#sff story during April. May Rose is the main character (🧑🏽 they/them pronouns).
Overlord "Shell" Tardigrade's shadow grew larger as he landed on the shore. Natica climbed out of his harness and marched over to Doña Marina.
"You have something that belongs to my overlord and me."
Doña Marina and May cast confused looks his way.
"You asked for the Miyoko Murex seashell I had worn at the Palio di Siena. You still have it. In fact, you brought it here."
Nightingale's beak clicked, unable to form speech while being choked by Jade.
Doña Marina looked at May, who still had a weapon pointed at her chest.
"What? Natica wants his shell. Give it to him."
Nightingale clicked again. Doña Marina nodded, and threw her weapon instead of getting the shell.
The weapon landed at Nightingale's feet. A scream came from Jade. May turned to see what was going on. Doña Marina wrapped her leg around May, who fell on their injury. Blood sprayed the sand and Natica. Jade crawled to May, reaching out. Nightingale wielded the weapon with her large feet, aiming it at Jade.
Overlord Tardigrade rose up and, with one blow from his bearlike claws, split overlord Nightingale in two.
Doña Marina looked wide-eyed at May. "Mercy."
"Hand over the shell," May replied, aiming again at Doña Marina's chest.
Jade moved behind May, resting her head against their shoulder, and cried. Overlord Tardigrade scooped up Nightingale's remains.
"What will happen to the people Nightingale had as pets? Class X has suffered losses, but my former students?"
Natica conversed with his overlord. "They become the pets of Shell. He is giving them to another overlord though. I believe it is the one you have come to meet."
Doña Marina moved to her knees, pleading to Natica. "Please, I will be Opal again. Allow me to be your mate."
Jade growled, poking her head out from behind May. "Just because O'tien moved and spoke through me, do not think I was deaf. You're pining for my May!"
Doña Marina pulled the shell out, pushed it to Natica's feet, then hung her head and cried. "I want to live!"
Natica took the Miyoko Murex seashell. He shook and spun it several times. A reddish stone fell out. He presented it to May.
"You know what this is now."
"I do," May confirmed, looking from the stone, to Doña Marina, then back to Natica.
"I have had it for most of my life. Because of the alterations my overlord gave me, I have not needed it to converse with our friends in a long time."
"Yes, but do you need it to get to the other world? I killed Quintilis Cave to get a stone for Jade."
Natica chuckled. "I could have saved you that trouble. A shame Piers didn't realize that. Well, here we are. You could kill this human. No one here would stop you. Or you could give her this stone, which is the only way to save her life."
Natica placed the stone in May's hand. Then pointed to the sky, where a red cloud was breaking open. "That is the last transport. It will land and fill with the final passengers. Once it clears Mars, the clock will run out on Earth. Absolutely no life will survive. This planet will start over. Perhaps, in many thousands of years, microorganisms will appear. Even the youngest of the overlords will not be around then. So, if you leave this person here, it is the same as killing her."
Jade hugged May from behind while addressing Natica. "What about you? Don't you need it?"
Natica shook his head. "Shell is taking me. Though I will no longer be his pet on the other world, I will always be his friend. We plan to live out our days there. Tardigrades too small for human eyes to see already play in the waters of that world."
"It's hard to imagine your overlord on a microscopic scale," Jade said.
They watched as Natica climbed back into his harness. He waved the shell as overlord Tardigrade took off.
Doña Marina threw herself at May, facedown in the bloody sand. "Please let me live."
"And watch as you interfere with our relationship forever?" May asked.
"O'tien and I vote you kill her so we can be on our way. The ship will land soon." Piers said, his eyes on the sky.
"My love?" May leaned against Jade. "You were so displeased to know I had killed for your stone. You said you do not like this side of me."
Jade frowned. "I also don't like the idea of her killing me in hopes of stealing you. Of that, I am deeply ashamed."
"Piers? Hold these." May handed the weapon and stone to him, then looked at Doña Marina. "Don't get any ideas. Not only is Piers exceptionally skilled with that weapon, but he's got an alien in his head who was about to defeat Nightingale using Jade's body."
"Sorry about that, O'tien," Jade said. "My hands weren't sufficient. Then again, I'm grateful my body didn't kill."
May took Jade's hands. "Even now? Even knowing Nightingale and Doña Marina came here intent on killing us. Still, you would not wish to be the one to end their lives?"
Jade looked down. "No. It isn't right. As grateful as I am that you are alive, and as willing as I was to let O'tien use me as a vessel, I am glad there is no death on my hands."
May lifted Jade's chin. "You are as beautiful inside as outside. I love you."
"I love you too."
"But Jade X cannot go to the new world," May said.
Question: Would you save Doña Marina?