Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tournament Journal Round 3

Okay, so here is round 3! (Remember, I'm just catching you up from the last 8 weeks or so!) Round 3 ended up being very interesting, and I liked the story that came out of it. This round would determine the very last 3 finalists, who would go head-to-head to finish off the story and hopefully become the winner! And in case you missed it here is the Tournament of Secrets blog.

So heretofore, I had been working for a mastermind named DLG (who you later find out is a crime lord's daughter with the nickname Daddy's Little Girl). But in this round, I was given the choice--I could continue to take DLG's commands, or switch over to a new "master." Lucy Finch decided to switch. This is what he told her:

Round 3 Prompt:

 To the agent of the Beast/Queen:

Forgive my bluntness, but you work for the wrong people. I think you know this. There are forces at play that may destroy the world. I want to save it.
I offer you this choice: to circumvent your slave driver, go to the Xuankong Temple in China. Locate the lost Roerich journal. Remain at the temple until I come.


Round 3 Submission 5000 words:

Lucy flattened her back against the brick wall, peering around the corner of a Philadelphia City building and into the dark alley. Red and blue lights flashed in the narrow space, giving just enough light for her to see her father’s body wheeled from a stretcher into the ambulance. His breathing body. She sighed, and her body seemed to concave in immense relief. After retrieving Sif’s hair, the vial of liquid her blackmailing employer had given her really had brought her father back to life.
But it didn’t end there. Of course not. Lucy pushed off the brick wall, and slowly pulled the other card from her pocket. Another assignment, and this one more detailed, more urgent. Something entirely out of her control was going on here, and she didn’t like it. Especially if her family was in the middle of this supernatural hurricane.
As she contemplated the message and instructions, she nearly ran into a tall stranger, stopping just in front of the buttons on his double-breasted, white jacket. Looking up to apologize, she found a pair of blue eyes under a white fedora considering her.
“Sorry,” she muttered, stepping to the side.
He stepped with her. “Lucy Finch?”
Lucy felt a sinking dread, and backed up a step. “Yes?”
The man slid a hand to the inside breast pocket of his jacket, and produced an envelope. He handed it to her between two fingers. “You have nothing to fear from me. Just read it.”
And then he was gone, walking briskly past her as she held the envelope with a dumbfounded expression on her face. Where were all these mysterious men coming from? Did they get a degree for this or what?
She slid her forefinger under the envelope to open it, and read the message:

Forgive my bluntness, but you work for the wrong people. I think you know this. There                                are forces at play that may destroy the world. I want to save it. I offer you this choice: to                  circumvent your slave driver, go to the Xuankong Temple in China. Locate the lost                                 Roerich journal. Remain at the temple until I come.

Lucy tilted her head back, sighing loudly in frustration. Great. So, what, she was a pawn in a power struggle now? If she chose the wrong side, she could end up hurting her family more than she already had. Realistically, she could die either way.

As a car passed her on the road, the headlights passed over the lampposts and benches, sliding shadows over the cement sidewalk. The muffler banged, and Lucy jumped. Her heart sped up suddenly, and she stopped to lean against the lamppost, breathing deeply and trying to banish the image conjured to her mind. Rebecca standing on the ship with wide, brown eyes, her pixie hair all askew.


Lucy fisted her hands at her sides. Frank had shot her. Just like that. No real explanations, and no apologies. Her little lifeless body thrown into the still ocean.

Pushing away from the lamppost, Lucy tried to make her shaking legs go onward and back to her hotel room. Those people had killed Rebecca. They had killed Lucy’s father and held her family hostage. She looked at the simple white paper from the man in the hat, and made her decision. Some might see this new player as a risk, but she saw something else entirely.


In the airport she did research. Her previous employer—Poison, as she liked to call them, based on the poison green ink they so preferred—still wouldn’t suspect she had jumped ship. So the credit card worked for now, anyway, and so did her smartphone. As she waited for a flight to Beijing, she did research on her phone. There was no such thing as a Roerich journal, and the name was quite rare. Out of the two famous Roerichs, one Nicholas Roerich seemed like a likely candidate. He had explored parts of Mongolia and China, but he was primarily an artist. It didn’t seem to match.

Still unsure about what this HHP might want from her, Lucy decided to take a visit to Xuangkong Temple. That, at least, was easy enough to locate. It was likely that Poison would figure out she had gone rogue pretty quickly. She was unable to relax the entire flight to Beijing.

