Mrs. Voltest told me where I could find Cara, and I raced to the old canning factory on the other side of town. I had called Zelus to come help me, and he was already there when I arrived. 

We entered through the main door and were surprised to see that there wasn’t anyone around. As we went further into the building, we could hear cheering, shouting, and raised voices. Pushing open another door, we found a large crowd surrounding a caged circle. Some spectators were on the ground floor, and others were sitting in raised bleachers. They were shouting at something that was going on in the center of the room. 

I motioned to Zelus to go left, and I went to the right. I watched as my brother walked around the crowd. I could see a smirk on his face, which meant this was feeding into his energy big time. My chest was tight, and I scanned the crowd to see if Cara was nearby.

Suddenly, there was the ding ding of a bell, and the crowd roared. That sound was euphoric for me. It was like taking a deep breath and feeling a tingle rush all over your entire body. As the cheers subsided, my eyes focused again, and I spotted Cara. It was definitely her, and she had apparently won the…wait. This was one of those street fights she had told me about. 

This felt just like the gladiator training matches with the tight space and cheering crowd, but this time it was the ladies who were fighting. They were like the Amazons of old, and they were intent on drawing blood. Cara looked pretty beaten up from her last bout. I watched as the next woman arrived in the ring. She was fresh and had fought no one yet. I saw a man whisper something to Cara. She scowled at what he said to her, but I heard him whisper to her, “Do it.”

Ding ding, the bell once again went off, and the fight began. I knew Zelus hadn’t intended to whisper to the other girl, pushing her to go hard on Cara…but there he was, doing just that. I didn’t want my new friend hurt, so I used my influence to help her. My chest ached as that push me/pull me happened between myself and Zelus. The two ladies went about two rounds before Cara threw her full weight into a right uppercut and sent the other woman sprawling onto the mat. Ding, ding. “WINNER!”

I saw Cara stagger back to her corner. The man yanked her out of the ring, dragging her as he walked. I made my way through the crowd and saw them go through the outer doors. I followed them. The man threw Cara to the ground. “You little bitch!” he yelled at her. “I told you to let her win! What the fuck is the matter with you? You fucked the whole thing up!” 

I saw him raise his hand to hit her, and I burst through the door, pushing him away from Cara. I looked at her huddled on the ground. Then I was at the man’s throat, wings fully extended. “What do you think you’re doing?” His eyes widened, and he tried to fight back, but I picked him up, holding him in the air. “Cara, are you all right?”

“Lady Nike, is that you?” Zelus came through the door and went to Cara’s side. “Wh-who are you?” she asked him.

“We’re here to help you,” he assured her.

“But how did you find me?”

“Never mind that,” I replied. “Are you all right?”

“Ni, she’s bleeding pretty badly.”

“Cara, who is this man?” I said, glaring at the fool I was holding.

“He’s my brother, the one I told you about.”

I did my best not to growl at him as my grip on his shirt tightened. 

“Ni! Nike! Don’t! Think about what Father would say.”

“You don’t deserve mercy,” I said to the man.

“Nike, come tend to your friend,” Zelus said.

Dragging the douchebag over to his sister, I dropped him on the ground in front of her. “Look at what you’ve done to her.”

“What? She knew what she was doing,” he said, trying to lay the blame on Cara.

“Only because you made me,” Cara replied in a quiet voice. I glanced at her. “You’re an angel?”

“No, Cara,” I said, shaking my head. “I told you I was something else.” Feeling the threat subsiding, my wings fell back into a relaxed state. I bent down to pick Cara up. “Let’s get you to a hospital.”

“Ni? What about him?” Zelus asked.

“Cara, do you have something you want to say to your brother?”

She spit blood at the feet of the man trembling on the ground. “He’s no brother of mine. I never want to see him again. He’s dead to me.”

I nodded to my brother, and a split second later, Zelus and Aramis were gone. I flew Cara to Olympus General Hospital.

A week later, with the help of my siblings, we moved Cara and her family into the flat above Dark Sparks.

