Chapter 8


Chapter 8: Crossroads

The three of us were gifted three horses for our journey from the Fa family. They had surprised us by leaving the three beautiful steeds outside of the back gate. Norio had a sandy brown one, I had a grey one that had a black mane and tail, and my sister had a black stallion. I was grateful because I wasn’t looking forward to such a long walk even if I could hold onto my sister.

Malaika – I’m so happy they gave us horses, we’ll make good time.

Nyah – The Fa’s always take care of their allies. So where exactly are we going?

Norio – Ten Miles east of here there’s a safe house The Phaloans use sometimes. We’re never in one place for long so we don’t have many places to stay. It’s a good thing and a bad thing at times. We’ll need to find some water for the horses soon, we’ve had them going for about four miles now…

I looked down at my horse and rubbed the side of it’s neck gently. We were in a mountainous area and the dark of night had us all a little on edge. Norio was using some sort of light magic that lit our path ahead of us and provided light around us. It brought me a little comfort that we could see a bit better,  but there were still plenty of shadows. It was a strange air about, almost ominous. I wasnt used to traveling at night so I supposed my nerves were a bit shaken, I didn’t like this feeling at all.

Nyah – Hey Malaika, are you alright? You look kind of nervous.

Malaika – I am a little nervous. I’ve never travelled in the dead of night like this before.

Norio – Not to worry ladies, you’re in good hands.

Norio said over his shoulder. I half smiled hearing him try to reassure me. Just then, all three of our horses started to rise up on their front legs, then down again, then up again shaking their heads.

Norio – Whoa! Whoa!

Malaika – Whats wrong with them!?

Nyah – Easy boy! Steady! Steady now!

We all tried to calm our horses but something was upsetting them badly.

Norio – Something’s here…

Norio said. I found myself looking around but saw nothing.

? – Yoohoo! Over here Princesses!

A familiar woman’s voice called out from the darkness. We looked ahead and out from the darkness walked something that had the shape of a woman. The figure seemed to blend in with the surroundings and darkness like it was mimicking the night scene. It was like seeing a piece of a painting coming out towards us. As the figure came into the light of Norio’s magic, she revealed herself. It was a woman of very fair skin, an hour glass figure clad in light armor tailored to her shape. Her sleeves looked like red dragon skales and the collar of her leather top was lined with owl’s feathers. Her pants were the same red, covered in dragon’s skales and the owl’s feathers lined the waist. Her boots had an armored covering like the rest of her and they toes looked sharp. Norio dismounted and drew his bow and arrow. Our horses settle down enough that we thankfully weren’t thrown off.

Norio – How did you find us?

? – I’m flattered that you remember me handsome. I’ve got good informants, let’s just leave it at that.

Malaika -That woman…She and her lackeys tried to capture me at that Inn…

I said to myself.

Edith – Edith is the name darlings, do try to remember it. I expect you’ll be cursing my very existence once I hand you both over to King Dorieus. Two princesses is going to make me a very rich woman.

She said cheerfully gushing about the whole idea. Norio readied an arrow to pierce her and it was lit with a bright, golden flame.

Norio – You’ll never touch them. Malaika, you and your sister continue riding East as fast as you can.

Malaika – What about you!?

Nyah – We can’t just leave you here!

Norio – ENOUGH! I can take care of myself. What matters is YOUR lives, not mine. NOW GO!

He shouted at us.

Edith – How noble…

Without protesting further, we snapped the reigns of our horses and started riding off. The ground began to violently tremble beneath us making our horses start to go wild again. I looked down at the ground and saw that it wasn’t just trembling, it was being pulled apart.

Nyah – An earthquake from out of nowhere!?

? – Bwahahaha! Not quite ladies!

A man’s voice said from somewhere near us. I looked up and I could see the figure of a chubby man standing on solid ground that was unaffected. This was his doing, I was sure of it. The ground completely collapsed from under us and we began to fall, horses and all. Nyah and I screamed and I tried desperately to reach for her. An unseen force pulled us up from falling to our deaths and held us high in the air. A second man illuminated in an indigo light was holding his hand up towards us. It was hard to see his face but I could see his teeth and tell he was smirking. His build was a bit more muscular.

Nyah – Who are these people!?

Malaika – Bounty hunters, unfortunately.

I said with a slight tremble in my voice. I wasn’t feeling too good being up this high, I was slightly afraid of heights.

Norio – Hostages? What a bunch of cowards.

Edith laughed maniacally.

Edith – Did you really think I’d come alone? How foolish! Why do you care what happens to these two anyway? There’s no happy ending for them, nor you. Hoping for a happy ending is a childish way of thinking…

Norio grinned.

Norio – You talk an awful lot, the sign of a weakling. Always trying to talk your way through life.

Edith’s smile was wiped clean off of her face. She extended her left arm and a bladed spear materialized in her hand.

Edith – You’re very confident. Sadly, Archers are shit in melee battles.

Norio – I’m a lot more than meets the eye…

Norio loosed his arrow and in that same moment Edith charged towards him dodging it, her sharp spear extended towards him. We were still close enough to see the battle and hear them, but far enough away not to be in danger. Time itself seem to slow down as I watched her charge him. I’d only ever seen him use arrows, could he really beat her?