She arrived in the early morning, eyes aching and mouth gritty from awkward, unsatisfying sleep on the airplane. She had a small, rolling suitcase, and her brown backpack with the necessities she expected she might need on a trip like this. She stopped in the bathroom to unpack her knives and weapons from her suitcase, stowing a knife in each boot, four flat throwing knives on a belt that hid nicely under her button-down, pink plaid shirt, and her trusty flip-out knife in the back pocket of her jeans.

When she reached the front desk for car rentals, her credit card refused to work. The Chinese employee gave her an apologetic look, and in stilted English said, “Broken, ma’am. It is broken.”

Lucy nodded, resigned. She figured as much. She had taken out as much cash from her own bank account as she could, and quickly exchanged it for yuan. A bus would be cheaper, if she could swing it.

It made her head ache trying to find someone who could help her go in the right direction, but since her phone was still working for the moment, she figured out a bus route to Hunyuan, and from there she would take a taxi. She got a cheap motel room in Hunyuan with questionable bedding and grody looking toilets, and chanced leaving her bulky suitcase with clothing and toiletries in the room, and then flagged down a taxi.
The driver wore a baseball cap over his thick, black hair, and spoke in Chinese first before she said she was American. Then he laughed, nodded several times, and said, “Oh, yes! America USA. I speak English.” The sentence was almost unintelligible, but she had to give him credit. He knew more English than she knew Chinese, at least.

The Chinese countryside was breathtaking. There were tall, snow-capped mountains on every side, and as they passed by lush green trees and tall canyon ridges, Lucy couldn’t help but think this place was the marriage of every natural beauty in America, slapped into a remote paradise she never dreamed of visiting.
The rocks got redder and lighter, and they traveled deeper into the mountains, until finally the taxi stopped before a towering cliff wall. Lucy gaped. Impossibly, there was an entire temple stuck to the side of that sky-high cliff wall. It was like someone had taken an ancient, delicate Chinese temple all red and brown and black and gold, folded up some giant duct tape on the back and just smacked it on there.

The taxi had stopped on the road that ran alongside a green field just before the steps to the temple. Still in awe, Lucy handed the driver the necessary yuan, but before he took it, he asked. “Passport?”

Lucy wasn’t sure why she needed to show her passport, but it was better not to fool around with rules in a country she didn’t understand. She produced the passport, and after the man had looked at it, he nodded. “Lucy Finch,” he said, still nodding.

“Yeah,” she said, distractedly holding out her left hand for her passport while still staring at the architectural miracle before her.

His hand caught her wrist in a crushing hold. “Sorry,” he said.

Lucy met his brown eyes with her own shocked, blue ones. He twisted his hand, and she felt her  bones creak with the motion. Crying out in agony, she tried to pull away, but he had her in a firm grasp. A needle glinted in the sunlight, and Lucy’s mind sprung into action. Poison had found her already?

She grabbed a knife from her hip, and then swiftly plunged it into the man’s exposed forearm. He gasped, releasing her arm and clutching the gushing wound. Lucy bolted from the car and onto the soft dirt path that led to the Xuankong Temple stairs. Her boots slapped against the ground as she sprinted, but she didn’t hear anyone following her.

Four figures walked lazily from the bushes on either side of the path ahead of her. They all wore black masks covering the bottom of their faces. All four were Chinese, and all four looked toned and lithe as they stood in a line to block her escape.

Lucy skidded to a halt just before them. It was possible her paranoia was misreading the situation, but this looked a lot like four ninja assassins sent to dispatch her AWOL self. She still had her throwing knife gripped in her right hand, and she aimed it at the middle man’s torso. It embedded just as she had expected it to, and she briefly hoped for his sake she had not hit anything really vital. But that was all the time she had for thinking.

As soon as she had thrown her knife, all three remaining men pulled guns on her. Three shots fired, piercing the still air, defiling the sacred silence that lay heavy over the space.

Lucy dropped to her knees, staring in horror at her right hand. Only one of the bullets had found their mark: her hand. They were sent to incapacitate her instead of killing her. Blood dripped from her limp hand onto the dirt below her. The dry earth soaked up her blood like a hungry sponge.

Breathing heavily through the lighting bolts of pain that traveled from her hand up her arm, Lucy glared at the advancing three men. “Ninjas,” she muttered. “I thought you were ninjas.” Stupid, Lucy. This isn’t a Jackie Chan movie.

