“Smoke guns,” Aella whispered, kneeling behind a line of bushes.
“How many are there, Boss?” Dallas asked a man next to him after hearing Aella.
Boss shook his head. “Let’s not start conflicts yet.”
On Boss’s other side, Stella lowered her binoculars and nodded. “All or none.”
What they saw were the Smoke people. Black trails of smoke formed guns in their hands as they scanned the grounds for the Mist people–meaning Boss and his subjects. After a while of searching, the Smoke boss waved at his subjects, signaling for them to retreat. Boss nodded at Dallas and Aella. They stood up and crept behind Smoke as Boss returned with Stella and the others.
The Smoke people walked in herds, following their leader back to the headquarters. Dallas and Aella tailed them. Aella squinted her coal-black eyes, trying to see the very front. Dallas joined hands with her. Everything was fine until the crowd stopped. Dallas and Aella exchanged a glance. He covered the back of her head with his hand as he pulled her in, keeping an eye on the Smoke people, whom slowly turned around. Alarm filled Dallas’s deep leaf-green eyes. In the next moment, all the Smoke people saw was pure white mist surrounding Dallas and Aella. Then, the couple was gone.
Craig, the leader of Smoke, asked the closest man to him, “Who were those Mist people? Did you see?” The man shook his head. Craig continued walking as his subjects made space for him. He repeated the question when he got to the back.
“Aella and Dallas of the Mist,” a woman reported.
“Right,” Craig said. When he spun around again, his many dark braids spun with him.