As we were packing up her house, the tightness suddenly hit me, and I collapsed on the floor. Zelus was next to me in an instant. “Ni, what is it?”

“Pain…it hurts, Zel.”

Cara rushed to my side to see what she could do.

Bia’s voice popped into my head, “Nike, what is it? I thought you had given the victory to this girl.”

Kratos said the same thing. “I thought this was over and done with, little one.”

I tucked into myself, holding my chest. My wings opened and were pointing to the house. Leaning back, my wings pulled me toward the apartment. Everyone stood there watching as a light flashed and Daunte appeared next to me, holding a frame. He was rocking and hitting the back of it. Mrs. Voltest came to the boy. “No, Daunte, we mustn’t break this. It’s a family heirloom. You know better.”

But Daunte wouldn’t stop. He began to scream, and so did I. What was this? The boy pushed the frame from his mother’s hand, and a great, bright light shone from its contents. I felt a slight sensation in my wings, like a small pull, until the light went away and a white feather lay there. As the light faded, so did the pain. I looked down at my wing and noticed a new feather was growing. This only occurred once a victory from one of my feathers had been completed. But why now? What had become of this feather? 

I picked it up and looked at Juliette, who gazed back at me with big eyes. She bowed and called me an angel.

I didn’t want to tell her, but Kratos beat me to it. “Ma’am, we’re not angels. How is it you have one of my sister’s feathers?”

“My great-grandfather was on his way to the hospital, as my grandfather was about to be born. There was an accident, and he never made it. He survived World War I, married and had three daughters, and wanted a son.” 

As Juliette told us the story, my memory piqued. “Joseph Jonston,” I said.

She nodded. “Yes, that was his name.”

“Nike?” Kratos and the others looked at me.

“I remember him. He used to pray a lot. I helped him get through the war so he could return home to his wife and daughters. They begged me for a son. I told them that was not how this worked. He called out to me one night after receiving word his wife had to call the doctor. He had asked for a blessing that could be put on his children. I granted him one last feather to protect his children. He was supposed to touch each one of them with it to bless them.”

“A runaway wagon killed him before he got there. They found the feather in his pocket. My nana saved it as the family’s lucky charm. She said Papa carried it through the war, and it brought him home. It has hung on a wall in our family home for as long as I can remember.”

A tear ran down my cheek. “I didn’t know…”

“How could you not know, Ni?” Zelus asked.

“Back then, I was giving out a lot of victories, and they drained me. It just slipped my mind.”

“Nike, this was a family legacy to bless this family with a victory after so long, almost 100 years later,” Bia thought to me.

“100 years later, I restored a victory.” I lowered my head as Juliette placed her hand on my shoulder.

“You gave me back my light, Lady Nike, and that is a victory,” Juliette smiled, looking at her daughter.

“A legacy victory,” I replied as I looked at Juliette. She was smiling, a tear rolling down her cheek.

“Come on, you lot, let’s get these people moved. I’m starving!” Zelus said.

Sarah, the little sister, swept up the glass, and we finished the move. As we were getting ready to leave for their new home, Daunte gave each of us a hug and patted us on the back. His mother said it was something he had never done voluntarily before. We let out our wings for him, and he laughed and cheered with glee.

My siblings headed downstairs to the truck, but Cara stopped me, giving me a big hug. “Thank you, Lady Nike. You saved me—you saved all of us, and I will never forget this.”

“I’m glad it all worked out.”

“Me, too.”

“You’re welcome, legacy.” I laughed, winking at her.

“It was destiny I saw you that day, you know,” she said as I headed down the stairs.

“You have no idea,” I replied.

Closing my diary, I smiled at the memory of how I had not only found my best friend, but that it turned out she held a missing piece of me. Kinda makes you wonder if the fates knew this would happen right down to the truck whooshing me with the gutter water. I laughed to myself. I needed to be sure to add her name to one of the shields, as I never wanted to forget Cara.

Nike (Nikki Crump-Hansted)
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