One of the men pulled her roughly to her feet, taking her chin between his fingers. He said something in Chinese, and she stifled a cry of pain as they jostled her back down the path toward the taxi.

Suddenly one of her captors grunted, and Lucy swiveled her head around to see a flash of red hair before another masked man fell to the ground. A young man, certainly no older than a teenager, wrenched her from the gasp of the final attacker, and Lucy looked back to see a tall, brown-haired, muscular man in a black t-shirt konk the would-be ninja on the back of the head with his glock.

“You okay?” the boy asked.

Lucy stared at him in surprise. “I…I uh…”

“We should get her to Cassian,” the hulk said in a low voice. “She’s bleeding.”

The boy looked down at her hand, his green eyes wide. “So she is.”

Lucy cradled her injured hand, trembling with fear, adrenaline, pain, and shock. She stared at the slumped figures on the ground around her.

The teenage boy jerked his head toward the temple stairs. “We know someone who can fix your hand. You ran from the controlling mastermind, right?”

“Uh…I mean…”

“Talk and walk at the same time,” the large, brown-haired man suggested.

The teenager gave her a tentative, gentle push toward the stairs. “He’s probably right. I’m Jeff.”

“Lucy,” she answered almost automatically. Her feet stumbled forward, avoiding the bodies of her attackers.

“Welcome to superheroes anonymous,” Jeff grinned.

Lucy blinked in confusion.

Jeff cleared his throat, expression sobering. “Kidding. I’m kidding.”

“Oh,” Lucy said. Her head felt fuzzy. Reality seemed far away.

“She won’t make it up the steps,” the other man said. “I’ll bring him here.”

Jeff guided her to the side of the path, and helped Lucy sit in the grass. For the first time, Lucy realized there weren’t any other tourists around, and that everything was quiet. The young man ruffled his hair, shifting his weight from foot to foot. “How you doing, Lucy?”

“Who are you?” Lucy asked.

“Jeff.” He squinted his eyes at her. “I said that already.”

“I mean what are you doing here?”

“Oh.” The boy chuckled sheepishly. “The same reason you are, right? A man in a swanky white hat gave you another way out of this mess. Gavin and Cassian have been taking orders from him from the start, or so they tell me.”

Lucy pondered that the best she could around the screaming pain in her hand. Her head started to throb. Blood dripped steadily down her arm and onto the ground. Jeff knelt down in front of her, eyes unsure and worried. “You’re going to lose too much blood. Do you have anything to wrap your hand with?”

“In my backpack. I have some…bandaids.”

Jeff tugged his mouth to the side, glancing at her hand. “That’s cute, but I don’t think they’re going to help much.”

Footsteps pounded down the path toward them, and the tall brown-haired man who looked like he belonged in Seal Team Six returned with an older man beside him. The older man replaced Jeff, kneeling in front of her and smiling with an easy confidence. “Hi, Lucy. I’m Cassian.”

“Hi,” Lucy said. Her voice sounded strangled.

Cassian had streaks of gray at his temples, breaking up the light brown, short hair on his head. He glanced down at her hand. “I’m a doctor. Can I take a look?”

“Sure.” She held up a shaking, blood-stained hand.

Cassian took it gently, twisting it slightly to get a good look at it. “You were fortunate I think,” he murmured.
“It only glanced your hand just below your pinky here. I can stitch it up and give you something to help you heal faster.”

Lucy watched him take off his backpack and pull out a medical kit. “Thank you.”

He gave her a quick smile before uncapping a syringe. “This is what I do.”

Lucy recoiled at the syringe. Was this another trick?

“We’re on the same side,” he assured her. His warm, brown eyes were so comforting. Lucy dearly wanted to believe him.

Jeff spoke up from behind the doctor. “Seriously, we were all sent here by the white fedora guy. And I helped beat up your ninjas.”

“Also, I know what the Roerich journal is,” Cassian said as he disinfected a spot on her hand near the injury. As he numbed the wounded area with the medicine in the syringe, and prepped her hand for stitches, Cassian talked. “I knew as soon as I read the card what this HHP fellow wanted. It is not widely known that Nicholas Roerich kept a journal during his expedition to China. He was commissioned by the U.S. to find certain resilient seeds and herbs. But he found something else along the way.”

Lucy listened, keeping her eyes on Cassian’s bent head rather than on the pinching and pulling of her injured hand as he worked on it.

“Ever heard of yarrow?” Cassian asked.

“No,” Lucy said.

