Valkyria must have thought I’d be intimidated when she shouted at me. Sorry, but I just did the Maze. Next to the solid shadows, Valkyria did not impress. I was a bit miffed. OK, she does have three-quarters of a foot on me, but ‘little girl’ is not the nicest imaginable greeting. True or not, ‘Little girl’ is rude. Valkyria should have been less threatening. After all, I was carrying the most powerful artifact in the world. I still needed a few minutes before I could teleport out. I had to play for time.
I did a crash drop, calling all the power I could find. Crash drops into bottom levels are seriously bad for the health. For a moment, Medico flashed blue-shading-toward-violet warning glyphs at me. I was approaching killing myself by overloading. I shoved all the power I could find into my shields. I really wanted to teleport away. Teleport is a lifesaving gift, as good a gift as flight, but teleporting far enough to avoid a chase needed a lot of power, more than I could call just yet. Yes, I could have switched power from shields to teleport, and jumped out. The moment I shifted the power out of my shields, they would have faded, enough that I’d surely have been toast before I could disappear.
“I’m twenty feet in front of you,” I answered. After it was too late, it occurred to me to answer ‘she’s twenty feet behind me, but I have to leave before she can come up here’. Oh, well. I never expected that question.
“Aren’t you … isn’t the real Bearer taller?” Valkyria asked. She sounded confused. I glowered. OK, I’m not into my teen growth spurt yet, an event I don’t yet see how to avoid, though I’m looking, but it’s not as if I didn’t pass five feet last year. “I am tall,” I answered. That’s when I ran out of patience. Valkyria hadn’t even been civil to me. She might at least have congratulated me on walking the Maze. If she wanted to insult me, there’s no reason I couldn’t return the favor. “Wait!” I continued. “Who are you? Isn’t the real Valkyria a bit less pudgy? I mean, how do they manage to squeeze you into that armor?” Her nostrils flared. I guess she’s sensitive about her weight.