north along the wall until they reached the parallel strip of forest. Once there, they were able to turn and head south under the cover of foliage. Drill had been attempting to lighten the monotony of running with playful jabs at Panther. Running had long stopped being tiresome to him.

With Panther being her usual quiet self, Drill settled into a reflective mood as they wouldn’t arrive at the meeting spot for awhile. He had met some interesting characters back in the battle. The commander who wanted to retreat, but for what reason? And those siblings were incredible despite their age. Maybe Knives would have more information on these particular individuals?

In the corner of his eye, he spotted Panther jumping over a fallen tree, changing into her animal form before landing. Drill stopped to look around, trying to spot any threats that would have caused her to change.

“What is it?” he asked as he followed her gaze, seeing nothing. He squinted and cursed to himself – it always was a struggle for him to spot any threats in the distance. In the forest, he was lost. Regardless, he withdrew his knives and fell in line behind Panther. It’s unlikely the enemy had seen them as he knew well, Panther most likely spotted them first.

Crouching low, he followed Panther to a small hill. She always finds the best ambush spots…

It took the enemy longer than anticipated to reach the duo’s hidden position. Drill rolled his eyes as he watched them clumsily climb over vines and daintily push branches from their path, losing all desire to engage with these troops – if one could even call them such – it would be a slaughter. Drill whispered to Panther, asking if she was going to fight. She changed back to human form and turned to Drill. “No, it would be a slaughter…” Should’ve expected that, he thought.

The group finally began to pass next to the hill Drill and Panther were stationed on. About half a dozen individuals made up the party, no two wearing the same outfit.

“Curse that damned Giskant,” moaned one soldier.

“Are we supposed to be scouting?” another asked while knocking her sword against the passing trees.

Drill placed his hand on Panther’s shoulder, hoping it would prevent her from ruining this “scouting” group’s day. Panther’s back tensed under his gentle grip. He felt her twitch at least twice, resisting her urge to attack.

Drill gave Panther half a smile as the unprofessional group passed by without issue, “See, now imagine if you had wasted your energy on them.”

“At least I wouldn’t be bored…” she said and she jumped down the hill, continuing their trek to meet Max.


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