“It’s an herb, common here in China, and used in a variety of ways from antibacterial for cuts to an insect repellant. Nicholas found a variation of this herb that is very rare, and a closely guarded secret of Buddhist monks. It is my belief that HHP wants the journal to find this herb. It has certain practical uses HHP might find useful.”

“Let me tell this part,” Jeff said suddenly. Lucy looked up at him, and he sat down in the dirt next to Cassian. “They also use yarrow in I Ching predictions.”

Lucy frowned. “What are those?”

“They bring clarity to the present,” Cassian explained. “Rather than telling the future, they reveal what is already before us.”

“Deep,” Lucy mused.

“Right?” Jeff laughed.

“The supernatural properties of the Swan Yarrow, or Tiān’é yà luō as Nicholas labeled it, are likely connected to this ability to clarify the present.” Cassian finished the stitches, wrapped her hand in gauze, and then handed her a vial of clear liquid. “Drink this, and your wound should heal quickly.”

Lucy drank the small mouthful of herby-tasting stuff, and immediately feeling a little better, stood with Cassian. “Thank you.” She looked to Jeff and the other man. “To both of you.”

“No problem,” Jeff smiled.

The tall man nodded, “My name is Gavin.”

“Gavin,” she gave him a half smile. “Thanks, Gavin.”

“So are we all here?” Jeff asked. “Any other rogues coming to join the party?”

Cassian smirked as he packed up his supplies. “Doubtful. Lucy was the last of us. It’s a good thing, too. They would have hauled you into that car in a minute if we had not already arrived.”

Lucy chewed on the inside of her cheek, feeling her face heat. “They had guns.”

“So do I,” Gavin said.

“So now you’re on even ground,” Jeff grinned. “I have a sword, if it counts for anything.”

Lucy looked at the three men standing before her. “You’re really going to help me?”

“We’re all working for HHP now,” Jeff said. “It’s best if we stick together, don’t you think?”

It’s funny, Lucy thought, looking at the freckle-faced youth standing confidently before her with his arms folded and stance relaxed. He’s the youngest, but I get the impression that he’s taken on a leadership role.

 Cassian motioned toward the temple. “Are you up for a climb?”

“Is the journal up there?”

Cassian shrugged. “From what I can gather, it must be. The two have never been directly linked, but if HHP asked us to go here, I must assume it is.”

“Why can’t they just tell us?” Lucy muttered. “I feel like I’m on an epic scavenger hunt.”

Jeff laughed.

As they made their way up the stone steps toward the temple, droplets of sweat trickled down Lucy’s neck, and the throbbing in her hand became almost unbearable. She gritted her teeth and tried to ignore it, but it was making her nauseous. No matter how she turned her head, she thought she smelled blood.
When they finally reached the temple, Lucy leaned against the stone wall, and with shaking hands, fumbled with her backpack to find a water bottle. Her left hand still ached from being twisted, and her right one was more or less useless.

Gavin handed her a water bottle.

Lucy took it gratefully, and after a few gulps handed it back. “Thanks.”

He nodded. “It’s a steep climb.”

I must look completely useless, Lucy thought morosely.

They entered the temple, which was like going through a side door to traverse the long grouping of tiered Asian-style structures. The floor boards creaked under their feet, and the wind whistled through the open balconies to their right. It was such a vast structure; Lucy wondered where they could possibly look for this journal that no one would have looked before.

They began to search the room, sliding open doors and inspecting walls. Lucy wasn’t sure exactly what she was looking for. Cassian seemed to know more than she did—he looked, but appeared to have a direction. When they came near the middle of the temple, a statue of Buddha took up the majority of a small, square balcony. It looked like a shrine, and above buddha’s head, a golden, serpentine dragon snaked in complex patterns to frame the top of the statue.

Cassian stopped before the statue. “Naga,” he said, a slight smile lifting his lips. “I thought as much.”
Jeffery cocked his head at the statue. “I thought this was Buddha.”

“But above Buddha,” Cassian said. “That is Naga. It is an ancient Chinese dragon meant to protect.”

Lucy came to stand on Cassian’s other side. “Is this Naga guarding the journal, then?”

“Possibly. We will see.” Cassian rubbed his jaw. “Naga will require a sacrifice before coming to life.”

Lucy took a step away from Cassian.

“What kind of sacrifice?” Gavin asked from behind.

Cassian seemed to consider. “Usually a blood sacrifice.” He turned to Lucy. She reached with her left hand for the knife in her back pocket. But Cassian was staring at her blood-stained bandage. “Your blood has already been spilled. Naga may accept it.”

“It wants my dirty bandages?”

“If more is needed, we will rethink.”

“Okay,” Lucy said, a little uncertain. She clumsily began to undo the bandages.

“I’ll do it,” Jeff said. “Give me your hand, Lucy.”

Lucy held out her hand, and carefully, Jeff began to unwind the bloody gauze.

Cassian took the soiled bandages from Jeff, and handed him a roll of fresh ones for Jeff to replace on her wound. As Cassian stepped up to the statue, he explained, “Lucy already shed blood on temple grounds. It would all go to Naga anyway. Naga will be thirsty for blood, so this small amount may suffice if we are lucky.”

Jeff began to gently rewind the gauze around Lucy’s hand, and Lucy watched Cassian in fascination. The doctor held the bloody gauze in front of Naga’s head. The head lashed into life suddenly, clamping its rectangular, golden jaws around the bandage and gobbling it up as the rest of its body slithered and inflated into life.

Lucy stumbled away from it, her hand tearing away from Jeff’s.

Naga ate the rest of the bandages, slurping them up like hot ramen, and then the serpentine dragon began to unwind from its formation, hovering forward to peer at Cassian, who still stood before it. Naga spoke in a man’s higher-pitched voice. “Nǐ xiǎng gànshénme?”

Cassian bowed his head. “Wǒmen jiǎng yīngyǔ.”

“English,” Naga said. “I see.”

“We seek a journal,” Cassian said.

“There are many things worth seeking here,” Naga said.

“Among them the journal,” Cassian responded. “Where is it?”

Naga licked its lips with a golden, forked tongue. “Why should I tell?”

“It’s lying,” Gavin said suddenly. Everyone turned to stare at him, and Gavin nodded his head toward the dragon. “It said there were many things to find here, but it’s lying.”

“Aaahhhh,” Naga sighed, slinking forward and unwinding its body more so it floated over the balcony to peer into Gavin’s face. “A truth seeker.”

“You know where the journal is, but you don’t want to tell.”

“Yessss,” the dragon hissed. “True.”

“But you’re also hungry.”

The dragon sighed again, turning its head this time toward Lucy. “Yessss.”

Lucy cringed, and Jeff subtly shifted his weight in front of her.

“Play a game with us then,” Gavin suggested.

A ripple shuddered through Naga as it made an appreciative sound. “A game. Yes, a game. Let us play.” Naga slinked back into its original position above the Buddha, and then the ground rumbled, and the statue began to shift. It scraped back across the floor, and rising from the spot the statue had once rested, two basins ground to a halt. They were wide and shallow, rested on a silver altar, and one of them burned with hot coals. The other shimmered with cool, glassy water.

Naga slithered out once more, this time hovering over Lucy. “Answer my riddle,” Naga whispered, striking down suddenly to wrap around Lucy’s neck. “Before I drain her blood. Then will you find the journal.”
Jeff made a gargled noise of protest, and Cassian took a half step forward, arm outreached.

Naga wrapped further around Lucy, pinning her arms at her sides and nuzzling its flat, dragon nose against her neck. “When I finish delivering the riddle, you have until the blood drains from her body.” Jeff looked as though he would protest, but Naga continued ruthlessly on. “This is the riddle: Which is faster, hot or cold?” Then the dragon clamped onto Lucy’s neck.

Lucy whimpered, feeling the cold, golden teeth digging into her flesh. A horrible pressure pulled at the site, and she could feel her limbs go numb. Naga gulped greedily.

Cassian stared at the bowls. “We need to put our hands in one of these.”

“What kind of stupid riddle is that?” Jeff demanded. “How much time do we have?”

“Not long,” Cassian said, shooting a concerned glance toward Lucy. “Naga is draining fast. No more than a minute before she begins to have ill effects.”

Lucy clamped her teeth together, trying to ignore the pulsing pain as Naga sucked, and pulled, and sucked, and pulled. Her face went slack. Her knees started to tremble.

The three men were silent for a time, and Lucy went over the riddle in her own head. Which was faster? It was faster to heat something than freeze it. But that didn’t seem right. This was a riddle; the answer would be clever, or a pun.

Black dots sprinkled into Lucy’s vision. Naga slurped noisily, and swallow after swallow, Lucy lost more blood. Her knees buckled, and she went limp in Naga’s grasp.

Jeff cursed, pacing. “I can’t think. She’s dying, we have to do something.”

Suddenly Gavin crossed the floor in two strides, plunging his hand into the hot embers. “Hot is faster because you can catch a cold.”

Naga released her hold with a giant sucking sound.

As Lucy crumpled to the ground, her vision blurry, she heard Naga laugh a creepy, high-pitched man’s laugh. “Very good, truth seeker. Very good.”

“Lucy!” Jeff put an arm under her shoulders, lifting her torso up. “Lucy, you okay?”

“Did he get it?” She asked. “Did he find the journal?”

Gavin waved his hand around, shaking off hot embers that apparently had caused him no harm. In his hand he held an old, worn-looking journal. “Got it.”

Naga licked blood off its gleaming metallic teeth. “Thank you for the meal.” Then it solidified back into its inanimate form.

Cassian knelt before Lucy, dark brows knit together. “She’ll need a transfusion soon. Until then I have a few things to give her strength.”

Gavin knelt down as well, still holding the journal. “I am sorry Lucy. I knew it might do that, and I did it anyway. Sorry.”

Lucy shrugged, going for nonchalance. “It had to be done.” In reality, she felt like she might melt into the floorboards and lose all solid form from her trembling body. Lucy Pudding.

One pair of hands clapped slowly, lazily.

Everyone turned to see the figure of a man, face shrouded under the shadow of a white fedora. He climbed the last steps to the balcony, and then stood before them with arms folded. “Such a brave sacrifice from our little Lucy.”

“It’s only a sacrifice if you offer,” Lucy croaked.

The man chuckled. “But it was done with bravado. And you’ve all found what I wanted.”

Cassian regarded the man with a wary expression on his face. “We want answers before we hand anything else over.”

“Of course,” the man agreed with a nod. “You would.” He had a lean build, this man, but from his distance, and the shadow of his hat, Lucy had a hard time telling what age he was. “But I can’t tell you everything you want to know. Not yet.”

“Then forget it,” Jeff said.

Even without seeing his eyes, Lucy knew HHP had fixated a glare on Jeff. “Unfortunately, you have little choice.”

Pounding up the stairs from in front and behind, two dozen thuggish men in black tactical gear seemed to come from nowhere, and trained guns on all four of them.

“I really am sorry,” HHP said, tipping his hat. “I hate to do it this way, but I saw no other alternative.”
And then chaos erupted.

Jeff drew a long, slick sword, and bending low, went for the assailant’s legs. Gavin had two guns in his hands in a flash, and took out four men before Lucy could even blink. Cassian disarmed two men at once, and her new friends melted into the fray so seamlessly, it was as if the guns had never been trained on them at all.
Gathering what little strength she had left, Lucy used her left hand to pull out a throwing knife. Instead of aiming it at the soldier who had a gun trained on her head, she took a chance and launched it at HHP’s retreating back. He ducked at the last second, but it still embedded in his shoulder.

The black-clad soldier near her smacked the butt of his gun into her temple, and Lucy saw fireworks explode in her vision. Someone must have taken the guy out, because when she blinked the stars away, the soldier was gone, and several more had fallen to the ground.

She struggled to regain her footing, and grabbing another flat throwing knife, took out another enemy about to go after Cassian from behind. An arm wrapped around her throat, but she was ready for it. She stabbed the man’s hand, and then twisted so she could plant the knife in the juncture between his right arm and neck. He went down with a groan of pain.

One knife left. Lucy looked around, and her eye caught a white fedora discarded on the ground. The staggering form of HHP’s retreating back stilled the chaos around her. Somehow he had gotten the book from Gavin. Her three comrades were locked in combat, and even if they did notice it, they couldn’t get to him.

Gathering up prayers and energy, Lucy threaded through the chaos, her petite body for once an advantage. She nearly tumbled down the steps, and running heavily after HHP, she leveled her last knife.
It slammed into the book, wrenching it from HHP, and thunking the journal against a nearby post. HHP was thrown to the ground from the force, and clutched his bleeding hand as Lucy sprinted with the last reserves of her strength toward the book.

She plucked it from the post, yanked the knife from the cover of the journal, and tossed the knife expertly over HHP as he crouched on the ground. She met his piercing blue eyes. “I want answers.”

Results: I passed round 3 and became one of the final 3! Also, my story was canon again, which was pretty awesome. In the last round Lucy Finch would go against Gavin Birk and Adam Aitas. I have submitted my final piece (which I will put up soon!) and now I am waiting on the final results!

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